So here we are, the true demand

One Thursday night in the next couple of years we could go to sleep knowing that, by Friday morning, neoliberalism in Britain will be over. If a left-led Labour party comes to power, leading a coalition determined to scrap free market economics, that will be a good day for working people. It will be a bad day for Virgin Care, Portland Communications and Saudi Arabia.

The very slight problem here being about Paul Mason’s dreams that free market economics works, not free market economics does not. That is, this is not an optional part of our universe, it’s just reality.

As I have pointed out endlessly this is not about cooperatives and worker ownership, socialism, v the capitalists, this is about the incompatibility of the complexity of a modern economy with detailed planning. Certainly, there are some things markets don’t deal with at all, things they need aid in dealing with – public goods and their mirror, externalities – but there are vast swathes of life where markets and their prices are the only tool we’ve got that actually works. To “scrap” this is not possible, this is just what is. We can fail to take note of it of course but that’s not going to work very well now, is it?

Because Chapman’s move illustrates where the real centre of gravity of a new centrist party would have to lie: it would be a liberal Tory party. The party of Notting Hill and Canary Wharf; the party of free market economics, globalised finance and social liberalism. And its major impact on British politics would be to split the Conservative party, not Labour.

That’s pretty hopeful too. For to most of the rest of us the split is over where Momentum starts, between those who acknowledge reality and those who don’t.

Paul Mason is a writer and broadcaster on economics and social justice

Amusing thought that one can combine those two…..

23 comments on “So here we are, the true demand

  1. Just as everyone has come to accept that anorexia is an inwardly-directed mental illness, so people really ought to recognise his stuff as an outwardly-directed one.

  2. Another lefty piece talking about ‘process*’, no details as to why his scheme is better than the alternatives.

    Why are the left obsessed with the mechanics of doing something stupid?

    *the process, in this instance of turning Britain’s economy into Venezuela’s

  3. So when the left continually pumps out reality avoiding puff like this, why do the conservatives continue to bend over backwards trying to impress left wing voters, making itself a muddles soft social democratic party in the process?

    They might as well just be this neoliberal monster the left pretends they are. Then we might start seeing some things improving.

  4. Naturally, Paul imagines himself one of the new regime’s Gauleiters rather than one of its slaves.

  5. “One Thursday night in the next couple of years we could go to sleep knowing that, by Friday morning, the smashing of windows and breaking of bones can begin.”

  6. Why would “The party of Notting Hill and Canary Wharf” split into two “parties of Notting Hill and Canary Wharf”?

  7. Another socialist ego-tripper.

    These lads best chance is not Corbog /McNasty/young-thieving-snot axis that every nitwit around assumes (and is assured by the media) is a shoo-in at the next election but the ongoing bungling of BluLabour and their Fish-Faced Cow of a “leader”.

  8. “The party of Notting Hill and Canary Wharf”

    The people that took two run-down neighbourhoods and transformed them into desirable places to live & work? I can’t imagine why anyone would want to copy them. Let’s all vote to become more like Tottenham.

  9. The people that took two run-down neighbourhoods and transformed them into desirable places to live & work?

    And the sort of ‘gentrified’ area where Guardianistas live, and not in Barking or Bow.

  10. Tim,
    I’ve seen you on several occasions suggest that we don’t need to necessarily have capitalism, so long as we have free markets, and it’s one of very few things we disagree on.

    What I believe you’re missing is that capitalism is a subset of the free market. The free market in the capital/productive assets. Arguments about John Lewis and co-operative ownership don’t get past this – of course you can have that in a capitalist society, that’s the point – its a free market. And at some scales that can be made to work. But if the whole system is co-operative, then you have some small group(s) deciding who can own what, what will be produced, picking winners etc and that’s the end of your free market.

    Happy to be proved wrong

  11. I’m doing rhetoric more than anything else. I’m trying to get across the the Momentum et al idiots that you can have your cooperatives, your worker control, but you can’t have planning and doing without the price system.

  12. One of Paul Mason’s links lead to this quote from Tony: (very worstallesque)

    “Blair rounded on critics of modern capitalism: “I hear people say we have to stop and debate globalisation. You might as well debate whether autumn should follow summer”

  13. A centre party would indeed split the Conservative Party, not Labour. Because 99% of all the centrists vote Conserrvative as being “the least of the evils”.
    A split would allow Labour with 25% of the vote to obtain a majority in Parliament (or perhaps a minority govenment supported by the Scottish Nationalists). No wonder Paul Mason wants it.

  14. The last time I checked Virgin Care was highly rated but losing £5m a year ie donating an extra £5m a year to the country’s health care.

  15. Cooperatives can be a subset of the free market too. Go to Waitrose /John Lewis and the customer service is great – that may be down to a good run of management and not necessarily because the workers own a piece of the business. Who can be sure. But the capitalist enterprises often give their staff bonuses, benefits and shares to keep them keen. Others give their staff lots of flexibility but not much security. Family run shops are unlikely to be paying the minimum wage. It’s good to live in a society where the law permits a multitude of ownership models.

  16. “by Friday morning, neoliberalism in Britain will be over.”

    Paul you use neoliberalism merely as a perjorative term. Its just a straight invitation to exclaim hurrah at its ending whatever it really is. How you steeled yourself to omit the exclamation mark i’ll never know. I suspect it’s verboten in the guardian style guide but did you obey or it was enforced on you by its overseers?

    You do say its ending will be bad for virgincare. Assuming the workforce will stay in the sector that basically describes a group of investors in the sector, But what of the patients? Paul, if you’re going to go off on one about a momentum victory within 2 years you really should explain why it’s better for patients rather than bad for the investors. That’s what most of us care about. Yes, there are arguments like profits being taken out of the NHS budget. But you don’t advance them, probably because your so far into that world that its just implicit for you, but come on please at least try to convince others. As a campaining journalist if you pay it such diligence you’re just ra-ra-ing the faithful who go all the way with this implicitly. So please put your arguments out there if you expect anyone other than your co-ideologists to be reading.

  17. It’s clear that for Mason, the word Trump has replaced the word Thatcher as a catch all signal of badness.

    The man is a cunt.

  18. If avoiding the UK becoming Venezuela takes tanks in Parliament Square and mass executions of Momentum supporters, then so be it.

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