Economics students will tell you that the engine of long-term economic growth has been ideas. In politics, it is no different, ideas drive political success or failure and after 40 years of privatisation, neo-liberalism and most recently, intense austerity, the left are beginning to gain the upper hand in the battle of ideas. Corbyn’s real alternative is the reason for this and the right is worried, rightly so.
A Telegraph article on the 26th of September read, ‘The Right needs a new language to sell Capitalism to the aspirational classes of the 2018.’ Robert Halfon, a Tory MP, announced on Twitter that Labour’s announcements this week would resonate with millions of workers. Adding that people want ‘better public services, proper high streets and childcare, etc.’ Which is the central problem at the heart of Conservatism in Britain, after 8 years of Austerity we have seen cuts after cuts after cuts, further inflicting economic hardship on millions of families, whilst inequality has risen. A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, said that inequality has been rising, with more than a fifth of people now living below the poverty line, and 44% of all wealth being concentrated amongst the top 10% of people. The Conservatives will fast find it difficult to win the votes of workers when the population has a radical alternative versus the destitution inflicted by the current government.
Don’t worry, ‘we’re all in this together’, said David Cameron announcing his harsh policies of austerity. Back then Labour would roll over and agree with their opponents, that is no longer the case. As we witnessed at Labour’s Conference this week, there were several flagship policies announced this week, that will begin to shift power from the hands of big business to the workers. It’s no longer austerity lite, it’s no longer bring back our welfare state, it’s the building blocks of democratic socialism.
Firstly, the ‘Inclusive Ownership Fund’, John McDonnell’s plan is for companies to gradually place 10% of their equity into an Inclusive Ownership Fund that would be owned and collectively managed by the workers. This policy would apply to all companies with over 250 employees, and the dividends paid out would be capped at £500 per worker, with anything extra lining the pockets of the greatly starved treasury to pay for public services. You can read our full report and analysis here.
Secondly, Corbyn confirmed that the Big Firms would be required to save a 1/3rd of all their boardroom seats for worker representation. A policy that is very popular in Europe. Further proof, that Labour now approaches policy in a more pragmatic manner but will keep its promises on returning power to the many. This now looks like a Government in waiting, one that is prepared to confront big business and the abuse of power that has taken place over the last 4 decades but is willing to work with companies to deliver a healthy social programme.
Other headline policy announcements included pledging to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030 and create 410,000 new green energy jobs. Finally, with over 11 million people currently renting in Britain, Labour announced that they would give cities the power to re-introduce rent controls, something that will most definitely be welcome with our readers.
There were many other policies announced this week, that that will contribute to creating a fairer and just society, which is something the people of the United Kingdom have deserved for many years now. As I commented before, Labour now has a more nuanced set of policies, yes, they are radical in a sense that they will move away from an economic system that has greed at the heart of it. An economic system that has had privatisation at the heart of it, which in turn has decreased the quality of public services at the expense of the taxpayer. The right continues to criticise the ideas of Corbyn and his team, without offering an alternative or caving to Labour spending demands, which indicates why the Conservatives are so insecure about their place in Government. Why? Because, this Labour Conference had a real sense of optimism about it, Labour is finally a government in waiting, change is near.