138 comments on “MADE BY THE MANY: NEW VIDEO FROM LABOUR

  1. Uncle Albert on said:

    That’s not bad at all – it certainly places the emphasis just where it needs to be: on ordinary people.

  2. Socialist on said:

    Great video until Ed appeared. Let’s be honest this guys just not got it and that is his biggest weakness. The left needs a strong leader not a cardboard cutout.

  3. wayne muldoon on said:

    Uncle Albert is correct. The emphasis is on people who make the wealth and really keep our society running. A contrast with the Tories and New Labour who care only for those who make nothing, create nothing and provide nothing to our society. Ed Miliband is not Tony Benn but he is playing a very astute long game and carefully placing Labour in a much better place, politically, than they have been in since the days of John Smith. The Tories are causing utter misery and despair to our most disadvantaged people and we need to be rid of them at the first opportunity.

  4. hello on said:

    A million Iraqi’s slaughtered by a party of mass murder will not be available to participate in this promised recovery with the Dear Leader Ed.

  5. hello:
    A million Iraqi’s slaughtered by a party of mass murder will not be available to participate in this promised recovery with the Dear Leader Ed.

    Ed miliband opposed the Iraq war. I heard him say so himself last Saturday in Chippenham.

  6. robert p. williams on said:

    Andy Newman,

    You were lambasting him a little while back when he was condemning those working people for going on strike against the condem cuts.

    I see your political integration into the Labour Party is almost fully complete Mr. Andy ‘no-red-lines’ Newman.

  7. Not too clever after 1min 36 secs – not much sign of late Sixties era Ralph Milliband there! In Lambeth the so called “Cooperative” Labour Council is doing evictions of folk after many many years to sell off their homes to the property developers and after 7 years of campaigning for pulic toilets in central STOCKWELL used by many thousands every day absolutely zero progress. At this very time they are propagandising making pretty pretty improvements to ‘dignfy” the location. Not a word about toilets which were there until their abolition by Labour in late 1988 and which were actually demolished by the very very same individuals pontificating right now about Stockwell dignification. “The many” dont need toilets do they … such cretinous manipulative garbage from these so called Labour Party enthusiasts. In central Stockwell not a single available convenience just bullshit propagandistic prettyfication inititives.

  8. Mick Bailey on said:

    Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are a disgrace. The fawning over Thatcher, the demonising of immigrants and benefit claimants shows that they are so out of touch the SHOULDN’T be allowed to legislate for us.
    They are NOT a socialist party just because they say they are. Caroline Flint was pathetic and out of her depth last night on Question Time. Ed Miliband represents my area which is a former coal mining area which has been decimated by successive Governments since the 1970′s.
    Wake up and smell the pseudo conservatism that is the Labour Party

  9. Merle on said:

    they are so out of touch
    )

    Absolutely, what we need is a socialist party that is in touch with the people.

    David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets) 72 (0.17%)
    Daz Procter (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) 62 (0.15%

  10. robert p. williams on said:

    Merle,

    That the alternatives being developed are in a formative stage, and that it takes a while for the trade unions and general public to cotton on to the possibility of an alternative, does not disprove that an alternative is absolutely necessary.

    The Labour Party was historically transformed after the fall of the soviet union and the triumphalism of the right. It’s constitution and democracy was dismantled and has been reduced to little more than a ‘focus group’.

    This is important and means the party cannot be shifted from below in any important way. New Labours enthusiastic embrace of the market system is permanent. That is why a new party for working people, a party that puts the 99% first and puts forward a socialist alternative to the market driven approach of ALL the main parties, is both necessary and possible.

    As the main parties have moved to the so called ‘centre’ THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR HAS BEEN GETTING VERY MUCH WIDER AND WIDER. The economists talk about a financial ‘bubble’ that burst: Well, there is a political bubble that will burst too.

    If there isn’t a party to the left of the ConDemLabour ‘consensus’ with a real alternative to capitalism, then we will likely see the development of a party to the right of that ‘consensus’.

    Dave Nellist was right when he said that ‘Greece was coming to Britain’. It is coming more slowly, but just as surely. We will have a new workers party or we will have our own version of Golden Dawn.

  11. Merle on said:

    Robert

    Of course, we are in the very earliest days of a socialist alternative. If only someone had written a manifesto a bit earlier (say 1848). But you’re right of course, this is a uniquely British situation, pity Peter Taaffe, Ted Grant and the like hadn’t started warning us about their views on the shortcomings of the parliamentary Labour Party before now, say in the 1950s or 60s, or er hang on…

  12. robert p. williams on said:

    Merle,

    No, it’s not uniquely British. The whole world is living in a different economic situation.

    There have been many changes since the 1950′s and 60′s. The changes of the 80′s and 90′s and the 00′s.

    You seem to think that because things worked a certain way in the past, that they will go on working the same way.

    They won’t.

  13. robert p. williams: If there isn’t a party to the left of the ConDemLabour ‘consensus’ with a real alternative to capitalism, then we will likely see the development of a party to the right of that ‘consensus’.

    Agree but the sects that comprise TUSC need to be subsumed into a cohesive entity with a unity of direction and be a full-time concern rather than just an election time lash-up. Only that way will you be able to make the connections to working class voters and communities that a left-wing party needs to be a serious player.

  14. If you are able re LABOUR – take a dekko at todays edition main front page spread of the SOUTH LONDON PRESS for LABOUR LAMBETH COUNCIL on flogging properties following specific evictions of long standing tenants specifically for that very purpose. Absolutely disgusting! Councillor (so called) Peter Robbins is grinning Gnome like and supporting that profit making policy.

  15. “In a speech in the middle of the town centre – while standing on a wooden pallet – he admitted that he is not yet prepared to promise to reverse the Government’s decision to reduce housing benefit for those with a spare room.”

    I think that Ed is determined to stick to promising things that he can actually deliver. Like more austerity…more deregulation…more anti-union laws. That kind of thing. Mind you, I’ve got to admire his Balls.

    “Whatever you say,
    say nothing”
    Seamus Heaney

  16. wayne muldoon on said:

    So comrades you are quite content to let the poor suffer on and on under the Tories while you dream endlessly of uniting the left or building an alternative? The Labour alternative is not everything (or close) to what i would want it to be but to suggest they would not improve life (even marginally) for the most disadvantaged people is plain ridiculous. The worst Labour government will always be better than the best Tory government. If Labour and Ed Miliband lose in 2015 it will push them back towards the Blairites not move them to the left.

  17. robert p. williams on said:

    wayne muldoon,

    This lesser-evilism is utterly hopeless and apathetic. You’ve given up before the fight. This defeatism paralyses working people. We have to think about the future and build what we need to build in order to fight back.

    The Tories and Labour carry out broadly the same market driven approach. There’s not much between them. But we need a different approach, we need socialism. If you don’t want socialism… fine… carry on in your own sweet way…

    But if you DO want socialism, then you need to think about what needs to be done.

  18. vanya on said:

    #23 There is in fact no contradiction between taking the view that a Labour government, no matter how inadequate, would be better than a government of the tories and /or lib dems, and believing it necessary to build a mass party to the left of Labour.

    Particularly given that there is zero chance of the next government of being one of such a party and only slightly more of such a party having more than tiny handful of mps.

  19. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    The question that I have to ask, and one that really perplexes me, is all the contributors who advocate a Labour Government of Ed Milliband as the ‘lesser evil’ within the British political system; then are they saying that they are prepared to accept the austerity programme/cuts agenda/anti-trade union agenda that comes along with a Miliband government and will no longer fight against the social consequences of the post-Thatcher epoch as they do under the present ConDem Government?

  20. brokenwindow on said:

    It’s an ad,nothing more. To take it literally is folly. Most people I speak to down my South London local are furious at the bankers,worried about the effects of more unplanned immigration,frustrated at not being able to afford bills,get jobs,get on the housing ladder,plan for old age pension-wise and worry about over-sized classrooms in schools,gang-culture on the streets and the NHs being sold off – Lewisham -in front of them. (don’t shoot the messenger here) and the disappearance of libraries,children and parent clubs pre-school,high food prices etc.

    ALL of this deteriorated on Labour’s watch;this is a general perception. They are not seen as offering any alternative,surely the people are correct on this and I’m trying not to be cynical. (Yes,of course I want Ed in ratherc than Cameron but..).

  21. Jimmy Haddow: The question that I have to ask, and one that really perplexes me, is all the contributors who advocate a Labour Government of Ed Milliband as the ‘lesser evil’ within the British political system; then are they saying that they are prepared to accept the austerity programme/cuts agenda/anti-trade union agenda that comes along with a Miliband government and will no longer fight against the social consequences of the post-Thatcher epoch as they do under the present ConDem Government?

    A Millaband Government is the lesser evil in within the English political system rather than the British one. The latter is looking distinctly frayed. Its hard to argue that the alternatives available in Scotland and Wales are the same as what Milliband might offer England. Clearly they are better and so the fraying goes on. But in England, in terms of forming an actual Government, Milliband is the best available alternative.

    A lot of damage has been done in very short order by the Coallition. The only party that can push them out of Government is Labour. So in England the most effective use of a vote in the next GE is to support Labour.

    None of that takes away from the pernicious influence of the Blarites in Labour who are determined to resist any move towards social progress. The move against Milliband by those forces on the occassion of his brother’s new job was instructive. It was very well choreographed and well supported by the parasites in the MSM and could have done serious damage. It was only derailed by Thatchers death something they could not have planned for.

    Its no use pretending TUSC is going anywhere its clearly not as it lacks credibility with the electorate. Nor can I see Respect being able to replicate its sucess in enough places to constitute a viable alternative to labour. What’s left in England is Labour.

  22. wayne muldoon:
    So comrades you are quite content to let the poor suffer on and on under the Tories while you dream endlessly of uniting the left or building an alternative?The Labour alternative is not everything (or close) to what i would want it to be but to suggest they would not improve life (even marginally) for the most disadvantaged people is plain ridiculous. The worst Labour government will always be better than the best Tory government. If Labour and Ed Miliband lose in 2015 it will push them back towards the Blairites not move them to the left.

    Blair murdered more people than Thatcher and the UK became even more unequal than under Thatcher. So your argument fails.

  23. @28 A question. And what has Milliband ever done with any real energy to make Blair and Alistair Campbell too accountable for the IRAK WMD lies and media deceptions? Absolutely nothing. Lawyers in Blair’s wife’s Legal Chambers have been far more vigorous – what an absolute shower. Milliband in this video is stomach churning.

  24. A nice video, which tries to position New Labour as a party which will advance the interests of working people.

    Note, no mention of Trade Unions. No call to organize to resist the Tory onslaught. Just vote for New Labour and they will look after us.

    The slogan at the end is revealing. “One Nation: Labour” But the first part of the advert showed how this one nation is composed of two classes with antagonistic interests. So you can’t represent the interests of the “Nation” as a whole. You have to decide which side of the class divide you are on.

    The return of a Labour government will be welcome, as it continued austerity, refusal to reverse the bulk of Tory cuts will destroy illusion which exist, and open up the great opportunities for building a mass workers’ party to the left of Labour.

  25. “and open up the great opportunities for building a mass workers’ party to the left of Labour.”

    Just like it did in 1997, right?

  26. Chris:

    Chris: and open up the great opportunities for building a mass workers’ party to the left of Labour.”

