On 3 July Rachel Reeves and Keir Starmer launched their new economic Big Idea: “ask every public body to give more contracts to British firms big and small”.
So far this feeble Big Idea (only “asking”) has been saved from the derision which overwhelmed the “I’m backing Britain” campaign of then Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in 1968, but only by attracting little comment of any sort.
In any case, what is a “British” firm? One owned by a British boss? What if most of its production chain is overseas? Yet a non-British-owned firm has most of its workforce in Britain?
Should we expect other countries to “buy local” similarly, and cut down their contracts with “British” firms (however defined)? So British workers producing export goods should sacrifice their jobs in the cause of economic nationalism?
The way to more and better jobs is expansion of public services, publicly-owned enterprise for emissions-reduction and climate adaptation, and a shorter standard working week (four days, 32 hours) without loss of pay.