24/01/2011 - Who owns – and runs - Britain?

WHAT’S the connection between an article in the forthcoming issue of British Worker and two top Tories?  Well, if you read on you’ll find out!
The article in issue 4 of the Solidarity Trade Union publication British Worker will ask – in part - for background information on Britain’s banks, industry and land.  This information is required so that we can try to build up an overall picture of who owns what and who owns who.

In time, we intend to produce a wholes series of articles looking at the banks, big business, politicians and the media.  Essentially, we’ll be looking at who owns – and runs - Britain.

Of great interest to Solidarity are the financial and business interests of MEPs, MPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Assembly Members (of the National Assembly for Wales) and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the Northern Ireland Assembly.  In particular, we’ll be looking out for those elected representatives who may have business interests which appear to conflict with the interests of the peoples and nations of Britain.

So far so good.  But what has all this got to do with two top Tories? 

Well, the Tories in question are Lord Young (David Cameron’s former enterprise adviser) and Conservative peer Howard Flight.  And if you cast your minds back towards the end of last year, you may recall that they made the news for all the wrong reasons! (1)

Briefly, Lord Young, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph queried the “so-called recession” and claimed that most people have "never had it so good."  He also dismissed the 100,000 job cuts expected each year in the public sector as being “within the margin of error” in the context of a 30 million-strong workforce and said that complaints about spending cuts came from “people who think they have a right for the state to support them”. (2)

Not to be outdone, new Conservative peer Howard Flight attacked Government welfare cuts which he suggested would encourage the poor to ‘breed’ and have more children. (3)

As we wish to look at the financial and business interests of establishment figures – and as these two individuals are still reasonably fresh in our minds - we thought we’d start with them!

David Ivor Young, Baron Young of Graffham was born on 27 February 1932, the elder son of a businessman who imported flour (and later set up as a manufacturer of coats for children). (4)  He practiced as a solicitor for a year and then joined the Great Universal Stores Ltd, as an executive, working for part of that time as an assistant to the Chairman, Sir Isaac Wolfson. (5)

In 1961 he left GUS and set up his first business, Eldonwall Ltd with funding from the Gestetner Family Settlements. During the sixties he built up a group of companies in industrial property, construction and plant hire, selling out in June 1970 to Town & City Properties PLC and joined the board. After the property crash of 1973/4 he assisted Jeffery Sterling (later Lord Sterling) to reverse his company into T&CP to form a group that later became P&O. 

In 1975 he left the board and entered into a joint venture with Manufacturers Hanover, and became Chairman of Manufacturers Hanover Property Services. (6)  He also had a number of other commercial interests. He sold out all his commercial interests in 1980 upon entering the Department of Industry.
Howard Emerson Flight was born on 16 June 1948 into a “comfortably” middle-class family - his father being the “head of the Westminster Bank's Trustee department for East Anglia”. (7)
Flight attended Magdalene College, Cambridge (8) and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. (9)  From 1970 to 1998 he worked as an investment adviser and director in various banks.  These included N M Rothschild (10) and Guinness Flight. (11)  At one point he was a director of nineteen companies. 

This then is just a very brief look at the financial and business interests of Lord Young and Howard Flight.  However, we realise that we’ve really only just began to ‘scratch the surface’ here.  Over time we intend to take a much longer and deeper look at them.  Indeed, it’ll be interesting to see if any of the (above named) companies own other companies and how they might link to each other. 

In the meantime, we’d like to ask our members and supporters if they could help Solidarity produce our planned series of articles which’ll look at the relationship between the banks, big business, politicians and the media.  Any background information – and offers of help - would be very much appreciated.

If you have any information whatsoever, send it to [email protected]  Please don’t forget to include source material.