The cuts won’t work – time for a Green New Deal

The dominant media meme in the wake of the pre-budget report continues to be the alleged need for government cuts. This has now taken a shriller tone.

The dominant media meme in the wake of the pre-budget report continues to be the alleged need for government cuts. This has now taken a shriller tone, with allegations of a rift between Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling over how deeply to cut.

Brown is being cast as the bad guy in this; as resisting Darling’s ‘prudent’ desire to come up with real cuts in this pre-Budget Report, rather than delaying the ‘necessary’ cuts until 2011.

However, as Tony Juniper argues in today’s Independent, the hysteria about the ‘need’ for cuts is all wrong. The Green New Deal Group have just published their second report, to discouragingly little fanfare. This important document presents a powerful blueprint for how Britain could stabilise its economy, through a further and thoroughly-green expansion of ‘quantitative easing’.

This could enable us to avoid a repeat of the ‘Roosevelt recession’ – the kind of downturn through premature cuts that occurred in the States in 1936-8, and would occur here too, if the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives got their way and put into place the ‘savage’ cuts they are promising.

Cuts are not needed, certainly not at this time. The beauty of green Keynesian measures is that they pay for themselves, in that they guarantee future savings (lower fuel bills etc) that will repay any elements of the package which do not already pay for themselves through their positive effect on the economy.

The current attacks on Brown, then, are completely misplaced. The government should take more pride in not putting spending cuts into place. This should mark a clear dividing line between Left (Labour and Greens) and Right (Tories and Lib Dems). But at present it does not – because the government has not resisted openly the cuts meme – and because it has not bought into green Keynesianism in any meaningful way.

It is an incredible disappointment that the PBR did not embody substantive moves towards a Green New Deal (except for the boiler scrappage scheme, brilliantly and now-successfully promoted by Mick Williams.

At this time of all times, with Copenhagen in the balance, the need for leadership and for us to think of the future should have been manifested in Darling’s proposals. That, and not the welcome absence of public spending cuts, is the real scandal of yesterday.

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29 Responses to “The cuts won’t work – time for a Green New Deal”

  1. RupertRead

    Check out my newest piece @leftfootfwd: The cuts won’t work – time for a #Green New Deal: http://is.gd/5jzYF [ #cop15 #Copenhagen #climate ]

  2. Anon E Mouse

    Rupert Read – Are you seriously asking us to believe that this article is not just another of your attempts to court favour from the readers of this blog and forward the “Rupert Read” brand?

    It seems to me that you are simply saying what you think people want to hear but you are consistently inconsistent on this blog Rupert – I thought you were passionate about “Green” issues and not motivated by big business…

    You say: “This should mark a clear dividing line between Left (Labour and Greens) and Right (Tories and Lib Dems)”. So the greens are now aligned with Labour. OK. Gets you some support here.

    Explain then why you claim the most important issue in our lifetime is Global Warming and you make an excuse to align yourself with Labour and get support from LFF. The Lib Dems and the Tories both oppose Runway 3 at Heathrow yet this government has approved it.

    In fact: “Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Caroline Lucas has submitted damning evidence to the Government’s consultation on the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport, and today labelled the plans for a third runway as ‘irresponsible, deceptive and environmentally disastrous’.”

    They ignored her Rupert. And don’t give me that “It’s Carbon Neutral” hogwash either – I don’t believe it any more than you do so your comments seems to me to be a cynical ploy to gain support from Labour activists.

    One can therefore conclude on this blog that Rupert Read aligns himself with the Labour Party on his “green/Keynesian” measures and excuses/ignores the fact they support Runway 3 at Heathrow and (Carbon Capture is non existent at present)Coal Fired power stations. Well done Rupert, hypocrisy is alive and well it seems.

  3. Henry

    I’m not in the business of defending everything the LibDems do, but it’s a bit absurd to descibe them as part of the Right, just because of a silly soundbite by Clegg on ‘savage’ cuts. Some of their tax proposals are pretty progressive.

  4. Rupert Read

    My dear Mouse;
    [I won’t respond to your ad hominem stuff, because it is pointless to do so.]
    On the question of substance: One very important dividing line between the Parties at present is over whether there should be cuts or not. It is not the only dividing line – on others, I would indeed as you say be closer to the LibDems or even to the Tories. But on this critical issue, Labour is much closer to getting it right than either of them are.
    I write on this blog because I am an eco-socialist, a left-Green. So: I am addressing others on the Left who are thinking about what is to be done, and what I am urging here is that the Left should embrace the Green New Deal.

  5. willstraw

    I agree with Henry. The Lib Dems’ mansion tax policy is more progressive than many of Labour’s tax policies and should have been introduced in the PBR as an additional revenue raising measure.

    But I’m happy to give Rupert a platform on Left Foot Forward since he offers a different perspective.

    And to the person who just submitted a vindictive comment about Rupert with the name “Freddy M”. We don’t want it on this blog so start your own.

Comments are closed.