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Is Labour already out of ideas? Rachel Reeves represents a party paralysed by fear

Rachel Reeves: The Iron Chancellor? (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Rachel Reeves: The Iron Chancellor? (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


June 20, 2023   5 mins

Last month, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves travelled to the United States to present Labour’s new economic policy strategy, dubbed “securonomics”. If you think it’s strange for a party to unveil its economic manifesto in front of a foreign audience rather than its actual electorate, that’s because it is. The opposite scenario — an American leader travelling to Britain to present their campaign platform — would be inconceivable. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more revealing example of what Perry Anderson called the British political class’s “hyper-subalternity to the US”. If there is anything special about UK-US relations, it is the former’s inability to overcome its inferiority complex in the face of America’s global decline.

It soon transpired, however, that there was another reason for Reeves’s trip to the US: she was there to stress that securonomics is simply the British equivalent of “Bidenomics” — America’s new economic paradigm, which was recently outlined in a speech by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. On that occasion, Sullivan acknowledged that the old Washington Consensus — founded upon the embrace of privatisation, deregulation and hyper-globalisation — has failed. It has, he intimated, laid waste to America’s working and middle classes, hollowed out its industrial base and infrastructure, and made the country overdependent on imports for the supply of everything from energy to food to basic medical supplies. The same, of course, can be said for most Western nations.

In place of this failed programme, Sullivan proposed a “new” Washington Consensus, based on a more protectionist state promoting techno-industrial resilience and self-sufficiency, as well as winding down far-flung supply chains. To this end, the Biden administration has passed several bills, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Chips & Science Act, and, most notably, the Inflation Reduction Act, which, together, have introduced around $2 trillion in new federal spending over the next 10 years.

Clearly, there is a strong geopolitical dimension to America’s embrace of deglobalisation. It is not just about making America stronger; it is also, and perhaps even more importantly, about weakening China. At its heart, this strategy may even be seen as a way of reinforcing the American economy in anticipation of a future conflict with Beijing. In this context, as much as US leaders might deny it, America has little need for resourceless trading partners such as the UK, if not as purchasers of its goods.

If anything, they are increasingly seen as competitors and rivals, or at best as military allies (with the UK in a subordinate position to the US, of course). Indeed, Reeves herself noted the conspicuous absence of Britain from Sullivan’s speech: “In his recent remarks, the US National Security Advisor mentioned a number of international partners… One country — to me at least — was notable by its absence: Britain.” So much for the “special relationship”.

This makes Reeves’s attempt to win over the US administration by parroting Bidenomics all the more pitiful. It doesn’t just reflect a profound lack of imagination — though this is nothing new; the UK has always fashioned its economic policy based on whatever happened to be the dominant paradigm on the other side of the Atlantic — but also a delusional misunderstanding of the changing nature of UK-US relations. At least the current Tory Government seems to understand that Joe Biden is engaged in a “distortive global subsidy race” aimed at encouraging companies to shift investments from Europe to the US and incentivising customers to “Buy American”. Moreover, to the extent that European nations are able to secure some of Biden’s federal subsidies for their own industries — as Sunak hopes to do with the signing of the recent “Atlantic declaration” with the US — this entails full adherence to America’s confrontational national security strategy vis-à-vis China, despite Europe’s economically interdependent relationship with the country.

This is not to say that Labour’s economic strategy is completely misguided. If anything, many of the points Reeves raised in her speech have become so obvious in recent years as to be clichés: of course Britain, like other Western nations, has allowed deindustrialisation to go too far. As a matter of fact, the UK is in an even worse shape than most countries in this respect: since the early Eighties, as a result of the Thatcher government’s radical programme of privatisation and deregulation, it has seen the most significant decline in manufacturing as a share of GDP of all the G7 economies.

So yes, Britain needs reindustrialising; aside from some die-hard Thatcherites, few people would deny this. The real question is how to go about it. Answering this involves two important considerations. First, can a small open economy such as the UK’s afford to sever ties with China, the world’s second-largest consumer market, and antagonise the BRICS grouping, which is giving rise to the world’s largest and most dynamic trading bloc? And second, can the UK muster the resources needed for this shift?

As Sullivan noted in his speech, this can only be achieved by mobilising huge amounts of public investment, which is precisely what America is doing. Back in 2021, Starmer put forward an equally ambitious spending plan, which involved borrowing £28 billion a year until 2030 to spend on green transition policies, such as subsidising wind farms, insulating homes, building battery factories and accelerating Britain’s nuclear programme. One may disagree on the specifics of Labour’s plan, but at least it reflected an acknowledgment that achieving greater economic resilience — “green” or not — requires big spending commitments.

However, as several commentators pointed out at the time, Labour’s spending plan would be almost impossible to reconcile with its obsession with fiscal discipline and “sound money”. Under the Corbyn leadership, the party adopted a set of stringent “fiscal rules” aimed at cutting government debt, which it promised to abide by once in government, which were then further strengthened by the new leadership — and no one is more rigidly committed to those rules than Rachel Reeves. When the editor of the New Statesman recently asked her if she would like to be known as “the Iron Chancellor”, she replied: “You can call me that if you want! There’s iron discipline in our fiscal rules, and my colleagues know that, and I think they respect me for it.”

