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Hezza shows the new boys what a growth plan looks like

Posted on 31 October 2012 | 8:10am

As I predicted on Sunday, Michael Heseltine’s response to the silly briefing against him by Osborne and Co has been to crank up rather than wind down his interventionist ideas to get growth going.

Still able to command attention when he wants, his report ranges far and wide, covering transport, energy, planning, regional development, skills, immigration etc etc etc. It amounts, dare we say it, to a plan for growth, something conspicuously lacking from Messrs Cameron and Osborne. There it contained within it a sense of urgency also lacking from the government, not least with regard to the need to get on and make a few bloody decisions about aviation policy.

Cameron’s opportunist opposition to Heathrow expansion in the run up to the last election will stand as one of the best of the many examples of his short-termism dominating his mindset.

Yet elsewhere in the news, we find an example of where difficult arguments can be won, provided politicians show a bit of leadership and engage in arguments over time. I refer to the relatively low key announcement that Hitachi are hoping to build four new nuclear power stations in the UK. If the last government had absorbed all the anti-nuclear lobby arguments, as Cameron did over Heathrow, there would not have been the slightest chance of getting to this position.

Meanwhile, back in Toryland, the new energy minister, John Hayes, who replaced the excellent Charles Hendry, has come along to prattle about building Jerusalem and announce the end of tie wind farm. Cue easy applause from the NIMBY brigade. As for not having a long term energy policy, Hezza is spot on again.

  • Heathrow expansion is not an answer. Serious support of a diverse renewables mix and energy efficient action remains best ways to stimulate economy, jobs and people’s wellbeing – stop smelling the kerosene and wake up!

  • I much prefer wind farms to nuclear power stations. Maybe the NIMBY’s complaining about wind farms should get a nuclear power station in their back yard instead.

  • Olli Issakainen

    System collapse.
    The title of Seumas Milne´s article in the Guardian (19 Oct) was “The end of the New World Order”.
    The upheavals of the early 21st century have changed our world.
    In 1990 George Bush senior inaugurated a New World Order based on US military supermacy and western ECONOMIC DOMINANCE.
    But now NEOCONSERVATISM and NEOLIBERALISM have been tested to destruction.
    Deregulated markets, privatisation and low taxes for the rich have not provided GROWTH and PROSPERITY.
    DEMOCRACY itself has been undermined.
    1950s was a period of systematic MANAGEMENT OF DEMAND. Public debt fell.
    1960s produced growth of 5.3% in OECD countries.
    1970s was a game-changer. Oil crisis and inflation dominated.
    Growth was only 3.7%.
    The economic LIBERALISATION started in the 1980s. Markets were supposed to be SELF-REGULATING. OECD growth averaged at 2.8%.
    1990s saw the institutionalising of inflation targeting. Growth averaged 2.5% over the decade.
    OECD growth between 2000 and 2007 was just 2.6%.
    2008 brought the biggest crisis since the 1930s.
    And now we have entered a period of zero or negative growth.
    According to world-system analyst Immanuel Wallerstein of Yale the whole system will now collapse.
    Marx also knew that if you shift too much income from labour to capital, capitalism will collapse.
    People started talking about natural limits to growth in the 1970s.
    One of the causes of financial crisis was the method of money creation.
    Money is created as DEBT BY COMMERCIAL BANKS. Cash compromises only 3% of the money supply.
    CENTRAL BANKS should determine the quantity of new non-cash money.
    Money supply should reflect the quantity of real wealth.
    Agencies of state Bank of England and Royal Mint issue only “cash”.
    High street banks create money out of thin air in form of loans!
    As Jonathan Portes writes in the Guardian, austerity is only making things worse.
    Keynes spoke of paradox of thrift.
    Expansionary fiscal contraction has not delivered private sector led recovery in Britain.
    Growth does not happen automatically. It needs to be stimulated by the state.
    Active industrial policy is also needed.
    And what is the use of growth if it only benefits the top 1%!
    As Jackie Ashley wrote in the Guardian, Labour´s key theme in 2015 must be ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY.
    Only fair distribution of wealth can improve DEMAND and GROWTH.
    Today less than a thousand people own 80% of wealth.
    One “supercompany” of 147 cross-owned corporations controls 40% of global wealth according to a Swiss study.
    This supercompany is in turn owned by a leading banking family.

