Here’s why we don’t have an entirely neoliberal government even though it’s run by neoliberal people

Here’s an interesting debate thrown up by the controversy over pay rises for HMRC and the NHS:

You’ll be aware that the discussion is about the perceived unfairness of HMRC employees receiving a 13 per cent pay increase while NHS workers get just one per cent.

Over in the comment column of the Vox Political Facebook page, a reader suggested, “Surely at a time of wage reduction, more jobless, food banks, child poverty, a pandemic and low inflation we should not be talking about wage rises. There will we hope be a time and place for that in the future.”

I replied: “When we have a good socialist government in Westminster? I’m glad you agree that it won’t happen until then.” He hadn’t made any such suggestion but I was trying to prompt debate.

He then responded with a link to an Independent article from 2017 in which columnist Ben Chu suggested that it is wrong to attach labels like “capitalist” or “socialist” to our political parties because their policies today cannot possibly correspond to what those words originally meant. “That is if we understand what socialism really is,” he stated.

Interesting point!

Let’s see if you agree with my response:

This article from 2017 is an incredible piece of work. About the only part with which I could agree was the claim that it is wrong to say a Tory government is entirely capitalist or a Labour government entirely socialist.

The Tories are capitalists, though (or more accurately, neoliberals). And Jeremy Corbyn was a socialist, although many of his MPs weren’t.

The government is a mixture of the two because change doesn’t happen overnight. Labour governments of a socialist persuasion have implemented socialist policies and Conservative governments since 1970 have done their best to dismantle them while remaining on the good side of public opinion.

That’s why we have the social democracy that we have; the policies implemented by previous governments that are not repealed by their successors remain in effect, no matter whether those successor administrations approve of them or not.

The amount of socialism exhibited by any government may be gauged by the amount of benefit to the people. So, for example, Norway provides a huge amount of benefit to its people and may be considered to be at the better end of the scale. The United States provides much less and may be considered to be at the worser end. The UK would be closer to the United States.

We won’t see an end to wage reduction, more jobless, food banks, and child poverty while we have a Conservative government because those are all results of capitalist (in reality, neoliberal) Conservative policies. They can only come to an end when a socialist government ends them.

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2 thoughts on “Here’s why we don’t have an entirely neoliberal government even though it’s run by neoliberal people

  1. Stephen Brophy

    neo-liberal policy started with reaganomic copied by thatcher with thatcherism, in America there is also neo-cons who are far right and usually the ones pushing for war! i believe johnson’s government are closer to being neo-cons, what do you think mike?

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