Monday, 22 November 2021
We Mean Business
There has never been the slightest suggestion that anyone at the CBI would have employed Boris Johnson. Everyone has always known who and what he was. But the boundary changes give the Conservatives a notional majority of 96, so what does he care? He knows that he is 10 year Prime Minister, so he can be as drunken and incompetent as he pleases. What matters is who is making the real decisions.
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, including the Single Market and the Customs Union, provides a double opportunity, both to reorganise the British economy under State direction, and to begin to develop a fully independent British foreign policy, including in relation to the United States.
So long as Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves could be kept away from anything that mattered, and so long as any Thatcherite coup either against or around Johnson could be prevented, then we could be entering a new pro-business age. The pro-business tradition came down to the Attlee Government from the ultraconservative figures of Colbert and Bismarck, via the Liberals Keynes and Beveridge, and it held sway in Britain until the Callaghan Government's turn to monetarism in December 1976.
That tradition corresponds closely but critically to the Hamiltonian American School as expanded by the American System of Henry Clay, a pro-business tradition that between the 1860s and the 1970s worked to make the United States the world's largest economy, with the world's highest standard of living, culminating in the glorious achievements of the New Deal, which in turn made possible the Civil Rights movement.
With a strict division between investment banking and retail banking, large amounts of central government credit, at low interest rates and over a long term, would build great national projects, notably enormous expansions in infrastructure. Those would then pay for themselves many times over, ably assisted by pro-business tariffs and subsidies, and by a pro-business National Bank to promote the growth of productive enterprises rather than speculation.
A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling any inflationary effect. Those means therefore require to be under democratic political control. If Munira Mirza of the Revolutionary Communist Party can become Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit, then there is hope for us all yet.