    Just like it did in 1997, right?

    Yes, like the Blair government but more so.
    The 2 million strong anti war demo would have been a great time to launch a new party. And when Galloway belatedly launched Respect, it did gain a certain echo, including from various people who hang out on this blog.

    Of course, having great opportunities is one thing. But what you do with these opportunities also matters. But that is another discussion.

  27. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    I would be very grateful if the Editorial Board of the Socialist Unity website would crave my indulgence to offer the following four videos of a speech given on the 18th April 2013 given by Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party, on a retrospective assessment given on the 18 April 2013 on Margaret Thatcher, Thatcherism, why it has continued for so long and how to end its political programme today. The four videos together make up approximately one hour and is called “Thatcher’s Dead, Now Bury Her Policies!” each video circa 15 minutes in which the first 3 are the discourse and the final one being the summing-up after the discussion.

    Thatcher’s Dead, Now Bury Her Policies!”
    Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x5Lwu6NbKMw

    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-xy5Ptb68A

    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckjPwEh9Qjs

    Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALlj0P-hcSk

  28. Uncle Albert on said:

    “building a mass workers’ party to the left of Labour.”

    If it was going to happen it would have already happened. It just ain’t going to happen.

  29. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 38 says (“)“building a mass workers’ party to the left of Labour.”
    If it was going to happen it would have already happened. It just ain’t going to happen.(“)

    Erroneous, erroneous, erroneous, all from the mechanical thinker of uncle albert!!! Without sounding patronising it is clear that uncle albert is not involved in the real situation on the ground to understand the complexities of the social situation for him to make such a naïve and bald statement.

  30. I am not going to waste my broadband usage on the video, so I am guessing here, but I suspect there is nothing of substance in this video, no policy proposals, e.g. nationalise the banks. Obama used similar tactics in opposition and look at what became of him!

    Just typical bullshit that centre left opposition parties tend to say. Once in power I am sure Ed will steer a New Labour course, that will be demanded by the pay masters. I don’t see any break with New Labour from Ed.

  31. Uncle Albert on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    When, in the 1970s, I heard Ted Grant and Peter Taafe talk of the Red Eighties I applauded politely – it’s difficult to summon enthusiasm after dull and almost unendurably lengthy speeches, no matter how optimistic the intended message.

    So what happened to the promised Red Eighties? Did those damned “complexities of the social situation” get in the way?

    And, on top of this, I recall conversations with others who claimed to have heard Grant and Taafe, in the 1960s, talk promisingly of the Red Seventies.

    So I’m not sure it is me who you should targeting with a charge of naivety.

  32. Feodor on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    Erroneous, erroneous, erroneous, all from the mechanical thinker of uncle albert!!! Without sounding patronising it is clear that uncle albert is not involved in the real situation on the ground to understand the complexities of the social situation for him to make such a naïve and bald statement.

    If anyone wanted to know why the left is irrelevant to most people, then gobbledygook like this would have to form part of the answer.

    For all his and their faults, at least Miliband and the Labour Party live in reality.

    PS. Jimmy, don’t worry, you don’t sound patronising – a modicum of intelligence is required to cultivate such an attitude.

  33. Feodor: PS. Jimmy, don’t worry, you don’t sound patronising – a modicum of intelligence is required to cultivate such an attitude.

    Was this bit absolutely necessary, Feodor?

  34. Feodor on said:

    Omar: Was this bit absolutely necessary, Feodor?

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I just find Jimmy a pompous bore who never adds much to the discussion bar thinly-veiled barbs and blindingly obvious tautologies, delivered in messianic style, with no intention of engaging in serious intellectual argument.

    Could we not just copy and paste a boilerplate Jimmy observation into the comments section of every article, ‘cos he never says anything new, but he always feels the need to say something…

  35. The three main groups being used as scapegoats – the immigrants, the unemployed and the disabled – are not mentioned at all in this video. It only confirms that New Labour is trying to appeal to the readers of the Sun and the Daily Mail. Labour supporters, or at least those who still have principles, should be jumping from the ship in droves.

  36. treborc on said:

    Socialist:
    Great video until Ed appeared. Let’s be honest this guys just not got it and that is his biggest weakness. The left needs a strong leader not a cardboard cutout.

    The big problem of course Miliband is not to the left, he’s to what ever he thinks will get him elected,but to the left nope sorry.

  37. Amnon on said:

    Feodor: Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I just find Jimmy a pompous bore who never adds much to the discussion bar thinly-veiled barbs and blindingly obvious tautologies, delivered in messianic style, with no intention of engaging in serious intellectual argument.

    Could we not just copy and paste a boilerplate Jimmy observation into the comments section of every article, ‘cos he never says anything new, but he always feels the need to say something…

    What a load of utterly shameful personal insults.

    Please feel free to contribute your own ideas to the discussion, and argue against other peoples ideas. But name calling and attacking the individuals here is not productive.

  38. Ed M, around 2:07: “…real jobs guarantee, real right to work, and real responsibility to do so…” Interesting – if government were to make full employment one of its aims again (for the first time in 35 years), that would represent a very “real” change. But have Labour given any indication of the measures they propose to take to achieve this? Because if no concrete measures are specified, there may be strong grounds for suspecting that this is just so much hot air.

  39. Feodor on said:

    Amnon:
    Please feel free to contribute your own ideas to the discussion…

    Discussion? What discussion?

    All I can see are the dated lyrics of that old record: “Labour has betrayed the working class, forward with the new workers party” – stuck on repeat since 1914.

    So how about this for an idea: socialists need to move beyond the language and paradigms of the 20th c. Everyone else has.

  40. Feodor: socialists need to move beyond the language and paradigms of the 20th c. Everyone else has.

    Yes, you might be right. But, on its own, that’s just a platitude, isn’t it? I’d be interested to hear how you, or anyone else, would put some flesh on the bones of that comment.

    I was interested to hear leader Ed promise a ‘right’ to work under Labour. It’s a great idea, but if it was a right, presumably enshrined in law, how would Ed enforce that? Would employers who want to sack workers be prevented? Would they be arrested? Would private businesses be nationalised? Just curious.

  41. Feodor: All I can see are the dated lyrics of that old record: “Labour has betrayed the working class, forward with the new workers party” – stuck on repeat since 1914.

    I don’t know where you got the 1914 date from. But whether or not the lyrics are dated, the central argument here is whether the Labour party will advance the interests of the working class, or of the Capitalist elite. The Labour slogan of “One Nation” says you can have it both ways. But you can’t. You have to decide which side you are on.

    I won’t repeat arguments already made here. Because answer will be made clear by the actions of the next Labour government.

    And if Jimmy, Rob and others turn out to be right, then certain conclusions follow. Namely if Labour in Government refuses to defend the interests of the ordinary working people, then the the Working Class will have to build their own party to do it.

  42. martinwicks: Nothing about the bedroom tax then. Perhaps this explains why
    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/ed-miliband-makes-no-promise-2821780
    What a tosser.

    What Miliband said in Chippenham is that he wants to be in a position where Labour can abolish the bedroom tax. Given that it is impossible to know what state the economy will be in when Labour next takes power, then detailed policy commitments involving money are hostage to fortune.

    A more relevant demand is to ensure that Labour councils immediately refuse to evict people due to arrears arising from the bedroom tax.

  43. amnon: And if Jimmy, Rob and others turn out to be right, then certain conclusions follow. Namely if Labour in Government refuses to defend the interests of the ordinary working people, then the the Working Class will have to build their own party to do it.

    Your argument seems completely stuck in time. What proportion of the current population identify themselves as working class? Could an election winning party ever be constructed on such a narrow platform?

    Do you think we should have a permanent Conservative government?

  44. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 51 says (“)Discussion? What discussion? All I can see are the dated lyrics of that old record: “Labour has betrayed the working class, forward with the new workers party” – stuck on repeat since 1914. So how about this for an idea: socialists need to move beyond the language and paradigms of the 20th c. Everyone else has.(“) and post 52 says (“)They have?(“)

    Yes and No, I, and Marxists like me, up until the late 1980s participated within the Labour Party because it contained a significant section of the politically aware working class and had a clause in its constitution, clause four part four, which stood for the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy. Ironically it because a part of the constitution in 1918 because of the Russian Revolution. After the early part of the 1990s, and the material collapse of the Stalinist States, and hence the ideological collapse of a bureaucratically planned economy, meant an ideological collapse within Social democratic political parties, such as the Labour Party, into openly capitalist political parties, especially after the ending of clause four part four by Blair in 1995; and Marxists were either, like me, expelled, or just left. And neo-liberal capitalism still remained and in fact intensified.

    So todays programme and policies that Socialists and Marxists should be advancing, fighting and campaigning for is a new workers’ party, (different language and paradigm to the 20th Century), and the taking over the commanding heights of the economy under workers control and management and the socialist reconstruction of society, (the same language and paradigm to the 20th Century).

  45. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Just noticed this; post 42 says (“)Jimmy Haddow, why did the CWI change its name?(“)

    I honestly have got no idea what you are talking about. So for your benefit I am posting the history of the Committee for a Workers’ International for you to see that your statement, in my opinion, is incorrect.

    http://www.socialistworld.net/pubs/history2/00.html

  46. Socialist on said:

    Below is a memo that was passed onto me from Socialist Party HQ in Scotland. The memo is only for the attention of senior SP officals. I have decided to leak the memo to SU:

    Memo from the Socialist Party in Scotland

    Comrade Jimmy Haddow should be actively discouraged from posting on Socialist Unity and other websites. Whilst, we appreciate that Comrade Haddow believes that he is advancing our cause against the reformists, counter-revolutionaries, Stalinists, etc on SU, there is a danger that he is contributing towards a very negative image of the Socialist Party. New members have reported concerns that Comrade Haddow is presenting an image of our party as being cultish, dogmatic and sectarian.

    There is evidence to suggest that Comrade Haddow’s postings are damaging the party’s reputation. Whilst we appreciate Comrade Haddow’s right to free speech, it cannot be at the expense of the party. How we resolve this situation should be urgently discussed at the next Scotland wide Socialist Party executive meeting.

    MEMO ENDS

  47. Feodor on said:

    Omar:
    They have?

    Yes, to the extent that they have accepted (and embraced) the fundamental dynamism and complexity of modern industrial and ‘post-indsutrial’ economies.

    Conversely, Jimmy Haddow and others still talk of ‘taking over the commanding heights of the economy’. That’s not ‘socialism’: it’s a call to return to the conditions of a ‘simpler’ age, to return to the model of the war economy.

    That boat sailed long ago, however.

    jack:
    But, on its own, that’s just a platitude, isn’t it?

    Absolutely. :)

    For me, I suspect like you, the key questions revolve around what is possible. In turn, this also requires we ask what Miliband represents, in a historical sense.

    I claim no prescience, but it seems to me that Miliband is trying to form a new ‘consensus’. He strikes me as an unassuming man with big plans.

    Now, in response to that, either the left can engage in the debates regarding the formation of this consensus, offering e.g. a language of citizenship which includes the right to a reasonable standard of existence (a living wage, social services, affordable housing, etc.), or it can engage in the ultimately fruitless task of trying to build a left of Labour alternative that won’t even unite the sects, never mind get anything other than the most derisory of votes.

    We keep trying the same things, keep getting the same results, and in turn these results reinforce the same old theories. Something needs to change.

    amnon: The Labour slogan of “One Nation” says you can have it both ways. But you can’t. You have to decide which side you are on.

