ShellLast week oil firm Royal Dutch Shell reported annual profits of $27.56 billion – £13.9b. That would certainly buy you a pint of beer and a packet of crisps with some money left over for your bus fare home. I’m clearly in the wrong line of business. It’s a record for a British firm, and can largely be attributed to the rising cost of oil, which is about $35 a barrel more than it was last year. The only bit of potential bad news is whether or not Shell has found enough oil to replace the amount it has taken out: a figure it hasn’t yet released (although they claimed to have had some exploration successes).

Shell’s Chief Executive, Jeroen van der Veer (not English I presume) was rather modest in his comments that: “Overall these are satisfactory results.” Indeed. “Satisfactory.” And the Pope is “kind of” a Roman Catholic, Bill Gates has a “little bit” of money about him, and Africa could do with a “dollar or two” to help it on its way. You’ve got to love the understatement.

But not everyone is happy. There’s an old saying: “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time: but you’ll never please all the people all the time.” Wise words. I’ll add this to them: you’ll almost never please a trade unionist or a socialist if you succeed in business beyond breaking even.

A number of trade unions have objected to the level of Shell’s profits which, they say, come at a time when everyone else is struggling to cope with the effects of high oil prices. So, the war paint and head-dresses have gone on, the howling has started, and our dear old Red-heads have charged from their wigwams demanding a few scalps, in the form of a massive windfall tax. A better analogy might be to compare them to hyenas. Hyenas are pack animals that don’t even do you the courtesy of killing you before they start eating chunks of your flesh, and all the while these retarded looking mammals, these pimples on the arsehole of nature, these bloody malicious buggers are laughing their balls off in your face.

So, the hyenas are eyeing up this juicy looking gazelle. The problem is that gazelles are far too fast, slick, and alert for hyenas. But hyenas know they don’t have to do much. They just have to wait until a bigger, faster and more powerful predator comes along to bring the gazelle down. Rather than make any attempts to hunt the gazelle themselves, they call in the King of the Jungle to do the job for them. Enter a socialist government. Upon Shell’s announcement of profits the backbench hyenas are shrieking wildly and hysterically to gain the government’s attention. They want it to take a sizable chunk out of Shell. The main spokesperson for the malcontents is Tony Woodley, union loudmouth and general cunt in a suit. His comments were exactly the same as those he made a few years ago when oil company BP hit record profits: “quite frankly obscene” and “more than excessive,” adding “Shell shareholders are doing very nicely whilst the rest of us, the stakeholders, are paying the price and struggling.”

“More than excessive?” What’s that? Profits, big or small, are excessive by their very nature. A profit is money more than was needed to cover the running costs of the business. Profit is excess, surplus to requirements. But what is “more than excessive?” Is it just a lefty way of saying “you’ve made a load of money, I didn’t, and I’m not very happy about it?” And “obscene?” Child pornography is obscene. Gang rape is obscene. Wanking in public is obscene. It’s not like Shell is ripping out our kidneys and selling them back to us in tins of Irish Stew. Making profits isn’t obscene – no matter how big they are. Making profit is the sine qua non of business, and probably the single most important test of how good a business actually is. And why are we surprised when an oil company announces such profits? Is it also news to the Tony Woodleys of this world that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is a billionaire? The simple reason for such profits is the product. You’ll probably not be heading for a six-figure salary in the carpet cleaning business. Nor are family butchers likely to be making waves in the City. But look at Shell: it’s selling oil for frig sake. There’s hardly a single item in your house that doesn’t rely on oil at some point in its manufacture. The importance of and demand for oil pushes up the price and increases the profit for the oil company.

