The recent John McDonnell speech in Liverpool, on ‘Borrowing to invest’ suggesting City financiers can no longer prescribe government financial terms seems to be Labour really setting out who is in charge:
The days of the City dictating the terms to the rest of the country are over. The finance sector will be brought in line with the rest of us in tackling the emergency that we face.
No wonder the Tories, who in the form of Johnson at least, have seen that an election is unlikely to be winnable with everlasting austerity, have started issuing spending promises. But now feel they have to suggest that Labour is spending too much, only without having yet costed their own plans or being able to say how much is too much. It is a non-story but much of the media has lapped it up.
As Laurie Macfarlane puts it in his ‘ Open Democracy’ article, How misleading economic analysis is corrupting our democracy :
“Don’t be fooled: next time you hear how much a policy “costs”, ask whether an attempt has been made to fully quantify the benefits. If the answer is “no”, then the analysis can safely be discounted.”
In saying that there is a climate and human and social emergency John McDonnell is unashamedly purloining and echoing the language of Extinction Rebellion. Government are after all the only people able to tackle such an enormous problem, and in a climate emergency doing nothing is not an option. Aren’t then, the various fiscal rules outranked by the climate emergency – and aren’t these fiscal rules equally as misguidedly out of date as, for example, that all encompassing ‘shareholder value’?
The economy is at the service of the planet, not the other way round.
Most people are aware that there is little time to lose, climate change is already happening and action is urgent. Labour needs surely to press home its advantage, particularly while the Conservative long-term plan seems to be only to have another short-term one.