It was with a delightful sense of inevitability, then, that, shortly after returning from her trip, Reeves announced she was abandoning the party’s policy of big borrowing, and that a future Labour government would only aim to meet its £28 billion green investment target in the second half of its first parliament. She also ruled out universal childcare for young children. “No plan can be built that’s not on a rock of economic and fiscal responsibility,” she explained. “Because if you try to do things that then crash markets, you end up in the position that the Conservatives were and I will never be reckless with the public finances…” Such a position would be more credible if, during the pandemic, Labour hadn’t approved of the government borrowing more than £300 billion to pay people to stay at home doing nothing. Yet Reeves is now blaming the Government for the U-turn, saying: “I did not foresee what the Tories would do to the economy, maybe that was foolish of me.”

On paper, this shift may seem like a smart move — and indeed may be necessary to appease centrist voters and the financial establishment in the run-up to the election. But, ultimately, it reveals how Labour, by embracing the orthodox narrative about fiscal deficits, and about Truss and Kwarteng being punished for attempting to push through a “fiscally irresponsible” budget, have set themselves up to fail.

For Truss wasn’t ousted by the markets, but by Britain’s own technocratic establishment, first and foremost the Bank of England. At the time, I cautioned those on the Left to reflect on the wisdom of revelling in the Kwarteng-bashing, as this would only reinforce the established wisdom that democracy has to conform to what the markets say. Yet this is exactly how Labour justified its backpedalling on its spending plan. Reeves, it seems, is the living embodiment of a party paralysed by fear: fear of the markets, fear of the orthodoxy, fear of Washington.

But those on the Right rejoicing at the U-turn because they oppose Labour’s “green policies” are equally at fault; they are committing the same mistake as those on the Left following Truss’s downfall. Regardless of what one believes should be the focus of Britain’s economic resilience strategy — be it better infrastructure, energy self-sufficiency, increased manufacturing, safer supply chains or more defence spending — it will require the mobilisation of massive fiscal resources. And at a time when the world economy has been turned upside down, the return of this cross-party deficit-phobia amounts to nothing more than giving up on any hope of economic transformation. Once again, the implication is that “there is no alternative”. The future is the failing status quo.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
10 months ago

It’s a commonly accepted truism that the Conservatives have run out of ideas and enthusiasm after 8 years in Government (13 years if you include the coalition with the Liberal Democrats).
What is less obvious is that Labour have also run out of ideas and enthusiasm after 13 years of Opposition. Apart from a brief flirtation with Corbynism, Labour have found that their ideas and the Conservative ideas are very similar since they both echo a managerial status quo, stuck in place by whatever the Civil Service (and other global organisations) deem appropriate.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
10 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Very true. The Labour Government of 2024-29 will however be remembered for how it reacted to a financial crisis that it didn’t foresee. I’m not positive but ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man or woman’.

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
10 months ago

Sadly I wouldn’t hold your breath. You can argue that Boris was the man who cometh to get Brexit done but he was too unruly to be allowed to continue once Covid was out of the way. Similarly Liz Truss was summarily replaced for not following the approved economics game book. Rishi? Safe enough for now.
Starmer? He has already expended much energy in thinning out anyone too radical from the Labour Party. Where would the man or woman cometh from?

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago

Cometh The Cat?

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
10 months ago

Sadly I wouldn’t hold your breath. You can argue that Boris was the man who cometh to get Brexit done but he was too unruly to be allowed to continue once Covid was out of the way. Similarly Liz Truss was summarily replaced for not following the approved economics game book. Rishi? Safe enough for now.
Starmer? He has already expended much energy in thinning out anyone too radical from the Labour Party. Where would the man or woman cometh from?

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago

Cometh The Cat?

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
10 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Very true. The Labour Government of 2024-29 will however be remembered for how it reacted to a financial crisis that it didn’t foresee. I’m not positive but ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man or woman’.

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
10 months ago

It’s a commonly accepted truism that the Conservatives have run out of ideas and enthusiasm after 8 years in Government (13 years if you include the coalition with the Liberal Democrats).
What is less obvious is that Labour have also run out of ideas and enthusiasm after 13 years of Opposition. Apart from a brief flirtation with Corbynism, Labour have found that their ideas and the Conservative ideas are very similar since they both echo a managerial status quo, stuck in place by whatever the Civil Service (and other global organisations) deem appropriate.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
10 months ago

In a country where we can’t build a third runway at Heathrow or start building a railway line a decade after it is first proposed, I have little faith Labour will be able to keep their promise about delivering mountains. Like Alec Guinness’s Charles I in Cromwell berating Prince Rupert, I fear they will only deliver mole hills. Heck, an unholy alliance of Nimby’s and eco-fanatics did their best to stop a nuclear power station being built at Sizewell. This is despite the fact it was impossible to live through 2022 and not understand the importance of energy security.

Not saying Labour will fail, and despite the fact I’d never vote for them in a million years, I hope they succeed because we will need them to assuming they win the next election. However, they will inherit a country where many don’t want anything to change and where many of those changes may involve rowing back on things like Net Zero which they are even more in favour of than the Tories. It’s going to be interesting.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Yeah, “interesting” as in the Chinese curse.
But we’re there already anyway. Due to a deadly combo of windfall and other high taxes, and Labour’s promise to shut the industry down, oil & gas investment has fled, with the consequent job losses already, (unreported down south it seems) while Norway is merrily ramping up drilling and production.

Last edited 10 months ago by Brendan O'Leary
John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
10 months ago

Correct. Labour is now the party of Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

What amazed me was that just at the point where the SNP became vulnerable and Labour could gain in Scotland. London Labour goes off and announces anti-North sea oil and gas plans. At least they were honest about it upfront I suppose. That the Labour bubble supports this just shows that Labour really are the Islington and laptop party. Clueless about the rest of the country.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

A long-standing Labour councillor in Aberdeen has just quit the party over this.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

A long-standing Labour councillor in Aberdeen has just quit the party over this.