Just what do socialists think happens to all these profits? Socialists buy into what I call the Bottomless Pocket Myth. They appear to think that rich people steal money off poor people, hoard it, and it’s never seen again, thus leaving a smaller pool of money available to the world. We therefore need to regularly raid the coffers of the rich to free all this money up again. But, this isn’t, umm, entirely accurate. Most of these companies that make massive profits end up reinvesting most of it. Last year Shell reinvested practically every penny of its profits back into the business, largely because oil companies have the mammoth and never-ending task of finding new oil supplies. Many businesses expand when the profits come in. Expansion typically creates more jobs, higher salaries, better products, and lower prices. Frankly I’m always delighted to hear of a business as successful as Shell, and we shouldn’t let people like Tony Woodley run one of our biggest companies out of the country with suggestions of a windfall tax. The billions that companies like Shell contribute to the exchequer shouldn’t be scoffed at: it pays massive sums to the exchequer for its activities in the UK and additional taxes recently imposed on its North Sea oil and gas extraction in previous budgets. If Mr Woodley had done a bit of research (which involves reading, so perhaps he can’t) he would have discovered that a windfall tax might not even apply to a company like Shell. The reason? Windfall taxes only apply to private companies who make the majority of their profits in the UK. In addition to a listing at the London Stock Exchange Shell has listings in the Netherlands, the US, and it’s headquarters in The Hague. It operates in 130 countries and territories so arguably most of its profits aren’t UK made, so not liable to a UK windfall tax. Shell argues that over 90% of its profits are made outside the UK.

[Socialist readers should perhaps pause for breath at this point, I understand how taxing on their brains this must be].

Woodley seems to think that oil companies like Shell are manipulating oil prices and screwing the consumer but the truth of the matter is that Shell does not control market prices, which are set in a relatively free market. In fact, there are many commentators who argue that even the oil cartel Opec has little control over oil prices any more. So, even if Shell decided altruistically to sell oil at below market prices it would have very little effect on global prices.

Woodley’s nonsense is just the usual socialist pile of piffle. We all know the story: big business exploits people unfairly and unjustly, taking the wealth of poor people and concentrating it in the hands of the rich, destroying our (collective) soul, our world and our way of life. On the face of it socialism looks noble, and it certainly appeals to our romantic side: our soft spot for being counted on the side of the poor and oppressed as they fight and win, against all odds, when all appears to be lost, just when you think they’ve been push into a bottomless abyss, against the rich, strong and powerful tyrants who have long oppressed them. It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies. Everyone loves a Robin Hood, or a William Wallace.

However, when examined more closely socialism is about as savoury as dick-flavoured potato crisps, as worthy of intellectual assent as one of David Icke’s prophecies, and as romantic as farting during sex. As it turns out, the socialist’s fight is not against tyranny, nor is it in favour of the poor and oppressed. Their fight is a simple one: against success. They hate it. If you’re the struggling owner of a corner shop, socialists will be on your side, fighting your corner and lobbying on your behalf. But, dear confectioner, do not – EVER – think of making your business any more successful. If you do, you’ll earn more money and socialists will want as much of it as possible. You might open a few more shops, but then you’re a chain-store and in clear danger of the Red-Wrath. And for God’s sake whatever you do never under any circumstances open a store in another country. This will only make you a “large multi-national corporation,” and to your former socialist friends that will put you somewhere between a cockroach and the gunk that builds up between your toes on a hot day. So, if you wish to keep your socialist friends (a choice that should form part of the definition of mental derangement), there is only one course of action: don’t make a success of your life, and don’t make more money than you need to get by on (just enough to buy a baggy woollen jumper, a Che Guevera t-shirt, and a copy of “How to Tax Friends and Manipulate People”).

Shell’s only sin is success. It makes its money fairly and squarely. It has a product, it prices the product, and consumers purchase it. Tony Woodley and others of his ilk are amongst those who lament the cost of oil and petrol, rambling on about the consumer getting a raw deal in terms of petrol price, and how unfair this is when you see such massive corporate profits. But, if these dimwits want the price of oil and petrol lowered then I have a radical suggestion: stop the insane and irrational hatred of success, stop blaming companies like Shell for the price of petrol when in fact most of what you pay for petrol goes straight to the government in tax.

So, since no one else has said so: congratulations Shell, if only more businesses could be like you.