Thursday, 15 May 2014

Politics abhors a vacuum

The comment columns of online press articles about the Pfizer - AstroZeneca takeover battle are not filled with public concerns. One global corporate drug company that has grown fat on overcharges to the health service bids for another global corporate drug company that has grown fat on overcharges to the health service. What's to be excited about? Whether the takeover succeeds or not, most folk know that the overcharging will continue, the executives will still enjoy stupendous bonuses and remote, unaccountable global corporates outside national control and regulation will continue to dominate our lives. Indeed, the EU and US are just signing a secret deal (TTIP) that will give Pfizer the right to take our own democratically elected government to court if we refuse to buy their drugs. 

Of course, both Pfizer and Astro-Zeneca are well represented amongst the 30,000-odd professional lobbyists in Brussels who devote all their efforts in ensuring that all new EU legislation favours their clients - the EU is driven by corporate lobbyists, not just the tens of thousands of persuaders with expense accounts to schmooze the Commission's unelected officials and bedazzle them with egregious and slick propaganda but the ERT - the European Round Table of top corporates, 40 or 50 who serve in rotation as a privileged Commission consultative body 'inside the circle' that was described by Jacques Delors as 'the driving force behind the internal market'. Miliband need not concern himself about job losses amongst the lobbyists; they're the one employment sector in Europe that has continued to grow throughout the recession.

Europe's voters are not deaf and blind to the takeover of their continent by the Corporates, even though most mainstream political parties (the supporters of Corporatism) are deliberately dumb on the subject. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are as likely to raise Incest as an election issue as they are to mention curbing the power of the corporates. And it's this vacuum that has allowed Europe's alternative parties to look to electoral success next week; UKIP here, the FN in France, Geert Wilder's party AND the far-left Dutch Socialist party, both the Golden Dawn AND far-left Syriza in Greece, Beppo Grillo's party, all with no common policy between them except curbing the power of the corporates and breaking the stranglehold of an anti-democratic EU that's in the pocket of big business.


Sackerson said...

Excellent, Raedwald. 30,000 lobbyists - staggering. And of course all paid for through the inflated prices of the products they're touting, so it's another form of hidden taxation.

DeeDee99 said...

But the common policy of curbing the corporates and breaking the anti-democratic EU is a huge unifier - and unless it's achieved, there is little point having any other policies because it won't be possible to enact them.

Let's hope enough people understand that the insurgency parties are fighting for democracy.

Anonymous said...

Statism rules your life and you pay for it all.

The industry, of fresh air and Bullshit.

Bankers, corporates love regulation, the green agenda, red tape and health and safety and don't forget the magic circle - who bind you into darkness:

All of this lot [above] have private dental plans send their kids to private schools and have massive expense accounts, they draw up contracts for themselves and their buddies across EUrope - but think, stop and think - who pays for it all?

In the City, the phalanxes of corporate bloodsuckers who feed off the big conglomerate giants.
The accountants; Deloitte, PWC, KPMG, Ernst & Young and then the likes of Crapita, 'Accenture' - Consultancies are the leeches who suck from the leeches et al - all paid for by 'costs'- which manifest themselves in consumer prices - the 'unseen taxes'.

The EU means hundreds of thousands of totally useless jobs and it all adds up.

Bloke In Italy said...

Up to a point Raedwald.

A lot of what you are saying re the EU and its endemic corporatism is bang on. However, unless I am mistaken Astra ZEneca and Pfizers are two privately owned companies quoted on the stock market. Anybody can buy whatever they like with their own money (subject to the Monopolies Commission). It is nothing to do with the Government. I am sick to the back teeth of hearing that twat milliband saying something must be done and the Government has so far made a pretty poor fist of saying well no actually, it is nothing to do with us and the limits of our responsibilities are to ensure that companies are not driven away by high taxation or intrusive or inappropriate regulation.

You make another mistaken point as well. THe secret trade deal being negotiated may or may not be a bad thing; it's secret so we don't know, but being secret we can assume it is. HOwever the clause about legal action I understand to be mainly about if governments make certain kinds of changes to the law which cost companies dear (something which happens all the time), then the companies can go after them for financial compensation. The principle is not necessarily wrong although obviously it would be the big companies which would benefit more than smaller ones. I seem to remember Tim Worstall explained it much better than this on his blog some time back.

Anonymous said...

Where, how and who is organizing and funding this Pfizer bid?

If, as seems likely Astro-Zeneca is bought out, the massive debt will overhang the new company and financing such debt will be a struggle, we are often told that the window to the era of cheap money is closing - if the Fed and the BoE raise base rates -whither then for the brave new company?

George's great plan, changes to the corporate tax [exemptions] etc, the fact that AZ has some very [potentially] profitable new drugs nearing entry on the market as it were, senior board of AZ being offered 300K shares in new company.

IMHO; after the takeover and very rapidly - it'll go tits up and it's all going to mean bad news for Britain, University R&D, Brit-pharma and jobs, over here.

Bloke in Italy said...

Anon - the story in the news is that they are paying in cash they have around some 130bn knocking around in search of a good home. We should be glad some of it coming here.