John McDonnell: The Radical Alternative to Austerity
According to the UK's coalition government, there is no alternative to the socialisation of private debts caused by the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that continues to affect us.
Cabinet members, morally and intellectually vapid careerists, from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and now Labour parties robotically bleat conformity to the deficit propaganda narrative. To them, there can be no compromise to centeralised wealth in paying for the cost of the irresponsibility and criminality of investment bankers and executives of multinational corporations. Therefore, the social fabric of society must be torn apart. Welfare for poor families, the elderly, disabled children and cancer patients must be reduced. Support for education and scientific research must be revoked. Tuition fees must be massively increased. Libraries and children's care centres must be closed down. Frontline health services must be deprived of doctors and nurses (and the healthcare system overall must be conveniently privatised). I for one am quite convinced that the government's abhorrent injustices would be occurring regardless of the socioeconomic situation that exists circumstantially. But as I have elaborated before, it obviously provides a perfect rhetorical alleviation of longstanding ideological intentions. The government is doing everything Margaret Thatcher wished she could have (with some other foundations provided by Tony Blair's neoliberal New Labour project). I will set out my own manifesto (though only derived from already existing proposals), that could eradicate the country's structural and budget deficits; but they are rejected and ignored for clearly corrupt and ideological reasons. Our message of opposition should be bold and straightforward: there is an alternative.
1. An end to corporate tax evasion through legitimately effective legal action: £60-80 billion a year (the New Statesman reports £69.9 billion, which I will use as a mean). The same applied to general tax evasion: £25 billion a year, as researched by Richard Murphy. The accumulated wealth of multinational conglomerates of the richest 1% are preserved. The HMRC has proven its to be complacent to this injustice and criminality.
2. The abolition of publicly-subsidied free insurance provided to the banking system, which also amounts to £100 billion per year.
3. A Tobin Tax raising £20 billion a year. Under David Cameron's leadership, only Britain and the Czech Republic are isolated from the rest of modern Europe in rejecting this marginal financial transaction tax in the gains of investment banking.
4. A permanent tax on the bonuses of banking executives, originally introduced under Chancellor Alastair Campbell in 2009: £1.7 billion a year. The government has lifted limits and limited transparency on the cost of this publicly subsidised pay.
5. The fair application of capital gains tax on the wealth of the 1,000 richest persons (many of whom were involved in creating the financial crisis with these newfound gains as the direct consequence of it), raising £88 billion.
6. A mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million: another £1.7 billion a year.
7. Abolition of the Cold War-era Trident nuclear weapon system: £130 billion. Two words can summarise why this proposal is rejected: Lockheed Martin. The influence of the international military-industrial complex is one of the most powerful.
8. An end to the £700 million a year subsidy for arms companies such as Lockheed and BAE Systems that profiteer from selling weaponry to dictatorships such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Abandonment of the £25 billion purchase of new JSF war planes. To why this wasteful facilitation remains, see above.
9. Abolition of wasteful and inefficent private finance initiatives in the public sector, amounting to £300 billion.
10. Reforms to welfare, taxation and employment law in line with social justice, which would save £3.8 billion and £5 billion respectively, as researched by Dr Eoin Clarke.
11. Renationalisation of the rail system, with £1.2 billion a year saved through reversing the entirely counterproductive experiment of privatisation.
These eleven measures alone would raise around £2.3 trillion over a five year parliamentary term: more than fourteen times the cost of all the government's £81 billion of cuts to public services and welfare combined. And if the treasury were to rightfully request public reimbursement of the £1.5 trillion bailout funds from now liquidated banking establishments, the entire structural deficit could be eradicated with over £2 trillion to spare. Though if we wish to compromise for the sake of political pragmatism, as the Labour may, a selection of a one or two of these proposals would be sufficient as an alternative for sheer wantonness, despair and devastation in greater society. But as this poses such a challenge to elite interests, "there is no alternative."