The numbers behind Thomas Cook’s collapse lift the lid on capitalism and Tory greed

Thomas Cook plane
Fréa Lockley

Travel giant Thomas Cook has collapsed leaving 150,000 UK tourists stranded around the world. Yet the maths behind this offers a searing indictment of Conservative driven greed and capitalism.

Numberwang

To survive, Thomas Cook needed about £200m. It asked the UK government for a bailout of £150m. The government refused. Boris Johnson said of the bailout sum:

Clearly that’s a lot of taxpayers money and sets up a moral hazard in the case of future such commercial difficulties that companies face.

Meanwhile, foreign secretary Dominic Raab insisted the government wouldn’t “systemically step in” without this being in the national interest.

Yet neither acknowledged that bringing 150,000 tourists home triggers the UK’s “largest ever peacetime repatriation – codenamed Operation Matterhorn”. This will cost an estimated £600m.

So it didn’t take long for people to point out the flawed logic of these numbers:

And the collapse also puts around 21,000 jobs at risk worldwide. In the UK alone this totals an estimated 9,000. Johnson’s “moral hazard” completely ignored the very real human cost of this collapse:

And the collapse also means huge numbers of small businesses in Thomas Cook holiday destinations may not receive money owed:

But, as the company went into decline, its bosses still took millions in bonuses.

Fat cat bosses

Despite a string of profit warnings and fears of collapse, Thomas Cook bosses racked up between £20m and £30m in the past five years:

When asked if bosses should pay back these bonuses, shadow chancellor John McDonnell replied “Too right”. As the Mirror reported, McDonnell also said:

a Labour government would have stepped in and he was “disappointed” that ministers had chosen not to act.

And, as others pointed out, it was a Conservative government that privatised the once-publicly-owned Thomas Cook:

Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey also criticised the government:

Thanks to the government’s failure to act, staff employed by Thomas Cook may face redundancy while holiday makers risk being left stranded overseas.

The government must stop its recklessness and step in to avert this crisis by taking an equity stake.

Meanwhile, some pointed out that this highlights the Conservatives’ true priorities:

Capitalist greed

The BBC claimed the weather and “political unrest” were partly to blame, stating:

The firm’s fate was sealed by a number of factors: financial, social and even meteorological.

As one Twitter user pointed out, this completely ignores the bigger issues:

Thomas Cook’s collapse highlights the wider global issues of capitalist greed. From job losses to unpaid bills and the loss of countless holidays, ordinary people will be the ones who pay the price. It’s time to dismantle that system.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Anna Zvereva

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  • Show Comments
    1. No one mentions Brexit?

      The UK customers are paying in sterling while the providers are paid in local currency. If the pound goes down, this means that for the company, the income is reduced and expenditures increased.

      Plus, in time of economic uncertainty (and god knows what will happen at the end of October), the first thing households cut are holiday abroad…

      Surely this must have an impact too.

    2. It is common knowledge that Trump left a trail of broken and bankrupted companies on his road to wonderfulness. He is a shining example of greed and me, me, me. Now wonder he and Johnson belong to a mutual admiration pair of tw*ts.

    3. Sympathy to the loyal staff of TC and of course the unsuspecting customers of this once thriving business, privatised by the sociopathic Tory party. The fat cats were obviously aware of the situation, but true to form these greedy capitalist took the money. £20 mill over 5 years according to some. They will dance off into the ether leaving behind chaos, and still working people support this type of behaviour by supporting the Tory party and the Fibs. “Rewards for failure are damaging capitalism’s image faster than anything.” Too F’ing right and that is a quote from the scum newsbollox.

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