Decision Time: New Politics, New Economy, New Britain?
A speech by Jeremy Corbyn to the British Chambers of Commerce conference
3rd March, 2016
This speech sets out a major policy framework including some notable quotes (with my own comments):
And we cannot outsource economic policy to the City of London. That has not served our economy well, and it has not served business well.
The subordination of the UK economy to City interests is, indeed, at the heart of the matter
The banking sector has to be reformed. Finance must support the economy and not be an extractive industry that treats consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses as cash cows.
Rather than simply going on about capitalism Corbyn clearly distinguishes between predatory finance capital and productive capital in the real economy. Robert Owen the 19th century socialist and entrepreneur who wanted an alliance between the working class and the industrial capitalists against City interests would be very happy with this speech. It is significant that he is addressing the Chamber of Commerce.
We need a national investment bank at the heart of economic policy to target investment on key public and economic priorities, not just for quick returns.
As Den Xao Ping used to say: “whatever you do never lose control of financial system.” We never had control of it but perhaps that’s about to change
For some politicians, the state is only a burden, to be reduced or removed.
But we see a crucial role for the strategic state to create the conditions for people and businesses to thrive and deliver prosperity that is stable and shared.
The term “strategic state” is an absolute taboo in British politics. Are we becoming French dirigistes? If there is one word(or two words) to sound the death knell of the thatcherite consensus, it is this.
Regarding crisis in NHS
First, there is the legacy of PFI debt – an inefficient way of delivering necessary investment.
The last Labour government lacked the confidence to make the argument to borrow to invest, and so it did what banks thought they could get away with before the crash, an off-the-books accountancy wheeze.
In both cases, putting debt off the books did not work it came right back onto the books and helped trigger crisis.
Corby takes the Blairite legacy head on! Blair put dodgyPFI deals at the heart of his programme
Then there is the problem of infrastructure. Think about the creaking, underfunded infrastructure our country relies on.
Enterprise and innovation cannot flourish when our roads and railways, ports and airports are lagging behind our competitors.
To do this , of course, requires long term investment and planning another no-no in Thatcherite Britain
…we are campaigning to remain in the EU because we believe, like 60 per cent of businesses the BCC surveyed, that the EU is the best framework for trade and cooperation in the 21st century.
None of the above can be accomplished without incoming investment, several hundred billion of which have already been promised by China. He knows that they are awaiting the “yes” vote before committing themselves to this but it is not very politically correct to point this out since the British people are still largely unaware of the fact that we have been living off incoming investment for decades. The difference now is that investment will not be going into UK government bonds but will be direct investment in finance, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Read speech in full