History repeats itself like a stale burp.1929. Laissez-faire capitalism collapses for the 44th time taking the West and the rest of the world into a depression, a depression unlike anything witnessed before. This leads to the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party which in turn brings on the Second World War. Humanity was teetering on the brink.1947. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, having read Maynard Keynes and sick to the back teeth with free for all capitalism, strikes out with a new plan, a new method for capitalism to adopt. It is called interventionism, a system whereby the creators of the machine run the machine rather than allowing the machine to run them. It was by no means utopian, but at least it made sense. From 1947 through to 1979, productivity is up, the rich get richer as do the poor. Again, not perfect by a long chalk but better than what followed.1979. In the UK Margaret Thatcher comes to power, Britain’s first female Prime Minister. You’d think a blow had been struck for women’s liberation, but it was not the blow women had hoped for. Rather than support equality of any kind, least of all among the sexes, Mrs T, reads ‘The Road to Serfdom’ by Frederick Hayek a book which espouses laissez-faire capitalism, promotes free-trade as the only way to free up business for big business and builds big bucks for billionaires bent on bankrolling themselves.
1981. Ronald Reagan becomes the 40th President of the United States of America. He too has read Frederick Hayek; he too subscribes to the same method of managing a nation’s economy. His watchword was the obscene phrase ‘trickle down.’ The wealth makers make millions while the millions make muck.
We have been captive to laissez-faire capitalism for the past 38 years. In that time productivity has gone down. Britain, the 7th largest manufacturer in the world, is no longer interested in manufacturing, preferring to be a service nation with London as the epicentre of British wealth – another of Margaret Thatcher’s creations. The rich have grown obscenely rich and the poor obscenely poor. Laissez-faire capitalism has one purpose and one purpose only – making those with much have much more and those with little, have a lot less.
2008 is considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929.
2017. January. Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States of America. The man is, thankfully, an opportunist rather than a fascist and does not have the disordered passions of Hitler. Hitler, no matter how powerful his military, did not have anything like the great power that Trump wields. With nuclear war once again a threat to humanity, and with the doomsday clock set at two and half minutes to midnight, and with environmental disaster a mere half a lifetime away, things are not looking good.
Laissez-faire capitalism feeds the very wealthy leaving the rest to chew the cud. It is a system whereby the elite gain while the majority feel the pain. A polite word for it is neoliberalism. We have had 38 years of neoliberalism in the West. I cannot think of any single President or Prime Minister who hasn’t pursued neoliberal policies. From Regan through to Clinton, Bush, and Blair, Barak Obama, (the great beacon of hope) and now, the unelected Theresa May.
The Conservative Party has long been divided against itself, much like the Labour party. The Thatcherite flank clings like barnacles to the underbelly of a boat, forever harnessing its leaders to a failed ideology. They should split, and those of the far right join UKIP. Of course, UKIP is a busted flush having done the task they set out to achieve. The Liberals are Social Democrats in name only having little or no real forward thrust. They are like a barrel of drunks still teetering around following Nick Clegg’s shameful about-face regarding student fees and are in no way are social or very democratic. The Greens are growing, but oh, so slowly, their vision of forging a progressive alliance has merit but seems to be met with a frosty attitude from Labour who in turn are forging ahead for the first time in years, but have their own spectral enclave – the Blairites –
holding them back.
The electorate is sick of being led by the nose, of being lied to, deceived, watching their income and earnings erode, but worst of all having their civil liberties casually removed, their National Health Service destroyed, and their defences depleted. Britain is virtually defenceless, and Trident is little more than a penis with erectile dysfunction. It may look big, but it is totally impotent.
Theresa May may win, or we may decide to elect a man of principle, passion and a complete conviction that he has the answers that Britain needs. He has gone from being a political pariah, to a popular politician. Not a traditional leader but someone who leads by listening, not for populist gain, but because he empathises with the electorate more than any politician I can remember, a politician who plans for the future – our collective future.
The thought of living in an equitable society has enormous appeal. I’d rather be part of a nation whose democratic principles and environmental policies are not linked to our imperial past, but to a viable future democracy, like the one currently enjoyed by Denmark. I think Jeremy Corbyn can deliver us to that point.