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Yvette Cooper is wrong about nationalisation

Yvette CooperThis was bound to come back at some point. In a speech this week to launch The Changing Work Centre – a new think tank looking at, you guessed it, the changing nature of work – Yvette Cooper admonished Jez and John McDonnell for talking about re-nationalisation. “Labour must not get drawn into touting yesterday’s solutions to tomorrow’s problems. Things like nationalising power companies don’t do anything to help young people trying to build a new app or older workers stuck in precarious temporary work.” Of course, she would be right. If that was what the Labour leadership were actually arguing.

This line first got an airing over the summer. As she was the one who took His Tonyness seriously and tried to make the future her “comfort zone” by talking about futurey things, Yvette – subtly, of course – painted Jez and John as Jurassic Park extras for advocating the most offensive N-word in the New Labour dictionary. However, it’s completely disingenuous.

Yvette knows what Jez and John aren’t arguing for old-style nationalisation. She (or at least her minions) read the same press releases and reports as everyone else, and nowhere among them do you find calls for utilities and transport to be modelled on the gas, electricity, and water boards of old, or the late and (surprisingly) lamented British Rail. Something much better is on offer.

One of Labour’s bright spots is its economic radicalism. Concretely, its embrace of cooperatives, pledge to support them, and the promise of legislation that gives workers first refusal when it comes to the selling off of firms is exactly the kind of innovative radicalism that should be embedded in our politics. Similarly, what is being proposed when it comes to nationalisation is socialisation, the extension of the sovereignty of the polity from the rarefied debating chambers of government over sections of the economy by offering them democratic accountability and control. And why not? If Labour under Blair and Brown thought something as complex as medical services were capable of democratic self-governance, then why not organisations that are much simpler like … gas suppliers? Yes, there are issues around implementation, scale (local, regional, national?) and what role – if any – should markets play here (for my money, democracy works best when relationships are decommodified), but it’s not beyond the wit and ingenuity of our people to run these kinds of institutions. It might help solve that skilling up and precarious work problem too.

I’ve said it before, if the right want to come back into contention they have to start dealing with the reality of where we’re at – advice Blair used to dispense in rather different circumstances. And that means engaging honestly with the actual policy positions of the leadership . So come on, Yvette, how about debating these ideas as everyone finds them, rather than flicking back to the 1945 Manifesto and treating current policy as a retro retread?

30 Comments

  1. David Pavett says:

    I find the localism agenda proposed by Phil BC unconvincing and closer to current dominant political rhetoric than anyone on the left should feel comfortable with.

    What is lacking in this is an critical evaluation of scale. What can appropriately be decided at national, regional and local level? No criteria are offered here. In fact the problem isn’t even recognised.

    We just have to ask should airports be run and controlled by the people who work in them or should they fit into a larger national plan?

    Going a little further similar questions can be asked about training and education. Then we could move on to infrastructure and transport. Then we can move on to housing and many other things.

    It quickly becomes evident that localism can only be a part of the solution. A further point is that devolving industrial policy to coops is essentially another form of privatisation and one not backed by a very encouraging history. Collectives and coops can either be a form of social advance or a step backwards according to the circumstances. In themselves they are no panacea.

    That is why industrial policy has to be thought through in all its complexity (international, national, regional and local) and, it seems to me, that there is little sign of that in Phil’s piece.

    It is not impossible that someone on the right can come up with a worthwhile idea but when one finds oneself treading pretty much the same path as people like Tristram Hunt (see his chapter Reviving our sense of mission: designing a new political economy in the Progress Purple Book) then there is good reason to step back.

    Finally, I think it is a mistake to rush into saying that “old-style nationalisation” is not intended without any debate about what that means. There was much that was wrong and much that was right about “old-style” nationalisation and to sort out the differences critical evaluation is needed rather than sloganised discussion that proceeds according to the labels attached to ideas rather than the ideas and associated practice themselves.

    1. John Penney says:

      You are absolutely spot on with all your criticisms of Phil’s absolutely dreadful disingenuous “Blairite lite” article, David.

