Does Starmer’s ‘Pro-Business’ Mean ‘Anti-Workers?’

Okay, I might be jumping the gun here, but I came across a video from the awesome Novara Media. I haven’t watched it, so this might be just me showing my prejudice. I just looked at the video’s title, which seemed to say everything. I can’t remember it precisely, but it was something on the lines of Starmer declaring that Labour would be ‘pro-business’.

This should set alarm bells ringing, because when a politico talks about being ‘pro-business’ he always, but always means the same thing: further tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and privatisation on the grounds that this will set the forces of private enterprise free and provide financial incentives for the rich to invest and expand their businesses and economy. For ordinary people it means low wages, more welfare cuts and the destruction of workers’ rights in order to get people off state support and making the labour market fluid, so employers can hire and fire at will without going through all the pesky business of negotiations with trade unions and industrial tribunals.

That’s what ‘pro-business’ meant under the Tories, and that’s what it was also under New Labour. With the addition that under New Labour, big business was further rewarded through the appointment of leading management to positions in government as part of the corporate capture of the state.

I might be wrong here, but if Starmer has made noises about being ‘pro-business’, it means he’s going back to the Blairite policies of awarding government posts to big business in exchange for corporate donations, and making the rich even richer at the expense of Britain’s working people.

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3 Responses to “Does Starmer’s ‘Pro-Business’ Mean ‘Anti-Workers?’”

  1. Brian Burden Says:

    Another excellent, well-argued piece. I hope this blog has many more followers than the few stalwarts who regularly respond.

  2. Blissex Says:

    «This should set alarm bells ringing, because when a politico talks about being ‘pro-business’ he always, but always means the same thing»

    Not always: Jeremy Corbyn was quite “pro-business” too, but meant a different thing, he meant it in the literal sense: that he wanted *businesses* to succeed with some government support for credit, infrastructure, etc., because businesses employ workers, and the success of businesses allows for better wages and more employment. Being pro-business is something that Labour and the left have always been, sometimes stupidly so (e.g. preventing bad businesses from closing down and being replaced by better ones).

    What right-wing politicians (whether Conservative, LibDem, New Labour, and the present New, New Labour) mean by “pro-business” is something non-literal, they actually mean “pro-business owners”, with the effects reported here.

    Or worse, because quite a portion of the business owner class in the UK is decadently (since at least Edwardian times) anti-business, as they regard business work as vulgar and tiresome, and would rather be rentier gentlefolk, and engage in asset stripping their own businesses, and extracting rents from their workers and customers, or sell-out to foreign companies.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Blissex, and I think you’re absolutely right. It’s been said that business actually does better under a Labour government, and if I remember correctly, Labour party policy at the 1979 election was to expand help to struggling industry. Thatcher’s was to let them die.

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