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

What amazed me was that just at the point where the SNP became vulnerable and Labour could gain in Scotland. London Labour goes off and announces anti-North sea oil and gas plans. At least they were honest about it upfront I suppose. That the Labour bubble supports this just shows that Labour really are the Islington and laptop party. Clueless about the rest of the country.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
10 months ago

Correct. Labour is now the party of Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Yeah, “interesting” as in the Chinese curse.
But we’re there already anyway. Due to a deadly combo of windfall and other high taxes, and Labour’s promise to shut the industry down, oil & gas investment has fled, with the consequent job losses already, (unreported down south it seems) while Norway is merrily ramping up drilling and production.

Last edited 10 months ago by Brendan O'Leary
John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
10 months ago

In a country where we can’t build a third runway at Heathrow or start building a railway line a decade after it is first proposed, I have little faith Labour will be able to keep their promise about delivering mountains. Like Alec Guinness’s Charles I in Cromwell berating Prince Rupert, I fear they will only deliver mole hills. Heck, an unholy alliance of Nimby’s and eco-fanatics did their best to stop a nuclear power station being built at Sizewell. This is despite the fact it was impossible to live through 2022 and not understand the importance of energy security.

Not saying Labour will fail, and despite the fact I’d never vote for them in a million years, I hope they succeed because we will need them to assuming they win the next election. However, they will inherit a country where many don’t want anything to change and where many of those changes may involve rowing back on things like Net Zero which they are even more in favour of than the Tories. It’s going to be interesting.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

The only real-world industrial policy Labour has is their promise to block all future oil & gas development. Investment has fled already and jobs are being lost as I write. The Tories played their part with punitive taxes of course.
Big talk about industrialisation, sure, but Labour has forgotten their roots and doesn’t even know what industrialisation looks like anymore, and with their mates The Greens will block it at every turn.

Jonathan Nash
JN
Jonathan Nash
10 months ago

And thus make us dependent on imported gas. Does that count as “securonomics”?

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan Nash
Sarah Atkin
SA
Sarah Atkin
10 months ago

It is beyond naive of Starmer to think that announcing ‘no more oil and gas exploration’, however far into the future, won’t have an immediate impact on investment decisions. Also, talking up onshore wind, in Scotland is a political mis-step. The stunning landscape in parts of the Highlands is being ruined with too many. There are planning applications queuing up. Mad.

Clive Hambly
CH
Clive Hambly
10 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Atkin

Might I suggest that the efficacy of onshore wind has plummeted since Ian Blackford announced his intention to stand down at the the next GE.

Clive Hambly
CH
Clive Hambly
10 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Atkin

Might I suggest that the efficacy of onshore wind has plummeted since Ian Blackford announced his intention to stand down at the the next GE.

Jonathan Nash
JN
Jonathan Nash
10 months ago

And thus make us dependent on imported gas. Does that count as “securonomics”?

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan Nash
Sarah Atkin
SA
Sarah Atkin
10 months ago

It is beyond naive of Starmer to think that announcing ‘no more oil and gas exploration’, however far into the future, won’t have an immediate impact on investment decisions. Also, talking up onshore wind, in Scotland is a political mis-step. The stunning landscape in parts of the Highlands is being ruined with too many. There are planning applications queuing up. Mad.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

The only real-world industrial policy Labour has is their promise to block all future oil & gas development. Investment has fled already and jobs are being lost as I write. The Tories played their part with punitive taxes of course.
Big talk about industrialisation, sure, but Labour has forgotten their roots and doesn’t even know what industrialisation looks like anymore, and with their mates The Greens will block it at every turn.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago

“If there is anything special about UK-US relations, it is the former’s inability to overcome its inferiority complex in the face of America’s global decline“.
There, fixed it for you.
The UK just cannot stop being America’s poodle, it is ridiculous. The spectacle of Rachel Reeves popping over the pond to basically get her ideas rubber-stamped by the White House before they’re even presented to the British electorate is just so cringeworthy.
No doubt trying to avoid the ignominy of the incumbent POTUS making the same kind of comments that accompanied the Truss-Kwarteng imbroglio…but the more pertinent question in that scenario is: why did Biden feel entitled to make those comments anyway? As far as I can see, Truss and Kwarteng got it monumentally wrong, but the British public are more than capable of judging that for themselves and criticising. It is not up to any POTUS to assume that job.
I don’t like this new concept of feeling entitled to butt into and comment on other countries’ political affairs. What happened to international diplomacy, being discreet and keeping one’s counsel?
A bit more of a robust response to Washington’s meddling (or at least a dollop of good, old-fashioned British passive-aggressive silence and/or tutting) would be better than this grovelling.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It reminds me of when Obama came over to tell us we’d be at the back of the queue – you could almost feel the entire country raising its collective middle finger….