  • Anonymous

    De-centralisation from Westminster for industry policy and actions has always been bleeding obvious to me, but at times, even now, felt as if I was a leper saying it.

    Welsh Assembly is having brilliant success with farming, if no one has noticed, let alone mentioned, it. It could be a blueprint for hard heavy industry across the UK.

  • reaguns

    I used to be a fan of Heseltine, but mainly because I hated Thatcher and wanted someone to replace her, he seemed the only one with the charisma to do so.
    Since I found out his actual policies, I disagree with them. I’m not against all interventionism, but I am against all of his europhile views, and I disagree with his support for the euro and his lack of humility and apology for same.

    However its probably a shame that he never got a chance to go to the country with his manifesto, I think he’d have got great support, but not from me. Along with perhaps Tony Benn, Enoch Powell, Denis Healey and David Miliband he would probably have had more appeal than some who did get the chance ie Iain Duncan Smith, Neil Kinnock, etc.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Maybe you do Patrick but the estimate for windpower is that it will only provide 20% of our needs; where is the other 80% coming from?

  • David Cook

    I’ve never been able to understand the difference between the sneering expression ‘printing money’ and banks lending ad infinitum. The older I get I realise that’s because there isn’t any difference.

  • I really don’t think Osborne and Cameron will implement Hesteltine’s plan. If they do they will drag their feet or commision another report. However, what this shows is Hesteltine does not prescribe to Osbornomics as he to knows its premise lies on proverbs, idioms and nonsense because Osborne is passing of idiology nd philosophy as economics. This clearly explained by Tory economist Ramesh Patel in the Huffington Post. I suggest everyone read it

  • Anonymous

    I was very puzzled by Hezza’s closing remark on the ‘Today’ programme. He talked about Cameron referring to ‘one nation’ and pointed out that uniting the CBI and the TUC would be proof of that. But it isn’t Cameron who is talking about ‘one nation’ – it’s Ed Miliband. I expect Hezza knew that very well.

    Presumably Hitachi are only interested in building power stations here because of the massive public subsidy which nuclear power receives in the UK, and because in Japan the industry is now thoroughly discredited. I don’t think it has anything at all to do with the UK emerging from the economic doldrums, as one Tory claimed, or the coalition’s non-existent energy policy.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll pass on the “excitement” of politics under Enoch and Tony (what was that Chinese curse about living in “exciting times”?) though Denis and David along with Hezza should probably have had a chance – at least to lead their parties. I hope David still does.

  • Anonymous

    Love the way authoritarians like Campbell dismiss Nimbys, pretty much saying “We will do whatever we like your back yard, got it?”

    I am sure in future generations this attitude will be seen as anything but progressive.

  • Gilliebc

    Yeah, I thought the NIMBY remark was a bit rich! Being as they are never likely to have those virtually useless windmills set-up in the back yards of those in the residential areas of London. AGW has been exposed for the myth and scam that it is. That’s why it’s now called climate change. lol. The climate has always been changing. Shale gas sounds like part of the way forward to meet our energy needs. Extracting it may cause a few earth tremors, but so did coalmining.

  • Anonymous

    Gilliebc, you’re talking too much common sense!

  • Gilliebc

    Thankyou, Liberalreform. Glad you gave the percentages of what these windmills actually produce the other day. I knew they are virtually useless, but didn’t have the stats. to hand at the time 🙂

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome Gilliebc and by the way, the 20% is a forecast for 2020 would you believe! The past Labour and current governments have followed EU ‘guidelines’ too assiduously….surprise, surprise.

  • Anonymous

    I think for once I’m in full agreement with you Mark, and indeed there is a lot of wisdom in said Chinese proverb I reckon, or maybe I’m just boring!

  • Anonymous

    Yep, of course people are in favour of things that benefit them but harm someone else. The government should have a better compensation programme for those affected by wind farms, high speed railways etc, and indeed shale gas.