Labour bashing business to save facing their awful reality

John Redwood wonders when the Labour Party will stop attacking business.

Not this side of the election and perhaps never is the simple answer.


This war with business started with blaming the banks for the current crisis. In the Labour view their wild excesses created the crisis, and so must be now tightly regulated to prevent this happening again. Once you go down this route, it is only a small step to saying that all business is only beneficial to the general welfare if tightly controlled.

To go back on this might be to admit that the banks were not entirely to blame for the crisis and the mounting debt. Allow this chink in the anti-bank defence, and the debate in the general election campaign will be as to how far the tripartite structure of central banks, regulatory authorities and government policy was to blame.

The further stage is then to lay bare how poor the state of the government finances were during the boom years. That is, through creating an ever-increasing structural deficit when at least budget balance should have been attained. By my calculations about half the forecast National debt of £1400 billion in 2014 will be down to economic mismanagement since 2001.

During the forthcoming election campaign I expect a constant barrage of attacks on bankers in particular and business in general. The hope from the spin doctors is that people will be distracted enough not to look at the true causes of the current crisis. If the Labour party – the self-proclaimed defender of public services – were to admit that they have wrecked the public finances for a generation, the party would implode. If they have any let-up on the business-bashing, then Gordon Brown will end up with a bigger defeat than Michael Foot in 1983.

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