Marx today would tell IMF to support protectionism

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Alarm bells ringing at the IMF

Protectionism is a logical response to national insecurity, but it doesn’t have to be left to the right, suggests Colin Hines

Guardian Letters

Saturday 21st Apr 2018


There is a link between your warning that the International Monetary Fund needs to change policy to ensure that the benefits of global economic activities are shared by the majority (Editorial, 20 April) and Yanis Varoufakis’s gung-ho ode to The Communist Manifesto (The long read, 20 April). Continue reading

Only way to see off extreme right populism is ‘progressive protectionism’

Only way to see off extreme right populism is ‘progressive protectionism’

Guardian Letters

Wednesday 7th March 2018

The first step to an effective response by progressives to the rising tide of rightwing populism in Italy and elsewhere (Editorial, 6 March) is to realise that ever more open borders are the problem. It was predominantly the opposition to inadequately Continue reading

Corbyn’s first tremulous steps towards becoming a No Brexit Prime Minister


Corbyn’s first tremulous steps towards becoming a No Brexit Prime Minister

Guardian Letters

Wednesday 28 Feb 2018

The Labour leader’s first tremulous steps towards a “cosy Corbyn Brexit” (Corbyn’s cosy Brexit pitch is a gamble. But he’s beating May, Rafael Behr, 27 February) need rather more work to turn it into a credible pathway to becoming prime minister. Continue reading

Getting down with the No Brexit kids!

Getting down with the No Brexit kids!

The New European Letters

February 15th -21st

Dear Sir,

There is a real opportunity offered by the fact that the much followed rapper Not3s is opposed to Brexit, but doesn’t know what to do about it (‘Young want to stop Brexit..we can help them’ The New European February 8th-14th).

Were he and like minded musicians to join up with the young Remainers of ‘Our Future Our Choice’ they could put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to campaign to ‘Remain’ and support a second referendum.

To ensure this approach gets maximum coverage in mainstream and social media these young activists should replace the feel good, but directionless, chant of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ with ‘No Brexit,.Jeremy Corbyn’.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Hines

This last sentence was cut:

T shirts with #No Brexit Jeremy Corbyn could then dominate every Labour gathering.

For more detail behind the thinking of this letter see yesterday’s blog:


Robot threat can be countered by Green New Deal


The rise of the robots brings threats and opportunities

Guardian Letters

Monday27th November 2017

• Your editorial on productivity and robots repeated the cliche that automation does cost jobs, but more are created. The problem with this is that the new jobs are frequently in different places from where they are lost and require very different skills, hence exacerbating the problems for the “left behind”. Also unmentioned was that just as this automation is starting to really bite, the world faces a strong possibility of another serious credit-induced economic downturn, from China to the UK. Thus we have the potential of the prefect storm of domestic unemployment soaring and export markets falling as happened after the 2008 economic slump.

The answer to these problems has to be a shift of emphasis to rebuilding the local economy by prioritising labour-intensive sectors that are difficult to automate and impossible to relocate abroad. Two sectors are key: face-to-face caring from medicine, education and elderly care through to carbon-reducing national infrastructural renewal. This should range from making the UK’s 30m buildings energy efficient, constructing new low-carbon dwellings and rebuilding local public transport links. Funding could come from fairer taxes, the availability for savers of investments in local authority bonds and green Isas and a massive new green infrastructure QE programme. The reason this approach must become central to all political parties and their next election manifestos is the crucial vote winning mantra of “jobs in absolutely every constituency”.
Colin Hines
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group

Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece

Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece 

Free movement of people raises real concerns

Wednesday 15 November 2017
What those who want to remain in a reformed EU that lessens people’s insecurity must grasp is that Brexit voters don’t want an apology, they want policies to deal with their desire for managed migration. What is still inadequately understood is that the one Continue reading

Free Movement of people- dystopian recruiter for the extreme right, bad for country of origin, and rejected by majority in rich host nations


Guardian Letters

Wednesday 18 October 2017

• Gary Younge’s dystopian view of a world with no curbs on migration will increase the rise of the anti-immigrant right, as was seen on Sunday in Austria (Austrian elections won by conservative accused of playing the far right’s game, 16 October). It is time to stop always seeing migration just in terms

of the rights of generally more affluent migrants. The rights of the original host country not to lose permanently their brightest and best must also warrant consideration, as should the views of the majority in the recipient counties who want less migration. The major cause of population growth in most rich countries is now immigration. This has led to well-founded public concerns about uncontrolled mass migration. A Gallup poll showed that about 630 million of the world’s adults would like to leave their country and move somewhere else permanently, with 42 million expressing a preference for the UK, a destination second only to the US.

If net migration continues at about recent levels, then the UK population is expected to rise by nearly 8 million people in 15 years, almost the equivalent of the population of Greater London (8.7 million). Population growth is projected to approach 80 million in 25 years and keep rising. Younge is right that nation states are a recent phenomena and mass migration is as old as humanity. But because of domestic pressures, the nation state will increasingly make large-scale permanent migration a thing of the past. The question will be: will their governments inevitably be rightwing or will progressive politicians grasp this rational political inevitability.
Colin Hines
(Author of Progressive Protectionism), London

Green spending could help rescue UK and the ‘left behind’ after debt crash


Green spending could help rescue UK after debt crash

A £50bn-a-year green infrastructure quantitative easing programme is feasible, say Prof Richard Murphy and Colin Hines


Bank of England governor Mark Carney has opened the way to a possible Green New Deal, write Richard Murphy and Colin Hines. alt=”Bank of England governor Mark Carney,” itemprop=contentUrl v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>


Tuesday 5th September 2017

Zoe Williams is right: another credit crunch-induced “crash” is likely and the only affordable rescue package will be some form of quantitative easing (With Britain’s addition to debt, another crash is certain, 4 September). This time it must generate jobs for the “left behind” and others, rather than today’s beneficiaries – the property- and share-owning rich. The Green New Deal group showed the potential of such an approach in its proposal for a £50bn-a-year green infrastructure QE programme.

This would pay to make the UK’s 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public sector buildings super energy efficient, dramatically reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. It could also tackle the housing crisis by building affordable, highly insulated homes, predominantly on brownfield sites. This form of QE would provide job security and local business opportunities in every constituency, since its infrastructure improvements would take place across the UK.

Such an approach is feasible, since the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, in responding to questions from Green New Deal group member Caroline Lucas MP, is on record as saying that if the government requested it, QE could be used to buy assets other than government debt. He and the government should work on this jobs-everywhere approach. If they don’t, Labour could be on to a winner with its “peoples QE” proposal to fund economic improvements nationwide.
Prof Richard Murphy
City University, London 
Colin Hines 
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group

A new chant for Corbyn’s pro-Europe supporters: “No Brexit … Jer-em-y Cooorbyn”.


Guardian Letters

Monday 24 July 2017

• The EU itself is under enormous internal pressure to renounce neoliberalism, as anti-austerity sentiment grows across the continent, along with the questioning of the free flow of people. Such shifts could make a call for managed migration within the EU more plausible, hence addressing the major reason for Brexit. “Remain and reform” would keep us part of a continent powerful enough to stand up to international capital, compared to a Brexit Britain, battered and bullied into submission by such forces. Continue reading