    A ‘Marxism’ which reduces everything to class alone is a vulgar Marxism indeed.

    Class interest and national interest are both perfectly legitimate categories of political analysis. And even if by some miracle your new workers party does materialise and ever forms a government, it too will have to consider the ‘national interest’, just as the socialist states of the 20th c. did.

    You see, we won’t progress until we move beyond a caricatured ‘Marxism for dummies’, wherein everything is reduced to easily digested dichotomies – nation versus class, reform versus revolution, etc. Marxism needs its reformation.

  48. Neil Williams on said:

    For those that think they can reclaim the Labour Party for the left i suggest they read this from the Guardian today:
    “Ed Miliband is to risk accusations of backing another massive NHS reorganisation when he says he supports the integration of health and social care in a move that is designed to save billions and produce a more rational whole care service.

    The idea, widely supported within the NHS (but what about local goverment?? -Neil), will be the subject of a year-long independent commission chaired by Sir John Oldham. He has been told to achieve the reform without extra cost or any top-down reorganisation.

    Integration already has the support of the shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, who wanted to make the pledge in his conference speech last autumn but had to stop short after objections over the potential costs…….

    “The changes we propose will ensure that – but they do something else too. They will save billions of pounds which can be better spent elsewhere in the NHS.”

    Miliband will argue that the growing number of older people and those with chronic illnesses requires a new model of integrated care. At present social care is handled by local government but acute care by the NHS.

    Liz Kendall, the shadow social care minister, said the “state of the public finances demands that our care system does far more to prevent people from having to use more expensive hospital services and residential homes when they don’t need to”.

    Oldham said social care at present crosses organisational boundaries and is fragmented. He claims: “Those patients say: ‘I want you to treat the whole of me, and act as one team, which also leads to better outcomes and greater efficiency for the whole system.’ We need to bring that about.”

    Like Miliband, he stressed the long-term funding pressures faced by the NHS and projected his reforms as one means of combatting them. “If we don’t change, the crisis of need approaching rapidly will make the NHS and care system unsustainable, and reduce the competitiveness of our economy, driving a spiral of decline. It is that significant.”

    Oldham was the Department of Health’s former national clinical lead for quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) programme and member of the National Quality Board.”

    So dont expect labour to chase the tax rich evaders
    but do expect them to cut the cost of of care for the elderly at the expence of the old and frail. Its not the Left or the GMB thats making the running in the Labour Party but Progress and all those old SDP people Blair welcomed back into the Labour Party (but ofcourse still exclude people like George Galloway) and who still have control over policy.

  49. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: I claim no prescience, but it seems to me that Miliband is trying to form a new ‘consensus’.

    If so then he isn’t trying very hard.

    The NHS, and especially hospital closures, has proved to be a something which mobilises people.

    Some Labour Party members have taken this issue up. However, the Parliamentary Labour Party hasn’t.

    Needless to say, Lewisham People Before Profit is taking a lead.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C40TMce9e04&feature=player_embedded#t=7s

  50. Neil Williams on said:

    Lewisham People Before Profit is an excellent example of how the Left can organise at level level and avoid the dead end getto of trying to reclaim the Labour Party (once again and again and again!). And they have good election results recently to show their work is making inroads. Not a bad name either!

  51. George Hallam on said:

    Neil Williams: For those that think they can reclaim the Labour Party for the left i suggest they read this from the Guardian today:
    “Ed Miliband is to risk accusations of backing another massive NHS reorganisation when he says he supports the integration of health and social care in a move that is designed to save billions and produce a more rational whole care service.

    See http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/apr/22/miliband-integration-health-social-care-nhs

    Also the New Statesman “Labour recognises that it could end up closing hospitals too”

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/04/labour-recognises-it-could-end-closing-hospitals-too

  52. George Hallam on said:

    Neil Williams: Lewisham People Before Profit is an excellent example of how the Left can organise

    I suppose we should take it as a complement that some people on the Left wish to claim LPBP as their own.

    Do say: Well done, Lewisham People Before Profit!

    Don’t say: Well done, comrade.

  53. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    I cannot believe that little old me should be subjected to the Stalinist Falsification as in the so called Memo from the Socialist Party Scotland in Post 59 by the misnamed, and gutless, nom de plume of the (“)Socialist(“).

    I am surprised though, but it just shows you that I must be striking a chord somewhere in my advancement of the socialist programme and policies of the Socialist Party that I should be subjected to such Lies. Now who could it be, I do not know because I have vexed and peeved hacks of the Labour Party genre, the Communist Party genre, of the SWP genre, the breakaway SWP genre of the ISG, of the Maoist genre and uncle tom cobley and all on the internet. But I have never pissed-off working people in the real world with my advancement of socialist policies and programme. But to make myself clear to the readers and Editorial Board of Socialist Unity the contribution on Post 59 is a Fabrication, a Lie, a Falsehood, an invention of a tissue of mendacities perpetrated someone who does not even have to conviction of his/her principles and give their real name to this deception.

    Post 60 says (“)Conversely, Jimmy Haddow and others still talk of ‘taking over the commanding heights of the economy’. That’s not ‘socialism’(“)

    Ok, I used short hand because I had to go out and did not have time to give a proper formulation. So I should have said it like this: for a socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies and banking system that dominates the British economy and run them under democratic working class control and management; with compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need. As well as a democratic socialist plan of production based on the interests of the overwhelming majority of people. I should have also said no to the bosses neoliberal European Union and for socialists to campaign and fight for a Socialist Europe and a socialist world.

    Reading the rest of post 60 and other contributions from Feodor and his/her fellow traveller supporters from the past, I find that there is a retreat and abandonment to what they, maybe, had held before and capitulated to the capitalist ideologues the socialism can never be attained and working people now must grin and bear the capitalist system and all its horrors, as an example being support for the Miliband Labour Party. Personally I do not subscribe to that philosophy and I will still continue to advocate for a democratic society run for the needs of all and not for the profits of a few.

  54. Feodor: Yes, to the extent that they have accepted (and embraced) the fundamental dynamism and complexity of modern industrial and ‘post-indsutrial’ economies.

    Indeed, and by discarding the suspicion toward unfettered markets that previous Labour governments had accepted, to greater or lesser degrees , they helped nurture the kind of “dynamism” that has unleashed a near-collapse of many Western economies. Which maybe proves that so-called 20th century thinking may just be common-sense, especially from a socialist standpoint ?

  55. vanya on said:

    The current complex division between social care and health care is the basis on which thousands of elderly people with alzheimers are robbed of their savings, something I’ve seen at first hand.

    So forgive me if I’m not automatically dismissive of the concept of rationalising the system.

    I stress automatically.

  56. Amnon on said:

    Andy Newman: Your argument seems completely stuck in time. What proportion of the current population identify themselves as working class? Could an election winning party ever be constructed on such a narrow platform?

    Most readers of this blog don’t need any explanation of terminology such as the “Working Class”. And of course the formulations you use depends who you are talking to. So it could be “ordinary working people” or the “99%”. etc. Not a narrow platform, but the vast majority of society.

    But this is an quibble about terminology, which sidesteps the substantive questions.

    Do you think we should have a permanent Conservative government?

    Of course not. When the Tories are in power, Millibrand can pose as a champion of the Working Class. But the experience of a new Labour government will put this to the test.

  57. Feodor: Now, in response to that, either the left can engage in the debates regarding the formation of this consensus, offering e.g. a language of citizenship which includes the right to a reasonable standard of existence (a living wage, social services, affordable housing, etc.), or it can engage in the ultimately fruitless task of trying to build a left of Labour alternative

    Again, I’m sorry but it’s all rather vague. Ok, we need a ‘consensus’, but surely if that’s going to be worthwhile it needs to be based on at least a minimum amount of principle and, equally as important, able to inspire to sort of activity and resistance that will drive back the attacks that are being made. To what extent is Milliband and those around him helping or hindering that?

    Building a left of Labour electoral alternative has proved extremely difficult. But acknowledging that is quite different to saying we need to uncritically get behind Milliband. If one thinks of the significant battles that have taken place in modern British history – the New Unionism, the Minority Movement, the battles against In Place of Strife, the rank and file movement that freed the London dockers, the anti fascist campaigns, the ant-war campaign – they were all pretty much built outside the official structure of the Labour Party and without the sanction of its leadership. So, those who have operated to the left of Labour (including Labour party members) should maybe not be quite as dissapointed with their achievements as you suggest.

  58. Sorry, forget to mention in my list the successful anti-Poll Tax campaign. There was a great example of a consensus. It just didn’t involve the Labour Party leadership.

  59. Amnon: Most readers of this blog don’t need any explanation of terminology such as the “Working Class”. And of course the formulations you use depends who you are talking to. So it could be “ordinary working people” or the “99%”. etc. Not a narrow platform, but the vast majority of society.

    Well clearly the working class does not comprise 99% of the population by any definition.

    The task of constructing an electoral coalition broad enough to win a general election, or even to sustain majority support to non-parliamentary politics is not so easily sidetepped, because it requires engaging with the actual material interests, and the perceived interests and ideology of large numbers of people completely alienated from the language and policies that you advocate,

  60. Jimmy Haddow: So I should have said it like this: for a socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies and banking system that dominates the British economy and run them under democratic working class control and management;

    So – for example – you would nationalise Honda and Toyota and BMW?

    Can you explain how that would work in the era of global production?

  61. #42 Victoria Whine, I think the CWI changed their name to “The Socialist Party” or “The Socialist Party Scotland” to make them sound more electable(something along those lines). There is no doubt in my mind that Jimmy Haddows is a good bloke and well intended, but I know that if he rid himself of his party shackles and was allowed to be himself and make his own contribution then his impact would be much greater.

  62. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 75 says (“)So – for example – you would nationalise Honda and Toyota and BMW? Can you explain how that would work in the era of global production?(“)

    I see the perennial conundrum that every stipe of reformist, ex-left and ex—Marxist raises today in the world of globalisation is introduced once again!

    They believe that globalisation, the power of the multinationals, makes it impossible now to fight for socialism and wholesale nationalisation in their own countries, particularly because of the scale of the so-called branch assembly factories located by the multinationals throughout the world, which includes in Britain as well. Of course this is not a new phenomenon but a historical situation that took place in the 20th, and even the late 19th, Century as well. I for instance started my working ‘career’ as a sixteen year old, (1972), apprentice electrician in a factory that was owned and controlled by an American company. At least until 1975 when it was nationalised by the Labour Government, to save jobs and to continue the manufacturing interests in Britain, due to the fact that the Americans were going to close the three factories they had in Scotland because of the first post war economic crisis during the early seventies.

    In many of the even more developed sectors of the neo-colonial world, a significant section of the economy, sometimes a majority, is composed of branch assembly plants. If the working class in these countries wished to break from capitalism and the iron grip of the multinationals, they would have to take these assembly plants over. They would not then be able, in isolation, to begin to construct socialism. The enormous integration of the world economy now, the world division of labour – even more than in 1917 when the Russian working class took power – means that any movement towards socialism in one country has, from the outset, to be seen as the spark for igniting a continental and world socialist transformation. See there again I am using the old language, experience and paradigm of the 20th Century.

