AN ARTICLE in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph revealed that a series of behind-the-scenes meetings has been taking place between members of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet and leading bosses of the big banks.
These meetings are designed to ‘build bridges’ between the left-reformists around Corbyn and the bankers and financiers in the City of London.
The article quotes an unnamed banker speaking about Corbyn’s public anti-banker statements, a stance that won the massive support of workers and youth sick and tired of right-wing Labour leaders like Blair and Brown who crawled before the banks.
This banker said: ‘There was very clearly a sense of frustration from some of the Labour politicians we speak to about Corbyn’s anti-banker stance.’
He went on: ‘We recognise that there are others in the Labour Party who would love the industry to come out swinging at them so they could position themselves as people sticking it to the Tory bankers. But we are not interested in being part of some Punch and Judy show.’
This banker clearly has a short memory.
The bankers and financiers have ‘come out swinging’ against Corbyn ever since he was elected leader and made speeches about the City of London being ‘destructive, pernicious and undemocratic’ and demanded more regulation saying in a speech in 2018 that a Labour government would ‘take decisive action to make finance the servant of industry, not the masters of us all.’
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell went further when he declared on the BBC Sunday Politics show in 2018 that his ‘job is the overthrow of capitalism.’
The bankers responded with fury damning any Corbyn-led government as a ‘bigger threat’ to the financial sector than even leaving the EU without a deal.
Now it appears that the bankers, far from being the enemy of the people, are being courted by the man who proclaimed his job was to overthrow capitalism.
In order to reassure the banks, McDonnell and Labour’s shadow City minister Jonathan Reynolds have been hosting intimate talks and holding regular ‘City surgeries’ to listen to the concerns of the bankers and reassure them that all talk about ‘taming the banks’ and overthrowing capitalism was just that – mere talk.
According to Reynolds: ‘I’m all too conscious that if financial services wobble, the rest of the economy suffers too. We need to listen to those at the coalface as we seek to steady the ship through the months to come.’
This craven dumping of all the left speeches and pledges of the past has been gratefully seized upon by the bankers who praised the efforts of McDonnell and Reynolds in making peace with the City.
Miles Celic, who runs the finance body TheCityUK, said: ‘McDonnell has definitely stepped up his engagement. We’ve also had good, pragmatic dialogue with Jonathan – he’s done a really good job of engaging with the City. They’re very open and receptive.’
With the Tory party in complete meltdown, the prospect of Labour winning a general election is haunting the thoughts of the bankers and it is not surprising that they see in these talks all the signs that a future Labour government would kow tow to them just as Blair and Brown did.
As one banking executive told the Telegraph, with the Tories’ chances collapsed, ‘What are you left with? Can’t vote Tory, can’t vote Corbyn. You basically pray for a change of leadership in the Labour Party.’
This is where the bridge McDonnell and co are building with the bankers is leading to – dump all the pledges about making banks work for the people and along with it dump Corbyn if he doesn’t toe the line in the betrayal being hatched in cosy meetings.
These secret talks highlight the urgency today of building the revolutionary Marxist leadership of the WRP and Young Socialists that is leading the struggle to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government.
This government will not sit down with the bankers and bosses in polite talks. It will expropriate them and place the banks and industry under the ownership and management of the working class as part of a planned socialist economy that will drive forward to socialism, not just in Britain but throughout the world.