Sunday, 9 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is wrong about nationalisation

Jeremy Corbyn is wrong about nationalisation.  He is carried away by the reception he gets in the bubble of left wing politics.  It was a mistake made by Michael Foot as leader of the party.  He convinced himself that the public mood was swinging his way because of the rapturous reception he received at rallies up and down the country.  The faithful cheered, but voters turned away and Labour became unelectable.

Nationalisation isn't socialism.  There is more socialism in 'wider share ownership' than in nationalising major companies.   In that sense Mrs Thatcher was more socialist than any party wishing to nationalise major companies. Jeremy Corbyn seems intent on taking the Labour party backwards whilst what the country needs is a forward looking party that recognises and understands the changed economic and social landscape, and has real answers to the problems we face.  Nationalisation isn't the answer.  What people need is enhanced opportunities for education, for work, for housing and social and health care.  Reverting to the politics of the 1970s doesn't offer that.  It fights old battles with old and tired ideas.

Labour can do nothing if it reverts to being a party of opposition and protest.  It needs to reach out to voters who are not 'socialist'.  It demonstrated it could do this and win in 1997.  Jeremy Corbyn is critical of New Labour, but New Labour introduced the minimum wage,  reduced pensioner poverty, increased spending on the NHS and brought waiting lists and times down.  Labour could not have achieved that by sitting on the opposition benches remaining 'pure'.   Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters regard New Labour as a 'cancer' or 'virus' in the Labour party.  Symbolic of this was the change in Clause 4 section 4 of the Labour party constitution.

Clause 4 was itself symbolic.  No modern Labour government had any intention to nationalise banks and major companies.  The problem with Jeremy Corbyn is that he would have such intention. He makes nationalisation an objective rather than a means.

State ownership of the means of production and exchange isn't 'public ownership'.  True public ownership involves more than that.  John Lewis Partnership has more socialisms in it than does nationalisation.  If Jeremy Corbyn had ideas about how to promote such approaches to business structure and ownership he would do well.

Jeremy Corbyn appealed to my heart, but my head told me different.  Now his position on nationalisation has lost my heart.  I won't be voting for him.

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