Posts Tagged ‘baking reform’

Labour needs to stop fiddling and get on with the big stuff

22/01/2014, 07:49:35 AM

by Rob Marchant

The opportunity for Labour to score party points against the Tories on the economy is clearly diminishing. While that is difficult rather than disastrous, our reaction is important.

Last week, FT’s Janan Ganesh tweeted a characteristically shrewd observation: influenced by campaign groups, Labour seemed to have furthermore abdicated responsibility for forming a competing macro policy. It had therefore embarked on a series of eye-catching micro initiatives with social aims – intervening in energy markets, stopping payday loans and so on – but had gone quiet on the economy at large.

While many of these measures are fully respectable and positive in themselves, they are hardly a substitute for a robust macro policy, clearly distinguished from the coalition’s. And the obvious danger is that while the coalition looks strategic, we look, to put it bluntly, like tinkerers rather than players.

The culmination of all this micro thinking came last Friday, with Miliband’s statement on banking reform.

Now, banking reform is important and, on the face of it, an ideal place for Labour to make a difference. Why? Because we know (i) that it needs reform, and (ii) that the Tories will soft-pedal on anything which affects City friends and donors – that’s the reality. So far, so good.

But this noble end doesn’t mean that this is the right means. Because, here’s the thing: Labour has straight-facedly announced that the centrepiece of its solution is to create not one, but two new high street banks.


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