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Exactly! I’m not advocating the kind of throw-your-dollies-out-the-pram approach of Macron. Recalling the French ambassadors in the US and Australia and openly insulting Britain (yet again) because he was in a strop about AUKUS was not a good look. But on the other hand, what happened then? He got a state banquet in the White House, with no cost spared.*
A part of the motivation was surely Washington trying desperately to find a new main partner in the EU and, with GB gone and Germany lacking in leadership, France is the only one left on the dancefloor.
HOWEVER: France’s willingness to bite back at Washington gets them a lot more respect from the Americans than British brown-nosing does. Washington is careful about how it handles France – even when Macron was blatantly making a fool of himself by going to talk to Putin at that oh-so-long table, they just stood back and waited, did not make any comment. Americans know that Britain will never ever be as outspoken so there is a whole lot less inhibition about saying stuff which is really quite offensive and undiplomatic.
Exhibit A: Obama and the “back of the queue” comment.
Exhibit B: Biden skipping the coronation (probably because he is too infirm to deal with it, frankly) but the administration seeming surprised that the British felt snubbed. You don’t have to be Einstein to foresee that.
*(Compare that to Liz Truss being gifted A BRICK from the White House that Britain burned down in 1814. Oh, gee – thanks, you guys, how nice of you! 1st place in the passive-aggressive gifts competition! Having bled beside you in your pointless, ill-thought out interventions was so worth it!)

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I personally think our politicians are about 20 years behind everybody else. Nobody cared about Biden not being at the coronation. It’s worse than that – no one even noticed.
Which is why Obama went down like a lead balloon. Cameron thought Obama would spread some presidential fairy dust over the remain campaign without realising that horse had already bolted.
Iraq destroyed any illusion we may have had that the US was our friend. The vast majority of the UK’s population was deeply opposed to that disgusting and stupid war and deeply ashamed of the willingness of Blair to ‘assume the position’. Bush also convinced the majority of us that the world was dealing with a dangerous halfwit.
Iraq cost Blair his career but also the US its credibility. Most people now view the US as a volatile nation that could just as readily tread on Britain as shake her hand. Shame really.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I personally think our politicians are about 20 years behind everybody else. Nobody cared about Biden not being at the coronation. It’s worse than that – no one even noticed.
Which is why Obama went down like a lead balloon. Cameron thought Obama would spread some presidential fairy dust over the remain campaign without realising that horse had already bolted.
Iraq destroyed any illusion we may have had that the US was our friend. The vast majority of the UK’s population was deeply opposed to that disgusting and stupid war and deeply ashamed of the willingness of Blair to ‘assume the position’. Bush also convinced the majority of us that the world was dealing with a dangerous halfwit.
Iraq cost Blair his career but also the US its credibility. Most people now view the US as a volatile nation that could just as readily tread on Britain as shake her hand. Shame really.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

That’s precisely how a lot of us over here felt about him, because he told us the same thing about ourselves.

Helen Stokes
HS
Helen Stokes
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

The middle finger (giving another person the bird) is the American way of telling someone to foxtrot oscar. Why have we taken this on board? A good vigourous British two fingers would be more appropriate. Just saying.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Exactly! I’m not advocating the kind of throw-your-dollies-out-the-pram approach of Macron. Recalling the French ambassadors in the US and Australia and openly insulting Britain (yet again) because he was in a strop about AUKUS was not a good look. But on the other hand, what happened then? He got a state banquet in the White House, with no cost spared.*
A part of the motivation was surely Washington trying desperately to find a new main partner in the EU and, with GB gone and Germany lacking in leadership, France is the only one left on the dancefloor.
HOWEVER: France’s willingness to bite back at Washington gets them a lot more respect from the Americans than British brown-nosing does. Washington is careful about how it handles France – even when Macron was blatantly making a fool of himself by going to talk to Putin at that oh-so-long table, they just stood back and waited, did not make any comment. Americans know that Britain will never ever be as outspoken so there is a whole lot less inhibition about saying stuff which is really quite offensive and undiplomatic.
Exhibit A: Obama and the “back of the queue” comment.
Exhibit B: Biden skipping the coronation (probably because he is too infirm to deal with it, frankly) but the administration seeming surprised that the British felt snubbed. You don’t have to be Einstein to foresee that.
*(Compare that to Liz Truss being gifted A BRICK from the White House that Britain burned down in 1814. Oh, gee – thanks, you guys, how nice of you! 1st place in the passive-aggressive gifts competition! Having bled beside you in your pointless, ill-thought out interventions was so worth it!)

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

That’s precisely how a lot of us over here felt about him, because he told us the same thing about ourselves.

Helen Stokes
HS
Helen Stokes
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

The middle finger (giving another person the bird) is the American way of telling someone to foxtrot oscar. Why have we taken this on board? A good vigourous British two fingers would be more appropriate. Just saying.

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The UK poodle role is embarrassing for both the UK and the US. The UK political classes have no ideas and no faith in themselves. We got Brexit but they have no idea what to do with it. The role of the UK state is growing but the state itself is growing more incompetent. Macron at least is correct in stating that Europe needs more autonomy.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It reminds me of when Obama came over to tell us we’d be at the back of the queue – you could almost feel the entire country raising its collective middle finger….

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The UK poodle role is embarrassing for both the UK and the US. The UK political classes have no ideas and no faith in themselves. We got Brexit but they have no idea what to do with it. The role of the UK state is growing but the state itself is growing more incompetent. Macron at least is correct in stating that Europe needs more autonomy.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago

“If there is anything special about UK-US relations, it is the former’s inability to overcome its inferiority complex in the face of America’s global decline“.
There, fixed it for you.
The UK just cannot stop being America’s poodle, it is ridiculous. The spectacle of Rachel Reeves popping over the pond to basically get her ideas rubber-stamped by the White House before they’re even presented to the British electorate is just so cringeworthy.
No doubt trying to avoid the ignominy of the incumbent POTUS making the same kind of comments that accompanied the Truss-Kwarteng imbroglio…but the more pertinent question in that scenario is: why did Biden feel entitled to make those comments anyway? As far as I can see, Truss and Kwarteng got it monumentally wrong, but the British public are more than capable of judging that for themselves and criticising. It is not up to any POTUS to assume that job.
I don’t like this new concept of feeling entitled to butt into and comment on other countries’ political affairs. What happened to international diplomacy, being discreet and keeping one’s counsel?
A bit more of a robust response to Washington’s meddling (or at least a dollop of good, old-fashioned British passive-aggressive silence and/or tutting) would be better than this grovelling.