    I would like to suggest that a socialist policy in Britain and elsewhere does not mean fighting for a halfway house, by effectively bringing into public ownership the means of production in Britain, but for the working class to take power in one country and seek to spread its example on a continental and worldwide basis. Any other approach will lead to the catastrophes that we saw in Chile in the early 1970s and what is beginning to happen in Venezuela, and I will add that the limited social gains need to be defended and extend there or it will led to the derailment of the revolution as in Chile.

    That is why I support and advocate the position for socialists to bring in the major companies, and banking system, that dominates the British economy into public ownership under workers control and management and for a Socialist Europe and a socialist World. A reformist halfway solution would only be a disaster for the majority of people in Britain.

  63. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 76 says (“)#42 Victoria Whine, I think the CWI changed their name to “The Socialist Party” or “The Socialist Party Scotland” to make them sound more electable(something along those lines). There is no doubt in my mind that Jimmy Haddows is a good bloke and well intended, but I know that if he rid himself of his party shackles and was allowed to be himself and make his own contribution then his impact would be much greater.(“)

    To be honest ‘Olly Oddbins’ that is not particularly true so I need to give a clarification here. The Socialist Party Scotland and the Socialist Party (England and Wales) are national sections, component parts, of the Committee for a Workers’ International, CWI. The CWI was founded at a meeting of 46 Marxist/Trotskyist co-thinkers from 12 countries in April 1974. The main initiators for the founding of the CWI were all members of the British Militant Tendency, (now called the Socialist Party), and was not the beginning of the international work of the comrades, but had been something that they had been doing the previous ten years since the Militant newspaper had been formed.

    Even without an international organisation, or even a single international contact Militant always proceeded from an international standpoint. An international is, first of all, ideas, a programme and a, (Marxist), perspectives. The general ideas are a prerequisite of any organisation and from this alone flows the type of organisation that is required. Consequently, the history of the CWI, as with the British Militant in the past and now with the Socialist Party Scotland and the Socialist Party, down south of where I was a member for 30 years, is predominantly a history of the ideas of this body and also of the CWIs organisational practices.

    I would like to suggest that the need for an international Socialist/Marxist/Trotskyist organisation such as the CWI flows from the very development of capitalism itself. The historical merit of capitalism is that it developed the productive forces, of which the working class is the most important part, and bound individual nations together through the world market. Internationalism, as Marx pointed out, flowed from the very situation created by capitalism, which is the creation of the world market and the world working class. This idea is even more important today in the period of globalisation with the linking together of companies, continents and different national economies on a world scale that has been taken to an extent never imagined by Marx, Lenin or Trotsky.

    Now I really need to go because I have a Work Programme Job Search soon and need to get ready to go out.

  64. Uncle Albert on said:

    Amnon: Most readers of this blog don’t need any explanation of terminology such as the “Working Class”. And of course the formulations you use depends who you are talking to. So it could be “ordinary working people” or the “99%”. etc.

    A party of the ordinary working person? Not a bad idea, particularly if it is able to draw on the knowledge and skills accumulated by ordinary people as they go about their daily business – that would be far preferable to waiting for instructions from ‘the leadership’.

    Can’t help recalling a discussion with a well-known, and still very prominent, leader of a Trotskyist party. “So who are the working class?” I asked as our discussion reached a critical point, “They don’t exist in sense that you or I exist.” he replied, adding “The working class comes into existence at a particular historical moment and performs a particular function. It can only be identified as the ‘working class’ through the function it performs.”

    I think I’d prefer to stick with “ordinary working people”, at least I can exist in the meantime.

  65. George Hallam on said:

    Andy Newman: Do your u think rationalisation is a bad thing?

    Rationalisation a ‘Bad Thing’?

    ‘Rationalisation’ as in:

    “the inventing of a reason for an attitude or action the motive of which is not recognized”.

    or

    “when the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by concealing the true motivations for his or her own thoughts, actions, or feelings through the elaboration of reassuring or self serving but incorrect explanations.”

    Well, if it really helps you deal with your cognitive dissonance then how could it be bad?

  66. Jimmy Haddow, I just took my car to be repaired by a working class mechanic, who, when I paid him said that his dream was to win the lottery, up sticks, flit to America and live out the rest of his life there, “cos it’s the only place to be and there are hardly any “pakis”. I will never return to his garage. He does not wear a cloth cap, work down a mine, build ships or work in the steel industry, however he is working class and his thoughts and behaviour are typical of many of our class.

    I suggest you no longer refer to or think of the “working class” as being in general, kind , caring ,compassionate, loving, sympathetic, empathetic or any other utopian dream you clearly wish that we were.

    Yes we have to educate and fight for what we believe in, ( I tried with the mechanic and was overcharged as a consequence) therefore we all have a responsibility to communicate using language that is relevant today. the prognosis is the same, the solution is the same, however, we can’t engage if we appear to be looking like and living in the past. I suggest you buy a skateboard.

  67. George Hallam on said:

    Victoria Whine: I just took my car to be repaired by a working class mechanic, who, when I paid him..

    You paid him? Not his employer, or his employer’s cashier?

    I see; you mean he was ‘working class’ in the same way that Alan Sugar, Frankie Fraser, Bob Crow, Noddy Holder, etcetera, are all working class, i.e. they are ‘blokes’. They were not born into the social elite and are immediately identifiable by their distinct accents.

    http://globalcomment.com/cruel-britannia-a-closer-look-at-gangster-no-1/
    http://www.leftfutures.org/2013/01/labour-ppc-unacceptably-mocks-working-class-people/

  68. robert P williams on said:

    Victoria Whine,

    Hi.
    Marxism isn’t about idealising the working class. The reasons marxists focus on working class peaple is because of their role in the economy. Everything we need and use, every service is actually built and done by working people.

    Working class people produce wealth through their labour, and can bring an economy to a halt or otherwise exercise control over it when they are organised to act that way.

    Marxists understand that it is pointless to go cap in hand to the super-rich as much as we like… It is not the capitalists who will give us a better society.

    It is working and middle class people who really have the potential to take power out of the hands of the capitalists… so it is the ordinary working people that we have to bring to a point where they can recognise and realise their potential power.

    It is a shame that the guy in the garage was a racist, I hear that sort of thing all the time too. But this is because there is such low consciousness in society. Most people only get to hear some version of the Daily Mail view of migrant workers. The idea of having solidarity with migrant workers and fighting together for more jobs and better conditions is almost never even considered.

    Bringing people into the country is actually beneficial for jobs… If making the population smaller left more jobs for the ones left behind, then all you would need to do to find a job would be to move to the least populated part of the uk… what nonsense!
    There’s probably loads of jobs on the top of Ben Nevis if we follow the logic of the right wing.

    The problem is more one of exploitation. Migrant workers and the unemployed in general are very prone to being exploited, and are used by employers as a means to undermine terms and conditions for all workers.

    The ONLY way to deal with this is for there to be solidarity between ALL workers. Get migrant workers into unions. Demand a minimum wage of at least £8 per hour for all workers and trade union terms and conditions for all workers. That will stop the divide and rule tactics of the bosses class.

    But ordinary workers like the chap in the garage never hear about that sort of thing. Even the Labour Party is pandering to the ‘British jobs for British Workers” shite that goes around rather than putting forward a socialist response… that might upset the people in the ‘city’, so they continue to propigate false consciousness and bend over backwards to the tax dodging super-rich parasites.

    We have to be clear in what we say in order to raise class consciousness. Pretending we are ‘all middle class now’ and pandering those ‘sensitive’ souls who just want us all to get along as ‘one nation’ has only allowed the gap between rich and poor to widen and greatly strengthened the hand of the bosses.

    That is why we need a party that will put forward the genuine ideas of socialism and be organically built from within the most conscious and militant layers of the trade union movement itself.

    That, by the way, is what TUSC is trying to build.

  69. robert P williams on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Can you outline what the Labour Party stands for these days? Because it has nothing whatsoever to do with socialism.

  70. Feodor on said:

    George Hallam: If so then he isn’t trying very hard.

    I’m not so sure. Over, say, the last 6 months or so, there has been a qualitative shift in respect of Miliband’s reception.

    Those two phenomena seem to be converging which produce strong, transformational and epoch-defining Prime Ministers and governments: (1) a broad popularity that stretches across social classes, from top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top; (2) an increasing ‘credibility’ among opinion-formers and the formulation of a distinct climate of opinion.

    I’m too young to have lived through the equivalent of this pre-Blair and pre-Thatcher, but my reading of the history of those periods suggests to me something similar might be happening now – I’d be really interested in what comrades old enough to have experienced these periods have to say here.

    What I think many people miss, is just how well Miliband and others have chipped away at Cameron’s attempts to impose austerity as ‘the new consensus’. He’s playing the long game in this regard, which isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but considering how much power and influence was behind Cameron’s consensus just a couple of years ago, the shift against it has been quite notable – esp. as the anti-austerity protest movement in this country is comparatively under-developed and lacks serious intellectuals.

    Jimmy Haddow:
    Ok, I used short hand… I should have said it like this: for a socialist government to take into public ownership the top 150 companies and banking system that dominates the British economy and run them under democratic working class control and management; with compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need. As well as a democratic socialist plan of production based on the interests of the overwhelming majority of people.I should have also said no to the bosses neoliberal European Union and for socialists to campaign and fight for a Socialist Europe and a socialist world.

    Lol. You should have stuck to the short-hand, Jimmy: it’s better to fold and leave people guessing as to what your cards are, than to reveal a pair of jokers and look a fool – or in this case, a hopeless (and bitter) romantic.

    These are nothing more than nice words which help you to feel morally superior, Jimmy. They have nothing to do with what is commonly referred to as ‘the art of the possible’ – i.e. concrete political realities. What you consider ‘capitulation’ is engaging with the real world.

    And why the arbitrary 150? Why, that is surely a concession to petty-capitalism…

    Reminds me of what Marx said of ‘petty-bourgeois socialism’: ‘aspires … to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange, within the framework of old property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means … it is both reactionary and Utopian.’

    Change ‘property relations’ to ‘old/20th c. economic consensus’, and I think that’s Jimmy and the SP to a t.

    Omar: Indeed, and by discarding the suspicion toward unfettered markets that previous Labour governments had accepted, to greater or lesser degrees , they helped nurture the kind of “dynamism” that has unleashed a near-collapse of many Western economies. Which maybe proves that so-called 20th century thinking may just be common-sense, especially from a socialist standpoint ?

    Omar, you’re too intelligent to engage in such a silly game of political baiting.

    I agree that the Blair gov. failed in the respects you cite, that it was in fact an aberration from the social-democratic norm. Yet the second conclusion does not follow from the first – and conversely, rejecting it also doesn’t mean you accept the first.

    The New Labour approach and the 20th c. way of doing things both failed. Thus, we need to understand and transcend both, but that will be problematic as long as we use the language of treachery and capitulation, for they are moral judgements masquerading as political analysis.

    PS. To return to Marx’s rather brilliant summary of socialist and communist literature up to 1848 (in the Communist Manifesto), the call to return to the modus operandi of 20th c. socialism reminds me of that line on feudal socialism: ‘half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through [its?] total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.’ (Emphasis added.)

