Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fat Cats Are in Need of a Strict Diet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fat Cats Are in Need of a Strict Diet

Article excerpt


HAROLD Wilson famously said that "a week is a long time in politics", but things can now dramatically change by the hour, as shown by the bad banking habits of the "greed is good" system coming home to roost in the maelstrom whipping around the world.

A new brand of capitalism was bred by Mrs Thatcher with her 'Big Bang' deregulation of the City from 1979, but I concede that since 1997 Labour hasn't fully challenged these structures.

The age of irresponsibility is now discredited and all parties should recognise the new determination of voters to rein in selfish and short-sighted business practices and, as the TUC says, put the fat cats on a strict diet.

The key issue now is protecting our jobs, mortgages, houses, pensions and prospects. I therefore support the Government's innovative and decisive action to try to stop the rot by its part-nationalisation of the banks. It is right that these policies command cross-party support in this major national and global crisis of capitalism. Gordon Brown has rightly proposed a "new settlement" that seeks to reward and encourage enterprise, but also ensure markets and governments are servants of the people, and not their masters.

There is a strong argument for the United Kingdom and others to levy a small tax on international currency speculation that could raise billions to assist the poorest countries, creating customers for our products too, and to combat climate change.

It is high time that the high rollers paid a higher share for higher levels of fairness; social justice and markets must go together.

Here at home, voters face difficult ones with reduced resources, but I suggest public investment is vital to improving the real economy on which we all rely.

My job is to push the boat out a bit and promote ideas that will assist people in these difficult times, and I am pleased to see some progress being made. One idea I have long been chipping away at is to exploit the North East's huge coal reserves under the North Sea. …

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