Adapted extract from
in the Mail
While still at Edinburgh University, Gordon Brown edited The Red Paper On Scotland, a collection of essays that dreamed of a radical transformation of society.
He argued that a better world could come only if the public accepted ‘the necessity for social control of the institutional investors who wield enormous financial power in controlling the economy’.
How ironic, then, that three decades since writing those words in 1975, Gordon Brown and his Labour colleagues have allowed these ‘institutional investors’ – as we have been learning all this week – to engage in an orgy of unregulated speculation.
For the first time in financial history, one of the great market manias that punctuate the history of capitalism was presided over by a centre-Left, rather than a centre-Right, administration.
Until now, all the great capitalist booms and busts – from Reginald Maudling’s dash for growth in the Sixties to Anthony Barber’s boom in the Seventies and Nigel Lawson’s in the Eighties – have been presided over by Conservative governments, which believed in letting markets regulate themselves.
Labour, it must be said, is not frightened of regulation. If you are a primary school teacher trying to meet government targets or the owner of a small business attempting to cope with the ever-expanding tax system, you will doubtless feel Labour has regulated the living daylights out of you.
But Labour left alone the one group Leftists of the Cabinet’s generation – my generation – always said had to be regulated: the bankers and speculators; the ‘spivs’ and ‘funny money men’ we shouted slogans against when we were young.
Read the whole thing here