Sunday, 24 January 2010

Don't cry over Cadbury; there are far greater institutions under threat

The sale of Cadbury last week to US 'plastic cheese-making' conglomerate Kraft has resonated an astounding level of emotion (and news coverage) amongst the proud chocolate-loving peoples of Great Britain. And rightly so. Cadbury is a national treasure, a shining and very British beacon for responsible, philanthropic entrepreneurial capitalism.

In a way I suppose we hoped it might never happen. We wanted to believe that this proud company, founded by those good Quaker types in 1824 would limp on through the recession and recover its strength on the other side. It's been through worse, right? One hundred and eighty-four more years!

Sadly, it was not to be. Comparable perhaps to the grief of a family who have just lost one of their own to a new life in the colonies, we have had to accept that Cadbury is now essentially an American company. Goodbye, old bean. You are now to Kraft what Rowntree Mackintosh is to Swiss giant Nestlé.

But hang on a minute... We still have Kit Kats don't we? You can still buy tins of Quality Streets with the famous Mackintosh toffee penny, right? What are we so hung up about?

Well, I can't put it as well as Boris Johnson, but there are two primary concerns I believe may explain why Kraft's bid has been so unpopular, not least with Cadbury itself. One is that Kraft was seen as being unlikely to respect the ethos of the company and would meddle in its working practices, perhaps laying off workers in the process.

Another is that the much-loved Cadbury recipe would be tampered with, perhaps into the fatty, sugary mulch that so excites the over stimulated American taste-bud; turning it into a cheaper, lower quality product.

What do those Yanks care about our chocolate anyway? They're only concerned with balance-sheets right? I too have had such a worry. After all, I was only three years old when Nestlé bought Rowntree Mackintosh, but I swear Yorkies didn't taste so much of sugar and lard when I was a nipper.

There is another dimension to this matter however, a concern I happened to catch broadcast on BBC News following confirmation of the sale. This concern quite rightly revolves around the concerns of Cadbury's staff, who - with the changeover - are fearing for their jobs and the working practices they have become accustomed to.

But we've covered this already. The angle the BBC put on the matter was that, with so many British firms now in foreign hands, the country is losing control of its economic levers. Their claim is that British workers would be vulnerable to Kraft laying off foreign rather than domestic workers - that, in a way we would be relinquishing our ability to control our employment statistics and even the welfare of our own people.

Oh dear. This smells suspiciously like 'British jobs for British workers' again. The foul stench of that national socialism the BNP have made so much their own of late. That populist drivel the Prime Minister was so keen to associate himself with in 2007, then drop like a lead balloon following the fascists' endorsement.

But this is beside the point. What really stings me is the gross hypocrisy of this position. Why is it that the BBC are so happy to present the sale of Cadbury to an American company in terms of a loss of control over the economy to foreigners - an issue of sovereignty if ever there was one - yet fail to report how busily engaged we are relinquishing far more important economic, financial, even democratic controls to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels? To report one at the expense of the other is simply madness.

Madness perhaps, or ulterior motive. Is the BBC's position really about sovereignty? Is it really about job losses when the EU is threatening our ability to control inflation and interest rates? Depriving us of the right to self-regulate the lynchpin of our international economy?

Or is that they do not report our loss of sovereignty to Brussels because, like Labour, they have resigned themselves to discarding democracy in order to stealthily impose their shared agenda onto the British people?

As Roy Hattersley explained in 1992; 'Labour has converted to Europe because Europe has converted to socialism'. Perhaps what he meant was that Labour has sold its soul because Europe has converted to socialism.

How has this country got to such a point? Only last week the press also saw it fit to publicise the views of a surgeon so lacking in respect and understanding of the basic foundations of liberal democracy that, with an entirely straight face, he called for the banning of butter.

What madness is this? What fever hangs over the minds of our broadcasters? I was initially rendered speechless, yet even now find it difficult in mustering the words to counter such an insane argument. The totalitarians among us must be absolutely elated.

It's a sad irony indeed that the liberalism of the 1960s which so raged against the 'ban this filth' Mary Whitehouses of this world should have bred such a socially intolerant and reactionary political class today. The unholy alliance of the far left and extremist muslims is an acute example of this.

What has happened to liberty? To democracy? To 'trust the people'? Are these just fusty old eighteenth century ideas? I tell you, if the Conservatives cannot in government invigorate our democracy, reclaim it from Brussels and reverse this totalitarian nanny culture at home then I am afraid to say they have very little use to us at all.

"Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad."

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