Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Venezuela oil deal to go through

There are so many contradictions arising from the oil supply deal agreed between Livingstone and his communist presidential ally in Caracas, Hugo Chavez, that I barely know where to begin. The main one of course is that at a time when Livingstone is trying to assert his environmental credentials, he is buying a type of fuel that we are told contributes to carbon emissions and therefore climate change. This exposes Livingstone as a mockery of an environmental leader and the measures he takes in the name of ecological protection as nothing more than cynical tax grabs.

The oil deal is good for London, a wealthy city. It is apparently designed to provide cheaper public transport for those people on benefits. But because of the deal the people of Venezuela will not get market rate for their oil being supplied to our capital. Yet again we see more contradiction in the Livingstone rhetoric as his desire for political grandstanding and bestowing mutual unqualified support for an ideological comrade comes before the good of ordinary people who are not part of the political class. Any claims that Livingstone makes in the future about being committed to reducing poverty or to fair trade will be a sham.

Livingstone also claims he loves democracy and hails the right of trade unions to protest against unfairness. Yet the deal he will sign is with the state oil producer of Venezuela, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which is nothing like democratic and is controlled by Chavez via his energy minister, Rafael Ramirez. In fact so democratic are the energy minister and his boss - Livingstone's friend - that last November Ramirez told PDVSA employees to back Chavez in December's election or leave their jobs. Far from censoring his minister, Chavez said that Ramirez should make the same speech 100 times a day and people who did not support him should emigrate to Miami.

In 2002 the Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV) union, in conjunction with PDVSA managers and employees, staged a lock out at oil facilities to try to force an early election in protest at Chavez's dictatorial rule. 19,000 workers were sacked and replaced with Chavez supporters and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was moved to call for an independent investigation into allegations of detention and torture of PDVSA employees who opposed Chavez.

These are the kind of people that Livingstone wants to link to London. These are the people he calls friends. Livingstone speaks of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of Londoners' money on commemorations about slavery, then ignores the behaviour of his own chums in Venezuela who are effectively enslaving and infringing the human rights of anyone who oppose them in the democratic process - which they are also seeking to subvert in order to cling to power.

Would we have seen Livingstone sign a similar deal if everything described above had happened and the oil producer in question was Chile and the leader was Augusto Pinochet? Somehow I suspect we would have heard Livingstone berating the Chilean leader and ranting about rights and freedom. So where is the moral outrage concerning the actions of Chavez? Of course Venezuela cannot be criticised because the violence there is carried out by the revolutionaries. Livingstone is moral relativism personified.

It is this kind of rancid hypocrisy that defines the nature of Ken Livingstone. He treats the pockets of Londoners as his own personal piggy bank and provides succour to odious regimes who are guilty of some of the worst abuses of democracy the world sees today. His ego leads him to generate his own foreign policy which taints London with the stench of vicious regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Everything he does is with the consolidation of his own power in mind. He reserves his moral indignation for those people who oppose him rather than those who blight the lives of ordinary people for the sake of a bankrupt ideology.

London deserves better. Much much better.


Serf said...

When we add the fact that a small cost saving in (for example) self advertising would match the benefits from cheap oil, the reality is even clearer.

Not only is Ken stealing from the Venezuelan poor, he is doing so, in order to be able to waste more money.

Croydonian said...

Bravo Tony.

jailhouselawyer said...

I think that Ken is ok, and so does Bob Piper. Certainly a better choice than Jeffery Archer. What ever happened to him?

God, think about cokehead Dave if he got into power and pressed the nuke button?

Meanwhile, back in the jungle...

Steven_L said...

This is good socialist economics.

At one end they sell the oil at under market rates in order to set up a load of tax-payer funded jollies about 'urban development', at the other end they pass the savings on to the economically inactive.

kerrier said...

So what we have here is a third world country selling cut price oil to the richest city in Western Europe, presumably to keep taxes to local fat cats down. I expect a seat on the board of Exxon Mobil is in the offing for our Ken once he retires. Funny that the anti-globalisation protesters are absent though I expect they're all equally hypocrital.

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