A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Learning the lessons of 1931

I was brought up on family stories of Ramsay MacDonald's betrayal of the Labour Party in 1931, when he responded to the Depression by cutting public spending - including taking away the funding for my grandfather's university place - and thereby split the Labour Party as well as deepening the economic crisis.

So I was pleased by today's news that Alastair Darling intends to do the opposite - borrow to maintain public spending, and increase it in areas where jobs can be created as a consequence, in order to reflate the economy and provide alternative employment for people made jobless by the credit crunch.

We actually need the things that the press coverage of his interview says will get funded so it's a win-win situation - more social housing being built, more green energy schemes (hopefully including nuclear), more investment in transport infrastructure like Crossrail, and even, according to the Observer, a bit of sensible defence Keynesianism, as that paper cites the new aircraft carriers and Trident replacement as programmes that will benefit.


Blogger Mark Still News said...

There is plenty of money in this country, as we found the money for 2 illegal wars and occupations of 2 countries (You know what Bush and Blair should stand trial for war crimes)Massive amounts squandered on Nuclear weapons, which no one in their right mind is going to use are they-a complete waste of money?. Then the massive amounts injected into the banks.
There needs to be 5 million real affordable homes for working class people, proper school funding and job training. Then our pension schemes should be topped up by the government-to save money in the future as a good pension scheme would of course alleviate social security spending.

11:12 pm, October 19, 2008

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Nuclear power is more of an unfortunate necessity than something we should hope for.

1:06 am, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this horrible news, Luke?

6:31 am, October 20, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yes it is, and however much I don't get on with Meral as a politician, my thoughts are with her as a parent.

7:49 am, October 20, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Agreed. Except for wasting money on Trident, obviously. The monetarist creed always was nonsense, and of course, never attained as 'controlling the money supply' just leads to decline

10:45 am, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Nuclear power is not the way forward, it is not costed and will not provide the energy to meet the shortfall. The only way to resolve the issue of energy is to cut the amount we use and turn on the benefits of local energy production and larger green schemes.

We if go nuclear expect a 300% rise in energy costs to the consumer and the negative environmental impacts of having to deal with the waste. Nuclear is not carbon neutral, the mining uses huge amounts of CO2 and main purpose of this is to make nukes and reactors for subs....both of which costs this country billions.

Yes invest now but don't waste billions on a energy policy that has been doomed from day one. And please don't compare the UK to France as they have entirely different set up and geography. Remember also that it will be the French who will be providing the capital for these nuclear stations and they will want a substantial return on their investment.

If we want to follow a plan look at the balanced approach of the Germans who have made a billion dollar industry from green energy.

11:57 am, October 20, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Are we really ready for Nuclear energy?

What is worrying is the waste from Nuclear energy-we must plan and do things for the future generations and not leave the planet full of Nuclear waste!

1:39 pm, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Well Labour want to follow a nuclear plan, but lets face it how many of us would want to live near one.

I fear we are going back to the Nimbi 90s, yes please but not near me. Blair and his opposition to a wind farm being a classic example.

Nuclear power is a lot safer now but it's not safe. For those who are old enough then you should be able to remember Windscale...now renamed Sellafield . A nuclear disaster that is still felt across Ireland, Wales, Cumbria and Derbyshire.

There is also concern that the next generation of nuclear power plants may not be able to cope with the extreme temperatures predicted by climate change. In France at least 4 stations had to be shut down following a heat wave.

Please read and make up your own minds:


Also worth reading about recycling of waste:


I've always been against nuclear weapons or any weapon that is designed to kill by the 1000. Both the Russians and Americans are currently in a race to build the biggest fuel bomb.....which is design to destroy whole cities without the fallout. God help humanity with superpowers like this.

Weapon grade plutonium and spent uranium is used a number of weapons. SABO which a round design to peirce tank amour has been used extensively in Iraq. Unfortunately anyone with long exposure are getting ill.

I think the move to nuclear power is a move that should be seriously questioned as there could be other motives.

