Yvette Cooper got it wrong – a people’s QE will work

Noah Tucker

The Morning Star

People’s quantitative easing would see created wealth poured into social housing and infrastructure rather than the coffers of the super-rich, writes NOAH TUCKER

In the closing moments of Thursday’s Sky News debate, the “impassioned” attack by Yvette Cooper on Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for people’s quantitative easing (PQE) pleased the pundits. But it was Corbyn’s calm rebuttal, in which he called for investment instead of austerity, that won enthusiastic applause and overwhelming positive instant poll ratings.

The audience was right to trust Corbyn rather than Cooper. Her tirade against PQE was replete with fallacies.

Her fundamental assertion against PQE was that the money raised would need to be paid back — and many times over — as implied by her soundbite that PQE is “PFI on steroids.”

But as Richard Murphy, the architect of the policy, points out: “That contradicts the facts. Not a penny of QE money the whole world over, including the £375 billion created by the Bank of England since 2009, has been repaid — nor is there any prospect that it will be.”

I asked Murphy to clarify and he explained: “All money in an economy, as is now accepted, is created by lending. Therefore, when loans are repaid the result is that money is cancelled. Banks in the UK economy traditionally made most money by ever-expanding their loan books. The result was the 2008 crash. QE has, in effect, created the new money which the economy has needed since 2008, as bank lending declined.

“There is nothing magical about QE. The Bank of England lends money to one of its own subsidiaries to create new money, which is used to buy back the government’s own bonds (known as gilts). That has effectively cancelled much of the national debt, and means that all the tales of uncontrollable deficits have been complete nonsense.”

Notably, these gilts bought by the Bank of England are not purchased directly from the Treasury. They are bought second or third-hand in the financial markets, from private-sector institutions which have already purchased the bonds, thus — due to supply and demand — increasing the overall prices of financial assets. The result is obvious: QE has made very rich people, who are the ultimate owners of most financial assets, very much richer.

PQE, in contrast, would not involve purchases in the financial markets but instead would fund construction of social housing, infrastructure and other useful investments.

Nevertheless, the principle by which the money is created would be identical. There are transfers between parts of the state, but there is no outside source from which the money has been borrowed: the state does not owe it to anybody and there is nobody to pay it back to because the state’s own bank (the Bank of England) has made the money for the government’s own use and to its instruction.

Had Cooper not been declaiming in soundbites, she might have said that QE money could eventually be “uncreated” — leaving the state £375bn worse off in current terms. Thus the Bank of England would sell its gilts, and then delete, from its balance sheets, the many billions thus received.

But a decision to do this would be entirely voluntary on the part of the government. And it could only really happen if the state was running a surplus, or something near it, or the right conditions for the sale would not exist. Given that no useful purpose (for any section of society) would be served by such a sale, and the negative consequences that would ensue, the likelihood of this ever happening, as emphasised by Murphy, “is remote in the extreme. No government of any persuasion is ever going to pursue such a policy.”

Berating Corbyn for offering “false promises,” Cooper claimed in Thursday’s debate that “quantitative easing has stopped because the economy is now growing. If you simply keep printing money when an economy is growing it simply increases inflation.”

But QE has not stopped. Since 2012, Britain’s QE programme has been maintained at £375bn, but it remains an active programme. The Bank of England makes a profit from the interest paid on the gilts and so far has earned £50bn, which is remitted back to the government. And each year a proportion of the bonds held by the Bank of England come to maturity, resulting in payouts of around £26bn annually (on average) being received by the bank. Currently, this sum is then injected straight into the financial markets to buy more gilts, keeping the total held by the bank at the overall level of £375bn.

The significance of this for PQE is that expansion of QE above its current level, (although that might be considered desirable) would not be necessary for a considerable sum to be released for public investment. Without any money having to be printed, initial funds of up to £26bn (on average) could be diverted each year from gilt purchases and instead be made available to the National Investment Bank. To put that figure into perspective, to build 100,000 new council homes per year would cost an estimated £14bn annually (without taking into account the reduced housing benefit expenditure).

But could the current QE programme be modestly expanded, thus producing further cash for public investment without causing run away inflation? The $6.5 trillion worth of QE money produced globally has mainly been created alongside economic growth (or per-capita growth in the case of Japan), and without resulting in excessive inflation. Current growth predictions worldwide are having to be reduced following the slowdown in China.

In Britain, the government’s target rate of inflation is 2 per cent on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Yet despite our trumpeted GDP growth — encompassing asset bubbles, rising consumer debt and falling manufacturing output — CPI inflation is currently at 0.1 per cent per annum. There is plenty of scope for a moderate rise in the level of QE without causing raging inflation.

Coincidentally, on the same day as the Sky News debate, Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank announced that the it will consider a further enlargement of its QE programme. This is above its present expansion which is at the rate of €60bn per month, and is increasing the limit on QE bond purchases from 25 per cent to 33 per cent of the national debt for countries in the eurozone.

This will of course not apply to Britain, because our government decides how much QE takes place here. But for comparison, if Britain were to observe an upper limit for QE of 33 per cent of the national debt, that would allow the “printing” of up to £140bn — vastly more than proponents of PQE are suggesting.

Responding to Cooper, Corbyn asked what her proposal was how to fund the public investments which are so needed. Is it PFI? That was of course the previous New Labour solution which has left public authorities with debts of £220bn and rising. For those who accept the narrative of austerity there is no answer to that question — certainly the private sector and the “free” market offer no solutions.

As Murphy points out, the starting point is to look at what is needed to build the country in a way that benefits the people, addresses social problems and supports growth — building social housing, infrastructure and technical innovation. This will have to be driven by the public sector. The money for it can be derived, depending on the economic situation at the time, from a mix including fairer taxation, issuing bonds and PQE.

The importance of Corbyn is not just that he is discussing what means may be used to achieve it, but that he is pointing to what it is that we must achieve.

65 comments on “Yvette Cooper got it wrong – a people’s QE will work

  1. George Hallam on said:

    I suppose it all turns on what one understands by “work”.

    Creating money to fund “construction of social housing, infrastructure and other useful investments” won’t ruin the economy but, on it’s own, it won’t revive it either.

  2. “The money for it can be derived, depending on the economic situation at the time, from a mix including fairer taxation, issuing bonds and PQE.”

