Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

Class war? No thanks

13/04/2012, 03:54:13 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

The Labour Party should be seen as heroes not villains when it comes to the economy. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Having Labour leaders that understood economics with Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling at the helm, meant the global financial crisis of 2008 did not turn into a depression as might otherwise have happened.

Can you imagine U-turn Dave, multi-million pound wallpaper trust fund beneficiary George Osborne or calamity Clegg running the show then?

“We don’t live in isolation, as the crash of 2008-09 illustrates as do the riots of last year. These events highlight our mutual dependence,” Chuka Umunna, shadow business, innovation and skills secretary told a group of Labour supporters this week.

“The key is active government strategy, to create more productive capitalism, working in partnership with business. It’s incredibly important to get the policy framework right. The progressive offer should be a common sense approach and then people will vote for us.

“Not in terms of being left or right, but you’re either right or you’re wrong. Giving a tax break to 14,000 millionaires, that’s just wrong.”

In the wake of a global banking-led crisis, the backlash against wealth and privilege aimed at bonus-rich bankers and the UK’s cabinet of millionaires, is understandable.

Class war has always been a factor in British politics, but as a narrative is not the canvass with which to paint our policies to win us government again. The politics of fairness and efficiency is where Labour will win.

With such a huge middle class in this country, traditional working class and also large non-working class on benefits or with caring responsibilities or disabilities, the politics of class is a minefield in its complexity and as divisive as the politics of elitism or envy.

Who gets up in the morning thinking about class?

The issues that matter most to voters are anti-social behaviour, the economy and jobs. The issues that come up time and time again on the doorstep in Bristol South, even in areas that are seemingly peaceful and quiet residential areas. Our policies need to clearly demonstrate that our solutions are interlinked.


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Labour needs to back finance not attack it

08/02/2012, 07:00:29 AM

By Paul Crowe

Everyone hates a banker these days, right? Overpaid, greedy, venal poster boys (and girls) for the gross distortion of our economy and values.

As Dave Mathieson pointed out on Monday it’s not just British bankers who are busy corrupting their national standards of decency and fairness either. The Spanish bankers are also at it, with Santander and BBVA dishing out eye-watering bonuses that will have many City types wondering what exactly their overseas brethren did to end up with both the weather and the cash.

It’s hard not to recoil when looking at the sheer magnitude of some bonuses and then the gap between top and bottom.

But here’s the problem. Words are powerful, especially on a subject as emotive as this. Attacking injustice is fine, but “bankers” has become a term of abuse that is applied without distinction and as a result ends up tarring everyone working in financial services.

This is unhelpful for the debate and dangerous for Britain’s prospects for two reasons. First, it stigmatises a hard working section of society and second it sets a political context where mindless attacks on financial services are seen as a legitimate response to the crash of 2008.


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We’re getting serious on enterprise

28/11/2011, 01:00:05 PM

By Luke Bozier

I wrote in March, in an article for LabourList, that Labour had “in effect become the party of the public sector”, in response to Ed Miliband’s speech to the TUC rally in Hyde Park.

Soon after, Alex Smith & I met to discuss our concerns on the party’s declining credibility; in our own ways, both socially and commercial, we are entrepreneurs, and it was – and still is – pretty clear that Labour has lost its voice on enterprise. That’s not a luxury we can afford; the future economy, which we are already entering – post-recession, post-credit crunch, post-crisis – is an economy which will be built more than ever on the back of entrepreneurs, self-employed people, micro-enterprises, social enterprises and other independent economic actors.

The “means of production”, in the old language of socialism, is now in the hands of every individual with a computer. Instead of being afraid of enterprise, and recoiling away from the opportunities it presents to create a fairer society with more opportunity for all, Labour under Ed Miliband must embrace enterprise and put it at the heart of everything we do as a party.


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Blue Labour is a red herring

11/07/2011, 11:30:06 AM

by George Bevis

Maurice Glasman’s work on the increasingly popular Blue Labour concept is a feat of brilliance; it echoes even the cleverness of Keynes.   I think it’s correct, but I also think it’s a distraction.

The problem with Blue Labour isn’t what it says, but what it is.  It is another political philosophy based primarily on growing social capital, reminiscent of the big society, stakeholder capitalism and many other more-or-less communitarian philosophies before them.

Such social capital approaches have proved problematic in that they can be too slow to solve many major socialist concerns: building enough hospitals; paying enough teachers and bringing enough people out of poverty. Although it may seem vulgar, Labour proved in government that the only kind of capital able to achieve those things quickly is financial capital.

Labour’s defining philosophy for government must therefore start with economic growth.  Growing social capital is very important, but it won’t achieve enough without a buoyant economic foundation.  And in the current period of austerity we cannot expect Britons to be enthusiastic about any philosophy which doesn’t primarily promise to alleviate the squeeze they feel.

Labour should be the natural party of growth economics.  Under Harold Wilson it was just that; the political champion of innovation and industry.  Labour’s argument back then remains valid today: we recognise and address the externalities that our extremist free-marketeering opponents refuse to acknowledge. (more…)

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