Back in the early 1980s at Trade Union Workshops and political conferences the battle cry was “Nationalize the Banks”. The TGWU and many other Unions had policy documents on the subject, and it was eventually roled out in the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 1983 General Election:
Finance for industry
It is essential that industry has the finance it needs to support our plans for increased investment. Our proposals are set out in full in our Conference statement, The Financial Institutions. We will:
- Establish a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government – including North Sea oil revenues – on a large scale into our industrial priorities. The bank will attract and channel savings, by agreement, in a way that guarantees these savings and improves the quality of investment in the UK.
- Exercise, through the Bank of England, much closer direct control over bank lending. Agreed development plans will be concluded with the banks and other financial institutions.
- Create a public bank operating through post offices, by merging the National Girobank, National Savings Bank and the Paymaster General’s Office.
- Set up a Securities Commission to regulate the institutions and markets of the City, including Lloyds, within a clear statutory framework.
- Introduce a new Pension Schemes Act to strengthen members’ rights in occupational pension schemes, clarify the role of trustees, and give members a right to equal representation, through their trade unions, on controlling bodies of the schemes.
- Set up a tripartite investment monitoring agency to advise trustees and encourage improvements in investment practices and strategies.
We expect the major clearing banks to co operate with us fully on these reforms, in the national interest. However, should they fail to do so, we shall stand ready to take one or more of them into public ownership. This will not in any way affect the integrity of customers’ deposits.
Of course Thatcher had had her war in the Falklands, and romped to victory. The result being 7 more years of class war and the deregulation of the financial system.
Today “The government is to pump billions of pounds of taxpayers money into three UK banks in one of the UK’s biggest nationalisations.” and all the free market deregulators are whooping for joy.