Of Pots and Kettles

The last part of the editorial on page two of The Times (2nd July 2011) was titled “Unfree to Choose”, and carried a sub-title which read: “China’s record shows that capitalism without democracy lends itself to corruption.”

Like most newspapers, The Times seems pretty indifferent about its function as a propaganda tool. Presumably it feels its ancient support of plutocracy is obviously too noble to question – let alone justify. Presumably, like most newspapers, it assumes its readers are either too well-conditioned to wonder about the possibility of being deceived; or perhaps it thinks they’re just too ignorant to notice.

Consider the editorial’s sub-title once again: “China’s record shows that capitalism without democracy lends itself to corruption.”

The patronising tone of that sentence suggests several things, most of which are untrue. Firstly, it suggests that Britain is some sort of icon of perfection in the subjects of capitalism and democracy, which, of course, it is not. Then it suggests that Britain is not itself corrupt, which, of course, it is. And, of course, the fact that the planet’s leading exponent of capitalism and so-called democracy, the United States, is also the single most corrupt nation on Earth is not indicated anywhere at all in the article.

On page 41 of the same edition of The Times appears an article about the ongoing economic rape of Africa. A short piece tells the story of one Philippe Heilberg. We learn that Mr Heilberg was “a former commodity broker”, so presumably knows a thing or two about the many wonders of capitalism. A little photograph of Mr Heilberg wearing a silly red hat appears at the bottom of the page. Behind him stand two sinister-looking military types, one of whom is armed, and who, we’re told are “fighters” of one General Matip. The article tells us how Mr Heilberg, together with General Matip’s son Paulino, “signed a deal to lease 1 million acres of oil-rich land in Sudan in 2009. A follow-up deal reportedly doubled his holdings.” Mr Heilberg heads something called Jarch Management which is based in New York (the high alter of capitalism and democracy), and has on its board “former US ambassadors and spies. Its Advisory Board is a who’s who of Sudan’s warlords.” A refreshingly honest quote by Mr Heilberg appears about halfway through the article: “This is Africa,” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “The whole place is like one big mafia. I’m like a mafia head.”

It’s very convenient that The Times provides such a blatant example of its hypocritical propaganda in the same edition: it saves people like me the trouble of pointing out the many, many further examples of the links between the planet’s leading exponents of so-called capitalism and democracy, and the ancient custom of corruption. Africa hasn’t been free of the vice-like grip of the west’s so-called democracies for hundreds of years, and many of the puppet leaders installed by those western so-called democracies, monsters such as Mobutu, Abacha and Mugabe have plundered billions of dollars worth of their own impoverished people’s assets for many decades; and Africa is far from being the only example of the virtues of western-imposed so-called democracy and capitalism. From Indonesia to Brazil, via India and the Phillipines, the catalogue of corruption, aided and abetted by the west’s so-called democracies, is long and impressive.

Much of this corruption is facilitated within walking distance of The Times’ head office. “The City”, as it calls itself, is home to possibly the largest collection on the planet of people such as Mr Heilberg, specialists in the murky world of commodity trading, and other gentle arts such as off-shore finance, a euphemism if ever there was one, for the gangsterism to which Mr Heilberg openly confesses.

Given that Britain styles itself as a leading exponent of democracy, whilst nurturing and protecting some of the planet’s richest gangsters, I don’t think there’s much room for The Times to be preaching to China about its record on corruption.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.