The Labour leadership campaign

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It is now clear we will have a Labour leadership campaign.

For better or worse I was a participant in last summer's campaign after discovering that I was the author of what came to be called Corbynomics. This was the selection of what turned out to be mainly (but not solely) my ideas that were published as Jeremy's economic manifesto last summer at a time when few considered he had any hope of winning.

Win he did.

And quite probably he will win again. But we don't know. Any more than we know as yet who will definitely be standing against him.

What I do want to make clear in that case are some ground rules that I am going to apply whilst any debates on this issue go on.

The first is that I will not be endorsing a candidate. I will endorse their policies, or not, but not the candidate as such. That is what I did last year and I will do the same now.

I will also not be voting. I am not a member of the Labour Party and will not buy a vote for £25. I have never been sure democracy should be for sale.

My interest will be in policy. I have made clear my policy agendas in The Courageous State and The Joy of Tax. They are radical. Most would consider them left wing. I suggest that they are pretty coherent. I think they are deliverable. I would suggest that few others have come as close to offering anything as compete in terms of overall economic thinking that flows from industrial, social, housing and education policy through to tax and fiscal policy which also considers the management and control of the central functions of the economy as a whole. I do not pretend they cannot be improved: that would be absurd. But they're a start, and that's important.

Corbynomics was an extract from those ideas: at the time it was not, in truth, the extract I would have made although the importance of People's QE has gown enormously in the last year.

What Corbynomics, as presented not by me but by Jeremy's team, lacked was a coherent theory of money, tax and the role of the state in the economy. That is why John McDonnell has got himself into such trouble in working out where he stands on running deficits, where his position has been a long way from anything I could recommend, and has been far to the right of what I and I know the economic advisory panel have suggested.

In that case let me be clear for the sake of those who think I am now to the right of Corbyn and McDonnell because I have suggested Labour needs another leader, that this is simply not true. One (but not the only) of my frustrations has been with their refusal to move out of neoliberal economic framework on this issue.

Another has been their lack of willing to explain a coherent policy framework  that rejects neoliberalism  to their colleagues and demand that they work within that genuine alternative when creating policy initiatives. If they have failed in party management ( and they clearly have, so far)  then it has been because they have, as far as I can see, not been willing to impose a clear policy line within which their shadow team could work and this has led to much confusion and the current impasse.

I reserve the right to say so, and will when I think it appropriate.

I will certainly say the same of any other candidate's proposals  if I think it appropriate, without fear and without expecting favour, of which I have no expectation or desire.

But, and this is the key point, I intend to stick to arguments and facts.

I am willing to hear comment about personal qualities when those are relevant. I think my criticisms of what has happened in the last nine months fall into that category.

I am also willing to hear argument about political realignment, which I now think quite likely, although I think that the reasoning for that to happen has not been coherently supplied as yet by any who might break away from Labour. In that case I wish to hear what it might be. The social democratic alternative to what is very clearly the socialist option that Corbyn and McDonnell presents needs to be stated, and I am happy to hear it.

What I will not be happy about is abuse.

I think some language being used at present is inappropriate. To hear 172 Labour MPs described as sinister so soon after one was murdered is worrying, and I hope that those who use such language will reflect very carefully upon it.

I make it clear that I do no think it wrong for a person to hold what they consider to be social democratic views that contrast with the current Labour leadership's, even if I was over many years that Labour was in office,  and when subsequently in opposition, quite critical of many such opinions and felt they did not and could not provide the alternatives that this country needs. Disagreeing with someone does not make them a lesser person, let alone an object for abuse.

The rule is going to be, in that case, hate the policy if you like, but leave the person out of it. Discuss the personality of you wish, but only in terms of whether they can objectively do the job, and nothing more or less. And if you stray beyond those boundaries expect to be deleted, whoever you might be.