Facing criticism that he lacks ‘vision’, Keir Starmer yesterday announced his Big Idea to the nation: the British Recovery Bond. But this attempt at Keynesianism-meets-patriotism will do nothing to solve the deep crisis of capitalism.
Keir Starmer has been thinking. He must show he has completely broken with Corbynism and at the same time come up with a new earth-shattering idea.
Amid the deepest crisis of capitalism for 300 years, Starmer must come up with something. He promised it would be a “call to arms – like the Beveridge Report was in the 1940s”. It was supposed to begin a new chapter in the history of our country.
Finally, the mountain laboured and delivered a mouse. Or what Starmer calls his Big Idea: the British Recovery Bond.
“This could raise billions to invest in local communities, jobs and businesses,” ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer says, standing to attention alongside the Union Jack. “It would provide security for savers and give millions of people a proper stake in Britain’s future.”
His delivery was as fascinating as a speaking clock.
This immediately brought to mind the two £2 Premium Bonds I have in my bottom draw, which have been sitting there for 50 years.
Yes, glorified Premium Bonds – that’s what he is talking about. But in this case, without any prizes. This is surely the idea everyone has been on the edge of their seats waiting for.
Phew. The whole thing takes your breath away. At best, this is a Keynesian idea. But ‘patriotic’ Keynesianism, of course. Not just bonds and debt, but ‘British’ bonds and ‘British’ debt.
However, it is not the state supplying the money – but you and me, with all the cash we have lying around.
When Starmer was asked by a reporter whether his bond policy would only make the wealthiest richer, he babbled on about how people had loads of cash, presumably hidden away under the mattress.
“Many people have, I think, saved for the first time during this pandemic and, as the Bank of England says, they are unlikely to spend it in a hurry. And this gives them the security of a bond going forward and also helps the country secure that economy.”
Of course, the security of the Premium Bond.
So next time, on their trip down to the food bank, Joe Bloggs could pop in and buy some ‘recovery bonds’ so as to give them a sense of security. This idea, from a so-called Labour leader!
As the Guardian reports, however:
“Many people claiming universal credit for the first time during the pandemic were unable to put aside enough cash to save £10 a month, eat healthily or regularly, or pay bills because the benefit payment was inadequate to meet basic living costs, a study has found.”
Of course, this was not his only idea. He set out a vision of a ‘new partnership’ between government and business.
“I know what a good business brings to a town or to a family,” he said. “If I were prime minister, I would back a new generation of British entrepreneurs…”
Incapable of fighting the Tories, instead providing ‘constructive’ opposition, Starmer grovels before the capitalist establishment. No wonder he is thinking of bringing back Lord Mandelson from the dead.
Well, at least no one can say they don’t know where Starmer stands now. These are not new ideas, but the mouldy old failed policies of the past.
Will someone tell Starmer that if business was interested in building a fairer society we wouldn’t have needed Trade Unions, Cooperatives or indeed the Labour Party.
See what I did there ? #StarmerOut
— a boy called mick (@callboymick) February 19, 2021
But just to make sure we don’t misunderstand him, Starmer states plainly: “Under my leadership, Labour’s priority will always be financial responsibility.”
This is right-wing code for austerity down the line.
If you cut away the waffle, Starmer is all about rescuing British capitalism in all its glory. He is about as far from socialist principles as the man in the moon. His aim, along with the rest of the Labour right wing, is to secure the Labour Party for capitalism, and to purge the party of socialists.
But that is no surprise. All you needed to do was look at his track record.
Of course, so-called ‘recovery bonds’ will not solve the crisis of British capitalism. It is not a shortage of cash that has wrecked the economy, but the greed of the ‘entrepreneurs’ and bankers, who are only interested in short-term gain. Making money is what drives them, nothing more; and to hell with the consequences.
Bonds will not prevent the mass unemployment, insecurity, and poverty that affect large layers of the working class. The crisis we face is a crisis of capitalism – and no amount of patching up the system is going to solve this.
Only clear socialist policies can offer a way out. Only when the economy is in the hands of the working class – and not the billionaire ‘entrepreneurs’ and speculators – will we be able to plan the economy in the interests of the majority.
That means taking over the commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers’ control and management.
That’s why we campaigned to bring back Clause 4, the party’s commitment to socialism and to a planned economy.
You can’t plan what you don’t control; and you don’t control what you don’t own. It is as simple as that.
You can buy as many Premium Bonds as you like – the economy is still going to be in the hands of the billionaires, who fatten themselves on the unpaid labour of the working class.
We say: To hell with propping up capitalism! No support for Starmer and the right wing! Fight for socialist policies!