    Agree with the first two but not PQE which is not a good idea. I’ve been reading Richard Murphy’s stuff on his tax campaign for a while but his writings on the workings of capitalist economics are not very good, and his PQE ideas have some fundamental flaws, including not understanding the difference between what he proposes and what QE had been about so far. If we need to invest (and we surely do) we should use conventional means – either more tax, borrowing or a bit of both.

  3. George Hallam:
    I suppose it all turns on what one understands by “work”.

    Creating money to fund “construction of social housing, infrastructure and other useful investments” won’t ruin the economy but, on it’s own, it won’t revive it either.

    I presume the wages earned by those employed by such schemes would stimulate demand in the economy, no ?

  4. Hi George. It isn’t being claimed that PQE on its own will revive the economy. Other sources of funds & financing should also be tapped. And it’s not just about reviving the economy, it’s about channeling a resource to deal with social problems that require investment.

    However, it could be interesting to think about what a low level of PQE, purely on its own, could achieve.

    Here’s a comparison to give an idea of scale. The total value of all the assets built under PFI has been estimated in 2011 as £56.5 billion. Just three years of PQE at the most minimal level that I suggest in the article (diversion of QE money from bond buying, with no additional cash being created) would release around £70 billion or more.

    Of course, the PFI deals have ended up costing the public sector £222 billion so far, Whereas the cost of such a minimal PQE programme would be just a few billion (ie, the foregone interest on the gilts).

    If, for instance, we were to decided that the priority use for the money was housing, that £70 billion would provide the cash for half a million council homes to be built over a three year period. That would make quite a difference.

  5. stephen marks on said:

    Unlike the other two ABC candidates I assumed Yvette actually knew something about economics. When I heard her denunciation of PQE on the Sky hustings I was amazed at the elementary illiteracy of what she was saying. She was counting as an ‘addition to debt’ the Treasury bonds held by the Bank of England; in other words the debt of one part of the state to another – debt which is purely notional and which could be cancelled by a stroke of the pen without any effect on the real economy. She also argued that instructing the Bank of England to use PQE to fund a National Investment Bank would ‘compromise the independence of the Bank of England’; thus confusing the operational independence of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank with its presumed total independence elf government. In which case what was the point of nationalising it in the first place?

  6. George Hallam on said:

    Omar: I presume the wages earned by those employed by such schemes would stimulate demand in the economy, no ?

    Of course the wages earned by those employed by such schemes would stimulate demand. The question is: would this have any significant effect on the economic problems that we face?

    If you follow Keynes and think that the key problem is demand deficiency then the answer will be ‘Yes’, or at least, ‘Probably yes’
    If you think that there are other, more deep-seated, problems with the economy then the answer will be ‘No’.

  7. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: Hi George. It isn’t being claimed that PQE on its own will revive the economy. Other sources of funds & financing should also be tapped. And it’s not just about reviving the economy, it’s about channeling a resource to deal with social problems that require investment.

    Fair enough.
    Allow me to restate this so we can be clear what it is you’re saying.
    1. Investment is required to tackle some social problems.
    2. Tackling social problems is an end in its self and is worthwhile independent of any benefit to the economy.
    3. Investment required to tackle social problems can be financed in a number of different ways, one of which is Peoples’ Quantitative Easing.
    4. There is no claim that, on its own, Peoples’ Quantitative Easing will revive the economy.

    I’ll go alone with 1 and 3. Number 2 contains an ambiguity which is compounded by number 4.

    As regards number 2, on the one hand, this affirms the principle that the economy should be run for the benefit of people. On the other hand, it might be read as suggesting that social problems can be solved without doing something about the economy. I find this social/economic split a bit worrying because, for me, most social problems are rooted in the economy.

    As regards number 4, this leaves the issue of reviving the economy as an open question.
    It accepts that Peoples’ Quantitative Easing won’t be enough to deal with our economic difficulties but doesn’t say what else will be required. This would be in line with the social/economic split interpretation of number 2.

    I’ve looked at what Corbin has to say about the economy and you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m not impressed. He has no concept of the difficulties that we face and consequently no clue as to how to address them. Given recent events in Greece, it seems more than usually stupid to attempt to gain office without having an economic programme.

    Perhaps we can discuss this sensibly. I hope we will.

  8. Karl Stewart on said:

    I must confess I don’t fully understand either quantitative easing (QE) or people’s quantitative easing (PQE), but if the two methods of stimulus are essentially the same, and if the only difference is in the direction of the stimulus, then surely PQE is simply a political choice (as indeed is QE) and should be judged on those terms – i.e. do we want to fund socially beneficial infrastructure projects, a mass expansion of house building, of our manufacturing capacity, and our other various public needs or do we want to donate money to bankers?

  9. George Hallam on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    #9 this is so muddled that it’s almost impossible to give a full reply. Suffice it to say that government actions are always political choices.

  10. George Hallam:
    Karl Stewart,

    #9 this is so muddled that it’s almost impossible to give a full reply. Suffice it to say that government actions are always political choices.

    George, I can only imagine that you must be in demand as a guest at dinner parties.

  11. Karl Stewart:
    I must confess I don’t fully understand either quantitative easing (QE) or people’s quantitative easing (PQE), but if the two methods of stimulus are essentially the same

    They are not the same and the decision is not about ordinary people vs bankers. If we want to spend more on public services and invest in social housing etc then the route should be through fiscal measures – I. E. tax rich people more or government borrowing. Richard Murphy,,the architect of the PQE idea has made some fundamental mistakes and incorrect assumptions about the inflationary risks of PQE, particularly around spare capacity in the economy being a brake on inflation in this case.

    In this case the general adage of ‘if it sounds too good to be true it probably is’ rings true here – printing money to spend on housing, schools etc without any consequence will not happen.

  12. Andy H: printing money to spend on housing, schools etc without any consequence will not happen.

    Actually, the article points out that a lot could be done with PQE without even ‘printing’ any new money. See my comment #4.

    But given that CPI inflation is currently just above zero, and that QE wherever it has been applied has had at most only a very moderate effect in increasing inflation, its hard to see how a modest expansion of the scale of QE would be such a bad thing in inflationary terms.

