Sunday 10 August 2008

Manufacturing recession

What makes the current talk of a recession in manufacturing all the more alarming is that employment in the sector has continued to decline even in the supposedly good years.

Only a departure from the slavish support for Thatcherite free-market policies offers any prospect of a real revival in manufacturing jobs in the UK. I can't imagine a Johnson-Cruddas led Labour Party meaning any significant shift away from the neo-liberal agenda - if this is the answer, we must be asking the wrong question!

There is plenty that needs doing - just two examples: The government should not allow a downturn in construction when we desperately need more council housing and a massive programme of insulation and renovation of the existing housing stock. If there is a downturn in manufacturing, why not use those skills to rapidly expand public transport rather than let them go to waste?

It's interesting that the old argument "the money isn't there" doesn't cut much ice with people these days. You can toss a coin as to what answer you'll get - "Iraq" or "Northern Rock".

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