Monday, 24 August 2015

Hain switches support from Burnham to Cooper

Has the former member for Neath abandoned socialism? He had backed Andy Burnham for the Labour leadership, but has switched to a rather more conservative candidate. Yvette Cooper's major policy contribution to the debate has been to condemn Jeremy Corbyn's platform as "offering old solutions to old problems".

However, Mr Hain in "Ayes to the Left" (1995) appears to espouse those old solutions, while admittedly repudiating the "old slogans". He points out that Harold Wilson won the 1964 general election on a manifesto which included nationalisation, in spite of an attempt under Gaitskell to amend or remove Clause IV of the Labour party constitution. He claims that its eventual watering-down under Blair-Brown was partly down to the left not translating "the stirring old poetry of Clause IV into modern language and modern policies".

Under "Ownership and Control", he writes: "So long as ownership is concentrated in the hands of a small elite, the economy will continue to be run in the interests of a self-serving few. It will also remain incapable of reaching its full potential because the majority of the population have no stake in its success beyond the desire for a decent income, which is a necessary, but insufficient, motivation. This is the essence of the socialist critique of capitalism, not merely that it is unjust and immoral, but that it is ultimately inefficient."

This seems to me to accord remarkably with Jeremy Corbyn's philosophy as expressed here and one wonders why Mr Hain has not hitched his sulky to the front-runner.

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