Responsible capitalism
Labour’s industrial policy and the idea of a National Investment Bank during the long 1980s
in Labour and the left in the 1980s
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This chapter considers two overlapping issues: Labour's conception of the economy, and its overall electability. It attempts to marry both economic and intra-party analysis through the prism of the pledge to introduce a National Investment Bank (NIB), in the general election manifestoes of 1983, 1987 and 1992. The chapter considers the intellectual history of this idea and the various machinations regarding the similarly corporatist National Enterprise Board of the 1970s. It also considers how the NIB policy survived the fiasco of 1983 and remained a key part of Labour's agenda until 1992. The NIB became less about facilitating productive capitalism and more about the state encroaching into the private sphere. The NIB is instructive regarding the birth of New Labour. Through its intellectual roots in 1970s Tony Benn and the Michael Foot leadership, backing the NIB after 1983 helped Neil Kinnock to move Labour towards the centre.


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