Monday, May 09, 2011

It's the economy, stupid

I certainly don't agree with everything that is in his article but these quotes from Will Hutton seem to sum up my views on the government's economic policy perfectly.
In a strict sense, the government's economic policies are not a gamble – a gamble has some probability of success ... it is now obvious that we are living through one of the great economic misjudgments of modern times; there were choices last May about how to handle the legacy of private debt, gross misallocation of productive capacity, financial fragility and the need to eliminate the structural public deficit. They were not made; If the Lib Dems had been true to the great social liberal thinkers ... they could never have signed the coalition agreement; The big story is of politics driven by ideas that are wrong.
And, to my despair, there is, as Hutton notes, little sign of any mainstream political party even attempting to breach the consensus, let alone putting forward an alternative political economy drawn from different intellectual roots. And here lies the causes of the failure of the Liberal Democrats in the local elections, the lost referendum on AV and Labour's defeat in the Scottish Assembly. No amount of progressive schmoozing will restore the centre-left to power unless there is a coherent philosophy to unite behind and not the desperately unimaginative, modified conservatism that Jackie Ashley thinks will do the trick.
Labour's revival has to be based on a robust pro-business plan to revive a "making things" economy. It has to build a new relationship with genuine entrepreneurs and tomorrow's employers. Beyond that, Labour needs to be stronger on core issues such as discipline in schools, crime and low pay, which will help win voters back.
And you can multiply this failure a hundredfold if you are to talk of Ireland or Greece. At least the Greeks have a new strategy, er, tourism. Oh well, this might not be that original, but at least I can say that I will do my selfless best to support the Greeks in their struggles. How about you?

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