Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nationalise Now For A Quick Fix

The deep recession is a Depression and for tough times it's time to cast aside political prejudice and bring strategic industries vital for the economy and jobs into full short-term public ownership.

As recent polls show, the public is becoming heartily sick of Brown's government floundering around throwing good money after bad, as he relentlessly pursues a doomed policy of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear by borrowing billions to dig himself out of a hole.  

Steel-making is the latest casualty as Indian-owned Corus axed 2500 jobs in working class heartlands, already hit by high unemployment. Car manufacturing jobs too are being wiped out - both the first to go in the US Great Depression of the 1930s. The knock-on effect for firms relying on big industries is catastrophic. 

Both are symptoms of an economic breakdown as one day Brown will have to face up to reality and a country bankrupt. 

Brown's deputy Mandelson is due to make a statement today on aid for the car industry, but time and again the 'solutions' come from the old order with the 'borrow more and bail-out' mantra, using taxpayers' money to subsidise industry and finance institutions.

The days of borrowing are over. International investors are unwilling to lend to UK plc. And that will have a knock-on effect on the government's grand plans to boost jobs with a massive programme of public works. 

PFI schemes too, so beloved of the government to keep borrowing of the public accounts, are hitting the rocks as the borrowing cash dries up.

The answer still is to throw cash at the banks, the car industry or whatever moves. But this is borrowed cash and, with few controls, goes straight into the pockets of shareholders and foreign owners, saddling taxpayers with debt for years to come. 

It's all about jobs and so it should be. But why borrow cash and hand over a blank cheque to business, the banks  and industry to kick start the economy? That didn't work in the US Depression and it won't work here now. 

It's time to bury political prejudices and cast aside the past burdens of nationalisation and take into full public ownership strategic industries and financial institutions. After all, this would give the taxpayer a stake in the country's fortunes and future and remove once and for all the ridiculous mess of a country which doesn't even own the shirt on its back. 

This would be a short term fix, not a long term shackle, nor a move towards a big state controlled soviet. When the bad times are eventually a bad dream and the economy finally gets moving, politicians and the public can rethink the strategy. 

What caught the eye of the Orange Party was a recent meeting of the heads of Europe, debating a 'new world order' and the  future of capitalism. 

German chancellor Merkel deplored huge debts that governments are accumulating to spend their way out of the present crisis. French president Sarkozy, blamed financial speculators for encouraging a system fuelled on debt. 

Brown wasn't there but someone else was at the meeting of the great and good. Someone who called for a new financial order based on "values other than the maximum short-term profit."

"In capitalism of the 21st century, there is room for the state," said the voice at the front. 

That came from none other that former prime minister Blair, the guy who, along with his chancellor, sold off the silver and racked up billions of pounds in debt. 

Maybe he's had a change of heart. Or maybe he's in a confused state, mixing up state public ownership with taxpayer's state subsidies.  

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