The crimes of the ruling class are recurrent and escalating, and are always glossed over by political elites ever keen to blame the working-class for all of societies ills. Think for example of the drastic budget cuts now being imposed upon workers organized in the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) who are forever stymied in their efforts to collect tax from the super-rich: already some £120 billion of potential tax revenue slips through the net each year, which will can only increase as the publicly funded tax offices are ripped asunder and gutted by ruling class politicians.
Instead of seeking out and punishing the obvious criminal element which is wrecking havoc on humanity globally, the rest of us are encouraged to believe that it is us, and our fellow members of the working class, who are really to blame. In Leicester, as elsewhere, no mention is made of the criminal behaviour of the police themselves, as amply revealed last summer by the Network for Police Monitoring (see “Police and council require great criticism, not credit”).
On the contrary, with the aid of the local corporate owned media, we are daily drowned in the crimes of the poor (thanks to the “news” that’s deemed fit to print) and are rarely ever pummeled with exposes of the rich and powerful (who unsurprisingly happen to own the media). This despite the fact that the crimes of the ruling class assault us everyday, whether that be in the workplace via direct economic exploitation, or through the ongoing slashing and privatisation of the public sector that presents a vile assault on our communities good health.
So-called charities like Crimestoppers therefore form a vital part of the propaganda offensive that elites wage against the rest of us, doing much to help misdirect our attention from the real criminality of the corporate world, while insidiously sowing seeds of distrust among our local neighbourhoods. “You never know whose a criminal these days, so may sure you keep a watchful eye on your neighbours,” so the message goes. As another powerful local “politician” puts it in his advert for Crimestoppers:
“This is Peter Soulsby, City Mayor, reminding you to back Crimestoppers, and to call Crimestoppers. Call anonymously on 0800 555 111, no need to give your name. Call them anonymously, Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”
In keeping with their conservative message, the founder and chairman of Crimestoppers happens to be Lord Michael Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party (2005-10). A man who alongside his chosen hobby of stoking fear among the working class, provides a prime example of how the 1% turn a tidy profit from the exploitation of the 99%. One disgusting way in which he does this is through his significant financial investment in Medacs Healthcare, a private company that provides agency staff to the NHS at generously inflated costs.
Or one might note how another company forming part of Lord Ashcroft’s tax avoidance business empire is a data storage company known as Restore plc, which is chaired by Sir William Wells — who has a related sideline in profiting from the dismantling of the public care home system in Britain (a process which is aided and abetted here in Leicester by the Labour party) through his being a board member of the elderly care company HC-One. Here he works closely with HC-One board chairman, Chai Patel who is an advisor to the private equity healthcare vulture Bridgepoint Capital (see “Healthcare for the few”).
A more recent addition to Restore’s board room is Sir Paul Stephenson, who you might know as the former Metropolitan police commissioner who was forced to resign in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. This profitable promotion for a criminally implicated police commissioner owed much to Sir Stephenson’s enduring friendship with Lord Ashcroft, with the commissioner already doing a disservice to justice by serving on Crimestoppers board of trustees.
Blairites also take their place on Crimestoppers board of trustees, with the best example being the millionaire businessmen Lord Waheed Alli, who in addition to his ownership of various corporate media outlets serves on the board of governors of De Montfort University in Leicester. This brings us neatly back to Crimestoppers patron, Leicester businessmen Vic Sethi, who earlier this week was named Business and Humanitarian Entrepreneur of the Year 2013. As if his so-called humanitarian work for Crimestoppers were not enough, his allegedly positive contribution to the local community is ostensibly further evidenced though his former service on the board of the Prince’s Trust (for criticisms see “Caring capitalism”).
One can only wonder what type of salaries and contracts Sethi’s global staff are employed upon. One would hope they were employed in unionised workplaces on decent contracts, and paid a living wage, but given the fact that Sethi works closely with the notorious South Korean company Hyundai Corporation – to reap massive profits from their electronic fancies — it would seem more likely that he is just as willing to profit from human misery and exploitation as any other capitalist. I say this because Hyundai have a long and evidently proud history of attacking the rights of their workers (see “Hyundai boss worth $6.2bn while workers struggle for basic wage”).
I think we can all agree of the urgent need to stop crime now! Therefore, if you know of any corporate criminals acting against the common interest let the appropriate authorities know, and then help groups like the Socialist Party build a mass democratic movement that will be capable of enforcing the law upon the super-rich.
Iain Dalton, “Profiting from crime,” Socialism Today, May 2012.
George Winslow, “Capital crimes: The political economy of crime in America,” Monthly Review, December 2000.
Audrey Farrell, Crime, Class and Corruption: Politics of the Police (Bookmarks, 1995).