BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Not that Britain’s Left could ever be accused of jumping on any available bandwagon, this week’s motion by MP’s to strip Arcadia’s Sir Philip Green of his knighthood has been seized upon by leftist commentators as heralding the death knell of capitalism. How, they argue, can we as a society put up any longer with crapitalism when it produces avarice and inequality that hurts fellow human beings?
In fact, the MPs’ motion was widely welcomed across the political spectrum by the UK populace – as would be any such motion which sated those odd British characteristics of poppy-lopping and cocking a snook at those men and women who own yacht jacuzzis.
The MP’s certainly seemed to enjoy the debate.
Among the most notable reproaches was that Sir Philip was “like the autocrat Napoleon and the former boss of the Mirror group of newspapers, Robert Maxwell”, as well as being an “asset-stripper”.
Labour’s David Winnick branded Sir Philip “a billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood. A billionaire spiv who has shamed British capitalism”. Winnick added that Sir Philip’s “billionaire’s lifestyle” was a “form of provocation” to BHS employees and pensioners (the BHS chain of stores being the source of Sir Philip’s problems, as BHS recently closed its doors after falling sales and a dubious run of management consequent to Sir Philip’s).
Is Sir Philip a “Crapitalist”?
Frankly, that is for others to dwell on and for other commenters to be sued for suggesting.
The MPs’ non-binding motion went unopposed, meaning no full vote was needed. The motion was in itself toothless – “non-binding” as any final decision would have to be taken by the Honours Forfeiture Committee. Nonetheless coverage of the MPs’ debate was wall-to-wall and social media reacted generally positively to the result.
The worry, raised in certain quarters, is that the MPs’ actions set a dangerous precedent where Parliament, spurred on politically by a random crowd, can pick and choose those knights of the realm it disagrees with and single them out for forfeiture. There is much to be said for this point – Lynton Crosby. And much to be said against it – Jimmy Savile.
The reaction of the Left was of course to up the volume on denigrating Capitalism. Their argument – bellowed at Corbyn rallies by pimply students and multiple anorak owners across the breadth of England and Wales – is SOCIALISM.
These Corbynistas yell for nationalisation of power, transport services and anything else that the crapitalists have got their hands on. Hell, BHS should have been nationalised. Socialism may have failed in the past but that was only because it wasn’t implemented right, doh! Sir Philip Green is the personification of failed and cruel Capitalism and it’s time to move onto Socialism incorporating AI! (Lack of AI is the Corbynistas’ favourite excuse for why Socialism has always failed in the past)
Lazy minds enjoy a short-cut.
All the evidence out there – if these Leftists bothered looking at it – points to the fact that human beings operating in a free market are more likely (than in a closed market, as is Socialism) to operate at their moral best. Furthermore, all observation confirms that under the free market the poor and vulnerable in society fare far better than when the way is blocked, as it is under socialism.
The Free Market is no respecter of persons – it disregards the wealthy as much as it does not distinguish the poor. It is the great leveller whose byword is openness. The Free Market does not demand any kind of preliminary clearance – just fair play based on willing exchange and impersonal justice. The Free Market by its nature excludes theft, protectionism, subsidies, coercion and, above all, favours from those who wield power. In short, the freer the market is, the freer its participants are to act morally. Consumers in the true free market will buy intelligently – if they think they’re buying from a crapitalist, they will buy from someone else.
The point the Left always misses is that human nature is defective and its imperfections will be reflected in a socialist state just as they are across a free market. They fail to understand that when human nature is defective in government, that imperfection is magnified massively across the realm of state and is likely to affect far more people than the actions of one shop keeper or factory owner in a free market, where more alternatives exist.
Free markets open the way for people to act morally but that does not mean they always will, nor should we assume that – when armed with power – human behaviour will suddenly become more moral, as the Leftists argue. They have not done their homework. Do they not see how socialism – intervention, Big government – merely creates apparatchiks who pass the buck to yet more apparatchiks and so on?
Fidel Castro’s estimated net worth is well north of one billion dollars. Maria Gabriela Chávez – the daughter of that other great socialist, Jeremy Corbyn’s late ally Hugo Chavez of Venezuela – has a net worth of over four billion dollars.
Ah, that’s OK, clamour the socialists. It’s OK to earn wealth if you work for it.
Maria Gabriela Chávez worked for it? The Castro brothers accumulated what? Salary?
As for the champagne socialists, well they have always existed too. Engels was affluent, Kropotkin was a prince, Rage Against the Machine are wealthy, the Corbynistas’ Saint Chomsky is a multi-millionaire. Even the prosecco socialists of Islington tend to grate with their hypocrisy.
One wonders who should be respected more? The Socialist millionaires who tweak the state machine corruptly or the Crapitalists who do not seem to have broken any laws at all?
If the honours system wants to be truly rewarding, then neither would ever be getting anywhere near knighthoods in the first place.