Sunday, 12 October 2008

Time to take full control of the banking sector

So. One of the great architects of free-market failure, Gordon Brown, is now claiming to have found the solution. The £500 billion bail out plan, which he hopes will be copied around the world, didn't exactly get off to a spectacular start, and the markets are still falling. The plan is unlikely to work because there are still huge losses to unwind and no one knows who is holding them.

But Gordon isn't trying to reform the corrupt system of greed which threatens to undo all our livelihoods, he is trying to preserve it. Will people stand for this? I don't think so
. Already we are seeing more jobs losses and people are beginning to see the value of their pensions fall. The guilty have no place to hide and there is a lot of anger about. In the near future things can only get worse.

Instead of bailing out the banks we should be taking full control of them. We need to lower interest rates quickly - the 0.5% cut was too little too late. We must also nationalise some of the companies which are in danger of going under (and no I don't mean Karen Millen) and we need to help those who are threatened with repossession by the government taking over their mortgages and charging them rent. Local authorities must also be protected. But this just for starters. Then we need to start looking at economic renewal and that is where the Green New Deal comes in. The GND will not only create much needed jobs, but set us on the road to tackling climate change. Its interesting that the United Nations has now jumped on the GND bandwagon with proposals of its own.

The problem is that there is nowhere for people to channel their anger. We have the three main political parties - all supine adherents to the status quo. We have the trade unions - still stupidly tied to New labour. The Green Party is too small at the moment to be able make a significant impact. Other parties of the left have little influence or support. On top of this there is the general disillusionment with politics, because people don't think it can change anything.

People who would at one time have joined parties of the left are now putting their energy into changing things at a local level. There is a lot of local green activism around climate change and peak oil. At a meeting I attended on Monday, people from a small community (a housing estate) were working to strengthen and enhance their local area, and protect it from climate change and peak oil. They discussed all sorts of initiatives around reducing energy and water use. Their commitment, imagination, organisation and resourcefulness was impressive. They are changing things themselves because the government is failing them.

In the short term the only group who could make a significant difference are the trade unions. They should withhold all funding from New Labour until they have guarantees on bank nationalisation, protecting local authorities, regulation of the financial sector, and help for those facing repossession. What the trade unions really need to do is split the labour party, kicking out Brown and the Blairites, but there is little danger of that happeniing. But after the next election who knows? Aside from this there is still time and scope for a significant political shift to happen before the next election. What we need is a party of the left who can collect that vote. The only option for that at the moment is the Green Party.


Anonymous said...

This makes good sense; only the baking sector gets bailed out and our heavy industry went to the wall.
The depositors savings ought ot have been guaranteed and the banks allowed to fail. The bankers were clearly unfit to do their jobs, so let them rot.

Bill L

Anonymous said...

I now own the bank that I have my bank account with; does this mean that I have no need to crawl to the bank manager if I want a loan?


Howard Thorp said...


the answer is probably. But then the myth of nationalisation is that *we" own companies such as the banks. We don't. They are owned by the British state.

Margaret Thatcher claimed to be a radical when she privaitised nationalised companies in the 80's and gave us the chance (sic) to really own them by becoming shareholders. But why should we have paid for something we had already bought through taxes?

If Thatcher had been a real radical, rather than a reactionary conservative, she would have given shares in those companies to every adult in the UK.


Anonymous said...

Hi Howard

Just wanted to apologize for my facetious comment about bakers.

Sometimes I get a bit carried away.