      In appearing to be a critic of Yvette Cooper’s irrational neoliberal phobia about nationalisation, Phil in fact then immediately restates all the old slippery guff from the , now slightly repositioned, Blairite Labour Right, about “workers Co-ops and localist devolution replacing all that”old fashioned nationalisation stuff”. Phil has always had surprisingly Blairite sympathetic politics, for someone regularly posting on the Left Futures site. This slippery article firmly nails his fundamental Blairite, neoliberal colours to the mast.

      As you rightly say, Peter, radical Left Keynsian measures, never mind radical socialist ones, to alleviate and transform our dysfunctional, financialised, UK economy, will depend absolutely fundamentally on the reintroduction of comprehensive, joined-up,
      economic planning – from education/training policy, to regional development, to a rebuilding of our manufacturing (high tech hopefully) base. This can only be done via the nationalisation of key economic sectors – including banking, the utilities, and rail transport. This will be required to ensure a joined-up adherence to the overall national plan. Workers co-ops, though marginally interesting , and with some limited potential in a few cases – are still mutually competitive capitalist enterprises (look at the very mixed record of the Mondragon co-ops in Spain as an example). Workers co-ops and “devolved localised enterprises and services” (the cynical Tory “Northern Powerhouse gimmick” being a classic example) are merely a facet today of the continued neoliberal “cantonisation” drive to shatter any nationally organised economic coherence in the face of the power of the multinational businesses avidly feeding off the UK economy. The current deliberate breaking up of the NHS into ever smaller , disconnected, entities, for picking over by the private healthcare vultures, is an example of the utterly reactionary nature of the bogus radicalism of the “alternatives to conventional nationalisation” agenda being supported by the neoliberal nonsense Phil is promoting – in the guise of criticising Yvette Cooper’s equally neoliberal pro privatisation prejudices.

      Why is this Blairite nonsense being promoted on the “Left Futures” site ? Give it a rest, Phil. The New Statesman or a Progress publication seems a more appropriate forum.

      1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

        Agree that this article is both shallow diversionist, Labour changed the whole political dynamic after the war ended, creating a consensus that lasted until the 1970s, growth rates averaged 3% per year from then until 1770 when the monetarist took charge, Thatcher dismantled the Nationalised industries and since then we have averaged 1.5% down to the last figure of 0.3%

        These Neo-Liberal politicians have a clear agenda of transferring the public sector into private hands regardless of the damage it inflicts on the rest of us.

        http://fc95d419f4478b3b6e5f-3f71d0fe2b653c4f00f32175760e96e7.r87.cf1.rackcdn.com/FABEA1F4BFA64CB398DFA20D8B8B6C98.pdf

        This 1977 document shows how the Tories intended to denationalise the state, we didn’t know about it all at that time and could only speculate what their real intentions were.

        There is no excuse anymore, we have that information straight from the horses mouth, neither should we tolerate the Tories apologists within the party.

        1. John P Reid says:

          But it’s not 1945 now

    2. C MacMackin says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to call Phil a Blairite–I’d describe him as soft left. (Although let’s not forget where a great many Blairites came from…) And, in fairness, he did say “for my money, democracy works best when relationships are decommodified.” You have many worthwhile points to put forwards, John, but name-calling does not help convince people of them.

      Unfortunately, it seems that the idea of decentralisation is pretty influential on the left worldwide at the moment. People coming from green traditions are particularly afflicted (despite the fact that economies of scale allow greater efficiency), as are the “anarcho-liberals” like Naomi Klein. However, we do have to recognize that this is, in part, a reaction to the unaccountable forms of nationalisation and state action of old. While I would want airports acting as part of a national plan, it’s not as though we want to simply reproduce the old BAA. Phil’s article did hint at these problems and the need to do better and that is to his credit.

      I don’t want to come across completely unsympathetic to localism. I’m originally from Canada, which is a federal system and where municipalities tend to have much more autonomy than in the UK. There is definitely a strong point to be made about allowing councils more freedoms in setting their tax rates and taking their own initiatives. For example, the laws prohibiting councils from regulating local buses are ridiculous and I think that is an example of something best run on the local scale. On the other hand, we mustn’t go to far. To stick with that example, there would still be a need for a national bus company. More importantly, things like electricity really do need to be run centrally. The rhetoric which came from the late Michael Meacher about wanting to people to have the choice of dozens of local electricity providers rather than the big 6 was quite a neoliberal argument, I thought.