  13. George Hallam: 1. Investment is required to tackle some social problems.
    2. Tackling social problems is an end in its self and is worthwhile independent of any benefit to the economy.
    3. Investment required to tackle social problems can be financed in a number of different ways, one of which is Peoples’ Quantitative Easing.
    4. There is no claim that, on its own, Peoples’ Quantitative Easing will revive the economy.

    I’m OK with to the above. Re: the rest of your comment, I would say that, for instance, building half a million council homes would not only be a good thing in itself, but would have good political and politico-economic consequences, particularly if the work was carried out in the public sector.

    For sure, Jeremy Corbyn’s programme is very moderate compared to what would be required to end capitalism and construct a socialist economy. Is that the problem with it, from your perspective?

  14. George Hallam on said:

    Andy H: Richard Murphy,,the architect of the PQE idea has made some fundamental mistakes and incorrect assumptions about the inflationary risks of PQE, particularly around spare capacity in the economy being a brake on inflation in this case.

    Richard Murphy might be over-optimistic in estimating the amount of spare capacity in the economy.

    However, unemployment is currently 1.85 million and last year there were 1,351,000 part-time workers who said they are working part-time because they could not find a full-time job (up from 705,000 in January-March 2008, (ONS estimates quoted in . https://www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/labour-market-and-economic-reports/only-one-every-forty-net-jobs-recession-full-time)

    It is well established that a significant number of people classified as ‘economically inactivity’ do move back into activity and get jobs. There’s an estimate that as many as 2.3 million people might be available for work if there were really jobs there for them to do.

    In addition, nearly six out of ten graduates are in non-graduate jobs. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33983048)

    All these things suggest that there is at least some spare capacity in the economy,

    This means that there is scope for some Peoples’ Quantitative Easing

  15. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy H: ‘if it sounds too good to be true it probably is’

    Yes, that’s essentially the totality of the argument I’ve heard against PQE. But my ‘muddled’ post at (9) was based on the supposition that PQE and QE are the same method applied in different directions.

    If that supposition is wrong – i.e. if QE and PQE are fundamentally different methods of stimulus, then could you, or someone, explain the essential difference?

  16. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: For sure, Jeremy Corbyn’s programme is very moderate compared to what would be required to end capitalism and construct a socialist economy. Is that the problem with it, from your perspective?

    I’m not interested in the labels; my point is that Corbyn’s programme won’t work. Having an unworkable economic programme is a serious problem. Look what’s happening in Greece.

  17. George Hallam,

    OK, why won’t it “work”?
    What specifically would “not work” about diverting the annual £26bn matured bonds receipts from the financial markets into house building?

  18. Geoorge, what meaningful similarly is there either between the current economic situations in Greece and Britain or between Corbyn’s economic proposals and those put to the Greek electorate by Syriza (other than they are both ‘left wing’)?

    You’re being uncharacteristically sloppy here unless there’s something I’ve missed.

  19. Noah: Actually, the article points out that a lot could be done with PQE without even ‘printing’ any new money. See my comment #4.

    But given that CPI inflation is currently just above zero, and that QE wherever it has been applied has had at most only a very moderate effect in increasing inflation, its hard to see how a modest expansion of the scale of QE would be such a bad thing in inflationary terms.

    Indeed – I should have acknowledged you pointed out in the article that it mentioned a mix.

    The problem with looking at CPI is that the basket used included goods either wholly or mostly imported – my understanding of the underlying inflation rate is the it is closer to 2%, hence rumblings in the BoE monetary policy committee about slowly pushing up rates

  20. George Hallam:

    All these things suggest that there is at least some spare capacity in the economy,

    This means that there is scope for some Peoples’ Quantitative Easing

    My issue is with the assumption that spare capacity will act as a brake on inflation at all. Firstly, this assumes that it acts essentially as a homogeneous block – there is nothing to suggest that if we print a bunch of money to, for example, build social housing, that any of the spare capacity (including unemployed people, under employed people) would be involved in this. This would be very hard to predict and control and unlike QE undertaken so far, once it is spent and we find that we haven’t got it quite right,there is no way to bring the money back, other than via fiscal measure (i.e. tax more and spend less to remove money from the economy).

    Secondly is the multiplier effect. There are always debates about what the multiplier is for public spending, but it is likely that any PQE spent directly on infrastructure type projects (homes, schools, hospitals etc) would have a positive multiplier – therefore once the ‘spare capacity’ is taken up it would continue to have an effect and push up inflation.

    Thankfully there have not been too many modern examples of runaway inflation recently, but if you look at Zimbabwe the government was printing money even while there was quite high unemployment, and the ‘spare capacity’ did nothing to slow inflation.

    Both these objections can be true even if you don’t subscribe to modern monetary policy theory (MV=PQ etc), which would provide other objections to PQE

  21. Karl Stewart:
    If that supposition is wrong – i.e. if QE and PQE are fundamentally different methods of stimulus, then could you, or someone, explain the essential difference?

    It’s actually a subtle difference that doesn’t sound like much but it does really matter. Essentially (and without going into useless complexity for this purpose), QE was about providing money directly into the financial system, with the Bank of England buying financial instruments such as government and private firm’s debt. This (in theory at least) increases the amount of money in the economy, stops deflation and should have a more balanced inflationary impact due to the way that the money gets into the economy by pushing people along the risk curve for investment. It is also reversible, as the BoE can sell the assets that it previously bought and destroy the money it printed if inflation gets too high. It’s unconventional monetary policy to be used when the financial system is grinding to a halt (or in technical terms, the velocity of money circulating is reducing significantly), as happened in the depths of the financial crisis. It does have the side effect of pushing up asset prices as people have said, but this is not a sign that it did nothing, just an unavoidable side effect which could easily have been compensated for with a progressive tax system.

    The BoE has a good video here: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/pages/qe/default.aspx

    PQE, as I have seen it suggested, is about the BoE printing money to be spent by central and local government directly on building things. It is not directly reversible in the way that QE is (although you could reverse it by taxing people and destroying the money instead of spending it), has a very different path into the economy, and most importantly, is being proposed at a time when things are not grinding to a halt. PQE could have worked in 2008 instead of QE as an emergency response to the financial crisis, but I would still suggest that QE is a much less risky and controllable approach.

