Comment - The economy
Building the altenative to cuts by Douglas Coker.
"There is no alternative" (TINA) - a phrase made famous by, of course, Margaret Thatcher. We are reminded
of it by recent pronouncements from ... Ed Balls and Ed Miliband!
In January Ed Balls said "...[W]e are going to have to keep all these cuts". Ed Miliband followed this
with "...Labour cannot promise to reverse any coalition spending cuts". Oh great!!
These pronouncements were followed by a storm of protest. Caroline Lucas said "...Ed Balls effectively
holds up a white flag and admits that Labour has given up any attempt to set out an alternative economic agenda".
Trade union leaders Len McCluskey and Paul Kenny chipped in with strong criticism of the two
Eds arguing we have ",,,something like a 'national government' consensus" and referring to potential
"...disaffiliation from the Labour party".
And the alternative the Con/LD/Lab political elite is wilfully ignoring? Most recently we've had the
New Green Team, a Unison/TUC initiative promoting the pursuit of the green agenda at local government
level with a focus on sustainable energy and job creation. There is 'Plan B' from Compass which argues
we need a green economy, a carbon army, a financial transaction tax, a rejigging of the city and the
banks, and policies to address inequality. And, of course, these follow the 2008, yes 2008, Green New
Deal which addresses 3 overlapping problems described as the "financial crunch ... the climate crunch ... and
the coming global energy crunch".
In line with the Green New Deal, it's fallen to Caroline Lucas, the genuine opposition, to argue any
further quantitative easing should be green "...rather than handing the money over to the banks, who
then sit on it, green QE would put money into the wider economy - creating thousands of new jobs,
improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time".
So TINA ... my eye!
First published in the EGP members newsletter, March 2012