So the Leader debate is becoming about winning in 2020, how to win back the Tories and the Presidential qualities of the candidates, that’s what the Press are saying and that’s what the supporters of the three wise monkeys are arguing. The question that needs to be proved by them is that they are any more likely to win than Corbyn with his Keynesian anti-austerity policy. I attended the London Hustings for Labour’s Leadership yesterday. I don’t think it will have changed many people’s minds. The answers on re-nationalisation, inequality and fighting the ugly right were basically pretty bland. I went along with a question, but it wasn’t selected.
There are two questions I am asking myself,
On the economy, we have a choice of changing the question or changing the answer. Labour’s manifesto put cutting the deficit at its centre. The economics was based on Tory slogans with no theory. Theory is important because it informs us of the effects of our actions, How can we cut our way out of debt? The vast bulk of macro-economic theory is Keynesian, none of it supports “Expansionary Fiscal Consolidation” and Keynesianism recommends deficit financing of public works or investment programmes to stimulate growth and counter recession. Did you know we promised to create a National Investment Bank to inject £30bn of investment into the economy? The Tories are lying anyway so why sit in their straight jacket, they don’t.
Question 1 is who broke Keynesianism?
My second question is
How to do “Better Politics”?
and this applies to inside the Labour Party as well as in the country and now the continent as a whole. Internally, will you listen to the Party? Will you offer shadow cabinet roles to your current rivals? Will you re-establish election for the shadow cabinet? Will you democratise the party so that member’s voice becomes paramount?
And for the country, it’s about decentralising the state, entrenching and rejuvenating the powers of local authorities, abolishing Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners and the House of Lords, votes at 16, compulsory registration, retaining the Freedom of Information Act and the Human Rights Act and most importantly, fair voting!
My huge disappointment is that no-one is talking about life long education, while several candidates for both positions argue for increases in educational investment for early years and a student funding equivalent for HE age entrepreneurs, there needs to be an answer for people to retrain and access education they were unable to do when younger. We all agree we want a high skills and high wage economy, but who has the skills to perform these new jobs.
As ever this has taken me days to write and I have backdated it to the day after it happened. The featured picture is a derived work, the picture in the article is mine. (I amended the article when publishing “It’s still the economy, stupid!”, by moving my litany of the Labour Government’s macro-economic successes to that piece.)