The Corporate Cooperative Monopoly

The Co-operative gives the appearance that it’s an ethical, local, friendly sort of business. Not even a corporate, because its owned by its members! So when we get fed up with the corporates, we can all flock to the Co-op instead, a brand we can really trust.

Corporate…

The Co-operative Group Ltd is a corporate. It has shareholders. Well actually, one shareholder. That should make it easy to control! One shareholder owns all the shares! The shareholder is The Co-operative Group, which is officially a Co-operative owned by its members.

Objective…
From their website… “The core objective of The Co-operative Group is to optimise profits from businesses where their co-operative values give them a positive marketing advantage, allowing them to serve their members and to deliver their social goals as a successful co-operative, while making a reasonable financial return to their member-owners, both corporate and individual.” You can see from this that corporates own the Co-op, and that the co-operative values are merely marketing tools to suck in customers. They also have social goals, which means they have been set up as a form of social control.

Fat Cats…
The Co-op has Fat Cats, same as all the others. For example, the CEO of The Co-operative Banking Group Ltd has a basic salary of £900,000 plus a bonus of £449,000. I have no idea why he is deemed to work more than 100 times harder than the hard working shop assistants in the Co-op shops.

Members…
6 million people, 10% of the population, are members of the Co-op. You get back a very small share of the profits, based on what you spend, a bit like a loyalty card. Another way of doing this would be to marginally lower their prices, but then they wouldn’t be able to suck you into their friendly club in the same way. As a member, you can vote for another member to sit on committees, if you can be bothered. I don’t think the elected members have much say in anything big, just deciding where a few hundred pounds of community funds can go, that sort of thing.

Directors…
Even if the elected members really did have a say, there’s another unelected force at work in the form of “independent” directors, who are appointed as required.

Investors…
The Co-op is supposedly owned by its members, but it issues debt securities so that “large investors can effectively lend to the Group”. These are apparently listed on the Stock Exchange, but I cannot track them down or find out who they are. This is well hidden information, and I have to ask why is it being well hidden? Who are the large investors? Surely these are the big controllers?

Democracy…
The Co-operative have a democracy too. “The Group Board is the highest level in our democracy”. That’s as high as it gets for the elected members. There are independent directors, investors and CEOs, to name but a few, who are in more powerful positions than the Group Board. But it makes us feel we own it, and run it, and have a say, doesn’t it? Sounds a bit like our national democracy.

Capital assets…
The Co-operative owns a lot of assets, such as a huge multi million pound Banking HQ in Manchester. The customer members have no share in the assets, so the members don’t really own it do they?

What is a Co-operative?…
Surprise, surprise, that’s officially controlled by the government. Co-operatives were redefined by Tony Blair’s Co-operative Commission in 2001. They use the word “family” to make it sound nice. The document is called “the co-operative advantage: Creating a successful family of Co-operative businesses”. That’s our corporate government planning it’s cooperative business department. The government decides how it is organised and run. Social goals are very important. As are acquisitions, and political activity. The plan seems to be to create one huge national Co-op. And that’s the way it’s heading.

Business interests…
Like all the other supermarkets, The Co-op has it’s nose in Banking, Investments, Estates, The Law, Funerals, Pharmacies, Telecomms, Insurance, Travel, Cars, Electrical Goods, Clothing, LifeCare (?), as well as the better known food shops. It dominates the market in small food stores, and is the 5th biggest food retailer in the UK.

Banking…
The Co-operative Bank was one of the banks people were persuaded to “move your money” to in the 2011 Banking crisis. Now the Co-op Bank is buying up Lloyds TSB at a discount rate. This is effectively subsidised by the taxpayers who bailed out Lloyds TSB. This acquisition will give The Co-op a High Street presence. They also own Brittania Building Society, and Smile. They are a very big player in the banking game, and that alone should sound alarm bells.

Gambling…
Despite their declared ethical approach, the Co-op food shops now have Camelot lottery gambling stations dominating their checkouts. The lottery is a tax, by another name, a tax on the poor to feed the rich.

Farming…
They claim to support British Farmers on their packaging. They OWN British Famers! They are Britain’s largest farming operation, and are clearly set up to be the winners of the Farming Monopoly. They will be driving the small farmers out, and increasingly controlling all Britain’s farming operations, prices, chemicals, quality, and supply.

Monopoly…
They seem to be a monopoly of Cooperatives. If a real genuine co-operative outfit starts up, then before long they are swept up into the Monopoly and centrally controlled. Quote from their website… “The Co-operative Group board completed its merger with United Co-operatives on 29 July 2007. The enlarged Society is the largest consumer co-operative in the world with an annual turnover of more than £9 billion, over 4,500 stores and branches, 87,000 employees and 4.5 million members”. It seems that each country has its own Co-op equivalent.

Politics…
There is a Co-operative Party, which is a “sister party” (whatever that is!) to the Labour party. They have 31 Labour and Co-op MPs in the House of Commons, 15 in the House of Lords, and 5 in the Scottish Parliament, 9 in Wales, and 7 in London. Numbers seem to be increasing. This is not well publicised at all. Most people are unaware of the political aspect of the Cooperative, and of the Co-operative aspect of the Labour party. The Co-op donates to the Labour Party and funds the joint MPs. That’s presumably money taken off BEFORE they add up the profit and give members a “reasonable” share.

Social Goals…
What are the “social goals” of the Co-op? This is the clue to what they are really set up to do. The money and the monopoly and the politics are just takeover tools. First they are investing in (controlling) communities, probably driving out the local traders. Second, they are keen on Environmental issues (climate change excuses to control people). Thirdly, like the philanthropist Bill Gates, they have a goal of Global poverty (creating it, or controlling it?). And finally they want to get young people involved (who with?, probably not their family).

All these things are what people are crying out for, these are really good issues. But we don’t need a corporate to sweep in and appear to do it all for us, whilst they secretly work towards another agenda behind the scenes. That’s the test for us, can we take back our own power? Or do we want to carry on being organised by some big friendly monster corporate power?

What I have written about here, is a fraction of what is going on at the Co-operative. It’s yet another corporate part of the Monopoly, to be avoided whenever possible. We are co-operating with the Monopoly (and therefore our own demise), if we support the Co-op in any way. They have ways of making us co-operate, and this is another one.

I bank with the Co-op and I shop at the Co-op too because it’s the only grocery store left in our village! (That’s the investing in communities bit working well). So there is a challenge for me! I have already binned my Co-op points card, and feel a lot better for it. I have cut down my shopping there, and we now eat much better food.

(See also earlier post: Who Is TED?)

Refs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-operative_Commissionhttp://www.co-operativebankinggroup.co.uk
http://www.party.coop/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2175921/Forget-hanging-Canary-Wharf-mob-new-banking-crisis-Co-op-coup.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Co-operative_Group

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3 Responses to The Corporate Cooperative Monopoly

  1. dognamedblue says:

    here’s a photo of the co-op banking hq in stockport:
    http://dognamedblue-dnb.blogspot.com/2011/12/co-op-wins-bids-for-lloyds.html

    really should explain what it is all about, even for those that haven’t quite go it yet 🙂
    [sorry for the poor quality, taken by phone]

  2. suliwebster says:

    It’s very Illuminati looking. Thanks, dognamedblue.

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