Taming rogue capitalism – the real General Election choice

Labour’s manifesto may be very radical, it is as ambitious as that in 1945. But Attlee’s Government did not introduce socialism or end capitalism. It reformed the capitalist crisis creating a new mixed economic balance between state and capital which became the dominant political consensus until Mrs Thatcher’s election in 1979. Since then the mixed economy has been dismantled so that the state has become the prisoner and servant of capital through privatisation, and capital allowed free rein to increase economic inequalities and rogue behaviours  at the expense of the majority, made worse by the Conservative/Liberal Coalition’s response to the world economic crisis through its austerity measures attacking those on low income, massive cuts to public services, and aggravating the housing crisis through its laissez faire approach to planning.

Verso has introduced a 50% price cut in its books that explain the capitalist crisis and the effects of austerity.

https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4505-10-books-to-get-you-in-the-mood-for-defeating-the-tories

Bandit Capitalism

Every day there are news stories about ‘bandit’ capitalism. On 6 December the Guardian reported:

  • Glencore faces UK inquiry over suspicions of bribery
  • ‘Bandit’ capitalism blamed as Eddie Stobbard comes close to end of the road

Some of the results of austerity

According to Child Poverty Action Group

  • 1 million children live in poverty in the UK
  • 47% of children living in lone-parent families are in poverty
  • 70% of children growing up in poverty live in working families
  • 2 million children expected to be in poverty by 2022

The Office of National Statistics has found that:

  • the poorest 10% of households had debts three times greater than their assets.
  • the richest 10% have amassed a wealth pile 35 times larger than their total debts
  • 45% of UK wealth is owned by 10%
  • the poorest 10% own 2%

The Trade Union Congress’s analysis of the growth in inequality can be seen at:

https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/record-wealth-inequality-shows-why-our-economy-rigged-against-working-people

If you don’t trust the TUC then have a look at the Resolution Foundation analysis at:

https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/who-owns-all-the-pie

The threat of a US trade deal

The TUC analysis of the threat of a US trade deal can be seen at:

https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/importing-us-working-practices-uk-risk-workers-rights

Which road to follow?

If they can put aside the toxic nature of the BREXIT debate, the General Election provides voters the opportunity to choose a new road to follow which reverses the negative consequences of the last 10 years and changes the system to one that is more responsible and delivers what the majority of people need, especially:

  • forcing capitalism to behave more responsibly
  • rolling back austerity
  • reversing income inequality, poverty and homeless
  • improving workers pay and conditions
  • providing social as opposed to so-called ‘affordable’ housing
  • re-building the NHS
  • contributing tackling the climate change challenge
  • adopting a foreign policy based on the pursuit of peace and reconciliation not military intervention and war

Why Manifestos are important

While most people will not read them in full manifestos are important because they provide the accountability blueprint for making whichever Party wins the General Election accountable in relation to whether it carries out its promises.

Labour’s Manifesto can be read at

https://labour.org.uk/manifesto

My trade union UNITE highlights what it regards as key promises in the Labour manifesto at:

https://content.yudu.com/web/eduy/0A43kud/uniteworkselection/html/index.html?origin=reader&page=2

How do we compare Manifestos?

One way to assess manifestos is to look at comparisons issued by campaign groups. The National Pensioners Convention comparison can be seen at

https://e7240fd2-6ad8-43c4-9023-23a3b04e1af4.filesusr.com/ugd/75333b_8475bd956c8b43c78e472cb4e0251804.pdf

The Convention’s own manifesto is at

https://e7240fd2-6ad8-43c4-9023-23a3b04e1af4.filesusr.com/ugd/75333b_812fdd889f3d4651bb514bbe87188454.pdf

Comparing the Spending Plans

As usual the media only gave the headlines about the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis of the spending plans outlined in the manifestos.

The IFS conclusion states:

‘The implication of the Conservative manifesto is that they believe most aspects of public policy are just fine as they are. Little in the way of changes to tax, spending, welfare or anything else. Yes, there are some spending increases for health and education already promised, but essentially nothing new in the manifesto.

Labour, by contrast, want to change everything. Their vision is of a state with a far greater role than anything we have seen for more than 40 years. They would tax and spend more than ever before, putting in place a new universal welfare state with free childcare, free university, free personal care, free prescriptions and more besides; they would impose a swathe of new labour market regulations; their minimum wage would directly set the wages of a quarter of private sector workers; they would nationalise a series of companies whose performance is of vital importance to the UK economy; they would enforce transfer of effective ownership of 10% of large companies from current owners to a combination of employees and government. For good or bad five years of Labour government would involve enormous economic and social change.

In the face of such vast ambition from Labour, one should not forget that the Liberal Democrat manifesto is itself a radical document that would involve a decisive move away from the policies of the past decade.

Rarely can a starker choice have been placed before the UK electorate.’

https://www.ifs.org.uk/election/2019/manifestos

The Economics of the Spending Plans

In December 2018 the  Government spending was 39.9% of GDP, lower than most EU members, the highest being France at 56%. Non-EU member Sweden spends just under 50%. (World Bank) According to Larry Elliot in The Guardian Labour’s plans would only increase spending to 45%.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/nov/24/labours-spending-plans-arent-especially-unusual-just-look-at-sweden

This level is needed not only to make good the accumulated cuts of the last 10 years, and to restore cut expenditure to public services, but also to increase public service  provision. Let’s not forget that in that 10 years the population has increased by from just over 62m in 2010 to just under 67m this year and projected to rise to just over 68m in 2024 (Office of National Statistics) within which there has been an increase in the elderly who need to have more money spent on them e.g. for care.

Who’s paying to get Johnson’s BREXIT deal supported?

Leave campaign donor Peter Hargreaves, a businessman and co-founder of a large financial services firm, has donated £1m to the Tory Party for the General Election campaign.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/05/tories-receive-1m-funding-boost-from-billionaire-brexiter

 

 

 

 

 

About seancreighton1947

I have lived in Norbury since July 2011. I blog on Croydon, Norbury and history events,news and issues. I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I have submitted views to Council Committees and gave evidence against the Whitgift Centre CPO and to the Local Plan Inquiry. I am a member of Norbury Village Residents Association and Chair of Norbury Community Land Trust, and represent both on the Love Norbury community organisations partnership Committee. I used to write for the former web/print Croydon Citizen. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics history database. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour, radical and suffrage movements, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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