There is a set of ideas which can go toe to toe with those of the bankers and their apologists. It's the Peoples' Charter, writes John Haylett in the Morning Star.

David Cameron had his moment of fun at Prime Minister's Questions this week, taunting Labour leader Ed Miliband that he could have a blank paper about
the future, "but he can't have a blank sheet of paper about the past."

"We know we were left a record budget deficit. We remember no more boom and bust. We remember all the things he was responsible for."

The Tory leader lambasted the "record budget deficit," but he knows that its cause was the Labour government's bailout of the banks.

When Labaour did this Cameron did not demand, in line with classical economic theory, that the banks be left to go to the wall as countless manufacturing companies have done.

Similarly, with boom and bust the Morning Star called Gordon Brown's claim "economic illiteracy." But the Tory leader failed to observe that boom and bust is an indispensable part of capitalism.

The system cannot exist without crises, which present opportunities to those who survive them - to others' cost.

New Labour's decision to underwrite banking sector debts incurred in search of ever-higher profits was followed by the coalition government taking advantage of soaring debt levels to restructure society entirely, attacking postwar social gains, slashing living standards and axing hundreds of thousands of public-sector jobs.

But make no mistake. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling were planning a similar package.

It may have been implemented over a longer scale, but it would have been the same banker's agenda premised on international markets - read banks - needing to be confident that the British government is taking the difficult measures necessary to return the country's finances to a sound footing.

Failure to achieve this would mean that international rating agencies - read banks again - would write down Britain's credit status and force up the cost of government borrowing.

In other words the banks' conduct accelerated a crisis and these same banks, having had their toxic debts underwritten, are now threatening governments with higher borrowing costs unless they act "responsibly."

Responsibility in this case means higher unemployment, cash-starved services and lower living standards for the working class and for top bankers an announcement that their restraint is at an end and they are now able to to accept sky-high bonuses that they voluntarily renounced last year.

The Financial Services Authority investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland then concluded on Thursday that while there had been wrong operational decisions leading to a £45 billion state rescue, they had been taken in good faith.

So former chief executive Fred "The Shred" Goodwin gets off scot-free to enjoy the high life financed by the ill-gotten gains of his time in charge.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor was incandescent.

"By failing to bring any formal charges against the RBS executives, they have allowed some of the biggest villains of the financial crisis to go on enjoying their millionaire lifestyles while taxpayers experience cuts and staff face an insecure future," he said.

It's an ill wind that blows no-one any good, so let's hear it for the government-appointed yet reputedly "independent" Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The OBR had its hallelujah moment this week when it suggested that "only" 330,000 public-service jobs may need to be sacrificed at the altar of the bankers' agenda.

"Whoopee!" cried Unison general secretary Dave Prentis. No, not really. He saw the loss of a further third of a million public-sector jobs as scarcely grounds for rejoicing.

"There is an alternative to the wholesale slaughter of public sector jobs, with its damaging knock-on impact on the economy and society," he said.

"It's a fairer way that deals with the bankers' profits and bonuses, tackles the tax evaders, uses progressive taxation, brings in a Robin Hood tax and invests in the future."

Such a partial programme would win broad support in the trade union movement and far beyond. But shouldn't the question of public ownership also be raised?

While workers' living standards are reduced, the privateers in the rail industry and the energy sector rake in record profits and, despite this, will impose double-digit price increases in the new year.

World Bank and IMF neoliberal orthodoxy, now trumpeted ever more loudly by the European Union, assumes that privatisation and marketisation are the natural way of things.

That's why the economic stabilisation programmes of EU states share the same essentials, whether carried out by socialist or social democratic governments in Greece, Spain and Portugal or conservative administrations in Britain, France and Ireland.

In that sense, Ed Miliband's blank piece of paper isn't as blank as he claims.

Its blankness is impregnated with unspoken assumptions - unspoken because they are never seriously voiced by parliamentary alternatives or the capitalist media.

And yet public opinion has seen through this charade and remains positive to public ownership of natural monopolies exploited ruthlessly by privateers.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey correctly sees the policies enshrined in the People's Charter as offering an alternative - not a route map to socialism but an alternative to the Establishment's bankers' agenda.

If Miliband really intends to venture beyond new Labour, this approach should be indelibly inscribed on his blank piece of paper.

But he may need help from persuasive unions to understand why it's vital.