    The curious thing about British politics since Thatcher, is that the conservatives have become radicals, and the radicals have become conservatives. And in a funny way, perhaps the British working classes consistent rejection of left of Labour Parties confirms the basic orientation of the working classes towards ‘progressive’ politics: they simply don’t want to return to the world of their forefathers, of heavy manual labour and socio-culturally insulated working-class communities. They have a world to win (and experience), not just a deprived estate or run-down industrial town.

    jack:
    Building a left of Labour electoral alternative has proved extremely difficult. But acknowledging that is quite different to saying we need to uncritically get behind Milliband.

    False dichotomy. Just because I don’t think an electoral alternative to Labour is feasible, does not mean I’m arguing for uncritical support of Miliband. Rather, I’m asking for a sober evaluation of him, one which is capable of moving beyond the intellectual level of a Socialist Worker editorial – ‘neo-liberal sell-out’, ‘no different from Blair’, ‘just like Cameron’, ‘enemy of the working class’, etc., etc. Big yawn.

    The interesting thing about the movements you cite, is that they influenced the political centre, so to speak, without providing a national electoral challenge. It was Alfred Horner, I believe, who described the CPGB as the ‘watchmen’ of the British labour movement. And in many ways, they were. For while not a mass party in themselves, they had a subtle but profound influence on the mass labour movement, as a tendency within it. That is what I think socialists should aim to be. Moreover, it forces us to recognise that we must build political coalitions with people who hold non-socialist views, and while we may exert influence on them, we will not always get our own way, and conversely, they may even influence and teach us. But this also requires we display a bit more modesty and openness: the party is not always right, as Trotsky once claimed.

    In short, in politics it’s hard being a single voice in a large crowd, but you’ll never be heard if you avoid crowds altogether. And as I’ve already noted, I think the formulation of a socialist language of (modern) citizenship would be a very good message to direct towards the crowd right now.
    _ _ _ _ _

    (Apologies for the length people.)

  71. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: George Hallam: If so then he isn’t trying very hard.

    I’m not so sure. Over, say, the last 6 months or so, there has been a qualitative shift in respect of Miliband’s reception. .

    My comment was in response to your view that:

    Feodor: I claim no prescience, but it seems to me that Miliband is trying to form a new ‘consensus’.

    I was expressing my scepticism about the ‘new’ bit of the “new ‘consensus’”

    <blockquote cite="comment-648110">
    Feodor:

    Those two phenomena seem to be converging which produce strong, transformational and epoch-defining Prime Ministers and governments: (1) a broad popularity that stretches across social classes, from top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top; (2) an increasing ‘credibility’ among opinion-formers and the formulation of a distinct climate of opinion.

    “broad popularity that stretches across social classes” is difficult to achieve when there are material issues at stake. For example, FDR was generally very popular but he was hated and reviled by the US big business.
    “increasing ‘credibility’ among opinion-formers and the formulation of a distinct climate of opinion” is useful if you can get it. There are only two problems:
    a) Many “opinion-formers” are ill-informed and lack the intellectual curiosity to challenge whatever nostrum is being fed to them.
    b) A proportion of “opinion-formers” (aka lobbyists) are paid professional s in the pockets of trans-national firms

    Some examples of consensus views:
    “There was a broad consensus that the financial system has become more efficient overall, and more resilient in a number of respects, though changes that have helped to moderate risks on certain fronts have also encouraged agents to take on new risks. The nature of these new risks and the implications for overall financial stability received substantial attention. It was recognised that much has been done to bolster the measurement and management of risk, including through improvements in regulatory frameworks and financial institutions’ internal risk management systems. However, this has not prevented some mispricing of risks, which can, therefore, build up during relatively benign periods.”
    20–21 August 2007
    http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2007/nov/pdf/bu-1107-2.pdf

    “The purpose of the Health Policy Consensus Group is to encourage a new cross-party consensus by suggesting a series of guiding principles that will assist policymakers and members of the public in considering how to move towards a responsive, consumer-driven and high quality healthcare service. …
    . If the existing public sector near-monopoly of healthcare provision were to be ended, a diverse mix of government, private not-for-profit and for-profit healthcare services would be generated, reinvigorating the under-developed health sector of civil society. Health policy should leave communities free to experiment with different funding solutions and public-private partnerships for providing health care, utilising local resources to solve unique community problems.”
    http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/hpcgSystems.pdf (page 30).

    If anyone is serious about building a ‘new consensus’ then health care is a good place to start. However, they should recognise that this will mean taking on some very powerful vested interests. It is likely to be messy so this is not for the faint hearted.

  72. Feodor on said:

    George Hallam:
    If anyone is serious about building a ‘new consensus’ then health care is a good place to start.

    Personally, I’d say housing shortages and landlord parasitism is a better place to start: its an easier argument to win, the weaker/weakest link in the chain.

    As for the rest, two points:

    1) ‘…“broad popularity that stretches across social classes” is difficult to achieve when there are material issues at stake.’ Yes, I agree. But, ultimately, interests are perceived: business and labour do not always have to be in conflict,* even in times of crisis. Economic recovery and economic growth benefit both, thus there is always room for a certain amount of compromise and consensus.

    *Marx may have said this, but the historical experience of the ‘social partnership’ and postwar transformation, particularly when viewed against what contemporaries of the 1930s thought possible, shows there is more room for social cooperation than a sort of caricatured, ‘workerist’ Marxism allows.

    2) It is precisely because opinion-formers lack originality that shifts in their perception are so notable. They reflect something else, something bigger.

    Conversely, your other point is groundless: yes there are opinion-formers in the pockets of big business, but there are also opinion-formers in the pockets of the left. In fact, left literature is a huge industry. And the left also has a disproportionately large presence on the internet. We contribute too, and on a playing field that is far more level than many accept.

    As usual, George, you’re arguing for the sake of arguing. And only you know what you’re on about with regard the ‘new consensus’ thing – I don’t have the foggiest, sorry.

  73. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: As usual, George, you’re arguing for the sake of arguing. And only you know what you’re on about with regard the ‘new consensus’ thing – I don’t have the foggiest, sorry.

    There is no need to apologise.

    However, if you think that I argue for the sake of arguing then you really don’t have the foggiest.

    I am an activist and this involves working with a lot of people, incuding leftists.

    1) There is a difference between “arguing for the sake of arguing” and letting off steam. Working with leftists is often very hard going. Arguing with such people face to face would be counter-productive. However, by posting on this site I can take issue with some of the sillier historical misconception that form the accepted wisdom of the left without doing any harm.

    2) A number of leftists could be very effective .. if they stopped being leftists and engaged with the real world. Some of my posts are directed to this end.

    Feodor: .. we must build political coalitions with people who hold non-socialist views

    That’s me you’re talking about.

    Feodor: and while we may exert influence on them, we will not always get our own way,

    Only too true.

    Feodor: and conversely, they may even influence and teach us.

    If only..(By the way I think you mean Arthur Horner not Alfred Horner).

    Feodor: But this also requires we display a bit more modesty..

    Words to live by.

  74. Feodor on said:

    Yes, I meant Arthur – brilliant man who helped found the NUM, there’s a very good biography of him by Nina Fishman if anyone’s interested, as well as his own very good memoir, Incorrigible Rebel.

    As for the rest, you’ve kinda proven my point George. You seem to agree with much of what I’ve been saying, but are nevertheless intent on arguing about… well, something, anything.

    Perhaps I’ve been guilty of ‘some of the sillier historical misconception[s] that form the accepted wisdom of the left’ which you talk of, but you’re not really saying anything of substance on the matter. As far as I can see, your objection boils down to a quibble over the use of the word ‘new’.

    How is that not arguing for the sake of arguing?

  75. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: I’m too young to have lived through the equivalent of this pre-Blair and pre-Thatcher, but my reading of the history of those periods suggests to me something similar might be happening now

    If you think that Blair and Thatcher were “strong, transformational and epoch-defining Prime Ministers” then you haven’t done enough reading.

    As for popularity, Blair was very popular, but only breifly and only after he was elected.

    see the chart in:
    http://www.economist.com/node/9150734

    Before the General Election of 1997 Blair had a net approval rating of about 25 per cent.

    This is only a bit better than Cameron in 2009.
    See:
    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/leaders/cameron

  76. Feodor on said:

    George Hallam: If you think that Blair and Thatcher were “strong, transformational and epoch-defining Prime Ministers” then you haven’t done enough reading.

    Whatever George.

    They are the two longest-serving PM’s of the postwar period who played a very important role in the shaping of modern Britain as we know it today, with their initial elections widely recognised as watershed moments in British history. Few would object to the wording I used.

    But you know better than everyone else, right? Though in the tried and true style of a charlatan, you won’t actually say what you know. Instead, you take refuge in snide remarks and misdirection.

    You’re a troll, a clever troll, but still a troll. And as the saying goes: from now on, I ain’t gonna feed ya. :)

  77. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: As for the rest, you’ve kinda proven my point George. You seem to agree with much of what I’ve been saying

    That’s only because you aren’t paying attention.
    You said:

    Feodor: it seems to me that Miliband is trying to form a new ‘consensus’.

    I suggest to you that anyone trying to form a new consensus would leap at change to mobilise people on issues that challenge the establishment.

    I made the point that Milliband isn’t doing anything about the NHS despite the fact that this is a hugely popular issue. You responded by saying that you thought housing would be easier.

    Well, LPBP has been very active on the housing issue as well so I can tell you from experience that while it is a popular issue it has nothing like the potential for mobilising people the way health care has.
    http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.org.uk/component/content/article/1-pbp-content/172-occupied-houses-update
    Not that this matters, since Milliband hasn’t been doing anything on housing either. This concerns me because I’m involved in real campaigns on both heath and housing.

    So you say:Miliband is trying to form a new ‘consensus’. While I say all the indications are that his isn’t trying to form a ‘consensus’, he’s just going along with the same old consensus of the political establishment, cuts, privatisation, etc…

    This is a long way from either agreeing with much of what you’ve been saying, or arguing for the sake of arguing.

  78. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: They are the two longest-serving PM’s of the postwar period who played a very important role in the shaping of modern Britain as we know it today, with their initial elections widely recognised as watershed moments in British history. Few would object to the wording I used.
    But you know better than everyone else, right?

    I know enough about economics and economic history to see that the received wisdom on Thatcher, Blair and “watershed moments” is somewhat superficial.

    I am not the only one to understand this, for example see:
    http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2013/04/thatcherism-productivity.html

    Even Larry Elliott in the Guardian acknowledged that:
    “many of the policy innovations associated with Thatcher had already been pioneered by her predecessor. Full employment had been ditched in 1976, while Labour had introduced monetary targets and cash limits for Whitehall departments while Denis Healey was at the Treasury.
    Nor, contrary to myth, did Thatcherism emerge fully formed in May 1979. Privatisation did not feature in the Conservative election campaign, while the tougher approach to trade union reform had only really become evident since the winter of discontent, and even then was a gradual process.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-transform-britain-economy

  79. Feodor: Omar, you’re too intelligent to engage in such a silly game of political baiting.

    And you, Feodor, are much too intelligent to promote such platitudes as:

    “The curious thing about British politics since Thatcher, is that the conservatives have become radicals, and the radicals have become conservatives. And in a funny way, perhaps the British working classes consistent rejection of left of Labour Parties confirms the basic orientation of the working classes towards ‘progressive’ politics: they simply don’t want to return to the world of their forefathers, of heavy manual labour and socio-culturally insulated working-class communities. They have a world to win (and experience), not just a deprived estate or run-down industrial town.”

