Cameron takes a begging bowl to India

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PRIME Minister David Cameron and the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government have decamped from London to New Delhi this week to drum up business, such is the crisis of decrepit British imperialism.

The Tory leader is heading the largest trade delegation ever. It includes six ministers, among them Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

There are also more than 30 senior executives from multinational corporations based in Britain, including BAe Systems, Vodafone, Barclays Bank, the Aviva insurance group, 3i private equity group and construction giant Balfour Beatty.

BAe and Rolls Royce are reported to have bagged a £700m deal for 57 Hawk training jets and the British government has said that firms will be able to export nuclear technology to India for the first time.

In unashamed pleading for British big business, Cameron said: ‘I know that Britain cannot rely on sentiment and shared history for a place in India’s future. Your country has the whole world beating a path to its door. But I believe Britain should be India’s partner of choice in the years ahead.’

The Prime Minister demonstrated that his ‘big society’ project of reliance on charity has an international dimension, passing round the begging bowl in India for bankrupt British capitalism.

India is one of the so-called BRIC countries, alongside Brazil, Russia and China, whose economies have grown at unprecedented rates over the past decade. Britain’s combined trade with the BRIC states is minuscule, less than its trade with Ireland!

In addition, Indian corporations, like Tata, own important parts of manufacturing industries in Britain, from steel production to trucks and cars. It is estimated that 90,000 workers in Britain work for Indian-owned companies.

On the day that Cameron was doing his bit for bankrupt British capitalism in Bangalore, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the former Chief of General Staff (2006-09), was speaking of the huge crisis that faced British armed forces when they were forced to fight two wars at once, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dannatt told the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war that the British Army had ‘no desire’ to go to war in Iraq in 2003. However, the UK had a ‘war fighting army as well as a peace keeping army’ and was obliged to fight in support of the US when ordered to do so by Labour premier Tony Blair.

Dannatt said British troops were already ‘very heavily committed elsewhere’ at the time of the invasion. He added: ‘You can run hot when you are in balance . . . When the oil is thin, or not in sufficient quantity, the engine runs the risk of seizing up.

‘I think we were getting quite close to a seizing up moment in 2006 . . . We could see that perfect storm coming to fruition in about the middle of 2006 and I would contend that it did.’

What Cameron and Dannatt reveal is that the Rampant Lion of the British Empire is a mangy and toothless creature today. The beast will not crawl away to die, but is lashing out in all directions and must be dealt with by the working class.

Cameron showed in Bangalore that, like all Tories, he dreams of the days of the British Raj, when India was ruled from London and workers in Britain were kept in their place, living in slums and poverty before the days of the Welfare State.

The problem for the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government is that it cannot turn the clock back and British workers have no intention of returning to that nightmare.

Millions of workers and middle class people in Britain are rising up. The TUC must be forced to call a general strike in this situation. If they refuse they must be replaced by leaders who are not afraid to take on this reactionary regime and bring it down.

Such a revolutionary struggle will lead to a workers government and the smashing of British imperialism, and the establishment of socialism.

Millions of workers and labouring people, from India to South Africa, who see their old imperialist enemy crushed, will also rise up to struggle for workers power.

It opens the door to a giant step forward to complete the World Socialist Revolution.