Craig Murray: Destitution Capitalism

Ordinary U.K. citizens have been propagandised out of the belief that the state should in any way regulate economic activity for the greater good

I despair that there appears to be no discernible political debate over economic policy in the U.K. at all, outwith a few left websites and magazines with tiny readerships.

The Labour Party has completely abandoned the mildly social democratic platform of  its former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and now actively renounces public ownership of utilities, improved workers’ rights that provide greater job security, public spending to stimulate the economy and the use of taxation to redistribute wealth.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, explicitly promotes the Thatcherite doctrine that taxation, public spending and all forms of regulation are detrimental to economic growth. She not only dismisses Modern Monetary Theory in its entirety, she also in her pronouncements makes plain that she does not accept the basic tenets of Keynesian Economics. 

Craig Murray: Destitution Capitalism

Reeves at the World Economic Forum meeting in January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. / World Economic Forum, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I am tempted to say Reeves and Labour Leader Keir Starmer are Thatcherites, but that is not really correct. Their belief that wealth is created by economic giants building vast empires of monopoly, un-trammeled by government, draws on something much older than Thatcher. 

The social consequences of unbridled capitalism are all around the U.K. A whole generation is growing up in which an extraordinarily high proportion have never known job security, cannot aspire to owning property, pay a huge proportion of their income just for rent and heat, are saddled with student debt and have precious little hope of self-advancement.

Craig Murray: Destitution Capitalism

Starmer in 2020. / UK Parliament, Flickr, Jessica Taylor, CC BY-NC 2.0

I cannot understand why anybody would believe that this state of affairs is healthy for society or for the economy. Nor can I understand why some of the economic giants dominating this economy are not recognised for the monopolies they are.

In what sense are Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple not monopolies in the same way that Standard Oil was? A company — and let us be frank, the individuals who own it — can reach a position of unhealthy market dominance without having done anything illegal or particularly unethical on the way. 

People in the U.K. have been propagandised out of the belief that the state should in any way regulate economic activity for the greater good, while at the same time being propagandised into the belief that the state should become ever more intrusive in its surveillance of the lives of ordinary citizens.

Jeremy Corbyn’s modest social democratic platform, which proposed merely a few measures to ameliorate some of the worst injustices of this wildly unequal society, was very popular with the electorate. That is why he had to be eliminated using the extraordinary “anti-Semite” scam.

Craig Murray: Destitution Capitalism

Corbyn, second from left, in Battersea to launch the general election campaign, Oct. 31, 2019. / Jeremy Corbyn, Flickr, Public domain

But with Corbyn out of the way and the political "opposition" neutralised, there simply is no way that more progressive policies can ever reach the ears of the large majority of people. 

The single exception is the odd media interview by rail workers union leader Mick Lynch, who briefly became wildly popular by stating a few pro worker views plainly and articulately, something people normally are not allowed to see or hear. 

Craig Murray: Destitution Capitalism

Lynch, general secretary of RMT, at We Demand Better march and rally, London, June 18, 2022. / Steve Eason, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

You will note he is seldom on a TV screen now.

Which leads me to the unfortunate fact that most other unions have themselves become power structures manipulated to serve the career ambitions of their own highly paid leadership

The election of Starmer as prime minister is not going in any way to help the average worker. Why are the unions still paying over vast sums of money to a Labour Party which has utterly abandoned ordinary people, unless their leadership has also utterly abandoned ordinary people too?

In academia, there remains serious opposition to neoliberal economic doctrine, but this thought does not have any outlet into popular consciousness. Where there used to be some media which gave a slightly wider platform to left wing economic thinking — The Guardian and New Statesman would be examples in the U.K. – these have been entirely captured by neo-liberalism and indeed led the charge in destroying Corbynism.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Main Photo: This man living rough sits on the pavement on the west side of Red Lion Street in Norwich watching shoppers going past, August 2019. © Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0

Source: Consortium News.

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