      Of course, I absolutely take people’s point that even the more reasonable defenses of localism run the risk of aiding austerity in the current climate.

      1. John Penney says:

        But is Phil Burton-Cartledge actually “Soft Left” as you contend, C. Mackmackin ? The evidence suggests otherwise. For a start he backed the very person he claims to be critical of in this article, namely Yvette Cooper, in the Labour leadership election. More damning are his regular articles containing the utterly bogus suggestion that hard core Blairites like Liam Byrne, and even Tristram Hunt, are developing viable post Blairite/post neoliberal economic policies – somehow more in tune with the Left turn of the Labour Party today. This is entirely incorrect – the Blairites are scrabbling around to find some form of language code euphemisms to dress up their usual toxic neoliberal policy bundle – but their politics remain unchanged.

        The purpose of Phil dropping this “the Blairites are now post neoliberals, with interesting new ideas to offer” nonsense into the discussion forums of the Left is simply to attempt to legitimise the slippery language camouflage being used by the Labour Right to conceal their completely uncompromising continuing hostility to even Jeremy Corbyn’s radical Left Keynsianism, never mind radical socialist politics, in the Labour Party. I therefore stand by my description of Phil’s economic approach as “Blairite”. it ain’t abuse – its an accurate description.

        On a broader issue – it constantly amazes me just how unaware the younger generation of people who see themselves as “socialists” are of the absolute centrality of comprehensive (democratic) state economic planning is in the transformation from the current neoliberal status quo – to any sort of society where the needs of the many outweigh the wants of the superrich few. Thirty years of neoliberal ideological hegemony, and the dire historical experience of Stalinist “Command Planning” , have led to a naïve rejection by so many who see themselves as “on the Left” of the vital role of the Plan in socialist transformation, and has also provided ideological room for the importation of numerous economic proposals, such as “Citizens Income” and the whole “pro small state” and localism/workers co-op ideas, which are actually sourced either from the Libertarian Far Right, or from the petty bourgeois utopian socialist fantasies of the pre industrial era early 19th century.

        1. Danny Nicol says:

          I agree. As regards Phil B-C I sense deja vu. I remember in the mid 1980s comrades who condemned “old-style” nationalisation and talked twaddle about “many and varied forms of common ownership” and workers’ cooperatives in particular. Then, lo and behold, these wheezes were all quietly dropped (thank goodness in the case of workers’ co-ops) and those same comrades were happily presiding in government over an economy dominated by private ownership and privatisation.

          I too am disheartened by the lack of support of the younger generations of the Left for public ownership. We risk a generation of Left-wingers who, however earnest, are actually non-socialist, such has been the domination of neoliberalism. Muted Euroscepticism and indifference as to whether public ownership is permitted under EU law is another symptom of the same phenomenon.

        2. C MacMackin says:

          Well, in fairness, I wasn’t actually alive in the 1980s when the soft left last had much strength and I was politically unaware and 3000 miles away when Blair was in power, so I’m not the best place person to comment. The reason I wouldn’t say Phil B-C is a Blairite is because he seemed to support Corbyn-esque policies–until there was actually a candidate with a serious chance of putting them forwards. My impression is that he had a vision of gradually radicalizing society and felt that Corbyn had come along too soon. I’m certainly not saying that I approve of such a stance (I could write a whole essay on why I don’t), but I think it’s more complicated than him simply being a Blairite. Also, while I am in no position to know Phil’s mindset, I think it is possible for a non-Blairite to use Blaire-esque language in a well-intentioned if ultimately naive and harmful way. To use blunter language than I’d generally prefer to, “never assume bad intentions when assuming stupidity is enough.” In any case, I don’t really like discussing someone like this, below an article which they wrote, so I’ll try to just stick to discussing policies from here on out.

          The points you brought up are certainly a big part of the reaction against central planning. I think another part of the issue we have is that democratic planning is HARD! It’s easy to see the democratic potential in small-scale things like participatory municipal budgeting, but it isn’t immediately obvious how to produce a national plan without it being dominated by a technocratic elite. That is something which we on the left probably need to think about just as much as we need to consider the details of a national development plan. The (only) good news is digital communications means that, at a technical level, this is probably easier now than it has ever been.

