John Hutton was putting forward his proposals for welfare reform yesterday at the CBI Public Forum. CBI boss Richard Lambert who only recently was arguing that private equity is jolly fine idea:
"Private equity offers a new and compelling business model for the 21st century, free from some of the burdensome restraints of publicly-owned companies. It generates real benefits for the UK in terms of jobs, leaner and more efficient businesses, and wealth creation.”
Well, he should tell that to workers at AA, for instance......
But back to Hutton's proposals which are wedded in this idea of “rights and responsibilities”. This should be known as “guff speak” because it is meaningless spin. By creating incentives for companies getting claimants back into work, this will expose the increasing emphasis on how marketable we are for employment.
Even though Hutton warns companies from cherry picking the easier claimants it will be inevitable that they will indulge in “park and cream”, which means they will “park” people they consider hard to get into work while “creaming” off the profits of those will they consider easy to get into a job. Hardly treating people equally or responding to the needs of the claimants, is it? It will be also a complicated process as well.
But now we have Gordon Brown as LP leader who will push through reforms of the public services with further marketisation and privatisation, is he any better or worse than David Cameron? I would argue there is a distinct ideological difference between New Labour and the Tories. New Labour thinks that the working class can be integrated into corporate capitalist projects by using the state. The buzz phrase is the "enabling state". i.e. proposals about citizenship, for example.
Tories see the state retreating to a role of safeguarding property rights especially against the working class and those oppressed and marginalised by corporate capitalism (a kind of night- watchman state). Otherwise they view state activity and public spending as a fetter on capital accumulation. Low taxes and provision of the cheap and exploited labour and defending the rights of the bourgeoisie as a class.
The two ideologies can merge into one and distinction can be blurred but there is a significant difference. The Tories will accelerate and turbo charge their attacks for one thing. They don't have the contradictions and the pressure New Labour do and again the Tories have the interests of their own class to think about and supporting the poor isn't one of its goals.
I am not saying that New Labour are any better but they are an enemy with a fundamentally different approach than the Tories.