The Green Party MP for Brighton and Hove, Caroline Lucas, has written an article for the New Statesman, in which she calls for the UK to seize the “opportunity to create something different and better, a society which is fairer, greener and more resilient to the other even graver crises we face, the climate emergency and biodiversity loss… Our response to the coronavirus crisis could and must change everything.”
Much of the commentary on the coronavirus crisis has focused on the potential scenarios for a radically different post-Covid world. One such scenario is based around a radically different economic order based on larger, more interventionist states and vastly expanded public realms. However, there is also a likelihood that the recent unprecedented levels of Covid-related Treasury borrowing for bailouts and the furlough scheme will be repayed through another decade of austerity. Last week, some of the UK’s top economists, including Mariana Mazzucato, David Blanchflower, Ann Pettifor and Robert Skidelsky warned in the New Statesman that the government should not repeat the fiscal consolidation strategies of the Conservative and coalition governments since 2010, and instead made the case for a Keynesian stimulus.
Paul Mason has written on his support for radical measures such as monetisation of government debt to pay for increased public spending. But advocacy for such heterodox policies has also come from unlikely places, including the Financial Times, which has also called for the government to take equity stakes in companies it is bailing out – effectively wholesale nationalisation.
“Things we have long been told were impossible or unrealistic are, in fact, possible,” Lucas writes. “There is after all a ‘magic money tree’ when it is needed. The government can find the money to house homeless people, put resources into our healthcare system, provide an income to millions who cannot work and write off billions of pounds in public debt overnight.”
Last year’s Green Party manifesto called for a Universal Basic Income, a policy also supported by some on the Labour benches.