Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/684/12732

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 September 2011

Book review

Them and Us by Will Hutton

Then and Us - Will Hutton, photo Abacus (publisher)

  (Click to enlarge)

'Them and Us' by former Observer editor Will Hutton, originally published in 2010, is now available in paperback. Bob Severn reviews the book.

The title Them and Us suggests a combative book about the poor versus rich - unfortunately it is not. The book's focus is really its subtitle, Changing Britain - Why We Need a Fair Society, by which the author, Will Hutton, means a fair capitalist society.

'Them', according to Hutton, are "the financial plutocrats, incumbent corporate power and the networks of the super-rich". So the rest of 'us' includes the 'nicer' capitalists. While he condemns the 'unproductive' capitalists, and the greed of the bankers, with plenty of evidence, Hutton pins his hopes on 'productive capitalism'.

He wants another industrial revolution, and 'another Enlightenment', for the 'knowledge economy'. He wants more Alan Sugars, James Dysons and Richard Bransons. So more anti-union 'entrepreneurs', whose expertise includes driving down wages?

Big manufacturers are currently sitting on piles of cash. However, instead of investing in production, they are using that cash on the money markets due to "uncertainty over demand". Hutton disapproves but what alternative is he putting?

Hutton likes trade unions - except when they fight for their members! For example, he attacks print unions including journalists in the NUJ for practicing closed shops: "By the mid-1980s, the print unions were abusing their power with scandalous working practices, and obstructing the introduction of digital technology".

This repeats, like elsewhere in the book, the capitalist media's anti-union propaganda and mistruths.

Yet, in barely the next breath, Hutton quotes from Nick Davies, writer of Flat Earth News, [reviewed in the Socialist 679 - Eds] saying: "Twenty years later, Davies's researchers calculated that a falling payroll of national journalists was writing three times more copy every year to fill ever more sections and magazines as the great titles competed for market share."

The 'power abuse' Hutton speaks of was actually defending jobs and conditions - not holding back technology, but trying to stop Murdoch using technology to sack workers, cut pay and attack workers' organisation.

Hutton doesn't want fighting trade unions, he wants consultative professional associations.

Hutton also condemns the' third way' of Blair and New Labour, for giving too much power to the private sector. Yet, to me, the book puts forward a third way revisited, ie, a marriage of the public and private sector.

He says there's a need for Keynesian pump-priming to help the economy into recovery. He says all three main parties' cuts plans are based on contentious growth predictions.

Hutton thinks that Labour's capital spending cuts (school building, road building etc), which the Con-Dems are now implementing, will be disastrous. But he also says that cuts are needed, just not as fast or as brutal as the Con-Dem government's plans.

For example, Hutton thinks we should pay for all services in the NHS, apart from urgent treatment, unless we're very poor. University fees must rise, he says, but state school students should get a big discount.

But what about the 120 billion of tax unpaid by the rich, which equals the figure that Hutton gives for the needed deficit reduction? Of course, the rich would not hand over this money voluntarily, and any real threat to their wealth would be answered with a strike of capital.

This is why these parasitic tax dodgers' resources should be put under public ownership and democratic control with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need. Then this wealth could be used to benefit all of society, instead of benefitting a few while the rest of us pay the cost.

Hutton's book is full of the crimes of the financial sector, the last New Labour government and the Tories. However, do not pin your hopes on the 'nice' capitalists, you're better off fighting for jobs and services, as shown in the Socialist.


Buy Will Hutton's Them and Us from Socialist Books at www.socialistbooks.org.uk

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 September 2011:


Action to defeat the cuts!

Strike together to defend pensions

Mobilise the power of the working class


The Socialist editorial

Mass workers' movement - the only way to make the super-rich pay


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tory bribes to promote socially divisive 'Free Schools' agenda

NHS reaches a tipping point

Reject health bill attacks on abortion

The riots, Clarke and the "broken penal system"

Fast news

New pamphlet - The Rise and Fall of the Scottish Socialist Party

Miliband to bury Labour


Socialist Party feature

Consequences of 9/11: a world turned upside down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bristol marches against home care sell-off

EDL kept out of Tower Hamlets by thousands protesting

Stop the Dale Farm evictions

Confronting a Labour cutter


Socialist Party workplace news

Scotland - Unison calls for pensions strike

Picket lines at police stations

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth March For Jobs

One in a million...fighting back!

NEET figures still rising

Local Housing Allowance

36,000 for a degree


Socialist Party review

Them and Us by Will Hutton


International socialist news and analysis

Libya after Gaddafi - Independent workers' action needed

Indian high commission protest over Tamil death sentences


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 September 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Economy:

triangleAmber warning lights flash on British economy

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleTories torn - bin them now

Unions:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

triangleUnions must fight workplace mental health crisis

Rich:

triangleThem & Us

triangleTrump's tax attacks

triangle'Paradise' for billionaires - austerity for us

Cuts:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

Britain:

triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

13/12/17

The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2