          Just on the topic of the universal income, I used to broadly support it but now broadly oppose it. However (and I say this respectfully and in a spirit of solidarity), I do think your tone on this subject is unlikely to win you many allies. Those on the left supporting it are not (all) Friedmanite wolves in sheep’s clothing nor are they (all) idiots. An excellent article on the subject, giving insight into why people support it and the issues with it can be found here: http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/who-wants-a-universal-basic-income. The author stated elsewhere that he started out in favour of it but, after having been commissioned to write the article and doing his research, ended up opposed.

          Incidentally, there was a good article in Red Pepper today about the pitfalls of the localism agenda and how the left might relate to it: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/localism-without-politics/

          1. John Penney says:

            You are right, C. MacMackin that Phil B-C, claims to be generally in favour (in some purely internalised personal way though ) of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics . But then of course “out in the real world” – as he sees it, he actually backs the dreadful neoliberal hack, Yvette Cooper, for Labour Leader – and sees “Corbynite radicalism “as far too Left wing to win an election” . In other words , in practice, he actually backs the usual old neoliberal policy bundle of the Blairites for the Labour Party ! This is about as convincing as our local ghastly , recently resigned because of scandal, Tory Leader of Shropshire Council, who I am told was wont to get bevvied up with his small coterie of compliant Labour Councillor mates on occasion – and apparently often assured them he too “at heart, was really a socialist” – But – “the world just didn’t work that way” . Phil appears to be that sort of “pro Corbynite” himself – ie, no sort of socialist at all – just a trimmer to the dominant head winds of the neoliberal consensus. I question his right to write on a “Left Futures” site. And if Phil doesn’t like my, and other posters, criticisms, why doesn’t he deign to reply to our responses to his lofty pronouncements ?

            You are also quite right, C. MacMackin, that when the issue of Citizen’s Universal Income is actually looked at dispassionately in detail, and costed, as it finally was during the General election in the case of the longstanding Green Party proposal for it, the attractiveness of this proposal evaporates rapidly as a route to greater income equality. All Universal Citizen’s income/Basic Citizens Income variants actually end up DISADVANTAGING the worst off (unless there is a complex needs assessment structure in place to vary individual cash ration handouts relative to NEED- which CI is meant to make unnecessary as a key part of its USP , and cost saving raison deter) – and wasting vast amounts of tax money better spent on a comprehensive Welfare State.

            The concept is a toxic “bleed over” from Libertarian Far Right “shrink the State to nothing- we are all just atomised individualised consumers” ideology.

            That sections of the self identifying “Left” have grabbed up variants of CI in recent years is a consequence of the dire ideological outcome of 30 years of neoliberal victory over the Labour Movement across the US and Europe. The despair at the impotence of Left and Labour Movement resistance to neoliberalism has led some “radicals” to despair of mass collective action to achieve reform and instead toadopt “defensive” strategies actually deeply rooted in bourgeois individualist liberalism, rather than mass socialist activist politics.

            Ideas like localist devolution and workers co-operatives (at least as a large scale “answer” to capitalism), and Citizens Income, are quite simply demobilising, distracting, ideological poison within the Left and Labour Movement. I refuse to apologise for being openly hostile to such damaging strategies for the Left.

        3. Peter Rowlands says:

          I don’t think that the political categorisation of Phil BC is the most important issue facing us, but I generally agree with the criticism of his article made by yourself and David Pavett.
          I would make two points. Firstly, you should not be amazed at the lack of understanding of the need for state economic planning, as it is the fault of those on the left who know better for having failed to promote such an understanding. For the ultra left it isn’t a problem as everything will fall into place after the revolution! But for we who believe in the left Keynesian approach being successfully pushed by John McDonnell we usually don’t go beyond the content of the excellent articles by Michael Burke and others, understandably perhaps because these things are difficult.. What is necessary is to try and link that with some sort of description of the economy that we are seeking. If it is not a command economy, then how does it work? Is there a market dimension to it? These were the questions raised by Alec Nove in his interesting 1983 book’ The economics of feasible socialism’, but they need to be posed again.
          My second point is cost. There is not a problem with the railways, which are largely publicly owned anyway, but this is not so of the other big utilities, and other industries that it will be necessary to take back into public control.The left must start talking about how this is to be financed or otherwise managed.

