Much was made recently of the U.K.opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s statementthat I was helping his team“in some capacity.” George Osborne, for one, jumped at the opportunity to take a shot at Labour by mocking me, luxuriating visibly in my defeat in the hands of a despotic EU. Even David Cameron, not to be left out,added his own little quip.
Before delving into what truly matters here, a correction is in order: I was never asked (nor would have I accepted if asked) to be an advisor to Jeremy Corbyn or his team. As a full time politician, and initiator of DiEM25 ( Democracy In Europe Movement) it is not my job to advise other politicians. Engaging with parties and organisations across Europe is another matter. It is in this “capacity” that I am involved in Britain with Jeremy Corbyn, his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and also politicians from other political parties, including Caroline Lucas (Greens) and my good friend Norman Lamont (Conservative).
The Labour Party has an instinctive urge to protect those left behind by the long years of uneven private-debt-fuelled growth and its austerian aftermath. This is good and proper. However, it would be a mistake to waste Labour’s energies on tirades against austerity. If I am right that austerity is a symptom of low investment (and of a government keen to push the inevitable burden on the weaker citizens), Labour should concentrate on policies that will shift idle savings into investment funding, engendering new technologies that produce green, sustainable development and high quality jobs.
Such an economic program will require the creation of a public investment bank that issues its own bonds (to be supported by a non-inflationary Bank of England quantitative easing strategy targeting these bonds), but also a new alliance with enlightened industrialists and parts of the City keen to profit from sustainable recovery. Labour, I believe, will only overcome its infighting, and the toxic media campaign against its leader, by escaping into a Green, investment-led British Renaissance.
The fact that this is also what the Eurozone needs offers Labour a golden opportunity to link its optimal referendum campaign with an appealing domestic economic agenda. Proposing an economic program that is relevant both in the UK and in the Eurozone would be a good start.
And on the “failure” mentioned by Cameron during PMQs yesterday, he had this to say:
My failure as finance minister was due to the ironclad determination of an authoritarian EU to continue with its failed Greek economic program.
My ministry’s Policy Program for Greece, which Brussels pushed aside, I had put together with input from economic experts including Lord Lamont.
So Cameron was mistaken to say Varoufakis was Labour’s latest adviser and wrong to raise his performance as Greek finance minister – because it highlights an “authoritarian”, oppressive European Union at a time when Cameron wants us all to believe the EU is a good place to be.
*For this headline to work well, Mr Varoufakis’ name would have to be a version of ‘Janus’, which refers to the Roman god who looks to the future and the past and is therefore depicted with two faces. In fact, it is of Hebrew/Greek origin and means ‘God is gracious’. Even though it doesn’t work in this context, This Writer simply couldn’t resist using the headline because Cameron’s comment really was two-faced, slamming Varoufakis for being defeated by the same authoritarian EU that he wants the UK to support.
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