    Look, what working class folks want right now is decent-paying jobs and the kind of state support that encourages intra-class mobility and stability in the face of the the unpredictability of current neo-liberal economics. Due to the lack of these, which are the inevitable consequences of trying to play footsie with neo-liberalism and the free-market , they will indeed not be able to aspire beyond the deprived estate or run-down (formerly) industrial town. It may be trendy in the academic millieu to postulate about variations on the “Third Way” but we have seen that those theories are themselves failures. Socialists need to cut through the fog and reiterate the need for a strong public footprint in the economy, social programs to remedy the inevitable damage of the market and secure, productive employment in industries that have some long-term life in them, not pandering to the get-rich-quick escapism of Thatcherite/Blairite culture. Sometimes “the basics” are worth a second look.

  80. Feodor on said:

    George Hallam:
    I suggest to you that anyone trying to form a new consensus would leap at change to mobilise people on issues that challenge the establishment.

    And you have arrived at this conclusion based on what? Your superior knowledge of history and economics? Pull the other one.

    As it happens, overt social protest was considered a hindrance to the creation of the postwar consensus in western and central Europe. This was realised by the postwar left: Communist partisans were ordered to give up their weapons; social-democrats refused to support the growing strike movement against the various wage and price agreements.

    You may not like the course taken, but it doesn’t change the fact that the path was followed without – or perhaps in spite of – political mobilisation against ‘the establishment’.

    As for your supposed rebuke to my depiction of Blair and Thatcher and the nature of consensus: it’s a fallacious argument that rests on the assumption that politics and history can be neatly compartmentalised into a distinct before and after, when in fact what we are talking about are processes which occur gradually over time, albeit with the occasional sudden and rapid development.

    And a whole part of describing how the Thatcher consensus was imposed, lies in the analysis of how the previous Labour leadership realised it needed to dismantle certain elements of the postwar Keynesian state, but was slow to formulate a convincing vision of reform. That a whole section of the labour movement was taking this line, is really what makes it a consensus – it extended beyond party politics.

    Thatcher’s election was thus a watershed in the sense that while the old consensus had broken down, it was her government who played the biggest role in imposing the new consensus, giving clear articulation to some processes that were already underway, and to some that had yet to begin. Similarly, the current consensus broke down in 2008, but unlike Thatcher, what Cameron has not been able to do is formulate a new one.

  81. Feodor on said:

    Omar: Socialists need to cut through the fog and reiterate the need for a strong public footprint in the economy, social programs to remedy the inevitable damage of the market and secure, productive employment in industries that have some long-term life in them…

    No disagreement from me.

    What is puzzling, however, is that you seem to think this is a return to basics, so to speak, when in fact what you’re saying is neither an argument for the ‘Third Way’ nor an argument for working-class revolution.

    You are attempting to transcend the frameworks of the 20th c., even if in doing this you still feel the need to call on the ghosts of the 19th.

  82. robert p. williams on said:

    Yesterday the CWU conference voted overwhelmingly to call for a 24 hour general strike, despite the leadership arguing for our motion to be remitted or opposed. This gives a glimpse of the mood among union activists. Tomorrow we have a chance to try and give the leadership of the TUC a glimpse of that mood! The NSSN lobby of the TUC general council, which will be discussing the general strike, is taking place tomorrow morning outside Congress House from 8.30 – 10 am. Be there if you can!

  83. Feodor: Thatcher’s election was thus a watershed in the sense that while the old consensus had broken down, it was her government who played the biggest role in imposing the new consensus, giving clear articulation to some processes that were already underway, and to some that had yet to begin.

    Well yes, but remember that thatcher was actually quite an ineffective leader of the opposition, much less effective actually than Ed Miliband.

    Paradoxicallly the beginning of the shift of consensus started in Britain with James callaghan, Douglas Jay and their clique.

    The real skill of Thatcher was in forcing the conflict between the old and new consensus to be expressed in such a way that the centre ground disappeared; the consensual “wets” in her own party were silenced by Thatcher starting a class struggle that posed a question to Tory doubters “which side are you on”.

    Now generally, I think that we are at the beginning of a new paradigm shift, but just as the Thatcher consensus did not follow the same path as the Atlle consensus, there will be no clear road map for how a new one will be formed. Certainly it would be a rash Labour leader who asked rightist opponents in the labour Party which side they were on!

  84. Feodor: You are attempting to transcend the frameworks of the 20th c., even if in doing this you still feel the need to call on the ghosts of the 19th.

    Ghosts of 19th century? Aren’t you the one whose been quoting Marx?
    Transcend the frameworks of 20th c. ? I’m not quite getting you but what I’ve described fits with plenty of the social democratic/moderate socialist models from the 20th century. Their failure is in part due to the fact that capital,predictably, no longer wished to play ball not necessarily from working-class disenchantment with these models, as you seem to be asserting. Thatcherism represented a fork in the road and the end of that road has been reached in the last 5 years. We are now presented with another fork in the road (sorry to overwork the metaphor). My opinion is that we need to argue for the reestablishment of basic social democratic principles. How far that takes us is beyond my ability to predict but it’s better than working within the parameters of neo-liberal discourse that have been dominant for the last 30 years.

    Also, don’t you think Marx’s ideas about superstructure and the effect of dominant ideologies over those who are oppressed by those very same ideologies can go some way to explaining the seeming lack of enthusiasm for left of Labour alternatives from the working-class?

  85. Feodor on said:

    Andy Newman: …remember that thatcher was actually quite an ineffective leader of the opposition, much less effective actually than Ed Miliband.

    Whether justified or not, it seems to me the Labour gov of the day suffered from something that is far worse (for a government’s own health) than the suspicion of malfeasance: the suspicion of basic incompetence. I suspect that’s what enabled her to slip in under the radar, to an extent anyway.

    What you say about how she managed to frame and constrict political debate is, I think, very perceptive.

    Omar: Ghosts of 19th century? Aren’t you the one whose been quoting Marx?

    My apologies Omar, I think I’ve misjudged your politics somewhat – should try and remind myself not to be so iconoclastic.

    For the record, I’m not saying working-class disenchantment was the reason these models failed. Quite the reverse. It was because these models were failing, esp. because inflation was rising faster than wages, that there was working-class disenchantment.

    Were the problems terminal? Hard to tell. But whatever your opinion, I don’t think anyone (serious) denies that a certain amount of reform and restructuring was needed – is this what forms the other part (‘Their failure is in part due to the fact that capital,predictably, no longer wished to play ball’)? And similarly, no one except the SP seem to seriously want to re-make the economy and society of the 1960s.

    I agree that ‘we need to argue for the reestablishment of basic social democratic principles’, but think these need some updating for a modern, consumer society. In particular, I find the particularly British fetish for nationalisation and rejection of ‘markets’ rather archaic.

    Omar:
    Also,don’t you think Marx’s ideas about superstructure and the effect of dominant ideologies over those who are oppressed by those very same ideologies can go some way to explaining the seeming lack of enthusiasm for left of Labour alternatives from the working-class?

    Perhaps. But they seem to do well elsewhere.

    The British labour movement has always been peculiar – no clue what the ‘ultimate origin’ of its oddness is, just know that it is.

    See above, e.g., public services provided by the market is something most European social-democrats could care less about. It’s the regulatory body around them that counts, not the provider. Yet for the British left, these things are huge shibboleths, which perhaps reflects our (self-imposed) isolation from the rest of Europe…?

    And to prefigure the typical reply: no, I’m not saying the NHS should be privatised, just commenting on general preconceptions.

  86. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: As it happens, overt social protest was considered a hindrance to the creation of the postwar consensus in western and central Europe. This was realised by the postwar left: Communist partisans were ordered to give up their weapons; social-democrats refused to support the growing strike movement against the various wage and price agreements.
    You may not like the course taken, but it doesn’t change the fact that the path was followed without – or perhaps in spite of – political mobilisation against ‘the establishment’.

    So overt social protest played no role in the emergence of the “postwar consensus in western and central Europe”. I can see that there is a case for saying that.

    But what about convert, or potential, social protest?

    “With many of the region’s nations economically and politically unstable, the United States feared that local communist parties, directed by Moscow, would capitalize on their wartime record of resistance to the Nazis and come to power. Something needed to be done, Secretary of State George Marshall noted, for “the patient is sinking while the doctors deliberate.””
    http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/history/ch11.htm

    “The majority of these policies were implemented in post-War Western Europe and were essentially limited in comparison to earlier socialists’ arguments and were conducted in the context of the threat from the Communist movements in these countries and those in eastern and central europe. These policies restricted inequality between wealth and income that characterised the capitalist system, land reform was undertaken in countries (e.g., Italy) where land was concentrated in the hands of former aristocrats and landowners. This was not only done to enable subsistence production, but also due to fears of communist takeover in the post-war period.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/01/09/934787/-Anti-Capitalist-Meet-up-20th-and-21st-century-capitalism-for-beginners-part-I-Consumer-Capitalism

    “The European welfare state emerged out of the coalescence of the bureaucratic Rechtsstaat (state of public law) and insurance, prompted by the fear of of workers’ rebellion and with a view to nation-state strengthening and development.”

    The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State
    Francis G. Castles, Stephan Leibfried, Jane Lewis – 2010

    See also:
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:5Eguie6dzy8J:dds.cepal.org/proteccionsocial/pacto-social/seminario/docs_programa/pdf/Presentacion-Goran-Therborn.pdf+fear+communism+origins+of+the+welfare-state&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShyEAaIN-OnbBfckMp8MbMgO2IwcFSkqv3qh9V906AwFOmiENGI6T7Flp6UrAyyADVW2i0mhJx16BuA6ATJKi4ENLPcW78wO0iWKPugDlIY5fc7H9UvJhmnBBnIFo3JsGLfP4_I&sig=AHIEtbTjyCSgGYG5iUrj6lCiLYmhqOKMwg

  87. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    (“)And similarly, no one except the SP seem to seriously want to re-make the economy and society of the 1960s.(“)

    You do talk crap Feodor, you are either deliberately being mendacious or you are politically and literacy illiterate, because the Socialist Party has never said that. The Socialist Party does not advocate the Keynesian Capitalist economy of the post war perio, but the complete socialist transformation of society. The amusing fact is while you carp and criticise the Socialist Party, and other socialist programme the it is so 20th century I have not seen you articulate a programme for the 21st century that is not the maintenance of the minority private ownership of the capitalist system. Now is that not so 19th century.

    Post 99 (“)Paradoxicallly the beginning of the shift of consensus started in Britain with James callaghan, Douglas Jay and their clique.(“)

    Just one of the few times I concur with something you right Mr Newman. Yes, in all of the celebrations of Thatcher’s death it is forgotten that it was the Callaghan Government that lost the 1979 election and beget Britain and the world the political philosophy of Thatcherism.

  88. Tony,
    My reply to Feodor, which followed George’s comment at #102 was caught in the spam filter for some reason.

  89. Feodor on said:

    George, the impetus for the postwar consensus primarily came ‘from above’, and while the fear of social protest doubtless played some role in policy-makers’ minds – when doesn’t it? – as did the threat of Communist takeover, the experience of war itself, the urgent tasks of postwar reconstruction and the discrediting of the old elites were far more important factors. Indeed, the idea that the threat of Communist takeover played a decisive role is particularly problematic in respect of Britain.

