Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dithering Mandy Drives Car Workers Nuts

Wheeler-dealing dithering over the future of Vauxhall has left anxious workers facing the bread-line as Mandelson's grandstanding petty politics makes a mockery of protecting jobs while UK manufacturing is left to go to the wall. 

Mandelson and Brown are caught in a mess of their own making as workers and trade union leaders at the threatened car plants round on the government while the odd couple posed for pictures for the Downing Street album (above)

Waving his Chamberlain scrap of "peace for time" paper, show-business secretary Mandelson was "optimistic that Vauxhall can be saved", in a deal to rescue GM's European businesses. But here's the rub: "Of course it will involve change, there is excess capacity." Translating NewLabour double speak that means your job is on the line, mate. 

UK plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton have already been cut back to the bone. There's no slack left. Even a fool can see that one of the plants will have to go as new owners take a pan-European take on the future and follow the money trail of Berlin backed loans. 

While Mandy fannied around, Germany got in quick sewing up the deal to protect its workers and the crucial manufacturing which is at the heart of the German economy.

But try that here? No fear. What is it with a so-called 'Labour' government which props up big business and puts people at the bottom of the heap? 

A so-called 'Labour' government which cannot bear to bring itself to use the dreaded N-word even for a short-term fix.

At the heart is Mandelson, scheming and spinning around with his eye on the fat chance of votes and elections. More happy to swan around with airy fairy notions of trade while others EU countries run rings around him. 

Happy to swan around sticking the words skills and enterprise in front of everything as a smokescreen for jobs cuts.

Content to sell-off Royal Mail when the 'Network Mail' solution is staring him in the face with a not for profit state-owned company until the good times roll again. 

Content to let the once proud car industry go to the wall and with it thousands of jobs which hides the pain and suffering beneath. Jobs mean people struggling to make ends meet, feeding mouths and feeding mortgages, while Mandy lords it up in political La-La Land.

Germany has agreed a deal with Canadian car parts maker Magna to take over most of GM Europe, which owns Vauxhall and Germany-based Opel backed by a Russian bank and Russian truck-maker GAZ.

With about half of GM Europe's 50,000 workers employed in Germany that makes sense but what about the 5,500 jobs here in the UK and the thousands in the supply chains?

For the government Vauxhall could not have come at a worse time and one would have thought they'd pull out all the stops. After all, Euro elections are around the corner and everyone's thoroughly pissed off with EU states who say one thing and then merrily look after their own lot behind this country's back. And those green shoots of recovery won't look to good when word gets round that Luton has to close down. 

But even Mandy's dalliance with Russian billionaire Ivor Loadasmoneyski cut no ice as Magna's Russian backers found it easier to do business with the German government rather than a piddling little plotting politician in a weak-kneed excuse for a government. 

UK car manufacturing is in the doldrums. Who can afford to buy a new car or be forced to take out another crippling loan in the middle of economic recession depression? But saving one UK car industry with a few billion quid is a drop in the ocean to the obscene amount of cash pumped in to prop up the banks and New Labour's greedy pals in the city.

What's a few billion when tens of billions are being squandered on a useless NHS computer and a bloody, wasteful war in Afghanistan. 

Spend a few bob, buy up the plants and protect the jobs. Stick a Union Flag badge on the front, sell them cheap and screw the competition. Mothball and short-time working sure but keep the plants ticking over and use this as an opportunity to begin the much-needed training and apprenticeship schemes for when eventually the country is back on its feet. 

Subsidising car manufacturing and the workers is cheaper and more dignified than forcing poor down trodden souls to look for none existent jobs and handed a dole cheque at the end of the week while manufacturing plants are left to rot. That's what the rest of the world is doing anyway albeit covertly.

The country is left with another missed opportunity for beleaguered Brown and his spinning business secretary and the workers at Luton and Ellesmere Port are left with a very uncertain future. 

Picture: Brown and Mandelson make the most of their Downing Street photo opportunity while they can

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