The peoples’ revolution is just around the corner; capitalism is about to be rejected; everyone should have a stake in globalisation. Who says so? Well, none other than Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England no less. (Speech at Liverpool John Moores University 5th December 2016).
Ok, so he didn’t actually use those words but he gave an almighty hint. He pointed out that inequality was not the preserve of emerging nations; that it had increased alarmingly in so called developed nations such as the UK. He went on to speculate that the underprivileged who ‘had lost their jobs and had seen their wages fall’ were disenchanted with capitalism. They were angry at companies who failed to pay any tax, or very little and “globalisation is associated with low wages, insecure employment, stateless corporations and striking inequalities.” Indeed, our own PM said “People with assets have got richer, people without them have suffered”. (Speech outside No.10)
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has produced a new report in which it said that the economy “is not working for low-income families”. Its report suggested 7.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, were living in poverty despite being in working households. This figure is even greater than that quoted below from the ONS. There was growing insecurity underneath the positive economic picture, including rising levels of employment, it said.
The Governor warned that if people fell out with capitalism they would replace it with something else and this from the man who has been charged by the UK Government to oversee and protect the financial aspect of our capitalist society. Is this the moment that all those Wolfie Smiths and budding Che Guevaras have been waiting a lifetime for? Will the proletariat march on Buckingham Palace? I don’t think so, the UK is an old-fashioned society and would consider revolution very un-British, more associated with those unstable dodgy looking people we used to rule.
The good news for democratic socialists is that the time has never been more appropriate to reach out to our fellow citizens and explain that there is another way, a better way. A better way to protect our children from poverty and homelessness, a better way to award hard working men and women with a wage fit to raise a family, a better way to secure the education and health of our young and old. It’s called re-distribution of wealth. No longer would we see capitalists accruing obscene wealth whilst almost 4 million of UK citizens live in persistent poverty. (Office of National Statistics May 2016) Persistent poverty is the effects of experiencing low income for long periods of time.
“We shall increase income tax on the better off so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of families now tangled helplessly in the poverty trap … I warn you, there are going to be howls of anguish from the rich”. (Dennis Healey, Labour Party Conference 1973). Today the ‘howls of anguish from the rich’ would be accompanied by the clinking of champagne glasses from the yachts of expat businessmen in Monte Carlo harbour.
To persuade the electorate that Labour is the only party with the will, ethos and commitment to eradicate the increasing inequality in our society, we need to present a united party capable of and ready for government. But whilst national and local non-entities seek cheap publicity by keeping sniping in public at our democratically elected leader and thus providing fodder to the hostile media, the task for us, the foot soldiers, is made much harder. Please stop it now.
The Labour Party has a great opportunity to sway the British people but it can only be done if we put personal differences aside and concentrate on projecting our alternative and humane policies. This government is a shambles and Labour must offer a viable alternative for the sake of the Party and our fellow citizens. Of course we can do it, it just takes the will to work together, whatever our different views. We owe it to the people of this country to get our act together and offer a better way.