City spivs are hailing a “sea change” in attitudes towards bankers and bosses from Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
The party is trying to “mend its ties” with bankers and show it has abandoned the left wing policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds and her shadow City minister have been schmoozing city bankers, says a report in the bosses’ Financial Times newspaper.
Labour’s shadow City minister Pat McFadden recently met online with bankers from the Investment Association and Standard Life Aberdeen.
And Dodds spoke at an online event organised by business advisors company Cicero, attended by 500 people including investment fund managers.
“There is now an entirely constructive and open relationship, and talk of partnership with finance again,” he said.
And one fund management executive described Labour’s approach as a “sea change”.
After his meeting with bankers, McFadden—a former aide to Tony Blair and business minister in Gordon Brown’s government—said, “I’ve always believed that an aspiring party of government should be as interested in wealth creation as it is in the fair distribution of wealth.”
It’s an echo of when Labour under Blair was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”.
The Financial Times report said Labour under Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell had taken a “hostile approach” towards business and “alienated many in the City”.
In fact, Corbyn and McDonnell also spent a lot of time trying to soothe bankers and bosses.
While Corbyn spoke to bosses at their CBI conference, McDonnell told bankers they had “nothing to fear” from a Labour government.
And as the Financial Times report says, Corbyn’s shadow City minister Jonathan Reynolds had a “good relationship with business”.
But it didn’t satisfy the bankers and bosses who hated Corbyn’s claims to try and partially nationalise some public services or increase corporation tax.
Reports that bankers are warming to Starmer’s Labour show they don’t believe his claims to “defend the legacy” of Corbyn’s leadership.
But even now their attitude to Labour is lukewarm.
After the meeting with McFadden the Investment Association welcomed a “constructive and open” relationship with “political parties on all sides of the house.”
It said this relationship is “critical, not only to the good functioning of our economy but for our democracy too”. That’s a hint at the power bosses and bankers have over governments.
Proving that Labour is a “responsible” enough party to govern means convincing bosses they can trust it more than the Tories to protect their profits.
Starmer won’t just try to butter them up, but give them more of what they want—and put their interests over those of ordinary people.