I could kiss Oliver Letwin, if he weren't so physically, intellectually, and morally repellent. Marxists could spend weeks, months and years trying to prove that the Tories, the party of the ruling class, are trying to restructure British capitalism in the interests of capital; that the extension of markets across the board is at least partly about improving the class power of employers; and that everything they say about trying to 'free' public sector workers from bureaucracy and central targets is so much cant when they actually mean to enslave them. Save your breath. Here's our Oliver
"You can't have room for innovation and the pressure for excellence without having some real discipline and some fear on the part of the providers that things may go wrong if they don't live up to the aims that society as a whole is demanding of them ... If you have diversity of provision and personal choice and power, some providers will be better and some worse. Inevitably, some will not, whether it's because they can't attract the patient or the pupil, for example, or because they can't get results and hence can't get paid. Some will not survive. It is an inevitable and intended consequence of what we are talking about." [Emphases added]
'Providers' in this statement, as the newspapers have noticed, is synonymous with public sector workers. Essentially, the idea is, through marketisation and competition, to introduce the usual discipline of the market - fear of losing one's livelihood - to drive up productivity and force down labour costs. People will be working harder and receiving less for it. In marxist terms, that's an absolute increase in the rate of exploitation. That's their growth strategy for British capitalism.
Letwin, of course, may calculate that this sort of provocation amid delicate negotiations with unions - it has been noticed - won't matter too much to the general public. After all, if you want to sell markets to people, you address them as consumers rather than workers, talk about 'choice', better 'delivery', and persuade them that they will benefit from ratcheting up the rate of exploitation among fellow workers (even though, as users of trains, gas, water, PFI hospitals, etc., know very well, markets routinely fail consumers). Even assuming that to be the case, he is still an incredibly stupid man and hence an asset for the Left. After all, the government's strategy with the unions has been to separate the larger, more moderate unions from the smaller, militant ones. Keeping them apart is absolutely essential to undermining the confidence and combativity of those workers who do want to fight. So, to the former, the government offers some marginal and localised concessions, while seeking to marginalise the latter. But in order to do so, it has to at least seem
to be negotiating. Every time Steve Hilton
or Oliver Letwin or one of the coalition apparatchiks let slip what they're really about, this strategy is weakened.
Labels: british capitalism, class struggle, conservatism, rate of profit, the meaning of david cameron, the rate of exploitation, tories