Thursday, October 09, 2008

Commanding Heights

Those of us brought up in an Old Labour milieu (specifically: both parents members of Militant, jumping ship just before they were expelled) will remember certain phrases that would be trotted out when the question 'yes, but how do you get socialism out of a parliamentary system?' got asked. Enabling acts, to let Parliament do all sorts of things the Lords and the Army wouldn't approve of; and 'nationalising the commanding heights of the economy'. One of the articles I read yesterday somewhere on Comment is Free used the phrase 'commanding heights' to describe the current policy (supported by the Tories and the CBI, rather than leading to coup preparations) of part-nationalisation of practically the entire banking system. There's something either terribly exciting or terribly melancholy about this. New Labour achieves what the extreme left of Old Labour always dreamt of - nationalising the fucking banks - but they won't have a vote in what to actually do with the banks they partly own (like the huge public works that are needed, for starters), or even cap executive pay while doing it. History kicks us up the arse, again.


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