Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Things Were Different When I Were a Lad

Hattip to Blood and Treasure and Virtual Stoa for reminding me that the Left once had a very strong sense of how to avoid the sort of thing we're living through:

"It is essential that industry has the finance it needs to support our plans for increased investment. Our proposals are set out in full in our Conference statement, The Financial Institutions. We will:

• Establish a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government - including North Sea oil revenues - on a large scale into our industrial priorities. The bank will attract and channel savings, by agreement, in a way that guarantees these savings and improves the quality of investment in the UK.
• Exercise, through the Bank of England, much closer direct control over bank lending. Agreed development plans will be concluded with the banks and other financial institutions.
• Create a public bank operating through post offices, by merging the National Girobank, National Savings Bank and the Paymaster General's Office.
• Set up a Securities Commission to regulate the institutions and markets of the City, including Lloyds, within a clear statutory framework.
• Introduce a new Pension Schemes Act to strengthen members' rights in occupational pension schemes, clarify the role of trustees, and give members a right to equal representation, through their trade unions, on controlling bodies of the schemes.
• Set up a tripartite investment monitoring agency to advise trustees and encourage improvements in investment practices and strategies.

We expect the major clearing banks to co operate with us fully on these reforms, in the national interest. However, should they fail to do so, we shall stand ready to take one or more of them into public ownership. This will not in any way affect the integrity of customers' deposits

Labour Party Manifesto, 1983
aka 'The Longest Suicide Note in History'

But however suicidal or otherwise it proved at the time it was, of course, the platform on which both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were first elected to Parliament.


  1. The bailout isn't really a nationalisation, of course. It's just a pity the banks weren't taken under public ownership when they were making gigantic amounts of profit. In that respect, more justifable nationalisations would be the socialisation of the power, water and communication systems. Without any compensation. They've been stealing from the public from the start and all that privatisation was a huge con anyway. And the railways need taking over too. It's not even a near best solution, but the private route has just so utterly failed that there would hardly be any opposition from the public if whole swathes of what is now in robberbaron hands was taken under democratic control. Obviously, it's not going to happen since the LP sold out so brazenly long long ago. They have no exit strategy and are doomed. In fact, one has to say now, that the whole British political system now faces a profound legitimacy crisis on a scale that even the compliant media will have difficulties covering up and that will lead to social unrest and even political dislocation.
    This is the neolibs 1989 moment. The irony is sweet.

  2. Perhaps Steve, perhaps.

    I don't quibble at all with your suggested list of nationalisations, nor the suggestion that Labour is beyond redemption, I just wonder how far the general population is actually, in reality, in an anti-capitalist mood. I regard this as an open question as most people have basically experienced the crisis as a spectator sport up to now - they won't feel the effects of mass unemployment and foreclosures for some months. There is anger - but it could be Brown corrals the anger into supporting him, on the grounds he seems so much more decisive than the Americans.