Crises are never random. Underneath the chaos and the noise there is always order, and if you can identify the dysfunction underpinning a crisis, and identify something that is preventing that crisis being addressed, using careful observation and chronology you can learn from it. Austerity, as a response to financial instability was a crisis. By watching the Labour left and my trade unions prevent opposition to austerity that didn’t suit Labour, I learned a great deal from austerity. I ended up falling back on Minsky, James Galbraith and the techniques pioneered by Thomas Piketty and Atkinson, to understand that the we now need to look at inequality in a multi-dimensional way. By going through legal conceptions of equality and institutional structure, I understood that the way to understand the relationship between inequality and instability was through our social policy institutions.
What I have known for a long time is that in order for us to move past this crisis, trade unions like UNISON would have to be made to function again. That the Labour link and the Labour left have spent 30 years attacking anyone who tried to discuss inequality and disenfranchisement without factoring in Labour, would need to be addressed. Our demographicsand the failure of our child protection, social care and benefit systems mean those institutions will have to be redefined within five to ten years, and in order for them to function we need functioning trade unions. Undoing the devastation of deindustrialisation particularly in the North I love will require that. Trade unions like PCS, who decided they had the right to disenfranchise their members to keep Militant in aspic, on 100k salaries, would have to be addressed when this institutional redefinition happens. Because we need a link between politics and the workers in thos unions and the very skilled jobs they do.
I didn’t know what crisis would bring us to the point where that was possible but Jeremy Corbyn has just created it. In the nineties Blair managed to convince the British public that the culture around Militant and the Labour left were dealt with. The promise of that was so great that he could rebrand Thatcherism and neo liberalism as progressive, and at the time it seemed that Blairism could bring together financialisation and public service delivery and create a new golden age. For a while it worked. But you cant apply that market orthodoxy to those institutions without generation crisis. Those crises are bearing fruit now. Social media exposed that rotten culture as something that had not been dealt with.
As economists explore post Keynesian frameworks, to find new ways to think beyond the money supply, they are moving towards understanding inequality and instability. And in order to move there politically a white male left who place themselves as intermediary to discussion of inequality, trade unions who prevent that knowledge entering politicsneed to go. In Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to take over the Labour Party, he has deliberately escalated this crisis to a point the PLP could never have dreamed of doing. You only know what you are dealing with when it bares its teeth and the hard left, with their violent misogyny, astroturfing, have just done everyone a favour and allowed this to happen..Labour have to do what they thought they did in 1997. THey have to demonstrate to the public they have dealt with this culture, and they have to understand the relationship between financial instability and inequality. They have to become more democratic, assert their belief in democracy, and learn which institutions stabilise our economy, and which ones create instability.
THey have to redefine a benefits system so it does this, and they have to redefine a social care system, a child protection system, and other social policy systems so they are restored to their rightful role as stabilisers in the political economy. They have to address anew world with rapidly changing technology, globalisation and Britain’s rapidly changing position in the world, and recognise why instability is necessary and that you cant hook social policy systems to finance because they break. They have to remove the layer of their culture tha tdoisenfranchises people and that means taking on the left. THey have to do what they thought they had done in 1997.
They also have to do what they did in the eighties and learn to fight for democracy, and to represent people and lose the entitlemt which has blighted them. Corbyn has just escalated their crisis so they have to do this. It is the only way out.
While the rentratrots of People’s Momentum and the Trade Unions with power stolen from women prop up Jeremy Corbyn, they are baring their teeth and giving Labour the greatest opportunity they have had in forty years. I’d pay attention to the war going in the Labour Party, even if it has rendered them unelectable for another 5 years. Because through this war what seemed to be possible in 1997 is now actually possible. Chilcot demands that they address a culture that creates leaders who are unnaccountable and isolated and use only media, and that doesnt hurt a Blairite faction who are long gone. Chilcot gives them the tools to deal with Jeremy Corbyn.
The relentless and violent abusive behaviour Corbyns supporters are demonstrating is useful noise. Teeth bared, crisis has exposed a problem within Labour that should have been dealt with years ago. Labour now have the opportunity to give the country a functioning Labour Party, functioning trade unions, and to address the influence of the far Left in protecting the neo liberal consensus.
I appreciate within the Labour Party now committed councillors and MPs are terrified, but this is the opportunity of a century for them and the blood spilled now will pay dividends ofr this country for a generation. The assumption that a united Labour movement and party is good for the country was wrong. There is supposed to be tension between the Party and the Unions. The Labour link is one of the greatest distotions in british democracy and at the root of our inequality crisis. I shed no tears at the Labour Party splitting. And in the messy divorce am guessing noone will want custody of the rentratrots or the people who exploited that labour link to disenfranchise the women who pay their dues for a collective voice.