          1. John Penney says:

            You raise some important points, Peter. as you say, the ultraleft have a essentially semi-religious belief in the automatically all transforming power of “the Revolution” (the conveniently all-at-once global proletarian socialist revolution that is) to sort out all those difficult structural and procedural issues following on from the overthrow of capitalism. Such as how would the economy be organised . And how can we avoid yet another Stalinist bureaucracy arising to create a monstrous tyranny.

            For those of us not (or perhaps no longer) in the thrall of the lazy certainties of ultraleftist Marxism-Leninism, getting to grips with the huge problems facing any future serious radical left reforming government, is a must. The rapid capitulating fate of the Syriza government of Greece, and , more relevantly for the UK, the retreat of the initially radical 1980’s French Mitterrand governments, are evidence that winning an election is only the start of the struggle for a more rational, majority-serving, society.

            Recent attempts to address the major problems facing a future reforming Labour government include a group of Left economists (from around the sphere of the CPB ) who a year or so ago produced a comprehensive outline Economic Development Plan , “Building an Economy for the People: an alternative economic and political strategy for 21st century Britain” . An excellent piece of work , well worth reading- (though I’m no fan generally of much of the politics of the CPB).

            The Labour Leadership, hopefully with John McDonnell as a key co-ordinating player, really needs to move beyond the current “celebrity economists” who are offering advice – and draw down detailed support from the huge talent in academia from Left-leaning academics – and the trades union researchers – to develop a wide ranging new Radical Economic Strategy for the UK.

            We also know that any new radical Left Labour Government will always face capital flight, currency speculation, and general economic sabotage . What game plans do we need to put in place to counter these threats ? If we don’t do a lot of serious planning now, we will have nothing credible to build mass support and belief that Labour has answers to the severe deepening world and UK capitalist crisis – and few believable answers ready for the detailed grilling/rubbishing a radical Left Labour Economic Manifesto will face during the 2020 General Election.

            Just look at how the Greens were essentially taken apart during the last General Election when their up to then unchallenged core policies, like Citizens Income, simply fell apart under close scrutiny.

          2. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

            Neo-Liberals deliberately create chaos in order that opponents have to fight on all fronts, this fragments opposition and becomes ineffectual.

            Money creation cuts through everything neo-liberals stand for, so when they ask where is the money to properly fund the NHS and public services or job creation? We can say…. exactly where it comes from to day, THE BANKS PRINT MONEY OUT OF THIN AIR, we can do the same, only to serve people, not the banks. POVERTY IS A POLICY DECISION, NOT A FACT OF LIFE.

    3. James McMalcolmson says:

      Who is Phil Burton Cartridge?

  2. Susan O'Neill says:

    Anyone who is unwilling to even allow the advancement of an alternative to Corporate ownership costing the people they are fleecing should think twice about which camp they want to be airing their opinions from. Certain “opinions” are nothing more than weak arguments to forestall and throw up hurdles to any ideas not of their own choosing. Such people should join the Tories.

  3. David Ellis says:

    Karl Marx destroyed the original socialist sectarians and their co-ops some time ago.

    We are socialists. We believe in social ownership of the means of production not co-operatives. If our vision is of workers selfishly keeping the surplus value they create for themselves then that ain’t much of a vision. I’m seriously getting sick of this pair now. All they’ve talked of nationalising so far is the massively loss making railways when what we really need to nationalise are the big profit makers. Socialising the income from industry and commerce will give us public services ten, twenty a hundred times better than the crap we get through taxation and there is no other way of arriving at social property than at least initially through nationalisation. But of course we don’t want the kind of nationalisation that the capitalist state offers. We want workers control whereby Old School Tie and shareholder-imposed fat cats are replaced by leaders and managers elected by the workforce and answerable to the democratically elected government.

    1. Richard Tiffin says:

      100 agree.

      All to often the 30billion per quarter in dividends, the huge bonuses and salaries of top employees and the misspending of the revenue by these top companies are not included as capital that workers should control for the benefit of workers.

      We create the money, we should control it. Control of that alone on a capitalist basis would be transformative, let alone a socialist reconstitution of the economy through those enterprises.

