Tony Blairs Speech to
the "Global Borrowers and Investors Forum Conference":
A Call to the Financiers that Britain Is their Best Champion
Tony Blairs speech was titled "Britain: the Best
Place for Inward Investment". It was both a call to the financiers that
Britain could offer them the best return on their investment, as well as a
declaration by Tony Blair as to how he is taking Britain further down the
dangerous and reactionary road of once more making Britain great by making it
number one in the global marketplace.
At the centre of the speech was the claim that
"Britain can become the European hub of the emerging global economy. In
Europe, a bridge to America, attracting investment from both and from around
the world. In effect, Europes corporate headquarters." This is one
of the clearest statements, made to the corporate investors, of Tony
Blairs vision, if it can be called a vision, of the future for Britain
and its place in the world, that Britain is prepared to put all its resources
to provide the corporate investors with the maximum return on their capital.
The stunning thing about this programme is that it is also
presented as the salvation for Britain. At a time when devastation is being
caused to the peoples livelihoods when transnational monopolies such as
BMW and Ford, and before them Siemens, Fujitsu and a host of others, pull out
from their "inward investment" according to the dictates of the
global economy, Tony Blair is crystallising inward investment as the strategy
that is "best for Britain".
This global economy is not an economy in the sense that it
forms a coherent whole or is being developed with some aim. It is shorthand for
the demand of the corporate investors that states subordinate everything to the
imperative of these international finance capitalists, their economies, their
legislation, their material and human resources. The facts show that this is
not only increasing the gulf between rich and poor nationally, but also
Even Tony Blair opened his speech with a passage to
indicate that he has a conscience. He said, "Global finance and technology
transform not just our economies but our social fabric. Living standards,
certainly in the richer nations, may rise. But so does insecurity. The old,
familiar certainties jobs for life, stable communities, settled family
ties are gone or under pressure." In other words, the headlong rush
to embrace globalisation is intensifying the crisis, and attacking the social
fabric. Governments are responding by increasing the anti-social offensive.
This is all presented as inevitable, and in the course of this inevitable
change "the role of modern governments and politics" is transformed.
But this transformation, according to Tony Blair, is to "move with the
grain of change". In other words, "If we live in a global economy,
get as much of it as you can." The speech then sets out Britains
pitch for getting as much of the global economy as it can.
In particular, Tony Blair re-emphasises the
"vision" that Britain should be Europes corporate headquarters,
the "leading destination for inward investment, the best place to do
business in Europe". This is mixed in with the chauvinism that "there
is nowhere better on earth to work, to live, to do business".
In the world situation where capitalism is incapable of
uninterrupted extended reproduction, where the monopoly capitalists are faced
with the number one problem of how to counter the falling rate of profit and of
the necessity to accumulate and concentrate capital on a massive scale in order
to do so, and where their whole effort is directed into achieving the maximum
capitalist profit, the begging of Tony Blair to these corporate investors comes
across as most pathetic.
It raises the issue for the working class, not to rid
itself of Tony Blair, but to assert and fight for a programme to change the
whole direction of the economy. This issue is not one of redressing the balance
between capitalists and workers, between the haves and have-nots. It is one of
beginning to fundamentally change the internal basis of the economy.
"Inward investment" is not investment in the sense of putting funds
and resources into the economy. A harmonious national economy serving the
peoples needs does not even figure in this picture. The working class
must assert that they will take hold of what is theirs by right, as producers,
and begin to transform the direction of the economy, in unity with the workers
of all lands fighting for the same aim.