'Moral capitalism' – the Tory solution.

It would appear that the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron now has an idea for the crisis. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr. Cameron has announced to business leaders and financiers a commitment to “moral capitalism”.

I almost fell off my chair when I read this for the first time.

However, I will give Cameron a fair chance for once – at least he hasn’t resorted to Thatcherite dogma. I sincerely hope this is an indication that the Conservative Party are willing to at least temper their existing beliefs, now realising that the doctrine of the sainted mother has been thouroughly discredited.

Cameron describes extensively a commitment to reforming global markets and “calling for curbs on ‘global corporate juggernauts'”. He notes that:

“[But] we must also stand up to business when the things that people value are at risk […] So it’s time to place the market within a moral framework – even if that means standing up to companies who make life harder for parents and families.”

It is fascinating to hear a Conservative Party leader talking about “moral frameworks” and “standing up to companies”. A leader? 20 years ago, that would have amounted to blasphemy and denounced as the moanings of that troublesome one-nation bunch! In all seriousness, Cameron is right. There needs to be a moral framework – it’s called regulation!

But no. Before we get too excited, I seriously doubt that Cameron is calling for regulation. If this speech is indicative of his thinking, he is suggesting that we send out a weak code of conduct and hope for the best. The man is an optimist, I’ll give him that. But if he thinks a code of conduct along the lines of: “well, you’ve been really very stupid haven’t you? But here’s a code of conduct, look like you’re following it and we’ll leave you alone. Back to business!” is going to work, he’s rather wrong. This entire crisis has taught us that putting our trust in business irrespective of it’s size is the wrong approach entirely. What good is a poorly enforced code of conduct going to do?

There is another approach of course – which means changing the culture of the global markets, incorporating a moral business method. It’s certainly a utopian idea – after all, business and banks are in the persuit of profit, not morals! Adapting the market to a culture of moral profit persuit is to change the core ideology of capitalism. Good luck to Mr. Cameron if he wishes to take that on!

And annoyingly, he does allude to the sainted mother:

“Margaret Thatcher led an ownership revolution that gave millions a new stake in our economy.”

But it went wrong, Cameron.

As ever, it’s important to keep an extremely close eye on the Tories – I’m always fascinated to know what their answers are. This is not because of the competition per se, because it’s important to note where Labour and Conservative could potentially agree in order to come to a decent consensus about the crisis. This could easily be disguised Thatcherism for all I am aware! It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

Returning to the blogsphere

I realised recently that my last post to a Labour blog was in July 2007, and concerned with Boris Johnson as the Conservative London Mayoral candidate. Sadly, we all know what happened there.

Since early 2008, I have brought my membership of the Labour Party into question on several occassions. This has mainly been due to disagreement with the party’s direction and calling into question some of our responses to the current financial crisis. I will not detail them now, as my complaints have decreased in relevency over the past few months. Yes, my beliefs have been tested extensively by the responses the Labour Government have provided as to the crisis – being to the left of practically any solution New Labour provides, I will always be fairly critical. So, often I would wonder whether there was any point being in the party at all!

Despite my complaints and criticisms of party direction, I realise that the Labour Party have been, and remain the political party that allies most with my personal views and ideology. I am not expected to agree with the party completely, no-one is. I would say that I agree with policy 90% of the time. However, I remain a loyalist to Labour, if not to the government.

I’m glad to have the blog back up and running, and I’ll try (I say try) to keep it as up-to-date as possible!