Christopher Chantrill
CC
Christopher Chantrill
10 months ago

Sullivan proposed a “new” Washington Consensus, based on a more protectionist state promoting techno-industrial resilience and self-sufficiency, as well as winding down far-flung supply chains.

Oh really. I’m sure it will work like a champ.
Except that politicians Literally Know Nothing.
Gubmint administrators and regulators Literally Know Nothing.
And, journalists Literally Know Nothing.
What could go wrong?

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago

This is funny/sad/silly. It has been crystal clear since the fall of Oh Jeremy and the lockdown catastrophe that Labour has a big smoking hellish VOID where new positive policy ideas should be. The Fool Johnson did their job for them, completing our descent into a GDR style quasi socialist failed state. He STOLE all Corbyn’s supposedly extreme leftist manifesto, leaving Labour high & dry. He/the Fake Tories have pursued insane Welfarist policies (5m with anxiety on benefits); it has bowed the knee to the Broken dangerous NHS; ruined state finances with bailout after bailout – the worst being Rishi’s furlough. He went on his knees also to enjoy Net Zero satisfaction and Eco virtue signalling which has further wrecked the economy and torched energy security. The Tories then steal the Brownite high tax policy required to feed our vast inefficient hostile public sector & Blob. Starmer and Reeve cannot top this! So all we get is brief expressions of their pathological hatred of wealth creation (non doms/windfall taxes/Great British Leyland2 Energy BS/attacks on private schools). Covered up is a desire for a heavy dose of the only ideological credo the Fake Labour Party actually believe in – community harmony shredding identitarianism & more race hate laws and cat girls in schools. They will actually campaign – like Tumbling Joe B in America – on a crude ‘We Are Not Them’ platform. The policy box is empty. Empty. We are in real jeopardy.

Curts
PC
Curts
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Hell yes to all the above.
Neither Labour or Conservatives are what they say on the tin.
I’d vote Mad Lord Sutch if I could but he’s sadly passed on. I’ll vote for a random independent in the poll booth next year. It’s a terrible loss to see both parties hollowed out and stand for no one but the Islington bubble.

Curts
PC
Curts
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Hell yes to all the above.
Neither Labour or Conservatives are what they say on the tin.
I’d vote Mad Lord Sutch if I could but he’s sadly passed on. I’ll vote for a random independent in the poll booth next year. It’s a terrible loss to see both parties hollowed out and stand for no one but the Islington bubble.

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago

This is funny/sad/silly. It has been crystal clear since the fall of Oh Jeremy and the lockdown catastrophe that Labour has a big smoking hellish VOID where new positive policy ideas should be. The Fool Johnson did their job for them, completing our descent into a GDR style quasi socialist failed state. He STOLE all Corbyn’s supposedly extreme leftist manifesto, leaving Labour high & dry. He/the Fake Tories have pursued insane Welfarist policies (5m with anxiety on benefits); it has bowed the knee to the Broken dangerous NHS; ruined state finances with bailout after bailout – the worst being Rishi’s furlough. He went on his knees also to enjoy Net Zero satisfaction and Eco virtue signalling which has further wrecked the economy and torched energy security. The Tories then steal the Brownite high tax policy required to feed our vast inefficient hostile public sector & Blob. Starmer and Reeve cannot top this! So all we get is brief expressions of their pathological hatred of wealth creation (non doms/windfall taxes/Great British Leyland2 Energy BS/attacks on private schools). Covered up is a desire for a heavy dose of the only ideological credo the Fake Labour Party actually believe in – community harmony shredding identitarianism & more race hate laws and cat girls in schools. They will actually campaign – like Tumbling Joe B in America – on a crude ‘We Are Not Them’ platform. The policy box is empty. Empty. We are in real jeopardy.

Christopher Chantrill
CC
Christopher Chantrill
10 months ago

Sullivan proposed a “new” Washington Consensus, based on a more protectionist state promoting techno-industrial resilience and self-sufficiency, as well as winding down far-flung supply chains.

Oh really. I’m sure it will work like a champ.
Except that politicians Literally Know Nothing.
Gubmint administrators and regulators Literally Know Nothing.
And, journalists Literally Know Nothing.
What could go wrong?

René Descartes
RD
René Descartes
10 months ago

Of course Labour is out of ideas, along with everyone else. Thatcher’s deindustrialisation put us in a hole and since then we haven’t stopped digging. It was possibly a good idea to get out of the EU but the way we did it was calamitous. Now we are an isolated failed economy with failed leadership floundering in an increasingly dangerous world. The only political consensus seems to be to impoverish us all still further by a headlong dash to net carbon zero. It will take a greater visionary than Starmer to chart a path to a better future.