    If you don’t believe me, read this article by Larry Elliot in the Guardian – not a socialist, but certainly left wing if you read his article history: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/14/is-jeremy-corbyns-policy-of-quantitative-easing-for-people-feasible

    An interesting side bar is that the Eurozone has also been trying QE, and the monetary indicator figures are showing that it is having the same beneficial effect there to the money supply without much inflation as it did here.

  22. Andy H: once the ‘spare capacity’ is taken up it would continue to have an effect and push up inflation.

    In an economy divided between creditors and debtors, as is ours given the disproporionate role of financial services as the nation’s economic engine, inflation during a recessionary period is not the main concern when it comes to alleviate its impact – at least not for socialists it shouldn’t be.

    Our concern is unemployment, underemployment, and its negative impact on wages and conditions.

    Underconsumption is starving demand and combined with an investment strike we are witnessing economic growth as a privilege of those benefiting from a resurgence of property and asset values.

    We desperately need to raise the consumption levels of the working class, employed and unemployed, and fears about inflation are completely bogus at this point. The B of E has the tools required to deal with inflation when it starts to become a problem in the form of interest rates. People with morgage payments to worry about will be able to offset any increase in payments as a result of PQE raising their incomes.

    Also zero or close to zero percent interests rates have a negative effect on growth, as they signal a poor economic climate, given that it is an extreme measure designed to counter the effect of low aggregate demand.

    QE has had very little impact on the wider economy, or at any rate not enough to justify its implementation.

    We are far from facing a Zimbabwe or Weimar Republic episode. Such fears are more than groundless they are used as a monetarist bogey-man to prevent anything that even smacks of an expansionary fiscal policy as an alternative to the neoliberal status quo.

  23. stephen marks:
    Andy H,
    But although the Eurozone QE has not stoked inflation it doesn’t seem to have done much else either. This suggests interest rates have little effect on investment decisions;
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/619b139c-3ce4-11e5-8613-07d16aad2152.html#axzz3lAzHokPZ

    I take the growth figures in the Eurozone in that article, as well as the money supply figures that they released recently as a sign that it has worked – that is stopping deflation and everything grinding to a halt. I think anyone who thinks that QE is going to drive growth on its own without lots of other policy measures is not thinking sensibly.

  24. John: In an economy divided between creditors and debtors, as is ours given the disproporionate role of financial services as the nation’s economic engine, inflation during a recessionary period is not the main concern when it comes to alleviate its impact – at least not for socialists it shouldn’t be.

    I disagree. For a start, we are not in a recessionary period, we are in a period of weak recovery. Also, high levels of inflation shaft the poor and working classes hardest as it takes longer for the wages of the worst paid to catch up, particularly as so little of the private sector low paid workforce are unionised at the moment. High inflation in the UK would cause real hardship for people – you can’t blithely ignore that.

    John:

    Underconsumption is starving demand and combined with an investment strike we are witnessing economic growth as a privilege of those benefiting from a resurgence of property and asset values.

    PQE will not change this – as mentioned above is incorrect to assume that PQE would do anything to reduce unemployment or undermployment (the ‘spare capacity’ in the economy). Elsewhere we have seen high levels of inflation without any effect on reducing unemployment.

    John:
    The B of E has the tools required to deal with inflation when it starts to become a problem in the form of interest rates. People with morgage payments to worry about will be able to offset any increase in payments as a result of PQE raising their incomes.

    This is a very very dangerious assumption, just making a throwaway statement that PQE would raise wages for people with mortgages. Through what mechanism? How would PQE increase the wages for my sister -in-law who works as a carer for people with brain injuries – in detail please as there is a very real risk that singnificant interest rate rises would make their mortgage unaffordable.

    John:
    QE has had very little impact on the wider economy, or at any rate not enough to justify its implementation.

    Whether QE has worked or not is not an argument for PQE – the arguments for PQE have to stand on their own merits

    John:
    We are far from facing a Zimbabwe or Weimar Republic episode. Such fears are more than groundless they are used as a monetarist bogey-man to prevent anything that even smacks of an expansionary fiscal policy as an alternative to the neoliberal status quo.

    You are right, we are nowhere near those extreme examples, but that doesn’t mean that PQE would not really hurt the poor and working class in the medium term. If you want to make society better, printing money is really not the way to do it. Its wrong to suggest that saying so is supporting neoliberalism.

  25. John Grimshaw on said:

    #26 I take it as read that we agree that economists never entirely understand what makes the economy work. So there’s a lot of guess work going on? However one thing we can be sure of is that it is the job of the wealthy to try to stuff the poor under whatever circumstances?

    However I have some questions to ask.
    1. I agree that inflation would stuff the poor, but what evidence do you have that this proposed PQE would be sufficient to increase the rate of inflation to significant levels? One of the usual drivers for inflation is the price of oil and there’s no sign that it’s going up any time soon?
    2. It may not be a recessionary period in the strict sense of the word but contrary to Osborne, unemployment is rising gently and there are lots of people not counted as unemployed who are not working. Which is after all the Tories intention. Surely as socialists we should aim to get these people in proper employment? If PQE leads to a building programme, for example, then that will create new jobs?

  26. Andy H: For a start, we are not in a recessionary period, we are in a period of weak recovery.

    It is a recessionary period for those at the sharp end of austerity. Your analysis take no account of the underlying issue of class that is driving Tory economic policy. Economic growth measured as increase in GDP is one thing, the nature of that growth is another. It is a product of the transference of wealth from the poor to the rich, ensuring that they receive a larger share of the surplus at our expense.

    Furthermore, this recovery is unsustainable given that it is based on increase in asset values, leading to another debt bubble.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion

    Andy H: How would PQE increase the wages for my sister -in-law who works as a carer for people with brain injuries – in detail please as there is a very real risk that singnificant interest rate rises would make their mortgage unaffordable.

    Without knowing what your sister’s mortgage interest rate is, I cannot answer that. I was referencing the B of E base rate of 0.5%. I assume your sister’s mortgage rate is somewhere between 2-4%. Anything up to four percent is manageable throughout the economy.

    The point is that fears of inflation at this stage in the economic cycle are bogus. We need to raise the level of consumption of those suffering at the sharp end of austerity. it is hampering growth in the real economy and entrenching levels of inequality that are Dickensian.

