Labour needs a global vision when it comes to jobs

Watson & CorbynTom Watson, in a recent speech at the Cooperative Conference to launch his new Future of Work Commission, suggested that it is imperative for Labour to keep an open mind about Trump.  In doing so he seems to have taken on board some of the anti-globalisation sentiment of America’s protectionists, setting the Commission off on the wrong foot.

Firstly, he falls into the error of seeing America’s ‘left behind’ rust belt workers as victims of cheap imports from China. Yet study after study has shown that new technologies have had a far, far greater impact on US job loss than trade. If the problem is not identified correctly, how is it possible to develop a sensible strategy for future employment? Continue reading

This Chinese nuclear deal is unsustainable and costly

NuclearHad Labour done it, the Tories would be screaming bloody murder. I am, of course, talking about the deal with the Chinese to build two nuclear power stations. If the Tories really were standing up for Britain, from a national security perspective it beggars belief that key national infrastructure be handed over to a power they would ordinarily be opposed to. But these are not ordinary times, and for Dave and Osborne, they are quite prepared to do anything to be China’s best friend in the West.  Continue reading

Global economic crisis: has Labour dodged a bullet?

a speeding bulletWhile Labour and LibDem activists mourn, and political opportunists seize the moment, is the loss of the election such a bad thing? Might this be a good time to lose an election?

I think so. The reasons can be found in both domestic and global financial imbalances, in the advance of de-globalisation trends that are manifest in shrinking capital flows and growing nationalist movements; and in rising geopolitical tensions.

As I write, out in the big wide world there are upheavals in Eurozone and other sovereign bond markets.  Whether this violent volatility will lead to a global bond market crash is an open question, but in just two weeks markets have already marked up almost €1tn of losses.  Shares in booming stock markets have begun to slide, while currency movements are increasingly erratic. Continue reading

Tectonic plates shifting in world power structure are signs of a new world order

Something has just happened which got hardly any attention in the media, but which is very important. The recent setting up by China of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank may not seem likely to excite the passions, but it should. For this is clearly an intention by the big Asian powers to challenge the World Bank and the IMF which have been the cornerstone of Western (for which read US) domination of the global economy since Bretton Woods in 1944 and the main deliverers of the so-called ‘Washington consensus’. It is equally significant that several of Washington’s European allies, led by Britain, have signed up to become founding members of the new bank, despite vigorous US lobbying to stop them joining. France, Germany and Italy have also now joined up, and Australia and South Korea are also now thought likely to join. This unprecedented desertion of the US approach by its key allies has left Washington scrambling to recover from a major setback. But the immediate signs are that it’s not succeeding. Continue reading

International support rolls in for workers striking for democracy in Hong Kong

2014092901355869cc2f27-0bc3-4744-b24e-f4b2b9853b451The call for a general strike in support of the democracy movement by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – the only independent union in China – has attracted widespread international support.

The Swire Beverages (Coca-Cola) union and the HKCTU unions of  school teachers and dockers were striking on Monday after mass civil disobedience actions had come under heavy police attack. It is said that they are being joined by other member unions.

In declaring their strike, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU) said:

Hong Kong police used ruthless force to expel harmless citizens, inflicting injuries on demonstrators with the use of weapons, acting as enemies of the people”

Continue reading