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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I blame the left for the economic crisis

New Labour's embrace of neoliberalism in the 1990s
signified the destruction of the traditional Labour movement.
At the risk of starting off by sounding like a the kind of Tory troll that likes to astroturf all economics based threads with their mindless bullshit, I'm going to say that I firmly believe that Labour are to blame for the woeful state of the British economy. Not because they were too "lefty" as the Tory apologists like to claim but because they were way to far to the right.

When Labour regained power in 1997, what the UK needed was an adjustment back to the left after 18 years of unrestrained neoliberal pseudo-economic policy, but what Labour delivered was more of the same neoliberal corporatist agenda but with a bit of (often poorly conceived) left wing window dressing to appease their core voters and Guardian columnists.

Some of the major causes of the deficit can be traced back to Neo-Labour:

Instead of imposing stronger regulation on the banks as "leftists" should do, they gave us their botched deregulation of the banks and building societies and left gaping tax-loopholes in the British economic system. They cosied up to big business and the financial sector instead of taxing their obscene remuneration packages, clamping down on tax avoidance/evasion and preventing the banks from over-leveraging themselves or pissing borrowed money down the speculative derivatives toilet.

Under no circumstances should a supposedly left-wing government be signing multi billion procurement projects with corporations nominally based in tax havens in order to avoid paying UK tax on their taxpayer funded profits, but that is exactly what Labour did in the Mapeley Steps ripoff.

Housing is another area in which the left should lead the way but instead of taking measures to fix the housing market by building more affordable housing, putting an end to right-to-buy without reinvestment, and dampening house prices with proper regulation of the parasitic bank funded buy-to-let sector, Labour politicians were perfectly happy to ride on the crest of the biggest artificial housing bubble in history and rake in the votes from people who were simply overjoyed to see the asset value of their house(s) multiply.

Labour also presided over a massive contraction in the housebuilding business, a sector that should have been booming. Another thing they should have done was to get rid of the ridiculous VAT charges on redevelopment, while they allowed new builds to go up VAT free because a tax on redevelopment is a tax on sustainability. Labour didn't even recognise these problems, they were too busy with their insane house destruction projects like John Prescott's mad Pathfinder schemes. Instead of bulldozing quality houses all over the Midlands, the North and Scotland they should have invested their efforts in attracting industry into formerly industrialised communities through education, skills training and infrastructure improvements.

The left should be blamed for allowing
control of their party to be usurped by amoral career politicians like
Peter "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich" Mandelson.
Labour's contempt for existing infrastructure went way beyond the housing sector, they also built up an estimated hidden deficit of £250bn by tearing down state infrastructure and replacing it under neoliberal economic alchemy schemes called PFI that do nothing but relinquish state control over community infrastructure at great economic cost and enrich corporatist investors for decades. The Tories still haven't brought these hidden debts onto the balance sheet, but then they are also relying on the accountancy fiddle that the bailout costs are somehow separate from the deficit too (a much bigger economic deceit).

Labour spent more than a decade siding with industry, schmoozing with Murdoch and cosying up to the corporatist bosses, bestowing honours galore on the banking community that went on to drive the economy off a cliff with their unregulated speculative derivative trading a few years later. Throughout all of this, Labour were taking the majority of their party funding from the unions. The unions are to blame for the mess too, they didn't want to rock the Labour boat at all, out of their fear that things would be a lot worse for themselves (and the workers) under the Tories. The unions witnessed Labour politicians like Alan Milburn signing off on massive NHS privatisation-by-stealth deals, then sidling off to begin working for the companies he'd just opened the door to, and they did nothing to resist this kind of nasty Tory style profiteering.

Labour should have clamped down on egregious profiteering from utilities companies and reversed botched privatisation schemes like the railways (which now take double the subsidy that BR did and are more expensive to use than running a car) but they were too busy lining their own pockets with more privatisation deals and badly designed procurement contracts, subsidising economic failure and waving through inflation busting price rises from the corporate utilities spivs year, after year, after year.

Traditional left wing voters even re-elected Tony Blair
 after he supported the American far right neoconservatives
in their illegal & immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Just as the unions did nothing, the old guard Labour backbenchers did nothing either, for fear of letting the Tories back in. They voted through one mad neoliberal policy after another and even backed Blair's (Murdoch's) mad neoconservative imperialist adventures in Iraq. As the genuine left bit their tongues and let the right wing economic madness continue, their numbers were gradually eroded away as the older generation were replaced by a tide of amoral self-serving Blairite careerists.

The pattern is the same all over Europe, left leaning parties have fallen over themselves to embrace the markets to such an extent that they have allowed "greed" rather than "state planning" to direct their economies.

After 30 years it should be clear to everyone that the neoliberal economic model is a failure. However all the politicians seem to offer is more tinkering with the broken system from the former-left and more of the same corporatisation of the state, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, screw the workers idiocy (that got us into this mess in the first place) from the right. There are more right-wing neoliberal governments in Europe than ever before in history to implement these policies.

Labour have now spent a political generation abandoning their socialist credentials and cosying up to the economic elite and it appears is as if they are no longer capable of even conceiving an alternative to the neoliberal agenda. In a way Neo-Labour were the worst of both worlds, combining nasty Tory "business knows best" economic policy with the kind of illiberal, top down, totalitarian tendencies that give the left a bad name (National Identity Register, private jails, child detention, moralistic drugs prohibition policies, Digital Economy Bill,  CCTV and surveillance). After 13 years of Labour rule, when they handed control of the nation back to the Tories``, Britain was in a more corporatised, more unequal and more totalitarian state than the Tories had left it back in 1997.

The neoliberal economic system is broken and the democratic system is too because the huge majority of our elected representatives (in all the major political parties) have become shills for corporate interests. We're being "served" by a bunch of greedy piss taking pillocks (expenses scandal) and mindless avatars for the Murdoch bias who couldn't give a hoot about the majority of the electorate.

The great moral sellout by the left has put us in the situation where all of the major political parties are stuffed with self serving neoliberals only differentiated by differently coloured ties. Until this changes, nobody will steer the economy off the road to dystopian neoliberal failure.

4 comments:

Dai Version said...

Bravo

Thomas G. Clark said...

Cheers Dai, please feel free to stick around!

Anonymous said...

Ukip

Andrew said...

Hahaha, UKIP! Good joke, Anon.