René Descartes
RD
René Descartes
10 months ago

Of course Labour is out of ideas, along with everyone else. Thatcher’s deindustrialisation put us in a hole and since then we haven’t stopped digging. It was possibly a good idea to get out of the EU but the way we did it was calamitous. Now we are an isolated failed economy with failed leadership floundering in an increasingly dangerous world. The only political consensus seems to be to impoverish us all still further by a headlong dash to net carbon zero. It will take a greater visionary than Starmer to chart a path to a better future.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago

Labour’s dilemma is very simple:
The country’s problems cannot be solved without a reform of the housing market.
Unfortunately, so long as we live in a society where politicians effectively tax productive activity and spend the money buying the votes of homeowners, our economy will continue to stagnate.
The housing market cannot be reformed because property owners will not vote for any reform and the Labour Party cannot win without their votes. We saw this clearly when Theresa May somewhat timidly suggested that maybe we should use some of this enormous unearned wealth to pay for social care. The loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian.
As we’ve seen from his pusillanimity as DPP and during the Corbyn years and the BLM and trans controversies, Starmer has neither the wit nor the courage to challenge this status quo. In the end it will probably be a Conservative in the Thatcher mould who forces us to face up to reality.

Jason Smith
JS
Jason Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I’m not sure the loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian, although howl they did. I think The Telegraph and it’s readers are most against giving up any of their enormous wealth to support social care – just look at their current campaign to abolish inheritance tax, which they seem to believe is a tax on a hard working dead person, not an incredibly fortunate living one.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Fair point – though most of the most seriously and least deservingly wealthy people I know read the Guardian.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Fair point – though most of the most seriously and least deservingly wealthy people I know read the Guardian.

Jason Smith
JS
Jason Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I’m not sure the loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian, although howl they did. I think The Telegraph and it’s readers are most against giving up any of their enormous wealth to support social care – just look at their current campaign to abolish inheritance tax, which they seem to believe is a tax on a hard working dead person, not an incredibly fortunate living one.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago

Labour’s dilemma is very simple:
The country’s problems cannot be solved without a reform of the housing market.
Unfortunately, so long as we live in a society where politicians effectively tax productive activity and spend the money buying the votes of homeowners, our economy will continue to stagnate.
The housing market cannot be reformed because property owners will not vote for any reform and the Labour Party cannot win without their votes. We saw this clearly when Theresa May somewhat timidly suggested that maybe we should use some of this enormous unearned wealth to pay for social care. The loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian.
As we’ve seen from his pusillanimity as DPP and during the Corbyn years and the BLM and trans controversies, Starmer has neither the wit nor the courage to challenge this status quo. In the end it will probably be a Conservative in the Thatcher mould who forces us to face up to reality.

Charlie Dibsdale
CD
Charlie Dibsdale
10 months ago

When governments of all political persuasions have presided over gradual decline, including utterly botching the UK’s energy strategy, for the last 30 years, I have zero faith in Labour telling us what they think we want to hear. If we are going to re-industrialise, one of the essential foundations must be cheap energy that is somewhat insulated from international shocks. Not this blind rush to net zero, with solutions anyone with a modicum of common sense knows, will not work. I have no faith in politicians or the cultural Marxism that pervades our institutions. These times, remind me of Ted Heath’s and Callaghan’s administrations in the late 1970’s. Lord help us.

Charlie Dibsdale
CD
Charlie Dibsdale
10 months ago

When governments of all political persuasions have presided over gradual decline, including utterly botching the UK’s energy strategy, for the last 30 years, I have zero faith in Labour telling us what they think we want to hear. If we are going to re-industrialise, one of the essential foundations must be cheap energy that is somewhat insulated from international shocks. Not this blind rush to net zero, with solutions anyone with a modicum of common sense knows, will not work. I have no faith in politicians or the cultural Marxism that pervades our institutions. These times, remind me of Ted Heath’s and Callaghan’s administrations in the late 1970’s. Lord help us.

Emil Castelli
EC
Emil Castelli
10 months ago

Haha… everyone realizes this is insane don’t they? It all is…. there is no soft landing….

USA holds the reserve currency – they can get away with almost everything for some years yet, but almost…. UK? no….. It is the Wily Coyote run off the cliff, and soon will look down, and whooshhh

All the world is there too – off the cliff, not yet looked down, but with a worried expression…..

It is all over. They have been living off credit cards for years. The Western people produce less than they consume, they do it by Debt.

China produces more than it consumes, but they do it on a combination of Western and Chinese Debt.

The rest of the world makes a living by selling to China or the West.

The excellent Mr Micawber:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” ~ David Copperfield

Emil Castelli
EC
Emil Castelli
10 months ago

Haha… everyone realizes this is insane don’t they? It all is…. there is no soft landing….

USA holds the reserve currency – they can get away with almost everything for some years yet, but almost…. UK? no….. It is the Wily Coyote run off the cliff, and soon will look down, and whooshhh

All the world is there too – off the cliff, not yet looked down, but with a worried expression…..

It is all over. They have been living off credit cards for years. The Western people produce less than they consume, they do it by Debt.

China produces more than it consumes, but they do it on a combination of Western and Chinese Debt.

The rest of the world makes a living by selling to China or the West.

The excellent Mr Micawber:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” ~ David Copperfield

Peter Lucey
PL
Peter Lucey
10 months ago

“made the country overdependent on imports for the supply of everything from energy [to food to basic medical supplies]”

I agree completely wrt energy. However Ms Reeves’ Labour Party plans to eliminate our local gas, oil and coal reserves. (Perhaps she will learn from Biden, who has restarted oil exploration?)

Peter Lucey
PL
Peter Lucey
10 months ago

“made the country overdependent on imports for the supply of everything from energy [to food to basic medical supplies]”

I agree completely wrt energy. However Ms Reeves’ Labour Party plans to eliminate our local gas, oil and coal reserves. (Perhaps she will learn from Biden, who has restarted oil exploration?)

