Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cadbury? But that's the free-market, mate

Everyone's crying over Cadbury but the hypocrisy is vomit-inducing.

"A bitter taste in Bournville" and "Cadbury: Not such a sweet deal", writes the Guardian. "Why takeover bids rarely work", warns Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph. "Kraft takeover jobs bloodbath" and "High price for handing UK PLC to foreigners" are the headlines in the Daily Mail, while the Independent notes that "Bournville laments saddest day for 10 years".

Today's papers couldn't agree more. In essence, the widespread opinion across the spectrum is that another British institution is going, that the usual City "short-termists" are making a mint off the back of a local community, that the economic long-term interests of the country are being ignored and that Britain's surrendering to one too many foreign takeovers.

They're being very good at tutting at the "inevitability" of job losses, or at the CEO's £12m payout, or at the simple fact that the buyers Kraft are a company ridden with something like £22 billion of debt. Yet very few are grasping the fundamental reasons behind this mess.

For instance, the fact that the industrial policy of the past thirty years has been coherently and systematically biased towards the professional short-termism that turned London into the Mecca of City spivvery. And that's under the active complicity of both Tories and Labour.

Gordon Brown is crying that he'll do his best to secure jobs and the right-wing are shouting revulsion at the foreign companies who suck the blood out of British firms and then discard them like a piece of tissue after a couple of years. But this is the free market: a script we already saw with Rover and more recently with Bosch and Corus, "sorry very much, but it's all shareholders uber alles and tough for whoever's left to mop up the mess".

Bournville is one of the prettiest areas of Birmingham as well as one with a fairly solid community spirit. One can only imagine what would happen if the factory that's provided a living to thousands since the 19th century was to up sticks or be significantly scaled down.

And yet the picture's pretty clear. Like they point out at Unite, wherever it's gone in the past 10 years, "Kraft has sacked 60,000 workers to pay for other companies it has eaten up". The sourest irony of all is that the £7bn Kraft raised to table the bid were financed by RBS which is 84 per cent owned by the British government.

And until any of the major political parties
will say it loud and clear that Britain can't carry on turning into a country exclusively centred around City gambles with the rest working in call centres and mobile phone shops, we will witness similar devastation time and time again.

So are all the opinionmeisters that today are crying crocodile tears for the "loss of a British institution" prepared to change their tack - given that they normally spot the dark shadows of "socialism" lurking behind the slightest governmental intervention (unless it's the banks bail-out)?

Are they prepared to accept that only a state that plays a bigger role in protecting manufacturing can halt the dependence on Bullshit Economy? Can they clock that protecting long-term stability, often the default policy in France, the US and Japan, doesn't mean that Stalin and Lenin are on their way back?

Sign the petition to Keep Cadbury Independent here.


Acidfairyy said...

I don't understand why everybody is whining over this. Cadbury makes terrible chocolate.

asquith said...

Acidfairyy- what about Green & Blacks, which is owned by Cadbury & seems not to have suffered in quality? I was eating some Maya Gold just yesterday. I also hail their caramel range- if Kraft extend that (it seems to be less available than it once was) then a great work would be wrought in the land.

Also their chocolate spread, & if you like milk chocolate (I do- legacy of childhood) theirs is the place to go.

I agree Dairy Milk is shite though. A pinch of cocoa with a vat of milk & sugar is not what this consumer wants.

Let us bear this in mind tho:

Truly, a great pile of shite was dropped on us when this bailout happened.

Helen Highwater said...

Let's hope Kraft don't relegate the Wispa bar!

(I love Dairy Milk... nomnomnom!).

Oh - a note of irony, or something. All those newspapers going on about Cadbury's possible job cuts, and yet every time I pick up Private Eye, it's full of news that the papers are cutting jobs as well.

Helen Highwater said...

Also - I doubt they'd shut Bournville because of the Cadbury World attraction.

(says the girl who's been there 3 times!!!)