    Our interest and priority is an economy that serves society, not one that sits as a tyrant over society, as we have at present. Economics is not accountancy. It is a mistake to confuse the two.

    As Richard Murphy writes: Those supporting Jeremy Corbyn do not share this belief that markets are right. They do not do so for good reason: it is very obviously absurd to think they are, based on sound evidence. As a result those supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are looking for political alternatives that reject that notion. People’s QE fits within that framework of alternatives and is economically sound, plausible and deliverable with the objections all coming down to a mistaken belief that central banks must be independent of democratic government and subject only to the will of bankers. Or, if you like, to a question of who governs.

    Robert [Peston] thinks it may be dangerous to upset bankers.

    I think it will not be. What is more, I think that the time has come when they have to know that the economy is not run just in their interests.

    But at least Robert Peston has had the implicit decency to make clear that this is where the frontline is on this issue. For that I am grateful.

    – See more at: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/08/12/robert-peston-on-peoples-qe/#sthash.FUYImd8K.dpuf

    Andy H: You are right, we are nowhere near those extreme examples, but that doesn’t mean that PQE would not really hurt the poor and working class in the medium term. If you want to make society better, printing money is really not the way to do it. Its wrong to suggest that saying so is supporting neoliberalism.

    You say that after mentioning Zimbawe in a previous comment. To compare the UK economy with Zimbawe under any circumstances is not tenable.

    Investing in roads, new homes, and infrastructure, thereby creating employment and raising tax revenue, all this would hurt the poor and working class? I really do not see how you could arrive at such a thesis.

    Bear in mind that such a policy would be run in conjunction with tax rises for business and high earners, and also a transaction tax for the City of London. These measures would have some counter-inflationary effect in themselves

  27. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy H,
    Thanks for the explanation AndyH.

    So is it your main position that PQE should not be implemented at all?

    Or that it should only be implemented with appropriate checks and balances and alongside a range of other expansionary measures?

  28. George Hallam on said:

    Andy H: Secondly is the multiplier effect. There are always debates about what the multiplier is for public spending, but it is likely that any PQE spent directly on infrastructure type projects (homes, schools, hospitals etc) would have a positive multiplier – therefore once the ‘spare capacity’ is taken up it would continue to have an effect and push up inflation.

    Okay let’s assume that the multiplier for the proposed infrastructure projects will be positive. i.e. spending in the economy will rise by more than in initial sum spent on these projects.

    How does the theory of the multiplier work? Very simply it is because one person’s spending is another person’s income. For example, suppose the Government decides to build a school in order to produce the building materials, say cement and steel, firms need to employ workers. This means that money spent on buildings becomes income for workers (and employers). This income will then be spent on consumer goods and services which will generates income for other workers and employers. They in turn will spend their money and so on.

    This makes it sound as though the process will continue for ever and so, over time, it will result in an infinite amount of extra spending. The theory says this will not happen because people won’t spend all the extra income they receive; some will be either saved or used to repay debts. This means that each time the money circulates, the extra spending and income will only be a proportion of the previous round.

    Economics textbooks tend to use high figures for people’s tendency to consume extra income, 80 or 90 per cent is common.
    http://www.econweb.com/MacroWelcome/multiplier/notes.html

    Even so the effects of the initial injection of cash tails off quite quckily.

    For example if people spend 80 pence in every pound of extra income, then government spending of £100 will result in £80 of consumer spending in the first instance.* This becomes £80 of income of which result in £64 of consumer spending, and so on
    (* this assumes no taxation or imports).
    Round 1 £80.00
    Round 2 £64.00
    Round 3 £51.20
    Round 4 £40.96
    Round 5 £32.77
    Round 6 £26.21
    Round 7 £20.97
    Round 8 £16.78
    Round 9 £13.42
    Round 10 £10.74
    Round 11 £8.59

    By round 34 the additional spending is 5 pence. The effect is converging on zero.
    The sum of an infinite number of rounds is an increase in consumer spending of 4 times the initial injection. Output is higher, 5 times the initial injection.

    That’s the way the textbooks describe it. Empirical studies suggest that the multiple is much lower, an increase in production of no more than twice the initial injection.

    The effect varies for different kinds of spending. For example in the US food stamp schemes have a multiplier estimated at 1.73
    https://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/Small%20Business_7_24_08.pdf (if you can believe Moody)
    Increase infrastructure spending was 1.59.
    Generally spending injections had a large effect than tax cuts.

    Now to return to the comment

    Andy H once the ‘spare capacity’ is taken up it would continue to have an effect and push up inflation.

    This is true by definition. If there is no spare capacity in the economy to generate goods and services to meet the extra demand then there will be inflation.

    The question is, would this happen in practice?

    I don’t think so for two reasons:

    1. Given that there is spare capacity in the economy and that the multiple is relatively low then a modest injection is unlikely to exhaust this.

    2. The British economy is more open than the US and economic theory suggests that in an open economy the multiplier effect tends to approximate to zero.

  29. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: Geoorge, what meaningful similarly is there either between the current economic situations in Greece and Britain or between Corbyn’s economic proposals and those put to the Greek electorate by Syriza (other than they are both ‘left wing’)?
    You’re being uncharacteristically sloppy here unless there’s something I’ve missed.

    Of course you are right; all comparisons are odious. The UK and Greek economies are very different, as are the economic programmes of Corbyn and Syriza.

    What was I thinking of?

    Well all I was trying to say is that if you have a half-baked, unworkable economic policy then you’re likely to confuse and demoralise your supporters and generally get into a mess. I’d say “crash and burn” but that would only be a metaphor and so open to misinterpretation.

    Having said all that there are a couple of similarities that are worth noting:

    1. Both the UK and Greece are in the EU.
    2. Both Corbyn and Syriza are in favour of keeping their respective countries in the EU.

  30. Quite a few to reply to in this one:

    @Karl – No, I don’t think that we should use PQE in anything other than a financial crisis . To end austerity, and do all the good things that we want we should use fiscal measures, not monetary ones (i.e. tax, borrowing etc).

    @ John Grimshaw – Increasing the money supply in ‘normal’ conditions is very very likely to lead to inflation. Too much money chasing too few goods.