Martin Smith
MS
Martin Smith
10 months ago

The search for ‘big ideas’ serve only as a distraction from the lack of ability and competence in our political elite. If only they could just do the basics efficiently…

Martin Smith
MS
Martin Smith
10 months ago

The search for ‘big ideas’ serve only as a distraction from the lack of ability and competence in our political elite. If only they could just do the basics efficiently…

Martin Terrell
MT
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

Good but scary analysis. But not scary enough. There may be some good soundbite ideas from Labour, but no money and no ability to spend what little there is wisely. Who would want to invest in Britain where the maximum speed on potholed roads is 20mph and the grid stops when the wind doesn’t blow?

Martin Terrell
MT
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

Good but scary analysis. But not scary enough. There may be some good soundbite ideas from Labour, but no money and no ability to spend what little there is wisely. Who would want to invest in Britain where the maximum speed on potholed roads is 20mph and the grid stops when the wind doesn’t blow?

mike otter
MO
mike otter
10 months ago

Some people will put anything in their mouths for £s. Labour should simply pay royalties to GG Allin’s estate and use “Dope Money” as their manifesto. We may need the US rn as we are their vassals like Hoenicker was to USSR, but surely its time we started to wind down what has become if not an abusive relationship then certainly a very unequal one.

Last edited 10 months ago by mike otter
mike otter
MO
mike otter
10 months ago

Some people will put anything in their mouths for £s. Labour should simply pay royalties to GG Allin’s estate and use “Dope Money” as their manifesto. We may need the US rn as we are their vassals like Hoenicker was to USSR, but surely its time we started to wind down what has become if not an abusive relationship then certainly a very unequal one.

Last edited 10 months ago by mike otter
John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago

When I look at modern Britain I can only conclude that if it were not for the industrial visionaries and that bit of luck at being the first to industrialise, the people of the country would still be living in huts. It is incapable of getting anything done and its talents and ideas could fit inside a shoe box.

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
10 months ago

When I look at modern Britain I can only conclude that if it were not for the industrial visionaries and that bit of luck at being the first to industrialise, the people of the country would still be living in huts. It is incapable of getting anything done and its talents and ideas could fit inside a shoe box.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
10 months ago

Fazi is clearly not paying attention to the gilts market and the way that yields on gilts are rising. The next government is going to be cutting expenditure just to service existing debt.

Martin Terrell
MT
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

Cue a lot of disappointed voters expecting pay rises and saving the NHS.

Martin Terrell
MT
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

Cue a lot of disappointed voters expecting pay rises and saving the NHS.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
10 months ago

Fazi is clearly not paying attention to the gilts market and the way that yields on gilts are rising. The next government is going to be cutting expenditure just to service existing debt.

Malcolm Webb
MW
Malcolm Webb
10 months ago

Dear Rachel,

The country is bust. The Coalition and then the Tories borrowed all the money and frittered it all away on vanity projects and Covid lockdowns etc. They have also taxed us to the hilt – so there is no more to squeeze out of us.

What British industry needs first and foremost, if if it is to survive let alone thrive, is a secure supply of affordable energy from a range of competing sources. Neither industry nor we overtaxed individuals need expensive, unreliable, heavily subsidised, virtue signalling “renewables” . Most of all we don’t need a set of myopic politicians with an economically senseless five year plan pretending they know the answers ( or any of them). A little more humility and acceptance of of your inability to personally fix anything important would not be a bad start .

Yours sincerely,
Malcolm

Last edited 10 months ago by Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
MW
Malcolm Webb
10 months ago

Dear Rachel,

The country is bust. The Coalition and then the Tories borrowed all the money and frittered it all away on vanity projects and Covid lockdowns etc. They have also taxed us to the hilt – so there is no more to squeeze out of us.

What British industry needs first and foremost, if if it is to survive let alone thrive, is a secure supply of affordable energy from a range of competing sources. Neither industry nor we overtaxed individuals need expensive, unreliable, heavily subsidised, virtue signalling “renewables” . Most of all we don’t need a set of myopic politicians with an economically senseless five year plan pretending they know the answers ( or any of them). A little more humility and acceptance of of your inability to personally fix anything important would not be a bad start .

Yours sincerely,
Malcolm

Last edited 10 months ago by Malcolm Webb
Jason Smith
JS
Jason Smith
10 months ago

“America’s global decline”!? I assume that Thomas Fazi believe that if he keeps writing articles repeating nonsense like this, it will eventually prove to be true. Has he bothered to actually look at any of the actual data about the strength (economic, social, cultural) of the largest countries? Only India could make a claim to be doing better in the last few years, and , frankly, having personally dealt with their bureaucracy a lot, I can’t see that lasting

Jason Smith
JS
Jason Smith
10 months ago

“America’s global decline”!? I assume that Thomas Fazi believe that if he keeps writing articles repeating nonsense like this, it will eventually prove to be true. Has he bothered to actually look at any of the actual data about the strength (economic, social, cultural) of the largest countries? Only India could make a claim to be doing better in the last few years, and , frankly, having personally dealt with their bureaucracy a lot, I can’t see that lasting

George Venning
GV
George Venning
10 months ago

That rare thing, a violation of Betteridge’s law of headlines

George Venning
GV
George Venning
10 months ago

That rare thing, a violation of Betteridge’s law of headlines

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

No different to the masturbatorys

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

No different to the masturbatorys

Michael North
MN
Michael North
9 months ago

The future is only “the failing status quo” if there is no willingness to contemplate cutting spending.
Take 10% off the welfare budget, 50% over 5 years off the NHS budget – let people pay part of the cost, 30% off education – restore the age 16 school leaving age.
Stop the “net zero” madness.
Then radically cut all payments to quangos and interest groups.
Then cut taxes to generate investment in manufacturing.

