There’s a lot of decent stuff in Jeremy Corbyn’s Build it in Britain speech: reduce the role of the City, provide better training. But overall, his prescription for improving British manufacturing it is not convincing, for two reasons.
Making the public sector buy British would expensive and not very effective – there are better approaches to industrial policy. Worse, the real political importance of this plan is that it is a new excuse (the old ones having shown themselves flimsy) for leaving the Single Market: don’t buy it, it is a poison pill.
The good stuff – the City, training – shows no evidence of understanding the deep institutional obstacles to achieving what he proposes, obstacles which for all its theatrical radicalism the current Labour leadership is not willing to face squarely (IMO, unwilling because doing so would spoil the theatre of revolution).
Here I’ll deal with the first item, and leave the City & training for a future post. Continue reading