      Memories dim and political rhetoric alters perception of reality but nationalisation last time around was about saving the shareholders (as in the banks in 2008/9) rather than transforming society, socialist rhetoric merely became a cover story. This is not to deny the benifits that nationalisation brought to workers and the nation. Then neo liberalism went about associating everything bad with nationalised companies which were all to often designed to look bad to enable a sell off.

      We need to get back to arguing confidently for the need to nationalise for the benefit of the nation and the planet rather than crouching it in soft rhetoric. It is still, the only way out of the global economic impasse.

  4. Karl Stewart says:

    Good job you didn’t vote for her as LP leader eh Phil?

  5. John P Reid says:

    Didn’t Tony Benn say that 1983 was a success as it was the best manifesto since 1945

  6. Danny Nicol says:

    An interesting debate but Yvette really has no need to worry. The EU liberalisation directives, which prevail over any Act of Parliament, guarantee open access to the gas and electricity markets in the EU Member States, and Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (read in conjunction with Article 54) prohibits restrictions on the right of companies or firms based in one Member State to establish themselves in other Member States. So nationalisation of gas and electricity is actually out of the question.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009L0073&from=en

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0055:0093:EN:PDF

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12008E049:en:HTML

    https://europadatenbank.iaaeu.de/user/view_legalact.php?id=67

  7. jeffrey davies says:

    just another blair baby is she the peasants want them gone cross the floor please jeff3

  8. Danny Nicol says:

    An interesting debate but Yvette really has no need to worry. The EU liberalisation directives, which prevail over any Act of Parliament, guarantee open access to the gas and electricity markets in the EU Member States, and Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (read in conjunction with Article 54) prohibits restrictions on the right of companies or firms based in one Member State to establish themselves in other Member States. So nationalisation of gas and electricity is actually out of the question.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009L0073&from=en

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0055:0093:EN:PDF

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12008E049:en:HTML

    https://europadatenbank.iaaeu.de/user/view_legalact.php?id=67

  9. Danny Nicol says:

    An interesting debate but Yvette really needn’t worry. The EU liberalisation directives, which prevail over any Act of Parliament, guarantee open access to the gas and electricity markets in the EU Member States, and Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (read in conjunction with Article 54) prohibits restrictions on the right of companies or firms based in one Member State to establish themselves in other Member States. So nationalisation of gas and electricity is actually out of the question.

    1. C MacMackin says:

      Not necessarily. It rules out the creation of a legally protected monopoly. However, if you were to nationalize the entire electricity supply and opt to build new clean supplies in house then it is unlikely that there would be any room left in the market for private providers. There are parts of Canada where this is the case, for instance. Admittedly, Canada is a much smaller and more spread out market, so that tends to make it more difficult for competition to be worthwhile. On the other hand, if you put in place some laws regulating things like price, environmental impacts, and worker and citizen representation on the boards of energy companies, then you would probably make it an unattractive investment for anyone except the state. I don’t know if all of those things would be allowed within the EU, but if Britain does vote to remain then you might be able to get away with something along those lines.

  10. David Ellis says:

    I wonder how long this blog intends to remain tight-lipped on Corbyn’s historic betrayal re the EU Referendum?

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Good point, for my money Corbyn doesn’t really matter at all and he hasn’t mattered since he failed to lead the principled opposition to us bombing Syria.

      Absolutely nobody here is taking a blind bit of notice of anything that Corbyn does or says and certainly not my local CLP or our our tax dodging MP, (who supported Liz Kendal,) as far as they’re all concerned it’s as if his election has never happened and he’ll shortly be leaving us anyway; but until then it’s just business as usual and the same Blair agenda.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        However even more troubling is the fact that both my local MP’s, (one supported Kendell and the other Burnham,) are basically conservatives, (so practically that the supposed difference between them and a conservative completely escapes me,) are perusing personal business and commercial interests that seem to me to be inappropriate and to present a real and problem, (perceived or real,) of conflict of interest.

        The one job, being an MP used to considered enough and on the whole it worked well, certainly we didn’t have hundreds of beggars living rough on the streets of our major cities or perhaps as many as 1200 NHS patients whose live were ended prematurely and unnecessarily in conditions of appalling squalor and so on……

        1. James Martin says:

          Yes, you would know all about what is happening inside your CLP wouldn’t you Weston given that you are not even a Labour Party member. What do you want here? Because all you ever seem to do is attack socialists with your constant negativity and self-important prattling about whatever flutters through your head at the time.