j watson
JW
j watson
10 months ago

Not a great fan of Fazi’s usual missives but this one decent and balanced.
Of course Reeves and Labour have some dilemmas to navigate. Good ideas of course will get pinched by the Tories as has been repeatedly evident. Quite what state the economy may be in if/when they gain power remains unclear. Too much detail shared with the right wing media a hostage to fortune too soon etc. Plus of course the short term options for any party in power have narrowed and Article reinforces that.
But you can discern some things. Firstly some basic competency. If they go for IRA type investment the OBR won’t be cut out of it and the markets won’t be surprised. Trussonomics wasn’t just the policy but the cack-handed way they went about it. Secondly a recognition some re-industrialisation necessary, which inevitably will force some further realignment with Single Market (albeit no formal re-joining) which just in itself will provide further certainty for Business and a positive upswing. They’ll keep some distance to retain flexibility on new tech regulation. They’ll be no gifts from the EU to Reeves of course, but the trust so badly shaken the last 7yrs will continue to improve. And a focus on the areas in which the UK remains strong – high tech incl AI, data-led, medical research and of course environmental technologies and research. UK still has the financial centre to provide liquidity for these and excellent Universities to help underpin such directions.
It will be a hideous inheritance of course with the wreckage of Brexit failure (admitted by it’s own leading protagonists) scattered, missing coherence and any semblance of what to now do with it. But they could hardly do worse could they and Reeves/Starmer a match for Sunak/Hunt.

Last edited 10 months ago by j watson
polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The Labour Party will achieve nothing, except perhaps for accelerating our descent into poverty and social breakdown. Perhaps it is best to get it over with. “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly’.
Perhaps something will arise from the ashes. If it does it won’t involve the Labour Party.

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I agree. And this article is on the money not just in exposing how bereft of ideas Labour are; but how the UK itself – slipping into a dark pit with multiple structural decades old mega crises (broken housing market/broken energy market/broken NHS/broken educational system/broken state finances) – does not possess the TOOLS to escape the doom loop. We are a proto failed state; we just dont quite see it. The powers of the nation state have been demolished since the 90s to make us a compliant Province of the EU Empire. So there are no gears to get us out of this mess for ANY of our appalling political parties.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Perhaps something will arise from the ashes.
Aye, let’s hope Stokesy leads us to victory today, we need cheering up!

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I agree. And this article is on the money not just in exposing how bereft of ideas Labour are; but how the UK itself – slipping into a dark pit with multiple structural decades old mega crises (broken housing market/broken energy market/broken NHS/broken educational system/broken state finances) – does not possess the TOOLS to escape the doom loop. We are a proto failed state; we just dont quite see it. The powers of the nation state have been demolished since the 90s to make us a compliant Province of the EU Empire. So there are no gears to get us out of this mess for ANY of our appalling political parties.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Perhaps something will arise from the ashes.
Aye, let’s hope Stokesy leads us to victory today, we need cheering up!

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

No matter how many good ideas they have, I refuse to vote for a political party that is too stupid or too cowardly to define what a woman is.

George Venning
GV
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This has always seemed such a strange hill to choose to die on.

The implicit message of this criticism is that it is for politicians to define what a woman is or isn’t. Why would you want that?

George Venning
GV
George Venning
10 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This has always seemed such a strange hill to choose to die on.

The implicit message of this criticism is that it is for politicians to define what a woman is or isn’t. Why would you want that?

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The Labour Party will achieve nothing, except perhaps for accelerating our descent into poverty and social breakdown. Perhaps it is best to get it over with. “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly’.
Perhaps something will arise from the ashes. If it does it won’t involve the Labour Party.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

No matter how many good ideas they have, I refuse to vote for a political party that is too stupid or too cowardly to define what a woman is.

j watson
JW
j watson
10 months ago

Not a great fan of Fazi’s usual missives but this one decent and balanced.
Of course Reeves and Labour have some dilemmas to navigate. Good ideas of course will get pinched by the Tories as has been repeatedly evident. Quite what state the economy may be in if/when they gain power remains unclear. Too much detail shared with the right wing media a hostage to fortune too soon etc. Plus of course the short term options for any party in power have narrowed and Article reinforces that.
But you can discern some things. Firstly some basic competency. If they go for IRA type investment the OBR won’t be cut out of it and the markets won’t be surprised. Trussonomics wasn’t just the policy but the cack-handed way they went about it. Secondly a recognition some re-industrialisation necessary, which inevitably will force some further realignment with Single Market (albeit no formal re-joining) which just in itself will provide further certainty for Business and a positive upswing. They’ll keep some distance to retain flexibility on new tech regulation. They’ll be no gifts from the EU to Reeves of course, but the trust so badly shaken the last 7yrs will continue to improve. And a focus on the areas in which the UK remains strong – high tech incl AI, data-led, medical research and of course environmental technologies and research. UK still has the financial centre to provide liquidity for these and excellent Universities to help underpin such directions.
It will be a hideous inheritance of course with the wreckage of Brexit failure (admitted by it’s own leading protagonists) scattered, missing coherence and any semblance of what to now do with it. But they could hardly do worse could they and Reeves/Starmer a match for Sunak/Hunt.

Last edited 10 months ago by j watson