The New Labour model consisted in running the entire economy off the City of London and then redistributing the tax revenues through a bloated public sector to the rest of the country. This model was destroyed by the financial crisis. There have now emerged two new models. The New New Labour plan is to borrow enough to ride out the financial crisis (and its after-shocks) and then restore the New Labour model. This requires either sufficient borrowing that we loose our ability to borrow cheaply and have to raise taxes to such a point that the City cannot support a recovery or sufficiently high taxes that the City cannot support a recovery. In short, it’s bollocks.

The Tory plan is to restore the industrial base of the British economy through tax cuts and preserve our cheap credit through spending cuts so that redistribution through the public sector will become less and less necessary (but they probably don’t have the balls to push through this programme consistently). The problem is that, when the people who run the City are among the richest people on the planet and people in Indonesia are willing to work for a dollar a day, there is no prospect of restoring the industrial base of the British economy unless the technological development of Britain is unimaginably greater than that of most of the rest of the planet. That goal cannot be achieved. It is scarcely being approximated now and it will only slip further and further out of sight.

Only one alternative exists, the Old Old Labour alternative: to encourage, through the tax system, the ownership of the means of production by the workers themselves. That is, to encourage the proliferation of producer cooperatives. Producer cooperatives are far more successful than private or public companies and they do not, of their very nature, relocate to distant shores. They embody the original aspirations of the founders of the Labour movement. They present a genuine alternative to the plan the Tories believe in but are too scared to pursue, but they are anathema to the ideals of the bourgeois statist hijackers of the Labour movement. The first generation of hijackers wrote the following summary of that movement’s goals. It came to be read as a charter for mass nationalisation but it was intended (by its duplicitous authors) to be capable of referring to cooperative ownership instead. Read in that light it is an inspiring document capable of inspiring a noble and unstoppable popular movement.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

Briton of the Year

Idiot of the Year

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