5:09 pm, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Shambolic said...

rich said "I've always been against nuclear weapons or any weapon that is designed to kill by the 1000."

funny that. our Luke is for them. and he's for cluster bombs which might only kill one or two (but indiscriminately and often mere children).

8:11 pm, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Why would I like cluster bombs? They are as dangerous as mines, often unexploded cause horrific injuries to anyone in their way.

My point was that the drive towards nuclear power might have other motives. Many weapons manufacturers are very keen to get more weapon grade plutonium....they control huge lobby groups.

If we are going to spend during this recession then we need to make sure that we invest in infrastructure and not just give handouts. We also need to make sure we don't increase taxes, as this will cripple working people.

The one thing Darling hasn't answered is how he is going to get around European laws? We are already above our borrowing limit?

If you're going to build homes or buy 5 million homes off the private sector....which organisations are going to buy them or build them. Most councils are transfering their assets to housing associations and housing associations of selling houses off at auction to raise capital to keep them afloat.

I'm not sure it is going to be that simple. Borrow too much and they risk defaulting on their gilt.

9:52 pm, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice little commission there eh big boy? bet WS happy about new carriers. Don't mask out defense spending as bloody socialism because it ain't, that's a cut I would happily take at time of crisis (and for the record I'm no anti-militarist). Cheers.

12:44 am, October 21, 2008

Anonymous Shambolic said...

Rich said...

Why would I like cluster bombs?

I don't know,Rich. Why would you? I wrote that Luke likes cluster bombs!

5:07 am, October 21, 2008

Anonymous daniel said...

If this is using existing public money for projects then there might be some value in it - if it means borrowing more heavily then it is seriously flawed. As we have seen over the last few weeks our economy is linked globally to most others. Public sector borrowing to invest in infrastructure and other projects cleary has value, but these projects whislt offering some employment opportunities, may also result in additional billions being sent overseas to companies who we are buying the products from - such as building materials.

The chancellor is right to send out a message that this committed spending has to continue however Our economy would benefit more from a sharp reduction in interest rates, and reduction in inflation - and if you want to achieve that you can always impose a wind fall tax on the energy companies to bring down gas and elec prices.

9:57 am, October 21, 2008

Blogger jdc said...

"Our economy would benefit more from a sharp reduction in interest rates"

No, no, no. The problem is too much private sector debt that is unsustainable at higher rates which in the medium term (and indeed right now in the short term) are set globally, not by the Bank of England.

We need to allow borrowing by companies and individuals to fall - the only way to do that while limiting the scale of the coming recession is to keep public spending up without raising taxes.

Cutting interest rates too far (and we may yet do it) would be a disaster, it would demonstrate that we haven't learnt a thing about how we got into this mess, and set us up for an even bigger fall in 18 months to 2 years' time.

10:33 am, October 21, 2008

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke you said:
"more green energy schemes (hopefully including nuclear)"

Surely some self-serving nonsense there? Nuclear has left us with an enormous unsolved legacy of toxic poison such as humankind has never seen - and the construction costs (direct and opportunity costs) along with the security management costs ensure that it will be no economic solution to anything.

As for:
"the new aircraft carriers and Trident replacement as programmes that will benefit".

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

My worry for Labour is that it will be argued persuasively that public expenditure cannot afford Keynsian deficit funding (that we all can agree is a must) AND at the same time bear the taxpayer-funded and only just starting 'rescue' of the banks and then what comes after (pensions, insurances, credit card companies?).

Certainly not while we try to maintain vainglorious post-imperial nonsense like 'British' Trident and aircraft carriers.

1:31 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Any one building Nuclear weapons should be arrested, for planning mass destruction?

5:29 pm, October 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brought up on tales of Ramsay MacDonald's trachery? Bollocks. If there were ever a stereotype of the middle class Labour wanker who thinks calling everyone comrade makes up for his inherent right wingery.

You were brought up on finest 1789 Madeira and nothing else.

10:14 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Er... actually I wasn't - Family Credit benefit didn't buy many bottles of madeira in the 1980s, but obviously you know more about my upbringing that I do so I bow to your superior knowledge.

10:18 pm, October 21, 2008


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