Saturday, 29 August 2015

My vote is up for grabs! Tough thoughts as I try to decide.

Among the deluge of complaints and criticisms the three establishment candidates are demeaning themselves by showering on the People's Jeremy, the daftest apart from the accusation that he met Hamas and the IRA almost as many times as Blair, is that his policies are a return to the past and totally out of date. They never stop to consider a) that some of these policies like renationalising the railways are popular with the public or b) that if the policies which replaced the older Labour policies haven't worked it might be a good idea to go back to the originals not as a matter of ideology but simple sense.

I'm not sure that we should allow the Tory press to choose Labour's leader, but if we choose to do that in our desire to be loved by them we should notice two things. One is that the criticisms of Corbyn are all (apart from attacks on his beard) criticisms which the Tory party brings against Labour -spending too much, borrowing, frightening British business which seems to spend more time trembling in fear than it does competing in the world.Out of the mouths of the Blairites these Tory truths have poured giving credence to the Tory programme and killing hope among our supporters.

Second the establishment never offers an alternative. Its prescriptions are all generalities such as facing a changed world, future proofing, adjusting to a new society etc.How we do all this and what Labour's specific policies should be are never spelled out.. This is because they don't want to face up to the fact that Blairism, (diluting the policies with soft soap) is also a thing of their past which probably won't work in harder times.

Blair came to power in an election we'd have won anyway at a time of growth and economic buoyancy with tax revenues rising and unemployment falling. He'd exhausted his repertoire of good moderate policies like the minimum wage, Sure Start and expanding investment in the NHS by the end of his second term,  and became messianic thereafter and by 2008 his new mates the financial interests which he and Brown thought had created a new paradigm of perpetual growth through asset inflation and debt, killed the whole improvement by their unrestrained greed.

Now we live with the consequences and the main lesson to be learned is that austerity can't go on because it makes the situation worse, and that expansion requires more borrowing and spending. Neither comes with balancing the budget and promising to reduce the borrowing year by year. They only tighten the screw. Business will have to be pushed into growth and investment by changes in corporate governance to end short termism and the obsession  with shareholder value and finance effectively regulated . Since the housing crisis can't be solved without more public housing for rent councils should be allowed to raise housing bonds to invest, build and create a new asset. Since money will be short we will have to scrap expensive PFIs and finance big infrastructure projects by quantitive easing. To check inflation we will need an accord with the unions of the type which has been so successful (for the economy rather than the workers) in Germany and to proclaim that the central aim of policy is full employment

None of this is easy stuff and it will have to be sold as a nationalist programme to rebuild national strength and pride but clearly it has to be thought about  rather than just making idiotic assertions that we must adjust to the future but not how.The future will be too hard for the easy measures of the Blair era.

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