If one needed any further indication that the G20 is formed of leaders who cannot think out of the box then the announcements of the ‘achievements’ of the summit have pretty much illustrated it as graphically as it could have been.  In fact it would be difficult to see how they could have been less broad-minded in their thinking choosing instead to tinker with the existing system that has at best allowed the current mess and quite probably been the root cause of it.

The largest ‘beneficiaries’ of the G20 plans appear to be the IMF which has been pledged around $500bn and the World Bank which receives the rest of the major subsidy, whilst the WTO is potentially going to be responsible for ensuring a lack of protectionist policies by countries seeking to concentrate on their own local economies at the expense of free trade from their partners.  This is supposed to stop the richer countries batoning down the hatches for their own good removing production from their poorer neighbours and imposing draconian tariffs and barriers on the exports of developing world countries.  Of course the idea of the US or the European Union playing fair by these rules is pretty laughable in the light of recent trading events, they cannot even play nicely with each other let alone with the rest of the world.  That the trade paper tiger of the WTO should be the body supposed to be doing something about this merely shows the absolute laissez-faire(!) attitude the world powers have for these objectives properly being met.

There will now be an “overdraft system for the world” which will be presided over by the IMF.  The means with which it will be done is via special drawing rights which have been improved by $250bn but these sums are split up into the groupings as to the voting rights of the IMF which means the largest countries will have the largest share, so not only will the nations of the developing world be getting only a possible share of crumbs from the table but they will have to pay them back.  This is pretty crass stuff, at the same time as we are hearing about sub-prime lending, what Mark Thomas calls “Shit Plus”, and at the same time as we are told we are in too much personal debt and have borrowed beyond our means, now there is supposed to be a fanfare about the richest nations on the planet offering a few scratchings by the same method to tether the poorest countries into economic servitude.  Lest one forgets the IMF does not merely apportion money according to needs, it applies conditions, massive cuts in public spending, privatisation of industry etc etc etc we’ve seen the agenda here in the West and it hasn’t exactly done much for the stability of the economies here let alone anything for the populations.  However it does provide Western corporations with a gilt-edged chance to get in and buy some 3rd world state assets at rock-bottom prices.

Bob Geldoff also showed his establishment credentials by being inside the ExCel centre rather than outside with the protesters, who were kept at more than arms length to prevent any chance of their message being heard and ‘spoiling the day.’  This is the same Geldoff who seems able to switch his vitriol on and off conveniently like a well-maintained tap, eulogising the promises of the G8 in 2005 and claiming it to have been a great victory whilst in the company of the pompous grandees, whilst branding the protesters and the detractors idiots.  The same Geldoff who then some time later came round to the detractors point of view when he realised that the promises were not worth the paper it hadn’t been written on, and did so without any sense of shame or apology for those he had insulted before.  Geldoff was back in his schmoozing guise, affecting the facade of a man who was there for the poorer nations and not for his own self-image.

When asked about the protests Geldoff said globalisation was no longer abstract, it isn’t exactly clear what he meant by this in terms of context, whether this meant there was no point in protesting about it any more or whether he had been hitherto under some misapprehension that globalisation had yet to take hold properly.  Geldoff claimed that whilst there was justifiable reason for people to protest against the bankers they must at the same time also protest against themselves because they had “sucked on the tit of free money.”  This is at best disingenuous and callous bigotry and frankly is quite staggering insulting for an extremely wealthy man who pontificates from within the system with his showbiz friends but refuses to use his influence or his intellect to question the neo-liberal agenda that has been the cause of the problems of this financial catastrophe.  I am unsure whether most people will see it as I do but I am certainly not aware of free money being handed out for the good of the populous in any way shape for form.  I am aware of loans that get more punitive in their interest rates as troubles increase.  I am aware of banks throwing overdraft facilities at people and then levying them punitive charges at the minorest of transgressions.  I doubt somehow that Geldoff has been forced to live in this world.  He also seems not at all to understand just how private enterprise works, namely that private companies demand profit and for investment therefore they require more back than what they have put in.  The only free money that I have noticed is that which we the taxpayers have been forced to give to the banks.  We have been led to believe that this is a form of nationalisation, that we may have some stake in the banking sector but any detail as to what this stake is has been extremely scant in its detail.  The fact is this is not nationalisation it is subsidisation, we have no stake, we have not changed the personnel, we have not enforced changes to their modus operandi, , we have not even been able to properly cap their salaries or golden parachutes.  Were this deal to have been done in the private sector someone would be saying that we got shafted.

Next the G20 leaders have pledged to be committed to stamping out tax havens which it is estimated cost the UK alone £100 billion in unpaid revenue.  However on closer scrutiny their methods of doing so appear to be as comprehensive as their commitment to the developing world.  The Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander responded on BBC’s Newsnight to questioning from Jeremy Paxman on tax havens by saying that Britain could not act unilaterally as the money would simply go elsewhere.  He did not explain what it was that Britain benefited from these companies being offshore that made up for the huge loss in tax revenue, nor did he explain his obvious lack of faith in other countries zeal to stamp out the tax havens to give these state larcenists no safe haven.  Furthermore there was no response when on the same program Mark Thomas pointed out that even the UK government buildings were now owned offshore, a revelation even Paxman seemed amused by.

So in conclusion when the dust has settled and the rhetoric sifted through what we actually have from the G20 is a situation whereby having paid a huge sum of our tax money to the banks, when we have already been told there was no more money for public services, for state pensions and for healthcare now we are to pay a great deal more money (for where else is this $1.1 trillion supposed to come from?) so that our governments can do it all over again.  Ever feel you might have been had…?

There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me  – can’t get fooled again.

Song Of The Day ~ Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World