          1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            Well Oldham in effectively a rotten borough anyway and as for our CLP, who aren’t by all accounts anything particularly special, (and having grown up with local politics to the point of almost not caring; my father and my step farther were both local counselors; conservatives as it happens, although I’m definitely not,) and from reading the other comments here, I get the impression that most safe labor seats have essentially the same problems as Oldham.

            There are now more members of RSPB than there are of all the political parties in the UK put together and yet somehow you completely fail to see that as the problem or to ask yourself why ?

            In Oldham our Labor CLP seem to be a typically insular, paranoid and unaccountable bunch of, “mates,” with no obvious concerns beyond their own immediate self interests and they pretty much won’t discuss anything at all with anyone who is not a member of their incestuous, “charmed circle.” in which I would include their various “partners.”

            I know this because I’ve tied repeatedly and with the recent death of Michael Meacher, (who founded this site,) who was always a great communicator, (far more so than, “The Great Charlatan,”) and who engaged in lively, open and interesting conversation with his constituents and whose office dealt with 6000 cases a year, (no sign of any of that that from McMahon,) it’s all suddenly gone very quiet.

            As for my not being a member of the Labor party, well when I voted for Jeremy Corbyn I like many other people had expected that to be a precursor to joining Labor as full member again.

            But when I look at Jim McMahon, (was that really the best you could do,) and at Debbie Abrahms, (currently organizing a consortium of all the usual suspects to bid for council funding,) and lets not forget either the adjacent Labor borough of Rochdale and their own MP Simon Danczuk, all our local Labor MPs are either right wing Tories or mad.

            My father and my step farther, (and Blair for exactly the same reasons,) probably did far more make me into socialist than all the campaigning that Labor have done over the last 40 years; so explain again, why I as a socialist should vote Labor, let alone join the party ?

          2. John Penney says:

            Agreed, James Martin.Serial moaner and tiresome anti Labour Troll , J.P. Craig Weston appears to only have exerted himself sufficiently to vote online for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader – and then ludicrously decided “I’ve done my bit” and expected Jeremy Corbyn and his maximum of about 10 genuinely Left Labour MP’s , within the overwhelming numbers of PLP Blairite careerists, an overwhelming mass of collaborationist Blairite local councillors , and a solidly Blairite Labour Party machine (which is still to this day busy expelling socialists from the Party, via the “Compliance Committee”), to transform the Party into a fighting radical Left mass socialist party almost overnight !

            Craig Weston needs to get off his arse – away from his incessant negative masturbatory keyboard warrior anti Labour trolling, and either go out into the fresh air and take up a more useful hobby – OR, join us radical socialists in the years ahead of hard grind to build a campaigning Left Labour Party, fight the deeply entrenched Labour Right, and support Jeremy and his tiny group of socialist comrades in the PLP to transform Labour into the socialist party the UK desperately needs.

            Just a thought.

  11. Bazza says:

    Foucaut argued words are powerful and when I hear ‘nationalisation’ I think top-down, bureaucratic, distant, same bosses in control, and with workers and communities having no say.
    So I think the Left needs new language for the 21st which is why I argue we should use the term ‘democratic public ownership’ and with this we could have staff electing qualified boards and communities having a say although there is a debate about what should be run nationally, regionally, and locally.
    We could also have different models say with publicly owned rail and mail allowed to break even but publicly owned social enterprises like the utilities could pay a community dividend from surpluses to consumers (like the old Coop Divi) and this could be offset against bills which could help to address fuel poverty.
    We should also take water back into democratic public ownership (the private sector failed to invest in dredging rivers because it was costing too much which contributed to the floods).
    I would also like some banks in democratic public ownership plus some airlines (could have less seats on board and more space and comfort for passengers) plus take pharmaceuticals into public ownership which would save the NHS billions plus investment could be made in addressing health conditions and not just in only those which are deemed the most lucrative and we would stop the market robbing people with serious health conditions of a few extra years of life because of cost.
    Democratic public ownership would be part of a progressive and dynamic economy which would also be driven by state-led public investment.
    Capital is now international and we need all left wing democratic socialist forces in all countries to be doing the same things so the working class/working people/trade unions are international too. Yours in solidarity.

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