I need to steer the topic a little off course here as, since February 2022, it would be remiss to overlook a pretty major global event. So, it is here I express unwavering solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and of course condemn the sheer terror inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Russian soldiers under the orders of Vladimir Putin.
Separate to this, I also condemn the actions of the disgusting British media and our rotten establishment. Britain has been a laundry for Putin’s unhinged, turbo-capitalism and harboured his thieving, criminal gang of crimelords. There has been a thoroughly sanctioned revolving door between the Kremlin and Westminster since the days of Yeltsin, and nobody is more complicit than the Tory party. After 1991, oligarchs essentially stole Russia, the ashes of the Soviet Union off the Russian people and these people pass their dirty money through London to hide their ill-gotten gains offshore.
Cosmetically there have been sanctions on Russians, but this rotten and corrupt system of propping up oligarchs (from all around the world, not only Russia and including our own) is unlikely to change anytime soon. Whether Russian-owned media being allowed to publish propaganda (Lebdev brothers and PM’s insistence of Evgeny’s lordship), to property, energy, financial sectors and massive donations to the Tory party from Russian and satellite states.
And yet, still somehow our crazed media have managed to blame the Left for this and smear Corbyn (?). Thanks guys, that’s flattering and all, but this is problem that by far overshadows the sorry state of socialism in the UK currently.
Oliver Bullough, the investigative journalist and author of Dirty Money has written extensively about how Russian money is embedded within the UK. The UK, and to an extend as the birthplace of capitalism has always had a role in this, has become noting but a hollow vessel for rich people to come to hide their wealth. There is always a British role in money laundering and hiding money – whether Russian, Ukrainian, (Panama and Pandora Papers, Paradise Papers), or Angolan oil money and beyond. Nicholas Shaxon’s excellent Treasure Islands traces oil money in tax havens from Gabon and through the oil and petrochemical industry and beyond.
This sordid little island has become a nice and convenient regulation free space in heart of Europe, and undermined entire global financial system which is draining money from economies, leaving behind derelict public services and people literally starving, relying on foodbanks in the world’s richest economics. Successive governments and mayors of London, especially since 2008, are responsible for destroying democratic control over finance. London created offshore capital, and now look what a sorry state we are in.
Bullough makes an excellent point that Britain used to be one of a few global oligarchs, that was what our role in the world was as a colonial power. When our empire crumbled and especially after WWII we couldn’t afford to be an oligarch, so we become a footsoldier to oligarchs from elsewhere, including Russia. Our political class not only turned a blind eye to the dirty money passing through the City of London, but they actively encouraged it.
An entire class in London have flourished doing bad things in London. Politicians, property lobbyists, people working in finance, real estate vendors – all of these have blood on their hands (sometimes, actually, literally) sale of the city to the wealthy and encourage flows of finance into the city. These are all responsible for dirty money. This is what helped create Putin and the oligarchic class. Not Corbyn, not Marx, not Lenin.
Our shambolic excuse for a government have announced some tiny measures regarding transparency to our banking and property sectors. However, the UK economy suckles off dirty money and especially this current government is unlikely to have any political will to give that up.
The PM announced laws regarding money laundering. Problem is we already have had laws in place for that for a while it’s just they were never enforced (at least, not for the superrich). In Tory Britain today, with a billionaire Chancellor and his non-dom wife, there seems to be little political appetite to enforce then. Any measures we will see regarding sanctions against Russian oligarchs are likely to be tokenistic and to save face on the global stage.
This is not just about the Tories by the way, but Starmer’s Labour will be the same too possibly with a bit more lip service to getting the rich and superrich to pay their fair share, but it is important to note that an entire political class are wedded to this. Blair was not shy of being seen with Putin in the same way as Cameron or Johnson. This is really what the whole burning Corbyn at the stake amounts to really.
Corbyn called for a much overdue an entire restructuring and re-arranging of the British economy. Dissolve the infected pustule that is the City of London in acid. Until that happens, we will continue to face an erosion of democracy, instability, and perpetually sinking standards of living not only on the domestic sphere but globally as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see this changing anytime soon as we lost our chance of a generation (or two) with Corbyn. I fear that much, much worse is yet to come.