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Editorial: Neither London nor Brussels, but World Socialism

NO WEALTH is produced in The City. It is a place where the proceeds of working-class exploitation transformed into rights to a property income are the subject of trading, speculation and gambling. Around this has grown up a whole range of “financial services” – wheelers and dealers of one kind or another – vying for a share. In short, it is entirely parasitic on those parts of the world economy where wealth is actually produced by those working there.

So – apart from the fact that the Conservative Party has always been committed to defending the interests of The City, going back to the time when it was the place through which the loot plundered from the British Empire was channelled – why did Cameron make such a fuss about defending The City “from Europe” and expect people to think that this was a good thing? After all, is not The City the habitat of the same bankers that the media has been vilifying since 2008? It is, but they’ve got him over a barrel just as they had the previous Labour Government.

According to the Times (12 December), the financial services sector (not just The City) makes up ten percent of UK GDP and contributed £53 billion as taxes for the upkeep of the government. In addition, The City achieved a “trade surplus” of £36.4 billion, a measure of how much surplus value produced in the rest of the world it sucks in. Clearly, The City is an important part of the British capitalist economy which no government can ignore. But The City is not the only section of the capitalist class.

There are also the businesses producing for export. It was precisely to further their interests by gaining them free access to a wider European market that Britain joined the “Common Market” in the first place. They still benefit from the single market with its common standards and regulations and do not want Britain to withdraw from the European Union. To placate them, Cameron has had to make it clear that the government has no intention of doing so.

He did win the plaudits of his backwoodsmen, the Eurosceptics, but they represent small businesses producing for the home market (and financed by some bigger businesses in the same position). They want a referendum on withdrawal, which they expect to win. It is precisely because they could well do so that no government is going to hold one. They are not there to govern on behalf of small businesses but of Big Business.

This is a dispute between different sections of the same capitalist class which should be left to them to settle for themselves. No working class interest is involved. We don’t care whether or not there is a referendum on the matter and, if there is, wouldn’t take part in it except to write “World Socialism” across the ballot paper. As socialists we refuse to pander to petty nationalism but work to promote a world without frontiers where the Earth’s resources have become the common heritage of all.