Why has Labour rejected the basic income in response to CV19?


This was in answer to a Labour List (i.e. sympathetic) journalist’s questions. not an official announcement. It happened despite the fact that more than 170 MPs and peers – cross party – called in March for a UBI to be introduced.


But bearing in mind John McDonnell’s enthusiastic support, this is not encouraging as an indication of the new, improved Labour Party’s stance.

The reasons given (in the link) read for me too close to the Chancellor’s reasons for rejecting the UBI. Not only can we assume that 170 Parliamentarians are aware if them, but they are all answered somewhere in this weblog. I have of course signed the petition to Parliament.

But I must add my now usual caveat.

Whatever measures are used to remedy the considerable damage done by (gross government mismanagement of) the coronavirus pandemic, will inevitably pitchfork the economy into rapid, indiscriminate growth immediately afterwards. The Chancellor’s huge and uncosted measures will do this with a vengeance, but a basic income would not be much better

unless firmly tied to an ecological agenda.

This would mean taxes according to ecological footprint. This would in turn mean redistribution from the better off. But if it is perceived. and presented as a victory over class enemies, it simply will not happen. Instead, we must approach those who will not welcome a reduction in inequality more in sorrow than in anger.

I doubt whether many of Greta Thunberg’s richer schoolstrikers really grasp how ‘system change’ will cramp their style as compared with their parents. The better off will remain better off – slightly, but everyone will be guaranteed basic needs – provided we have not done too much damage to the planet’s regenerative capacities – and a planet fit for all our grandchildren, an unexpected, brief glimpse of which the virus has given us.

Is this really too tall an order? Has everybody forgotten that the ecosphere is threatened by something much more serious than the loss of 10% of its most destructive species?

Bu to end on a positive note, is the environmental movement capable of the vision needed to seize this opportunity?


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