    @ John – My objection is PQE is nothing to do with keeping austerity, continuing class warfare of the Tories, sucking up to bankers, or anything related to a belief in the power of markets. My objection is that PQE has been proposed on a very flawed set of assumptions put forward by Richard Murphy; that it has a very high risk of pushing up inflation significantly (which really hurts poor people); and that there are simple fiscal policy measures (tax rich people, spend the money you get from that) that will do the job but require much more political courage to talk about. Instead, the lure of PQE is that we can get all the things that we want for free, without consequences. This is entirely false.

    Also, you seem to have deliberately misread my mention of Zimbabwe. I did not mention it in the context of what could happen to us (what happened there will not happen to the UK economy), I used it as an example of an inflation spiral that happened even while there was significant spare capacity in the economy, thus providing some evidence of my argument against Richard’s assertion that we can print money as there is spare capacity.

    @George Hallam – The multiplier numbers from text books (I’m sure my lecturer mentioned 2x as a rule of thumb – was a very long time ago though) is based on government spending income taxed from the populace – that is I take £1 in tax and the eventual impact of government spending that cash would be £2 on GDP. Those ratios go up to 4 or 5 times as you mentioned when printing money. You’re right that a very small amount of printing would have little effect, but then it would have a very little effect on housing, schools or the other projects used on. Why bother with PQE if you’re just going to print £1bn – just borrow the money or tax it and there is no inflation risk. Also, one of my main arguments is against Richard Murphy’s contention that PQE would even take up spare capacity. Examples of runaway inflation elsewhere show that spare capacity has remained even as inflation spirals.

  31. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’m finding this an interesting and useful discussion.

    It seems to me that a common argument used against expansionary measures is often to described this as “printing money” and to point to the negative example of Weimar Germany, 1923, and barrowloads of banknotes etc.

    While arguments in favour use the positive examples of the UK in 1945 and FDR’s New Deal a decade earlier.

    From my limited knowledge of the Weimar 1923 crisis, isn’t that now largely considered to have been something of a specific, short-term tactic, a deliberate policy of that government to crash the monetary system in order to obtain better reparations terms?
    (Which they did then obtain through the Dawes Plan.)

    There isn’t, therefore, a useful comparison to be drawn between Weimar and so-called ‘Corbynomics’.

    Isn’t FDR’s New Deal perhaps a better comparator? A boost pumped into the economy in order to fund large-scale infrastructure projects and kick-start manufacturing in stark contrast to the then prevailing economic consensus.

  32. George Hallam on said:

    <Andy H: @George Hallam – The multiplier numbers from text books (I’m sure my lecturer mentioned 2x as a rule of thumb – was a very long time ago though) is based on government spending income taxed from the populace – that is I take £1 in tax and the eventual impact of government spending that cash would be £2 on GDP.

    Only in a closed economy. Currently, foreign investors hold $6175.2 billion in US treasury securities. http://www.treasury.gov/ticdata/Publish/mfh.txt
    That’s about half of US public debt.
    http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0057_foreign-holders-debt
    Of course, the US government has to pay interest on its debts, but apart from that these foreign loans are functionally equivalent to printing money.

    Andy H: You’re right that a very small amount of printing would have little effect,

    In so far as the injection set spare capacity in motion the effect would be zero.

    Andy H: but then it would have a very little effect on housing, schools or the other projects used on.

    This does not follow.
    The effect on inflation is related to the degree that injection taps spare capacity. The effect on housing, schools, etc. depends on the size of the injection relative to the existing stock of housing, schools, etc.
    UK GDP is about 1,600 bn. So a 32bn building programme would only be 2 per cent of GDP, hardly any more than annual growth. .
    If mass-produced houses cost £60,000 then 32bn would pay for 500,000 houses. I think that that would represent a significant change.
    However, given that the construction industry’s output is currently £103 billion a 32bn building programme would represent a 31 percent increase. That would be massive and beyond the capacity of the industry as it is today. It would probably take a several years of investment and training to make such a programme possible.

  33. George Hallam:
    Of course, the US government has to pay interest on its debts, but apart from that these foreign loans are functionally equivalent to printing money.

    The debt interest and the effect on the exchange rate mean it is not functionally equivalent. And the US isn’t a good comparison as the dollar has a relatively unique position as a de facto reserve currency for a large number of countries.

    George Hallam

    In so far as the injection set spare capacity in motion the effect would be zero.

    But the point I have made in a number of posts above is that the assumption that printed money into an economy would be soaked up by ‘spare capacity’ is entirely false at worst, or entirely unproven at best.

    George Hallam
    This does not follow.
    The effect on inflation is related to the degree that injection taps spare capacity. The effect on housing, schools, etc. depends on the size of the injection relative to the existing stock of housing, schools, etc.
    UK GDP is about 1,600 bn. So a 32bn building programme would only be 2 per cent of GDP, hardly any more than annual growth. .
    If mass-produced houses cost £60,000 then 32bn would pay for 500,000 houses. I think that that would represent a significant change.
    However, given that the construction industry’s output is currently £103 billion a 32bn building programme would represent a 31 percent increase. That would be massive and beyond the capacity of the industry as it is today. It would probably take a several years of investment and training to make such a programme possible.

    Apart from my objection to the assumption that printing money taps spare capacity, printing £32bn in a year, effectively doubling growth (probably more than that given we’re closer to 1.4% a year) would be a huge increase. When I mentioned a small about of printing, i was thinking about a billion or two. The difficult recession of the ealry 90s was -2% growth – you’re talking about that in reverse.

  34. George Hallam on said:

    <blockquote cite="comment-707687">

    Noah: Actually, the article points out that a lot could be done with PQE without even ‘printing’ any new money.

    This is a very good point. Currently bond yields are very low, in some case they’re actually negative (i.e. investors lose money). Since the idea is to make productive investments (that pay for themselves over time) there’s every incentive to borrow. In addition, Corbyn proposes increasing corporation tax and cracking down on tax avoidance/evasion.

    Now we’ve dealt with some of the technical issues about PQE we can ask why bother using PQE at all.
    The reason is political. Corbyn has accepted the official line that the budget deficit is a problem but he wants to end austerity. PQE offers a way to fund spending without talking too much about raising taxes or borrowing more. So proposing PQE is a capitulation to the Establishment agenda.