  90. Feodor: he impetus for the postwar consensus primarily came ‘from above’,

    This points to the problem with your overall approach – a huge underestimation of the importance of what occurs ‘below’ and a top-down strategy for ‘consensus’, as unrealistic as any calls for a revolutionary socialist electoral alternative to Labour. Social protest is, therefore, a ‘hindrance’ and ‘shibboleths’ such as public ownership need to be rejected. This new paradigm you’re on about turns out to be as old as the hills, then.

  91. Feodor: Whether justified or not, it seems to me the Labour gov of the day suffered from something that is far worse (for a government’s own health) than the suspicion of malfeasance: the suspicion of basic incompetence. I suspect that’s what enabled her to slip in under the radar, to an extent anyway.

    I don’t think that is the case, the intellectual calibre of Labour leaders of that era was astonishingly high, many of them had served in or around the Attlee government, and been involved in the debates around revisionism in the 1950s.

    Frankly what we saw was a twin crisis that the economic paradigm that the Croslandite right were depending upon to underpin their egalitaran social programme failed; and the left were divided between those supporting the social contract and those who opposed it.

    The economic policies in the 1974 manifesto were actually credible, and could have retained Britain’s position as a major industrial power, but to implement such a bold plan the left would have needed to be more united,and to have built a new consensus around them to compel the government. In fact the unions were divided, as was the political left.

  92. jack: ‘shibboleths’ such as public ownership need to be rejected.

    Well it is worth examining to what degree public ownership is viable in the era of globalisation. If the govt nationalised Honda’s plant in Swindon, for example, the company would simply close it and move production elsewhere.

    The real issue is how do we acheive democratic control of the economy in the interests of the common good; which changes the focus onto what levers the govt requires, which probably would require a greater footprint of state ownership than at the present (finance, supermarkets and pharamaceuticals, perhaps) but working towards a win-win relationship with private capital in other areas.

  93. Feodor: And similarly, no one except the SP seem to seriously want to re-make the economy and society of the 1960s.

    i think this is a fair characterisation, and would also explain why they all buy their clothes at Millets.

    What is noticeable is the SP’s failure to either advocate a theory of social change, nor to explain (beyond platitudes) how the their “socialist” economy would actually work.

  94. George Hallam on said:

    Feodor: the impetus for the postwar consensus primarily came ‘from above’, and while the fear of social protest doubtless played some role in policy-makers’ minds – when doesn’t it?

    Like, now.

    (Please read this as if it was written, not by me, but by a much younger person.)

  95. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 109 says (“)What is noticeable is the SP’s failure to either advocate a theory of social change, nor to explain (beyond platitudes) how the their “socialist” economy would actually work.(“)

    While I would like to personally answer this once again I have a Work Programme Job Search, which I hate, and I have to go out shortly; and I will not be returning home until the evening. So I am going to leave an article called ‘How a socialist economy would work’ which will specifically answer that question you asked Mr Newman.

  96. Feodor on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    You do talk crap Feodor, you are either deliberately being mendacious or you are politically and literacy illiterate…

    Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Jimmy. If I’m ‘literacy illiterate’, then what are you!? Lol.

    jack: This points to the problem with your overall approach – a huge underestimation of the importance of what occurs ‘below’ and a top-down strategy for ‘consensus’…

    No, it points to your deliberate attempts to misconstrue my point, and your lack of understanding with regard to the mechanisms of postwar reconstruction.

    Nazi occupation had completely decimated civil society across most of continental Europe. The old national elites were often compromised by their collaboration. Mass politics had almost ceased to exist – and in the immediate postwar period, the majority were more concerned with basic survival than engaging in political action.

    In fact, the general framework for postwar reconstruction was mostly agreed upon before the Allied victory. It was something negotiated ‘from above’, between the Allied leaders and the various exile groups they gave shelter to. And other things which occurred later, like the division of Germany or the 1955 Austrian State Treaty, also derived most of their impetus ‘from above’. Mass influence was, typically, very limited. (Britain is likely the exception here, due to it not having been occupied.)

    It was a period when ‘high’ politics were particularly important. That doesn’t mean nothing happened ‘from below’, just that what happened ‘from below’ wasn’t the primary motor – if you like, it was in this case the subordinate side of the dialectic.

    Andy Newman: I don’t think that is the case, the intellectual calibre of Labour leaders of that era was astonishingly high…

    Perhaps you’re right – I was’t trying to stress the opposite, that the Labour leaders were dullards.

    Still, perceptions of intelligence are a funny thing, and in this country especially we seem to undervalue academic intelligence – which someone like Wilson had plenty of – and overvalue common sense pragmatism/rule of thumb empiricism. (Wilson himself played down his smarts, right? Wanted to seem more Yorkshire lad than Oxford alumni.)

    Thus the ‘Labour isn’t working’ try my home-spun wisdom approach of Thatcher can be seen in the way I suggested, because the underlying message was that Labour was incompetent and that, conversely, Thatcher had the common sense needed to ‘save’ the country, as Cameron put it.

    That doesn’t mean perceptions reflected reality, though.

    Andy Newman:…a win-win relationship with private capital in other areas.

    This is an interesting and controversial point.

    Personally, I think at times – but not always – such a relationship is possible, but an orthodox Marxist would likely reject this premise outright.

    It’s an interesting question to pose and ponder.

  97. Andy Newman: which probably would require a greater footprint of state ownership than at the present (finance, supermarkets and pharamaceuticals, perhaps) but working towards a win-win relationship with private capital in other areas.

    The problem I see with this is that privately-owned enterprises, in this globalised environment, may be able to challenge public-sector monopolies under certain trade treaties and agreements, citing them as “unfair competition” and the like. At the risk of promoting yet more “20th century” thinking, wouldn’t it be necessary to impose legal controls on the movement of private capital and pursue some protectionist measures to mitigate the movement abroad of factories and firms and limit cheap imports? Genuine question.

  98. Omar: At the risk of promoting yet more “20th century” thinking, wouldn’t it be necessary to impose legal controls on the movement of private capital and pursue some protectionist measures to mitigate the movement abroad of factories and firms?

    I think the issue here is to present an attractive proposition.

    For example, China represents a huge internal market, stable political system, and relatively cheap labour, which is sufficient incentive for multinationals to be persuaded to not only invest in China, but enter technology sharing agreements.

    strategic nationalisation could be seen as part of a portfolio of measures, and need not embrace all companies in a sector.

    Look how state ownership of the BBC and Channel 4 currently operates in broadcasting, it would not be hard to see how similar state holdings of say, ASDA and Morrisons could give extensive government influence in large parts of the economy.

    Incidently, there are also several non-confrontational mechanisms where state ownership could be achieved.

  99. Socialist on said:

    Jimmy, I feel for you having to undergo the humility of a ‘work programme job search’, especially as you are someone who obviously knows the true causes of things. It can’t be easy being the only Marxist in the job centre.

    However, take comfort in the fact that those administrating your ‘work programme job search’ are no doubt members of the PCS and that one day you will meet with them in the fatherland of socialism.

    Solidarity comrade Jimmy.

  100. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 118 says (“)However, take comfort in the fact that those administrating your ‘work programme job search’ are no doubt members of the PCS and that one day you will meet with them in the fatherland of socialism.(“)

    The Work Programme is run by private companies, in my case it is A4e, not the Job Centre Plus, and to the best of my knowledge none of the A4e employees are union members, unfortunately.

  101. Socialist on said:

    Apologies Jimmy.

    This is absolutely disgraceful comrade.

    We should demand that the job search work programme is brought back into public ownership under the democratic control of job centre plus.

    I hope you raised this transitional demand at your meeting…

  102. Andrew Grace on said:

    Just as a read and based on some of my own recent reading –not arguing for or against any other comments – I found the following helpful. An Interview with Richard Duncan, author of ‘The Dollar Crisis’ in New Left Review Number 77, September-October 2012.

    Duncan describes the history of the ending of Bretton-Woods from 1973 and following that the rise of creditisation. Part of his argument is that returns on Industrial money-capital investments in the Western countries were no longer providing adequate returns and in order to promote and effective expansion in the global economy the US dollar became a global reserve country replacing the gold standard. This has had the effect of removing many of the restraints and guidelines between countries on the movement and behaviour of capital across national boundaries and there have been enormous booms and busts in countries such as Thailand.
    (Here I would add the oil-price shock and the Vietnam War).

    As an aside to this, the effect in the UK was to replace industrial labour with a financial entrepot economy and conceal the effect to an extent by promoting consumer-led capitalism based on consumer credit. Industrial labour-intensive commodity production was centered in developing world economies where capital investment took advantage of large workforces receiving low wages.

    I wonder if much of the political confusion in the UK comes about because it is so difficult to see the difference between consumption and production in our part of the global economy.

    Duncan has some practical suggestions. One I think is helpful is that there should be a global minimum wage. With the collapse of the real earnings of labour we have, just as Marx described, another crisis but on a larger scale owing to the success of capitalism as an expansionary system. The response to the 2008 crisis has been ‘Quantitative Easing’ – the creation of huge additional amounts of fiat money to maintain the big banks and stock markets. But in order to redistribute industrial production globally a minimum wage would mean that commodities would not be produced or allowed to be traded unless the workers were paid a social wage.

    I am not suggesting this would cure the systemic problems but an approach like this allows us to see the bigger picture and also see some possible ways forward.

    By the way, check out Immanuel Wallerstein’s latest commentary on ‘The End of Runaway Factories.’ I find Wallerstein very helpful. I realise there are disputes and disagreements over analysis but from the point of getting an overview Wallerstein has provided consistent insight for decades at the macro-level.
    Wallerstein argues that capital is presently searching for new outlets in Cambodia as Chinese wages rise. However, the search for new areas of labour-exploitation is becoming more strained geographically. So we are seeing a return to older forms of profit-seeking (the rentier class and general swindling again) – 19th Century here we come!

  103. Andy Newman: it would not be hard to see how similar state holdings of say, ASDA and Morrisons could give extensive government influence in large parts of the economy.

    I think in the case of ASDA they are owned by America’s Wal-mart,no? How would the State be able to acquire holdings without raising objections from the parent company and other competitors? I’m having a hard time believing, in a market the size of the UK (ie. considerably smaller than China), that the State would be able to have the kind of leverage enjoyed by the PRC to be able to create a win-win situation comparable to the Chinese model.

  104. Andrew Grace,

    Thanks for that, Andrew. Looks like some interesting information.I would also add to creditisation the rise of the stakeholder/stockholder culture over the last 20 years accelerating the rapaciousness of capitalist-owned firms and the need for short-term profits.

  105. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 125 asks (“)Why the inverted commas “comrade”?(“)

    Irony from my part! Despite the Telegraph obituary saying this: (“)He replaced Hayward a week after the NEC decided to tackle Militant, having for years denied that it was a problem. Loth to expel anyone, Mortimer said he aimed to keep Militant inside the fold and was “not here as an axeman”; but at the 1982 party conference he won an enthusiastic response with his firm explanation of why the NEC would go on to expel Militant’s five-strong editorial board.(“)

    But Jim Mortimer, as a perceived Left wing General Secretary, at the 1982 Labour Party conference distorted the programme of Militant to such an extent that it bore no relationship to the truth. Because of this misrepresentation of the policies, programme and ideas of Militant it swung the conference, specifically rank and file trade union delegates to support a register that would eventually lead to the expulsion of not only the Militant Editorial Board, but to individual Militant several years before the major witch-hunt and expulsions of Militants in the mid-1980s.

