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Tories dream of Chinese capitalism

This article is over 8 years, 4 months old
Issue 2476

The tabloids marked the visit to Britain of Chinese president Xi Jinping with racist jokes. But David Cameron was declaring a new “golden age” as he rolled out the red carpet.

The fanfare is a bid for multibillion pound business deals.  

The supposedly cash-strapped George Osborne stumped up £2 billion to broker Chinese investment into the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. 

The Tories claim that Chinese investors buying up stakes in British firms show the economy has recovered through austerity.

It’s really a sign of British capitalism’s weakness. 

Manufacturing—particularly heavy industry—has been in relative decline here for decades.


Britain was falling behind rivals such as Germany and Japan as its rulers struggled to cope with no longer having an empire.

Margaret Thatcher hoped to clear out the less profitable sectors of the economy—and many thousands of workers with them. But the more financialised economy she built crashed in 2008. Today’s Tories are still trying to find a way out.

None of this means workers don’t have power, whether in manufacturing or in other sectors.

It does mean the promised Tory golden age isn’t coming.

Bosses will only attract investors by squeezing more out of workers for less—attacking wages, conditions and aunions. 

And workers will only get a better deal by taking them on.

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