  35. @Karl

    I don’t think that the Weimar republic is a useful comparison, but then nor is the new deal. My opinion is that Weimar is probably too long ago to draw any useful comparison as economies have become so much more linked to the wider world. Other more recent examples have some elements that we can draw lessons from, but I don’t believe that we’d get as bad as anything like that unless we went totally nuts. I don’t think PQE as currently proposed is in the totally nuts camp.

    The monetary policy of the New Deal was in response to the Depression when the monetary system was collapsing. We’re not in a depression. In fact, QE in the US, UK and Europe was inspired by lessons learned from the 1930s and what they did wrong at the time. You could compare PQE to the New Deal if we were back in 2008, but we’re not.

  36. George Hallam on said:

    Andy H: The debt interest and the effect on the exchange rate mean it is not functionally equivalent. And the US isn’t a good comparison as the dollar has a relatively unique position as a de facto reserve currency for a large number of countries.

    I’m well aware of the US’s unique position. I used the US as an example because that’s where most of the empirical studies on multipliers have been done.

  37. George Hallam:
    <blockquote cite=”comment-707687″>

    Noah: Actually, the article points out that a lot could be done with PQE without even ‘printing’ any new money.

    This is a very good point. Currently bond yields are very low, in some case they’re actually negative (i.e. investors lose money). Since the idea is to make productive investments (that pay for themselves over time) there’s every incentive to borrow. In addition, Corbyn proposes increasing corporation tax and cracking down on tax avoidance/evasion.

    Now we’ve dealt with some of the technical issues about PQE we can ask why bother using PQE at all.
    The reason is political. Corbyn has accepted the official line that the budget deficit is a problem but he wants to end austerity. PQE offers a way to fund spending without talking too much about raising taxes or borrowing more. So proposing PQE is a capitulation to the Establishment agenda.

    Agree.

    I’m hesitant to criticise Jeremy Corbyn, but I certainly agree that we can do alot with conventional measures!

  38. George Hallam on said:

    Andy H: But the point I have made in a number of posts above is that the assumption that printed money into an economy would be soaked up by ‘spare capacity’ is entirely false at worst, or entirely unproven at best.

    We’re going to have to disagree on this one. As far as I’m concerned the ability to create money out of thin air is not the monopoly of governments. Firms and private individuals do it as well and they do it a lot, for example trade credit. So long as it sets spare capacity in motion it’s not inflationary.

    Of course, exogenous injections don’t have to mobilise spare capacity, for an example see the effects of remittances on some economies. However, a rational programme will ensure that spare capacity is used.

    I think it would be more productive if we stopped arguing about this point and directed our attention instead to see how far Corbyn’s programme is rational.

  39. George Hallam: This makes it sound as though the process will continue for ever and so, over time, it will result in an infinite amount of extra spending. The theory says this will not happen because people won’t spend all the extra income they receive; some will be either saved or used to repay debts. This means that each time the money circulates, the extra spending and income will only be a proportion of the previous round.

    According to the theory of the Marginal Propensity to Consume the trend is that the more disposable income a person receives the more they will spend. Proportionate to their income level people on lower incomes will spend more than people on higher, simply because their current level of income is insufficient to meet all their needs.

    The key is distribution. Keynes did not advocate a constant and continuous increase in demand. He understood the dangers of overheating. Cuts to spending should only be done in a period of boom not bust as a way of maintaining equilibrium.

  40. @ George Hallam

    Going point on remittances. Hadn’t thought of that. Will go and dig around for some info and have a think.

    On Criticising Jeremy Corbybn, I truncated it a little. What I meant to say was I’m hesitant to criticise Jeremy Corbyn for accepting the establishment agenda just yet. A lot will depend on what direction he takes policy once leader.

    Also, those in glass houses (i.e. Me) should be careful about throwing stones. My views are not exactly orthodox on this site, but the powers that be continue to humor my infrequent posts so far.

  41. #31 On the EU, SYRIZA was absolutely committed to remaining in the EU.

    Corbyn has stated that he is willing to consider the issue and has not ruled ou supporting withdrawal.

    Not only is that a difference in itself, but specifically it suggests that the former’s economic policy was predicated on membership of the EU while Corbyn’s probably is not.

  42. stephen marks on said:

    Vanya,

    wrt Syriza I think you mean the Euro not the EU. To my knowledge neither Syriza nor the new Popular Unity has ever proposed leaving the EU. And wrt to the Eurozone Popular Unity does not phrase its policy in terms of ‘we will leave the Euro’ but rather ‘we will reject austerity and the Memorandum even if it means being thrown out of the Euro’ which of course means the same in practice but is still an interesting difference. And Jeremy has said he will not advocate leaving the EU though he might reconsider if Cameron secures a British opt-out from the Social Chapter and related employment laws – which it is now clear he will not.

  43. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: Corbyn has stated that he is willing to consider the issue and has not ruled ou supporting withdrawal.

    This is what he said last month at a hustings organised by the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/27/jeremy-corbyn-labour-membership-policy-leadership

    In July, in response to the PLP’s pro-EU group, he ‘clarified’ his position.
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/28/jeremy-corbyn-backs-british-membership-of-eu
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/07/jeremy-corbyn-wants-britain-stay-eu

    Interestingly, Corbyn didn’t bother to turn up to vote on the rules for the referendum.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3226535/Corbyn-facing-Labour-loyalty-probe-FAILING-important-Commons-vote-election.html

    He says he’s “concerned about the way the European Union is increasingly operating like a free market across Europe..” (!)
    http://news.sky.com/story/1546206/corbyn-offering-false-hope-says-cooper

    “Despite Corbyn’s concerns, his leadership team insist they will not be siding with the ‘Out’ campaign if he is elected Labour leader. I understand that if Corbyn is victorious, one of his first tasks would be an attempt to take control of the negotiations and do his utmost to ensure David Cameron is not dictating the terms of the EU debate. A Corbyn-led Labour party would look to take an active role in negotiations — playing hardball on the social chapter, for example — and the leadership would want to work closely with Alan Johnson, the former home secretary who is leading Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU.”
    Sebastian Payne 9/8/15
    http://www.politico.eu/article/jeremy-corbyn-labour-tories-uk-politics-cameron/

    I get a very strong sense that Corbyn isn’t interested in economic issues and all he’s really doing is playing politics.

