BP’s profits are soaring, it is getting fabulously richer while more and more working class motorists are forced to take their cars off the road, because they cannot afford to pay for both petrol and for food for their families.
BP has just announced a 6% rise in profits for the second quarter of 2008, largely thanks to the continuing rise in the price of oil.
Profit after tax was $6.85bn (£3.4bn) between April and June, compared with $6.5bn a year ago. During the quarter, the price of a barrel of oil rose by about 35%.
In the first half of the year, BP said it had made $13.4bn, a rise of 23% on the first half of 2007.
However it is only one of the oil and gas companies that are making fabulous profits while soaring petrol and food prices are pauperising and starving millions.
Last Monday, the parliamentary Business and Enterprise Select Committee announced that rises in gas and electricity bills in the near future will have serious consequences for millions.
It also added that thousands of jobs in manufacturing would go if UK prices stayed higher than those faced by industry in the rest of Europe.
The Committee made its report just a few days after EDF Energy became the first big supplier to announce widely-predicted summer price rises pushing electricity and gas prices up by 22% and 17% respectively.
The committee pointed out that the energy companies had already announced double digit rises this year.
UNITE trade union deputy general secretary Tony Woodley yesterday called for government intervention to impose a windfall tax on BP and other oil giants.
He described their profits as ‘obscene when people can’t even fuel their homes or fill their tanks in their cars’.
He warned if Gordon Brown ‘doesn’t do something about the problem he won’t be a prime minister for long’.
But, Woodley added, ‘it’s no use replacing him with somebody that’s got exactly the same problems, either.
‘What we want is policy change, intervention, support for ordinary working men and women who are really, really struggling as opposed to shareholders who are ripping this country off right now.’
Woodley has just taken part in the Warwick Labour Party policy review conference which saw the Brown government reject almost all of the trade unions’ 130 demands for moderate changes that could marginally benefit workers.
His reply to this is to say that there is no point in the trade unions using their power to remove Brown since somebody like him would take his place.
This would only happen if the trade unions allowed a Brown look-alike to form a government.
The trade unions built the Labour Party. They still finance it. They must use their power to purge it of the bourgeois rabble that has taken it over, and insist that socialist policies to resolve the capitalist crisis are adopted.
In fact Woodley is opposed to socialist policies and he is opposed to workers exercising a dictatorship over the party they built, the Labour Party.
He calls only for the most minor of policy changes.
A one-off windfall tax on the oil companies will not resolve the crisis of capitalism.
What will begin this resolving of the capitalist crisis is the nationalisation of the oil and gas companies. This would immediately lead to a slashing of oil, gas and food prices.
Woodley does not demand this because he is a prop of capitalism. He has spent his career as a TGWU and now UNITE leader propping capitalism up at the expense of the workers.
For the same reason Woodley will not call for Brown to be put out of the premiership, and for a workers government that will carry out socialist measures.
Happily the trade union prop of capitalism has now begun to crumble. Once it is removed and replaced by a revolutionary leadership the capitalist system will fall.