Britain’s Tory party is 50% funded by the City of London Corporation. Its membership has halved over the last decade as members complain that they are excluded from the policymaking process. So, really we shouldn’t call them the Conservative or Tory Party, we should call them the City of London Corporation or CLC.
The CLC has used post-financial crisis austerity as an excuse to impose a raft of privatisation policies, including the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which privatised much of what was left of the National Health Service, and the Postal Services Act 2011 which privatised much of the Royal Mail—one of the few survivors of the Thatcher-Blair privatisation blitz.
Ex-Shell oil economist and Liberal Party member of the Tory-Liberal coalition government, Vince Cable, sold the Royal Mail’s shares at below market value to the benefit of hedge and pension funds in 2013.
More recently the Labour Party-allied Communications Workers Union (CWU) voted—89.1% in favour—to strike to demand decent “pay, working hours, future job security and the need to improve and grow the service to the public.” The privatised Royal Mail Group has vowed to stop the strike. CityAM reports: “The dispute relates to the closure of Royal Mail’s final salary pension scheme, which it says will cost £1.3bn to keep open.” It also notes that it’s the first big strike since 2009 and that the Royal Mail Group has threatened legal action to stop it.
This is indicative of the widening class divisions taking place everywhere, even among elites.
Back in 2009 during the neoliberal New Labour years (which have hopefully now gone with Jeremy Corbyn leading Labour), the Royal Mail Group said that the CWU was supposedly in the middle of negotiations. “[I]t beggars belief that the Communication Workers Union would call on members to vote for a national strike which would damage customer confidence and undermine the entire UK postal industry.” So much for the Royal Mail Group’s concern for workers’ rights.
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