  44. George Hallam: why bother using PQE at all.
    The reason is political. Corbyn has accepted the official line that the budget deficit is a problem but he wants to end austerity. PQE offers a way to fund spending without talking too much about raising taxes or borrowing more. So proposing PQE is a capitulation to the Establishment agenda.

    Given the global capitalist context, all methods of raising money are going to have potential negative aspects. Eg, interest has to be paid on loans; competitive advantage lost by raising tax rates on the rich & big business.

    The issue is whether the benefits gained outweigh the drawbacks.

    Adding the possible use of PQE as well as other methods is very sensible.

  45. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: Given the global capitalist context, all methods of raising money are going to have potential negative aspects. Eg, interest has to be paid on loans; competitive advantage lost by raising tax rates on the rich & big business.
    The issue is whether the benefits gained outweigh the drawbacks.

    Yes, indeed.

    It should be clear by now that Corbyn doesn’t have a coherent economic programme.
    The way you are talking one might imagine that we were discussing the pros and cons of Lenin’s New Economic Policy.

  46. George Hallam: Corbyn doesn’t have a coherent economic programme.

    It’s as coherent as it could be, given that until a couple of months ago almost nobody could conceive that such a programme would serve any purpose. And it’s as coherent as it needs to be, given that there probably won’t be a general election until 2020.

    Oh and btw George, you do rather disappoint with your remark about the New Economic Policy, Because somehow I doubt that Lenin and the Bolsheviks had the NEP all coherently worked out to put to the Russian masses in advance of the 1917 revolution.

  47. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: until a couple of months ago almost nobody could conceive that such a programme would serve any purpose.

    I suppose that it is to be expecting too much for Lefties to see that having a workable alternative might serve a useful purpose when talking to ordinary people.

    Noah: And it’s as coherent as it needs to be, given that there probably won’t be a general election until 2020.

    Until then moral exhortation is enough?

    Noah: Oh and btw George, you do rather disappoint with your remark about the New Economic Policy

    The ninth Beatitude is ” Blessed is he who expect nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

    Noah: Because somehow I doubt that Lenin and the Bolsheviks had the NEP all coherently worked out to put to the Russian masses in advance of the 1917 revolution.

    Say what you like about Lenin (ruthless, opportunist dictator, mass murderer, German spy, etc., etc.) he always took economics extremely seriously. This may account for the way he put together NEP so quickly.

  48. NEP is pretty much what would have happened from day 1 were it not for the slight detail of the civil war. Read the April Theses.

  49. john Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya,

    If I remember there was quite a sharp debate in the Minority Party about NEP. I always saw it as an act of minor desperation because of the civil war and the failure of the revolution to succeed in Germany etc.

  50. George Hallam: I suppose that it is to be expecting too much for Lefties to see that having a workable alternative might serve a useful purpose when talking to ordinary people.

    What is your coherent economic programme, George?

  51. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: What is your coherent economic programme, George?

    Here is something I wrote in April 2010

    Five things we need to do to get FIVE MILLION extra jobs

    We can’t leave this to the free market – the market won’t create jobs on this scale. There is no alternative: we have to take charge of the economy ourselves. We must:

    • Stop private companies milking the state. Local authorities and the NHS must stop privatisation and take work in-house again. This will remove the distorting effect of profit-chasing and allow public employees to concentrate on improving services.

    • Protect our economy by managing our imports and exchange rate of the pound. This is the only way we can create an environment for the rebuilding of British manufacturing.

    • Take control of our core industries – energy, transport, telecommunications, steel and shipbuilding – and expand them.

    • Tame the City: the current financial system so unstable and capricious that it has become a threat not just to itself but to society as a whole. Only root and branch restructuring can make it safe. This means compartmentalising risky activities and blocking mad transfers of funds. To do this we need to reinstate the controls on the movement of capital abolished thirty years ago. To provide small businesses with reliable source of finance, we need banks run by the local authorities in the areas they operate. Ordinary people need a cheap and easy-to-use bank (run by the Post Office).

    • Stand up to the EU. Just about everything we need to do both locally and nationally is against some EU regulation.

  52. George Hallam on said:

    Noah: And it’s as coherent as it needs to be, given that there probably won’t be a general election until 2020.

    If the distinction between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks of the next election while a statesman thinks of the next generation (James Freeman Clarke), then what does one call someone who doesn’t bother to think as far ahead as the next election?

  53. George Hallam: what does one call someone who doesn’t bother to think as far ahead as the next election?

    It looks like you have (deliberately or otherwise) misunderstood my point. The movement has some time available in which we can decide policy.

    This is a good thing. People are energised and interested. There is going to be plenty of discussion, learning and consideration of policy proposals. It will be a collective process.

    Why don’t you take part in this, George? If you could control your negativity and pedantry, I think you would make a useful contribution.

  54. George Hallam on said:

    This was in this morning’s ‘Observer’:
    “We understand aspiration, and we understand that it is only collectively that our aspirations can be realised. Everybody aspires to an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable healthcare and decent pension. My generation took those things for granted and so should future generations.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/12/jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-mandate-agenda
    Great stuff but without a workable economic programme it sound like a nice exercise in button pushing.

    “We understand aspiration” for the Blairites;

    “we understand that it is only collectively that our aspirations can be realised” for the Left;

    “Everybody aspires to an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable healthcare and decent pension ”for practically everybody;

    “My generation took those things for granted and so should future generations ” for the youngsters.

  55. George Hallam on said:

    George Hallam:
    This was in this morning’s ‘Observer’:

    “We understand aspiration, and we understand that it is only collectively that our aspirations can be realised. Everybody aspires to an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable healthcare and decent pension. My generation took those things for granted and so should future generations.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/12/jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-mandate-agenda

    Great stuff for an opener, but unless it’s followed by a workable economic programme it sounds like a nice exercise in button pushing.

    “We understand aspiration” for the Blairites;

    “we understand that it is only collectively that our aspirations can be realised” for the Left;

    “Everybody aspires to an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable healthcare and decent pension” for practically everybody;

    “My generation took those things for granted and so should future generations ” for the youngsters.

  56. #47 In today’s “I” Chucka Umnah is reported as citing his main reason for leaving the shadow cabinet as his concern that Corbyn is too much of a euro-sceptic.