    At the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the Labour Party in December 1982 Jim Mortimer, the Left wing General Secretary, refused to summarize the alleged evidence that had been gathered to prove Militant was a separate organisation contrary to the ideas of the Labour Party at that time. During that NEC the Militant Editorial Board was not allowed to ask questions about the evidence and the General Secretary spoke to the NEC basically outlining the same distortions he made in the Labour Party conference. Dennis Skinner who was on the NEC shouted that it was a kangaroo court and walked out. When the Editorial Board asked what could they do to make Militant acceptable to the Labour Party hierarchy it was not forthcoming by Jim Mortimer as General Secretary. The reality is Jim Mortimer as a left-wing member of the Labour Party followed the ‘red-scare’ of the media and press and condoned the expulsion of Militant Editorial Board in February 1983 which was ‘green-light’ to start further investigations and expulsions against both perceived and non-perceived Militants.

    So from my personal experience as a Labour Party member, and Militant, during this period is I feel a bit paradoxical to this Left Winger; which is the reason I put comrade in inverted commas.

  106. Feodor on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    …the alleged evidence that had been gathered to prove Militant was a separate organisation contrary to the ideas of the Labour Party at that time.

    So Militant wasn’t an entrist group waiting and working for a watershed moment when it could lead the rank-and-file away from the reformist programme of the leadership and towards the programme of working-class revolution and socialist transformation? That’s the idea, the ultimate goal, right?

    I can understand why you’d argue against that then. You needed to maintain your cover, in public at least. But come on, now it just sounds like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.

  107. #127 Good point.

    There was an extent to which Militant (and other groups carrying out entrism) were essentially the victims of a fair cop. They were in clear breach of Labour Party rules, not least because of the existence of the CWI, and clearly lied about the true nature of their ogrganisation (it’s just a paper and our meetings are readers’ groups, yeah right!). I was pleased to discover after I joined in 1982 that the line was to deny the existence of Militant as an organisation to as few people as possible (lie to the bureacracy but not to the class) but again this was clearly going to make a witchhunt easier.

    However there was a fair ammount of hypocricy to say the least. As Militant themselves pointed out, elements of the right of the labour movement had worked with the CIA against the left since after the Second World War. Frank Field was not disciplined for advising voters in his neighbouring constituency to vote SDP, which was clearly as much in breach of the rules as anything any entrist group did.

    And while Clause 4 was in existence, Militant in particular could rightly claim to be stauncher defenders of the programme (in their own way) than many on the right.

    But Jimmy H really does seem to be trying to have it both ways here. The millies were bang to rights then and he has provided plenty of evidence of that himself on this blog.

  108. Feodor on said:

    @#128 – cheers, and I wasn’t even trying to be mischievous.

    The two faces seem the paradox of the entrist group. And perhaps sometimes they themselves forget the distinction.

    Also seems to me there were two Militants: one that was committed to Trotsky’s programme, and another that was more like a radical social democracy (or ‘gas and water’ socialism), esp. where it had a significant following (as in Liverpool). And ultimately, they got burned for being the former, while most of their achievements were because of their actions in the latter capacity.

  109. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Feodor you are starting to bore me immensely with your deliberate misreading and misinterpreting of my comments. I think you are a bit of a troll something I think someone else accused you of. I was asked a specific question about Jim Mortimer and why had I written inverted commas around the word comrade. I answered that question by showing What Mortimer as a Left-winger did to other Left-wingers in the Labour Party, which I may remind you started the train to New Labour. That is not a judgement on whether Militant was entryist or not; or me (“)talking out of both sides of your mouth.(“).

    However, the reality is the Proscribed List against the Left in the Labour Party was ended in 1973 by the NEC under the pressure from the Labour Party rank and file. From 1975 onwards the right wing organised factions in the LP with CIA and the Bilderberg Group finance, along with the bourgeoisie media and press like the Times and Guardian, etc, were pushing for the Proscribed List to be reintroduced. Which is what happened under the stewardship of the Left wing General Secretary, Jim Mortimer, when they pushed through the Register of Groups in the Labour Party in 1982/83?

    Denis Healy famously said it is not a witch-hunt, it is a Militant hunt and Roy Hatterley wanted action against the soft-left Labour Co-Ordinating Committee and the leader of the National Union of Railwaymen, forerunner of the RMT, Sid Weighell, wanted Tony Benn to get out of the Labour Party and establish his own Party. All were right-wingers in the LP and associated with groups like Bilderberg.

    This had nothing to do with whether Militant was an entrist group or not, but everything to do with stopping the Labour Party moving further to the Left, destroy all the democratic gains within the Party that had taken place over the previous three to four years, purge non-Militant Left-wingers and stop dissent of any kind within the Party.

    We, Militant supporters/members, told the other lefts within the LP at that time once they expel Militant they will come for the rest of you and change the Labour Party to the Right in policy and complexion. That took place over the next 10 years, with all the objective and subjective defeats and expulsions, until Tony Blair was elected and the Socialist Clause was expunged from the Party and the Labour Party became New Labour and an open capitalist party and in reality New Labour became empty of working class people and it was left to middle class careerists.

    Because of this situation Militant during the 1990s took the decision to plough an independent tactic of working outside the Labour Party and build our own organisation to what is now the Socialist Party. This is in itself show that we are not a dogmatic organisation as many critics on here like to portray us as! But by continuing to analyse the objective, and subjective, conditions we can assess what is taking place in the various working class and non-working class groups. The reality is if the Labour Party does change to a more working class orientated party then the Socialist Party will become involved in it again. But that is something I do not think I will see in my late time of life so I will still campaign for a new workers’ party and build the Socialist Party at the same time. That is not wanting my cake and eat it or trying to have it both ways, but understanding the real political world that we are in.

  110. Omar: in a market the size of the UK (ie. considerably smaller than China), that the State would be able to have the kind of leverage enjoyed by the PRC to be able to create a win-win situation comparable to the Chinese model.

    There are less people in Britain, it is still a considerable domestic market, and it is part of the EU.

    Omar: How would the State be able to acquire holdings without raising objections from the parent company and other competitors?

    i) buy it off them at a fair market valuation.
    ii) does ITV complain about the state ownership of Channel Four ?

  111. Jimmy Haddow: This had nothing to do with whether Militant was an entrist group or not, but everything to do with stopping the Labour Party moving further to the Left, destroy all the democratic gains within the Party that had taken place over the previous three to four years, purge non-Militant Left-wingers and stop dissent of any kind within the Party.
    We, Militant supporters/members, told the other lefts within the LP at that time once they expel Militant they will come for the rest of you and change the Labour Party to the Right in policy and complexion.

    My recollection of the time is that the desire to purge the Militant had become a cause celebre among the traditional right in the party, and specifically that the cultish behaviours of many Militant members in branches and CLPs meant that while the rest of the left defended Militant on principle, there was little enthusiasm for the defence, becaue MIlitant were effectively giving the right ammunition all the time.

  112. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 132 says (“)My recollection of the time is that the desire to purge the Militant had become a cause celebre among the traditional right in the party, and specifically that the cultish behaviours of many Militant members in branches and CLPs meant that while the rest of the left defended Militant on principle, there was little enthusiasm for the defence, becaue MIlitant were effectively giving the right ammunition all the time.(“)

    You seem to have cults on the brain too much, rather than looking at the social processes around the early 1980s and their impact on political parties, especially the Labour Party, and individuals.

    Were you a member of the Labour Party or the Socialist Workers Party around this period because that would certainly colour your perception of the period; and did you think at the time Militant was cultish in the Labour Party or is that just something you consider now due to your experiences in the SWP?

    Nevertheless, the reality is that if the Militant Tendency had not existed, as a paper and organised form, the Right Wing pro-capitalist factions would have invented it as a means to purge the Labour Party of its leftward movement, Left radical policies and the Socialist Clause as well. Remember in the 1950s the Right wing factions of the time accused Left-wingers such as Michael Foot and Aneurin Bevan of being in a ‘Party within a Party’ and of ‘cultish behaviour’ as a prerequisite in the Rights’ attempt to purge clause 4 part 4, the Socialist Clause. The right failed then and it took them nearly four decades before they succeeded.

    It is to the eternal shame that the Left leader in the early 1980s Labour Party, Michael Foot, along with the Left General Secretary, Jim Mortimer, who were both witch-hunted in the 1950s for holding socialist concepts, facilitated the Right Wing factions’ witch-hunt and expulsions of Militant and non-Militant lefts. Which was the beginning of the road to Blairism a decade or so later.

  113. Jimmy Haddow: Were you a member of the Labour Party or the Socialist Workers Party around this period because that would certainly colour your perception of the period

    I was in the Labour Party

    Yes, the Militant members in my ward, and CLP were very cultish. rarely speaking to other lefts, and recruiting people to militant from outside the LP, and then bringing them into the party. what is more within the LP they clealy used to operate as a closed caucus with their own agenda.

  114. It was also very difficult to describe the Militant as left on many issues. They were isolated from the majority of the Bennite left with regards their policies on Ireland, black representation, women and gay rights and were often more reactionary on these issues than many on the labour right. The Militant was unable to form a strong alliance on the left and saw itself as the sole representative of the socialist left in the Labour Party. Alongside their antics in Liverpool they handed Kinnock an open goal. And when it comes to cultishness I have never experienced anything quite like the behaviour of the Militant Tendency (with their fake scouse accents) at LPYS conferences.

  115. #134 I remember that I was encouraged to regard other leftists in the LP as unreliable and petit-bourgeois.

  116. 134,135,136 all accord with my own memories. The Milies were quite odd, a sort of re enactment of what they imagined the 1950s working class had been like. Minus the Teds of course. This had to have come from the top and it led to a disconnect with the actual working class of the period.

    I remember in the 70s a Milie pal of mine telling me that long hair for men was anti working class. At the time pretty much every working class lad I knew had long hair. Strangely skinheads were exempt from this tonsorial class analysis even though this was the height of the ‘Paki Bashing’ phenomona. Short hair was working class. Its a small thing but it indicates the thinking.

    That Militant operated as a closed caucus in Labour branches and trade unions pretty much sealed their fate. They had no friends when it came to it.

  117. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Re-Posts 134,135, 136 and 137;

    It is ironic that same distortions about Militant’s programme, ideas and method, that took place 3 decades ago and took place with soft-left Labour Party members and who eventually capitulated to the Right Wing, still continues today. Despite time and events have moved on to a different level now.

    My personal experiences were entirely different to the contribution previous. When I joined the Labour Party and Militant in May/June 1980 I was never discouraged not to talk to other Labour Party members. In fact I was positively encouraged to have as many discussions as possible with LP members of whatever political trend in the Labour party. Of course I did not need encouragement because I wanted to discuss Militant’s ideas with whoever would listen to my, not ‘fake scouse accent’, genuine Scottish brogue, which would sometime grate on some southern English ears. I would talk to anyone, and still do, about Militant!

    As a consequence in the early 1980s I had a good number of regular Militant papersales with Labour Party members; as well as a good number of regular Militant papersales in the factory I worked in, in Ramsgate; and of course a good number of regular Militant papersales in the council housing estate next to where I lived in Margate. No doubt I will be perceived as a cultish figure by the detractors of the Militant Tendency.