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November 07, 2015



To be complete, Rentoul is neither interested in understanding why the economy (or anything) is the way it is, nor is he interested in winning elections. He's simply interested in defining positions from which he can declare himself to be correct and others to be wrong.

THD Young

Call me a "toul" but please have only one "large" in the second sentence of the second para.

I think Blairites are also suspect at a micro level which speaks to the unknown future (on which we depend).

Policy should foster as much small scale business so we're prepared for the future.

Fiscal policy as a macro lever to get things going today might imply calling the future hence investment in green tech. Or even "a Manhattan project for solar power".

Might. But won't. It'll be housing, motorways and the like. A wasted crisis.

Fiscal policy could be decisive but not if it resembles the Spanish or Chinese construction booms.

Luis Enrique

There is an alternative possibility, which I imagine you recognise, that there is some sort of structural story behind what we are seeing, it's not a failure of capitalsim in any sense (I.e. because it could be optimal given structural problem) and any other ism would run aground on same problem and in particular any attempt at demand stimulus would fail.

I don't see any particular reason to believe this, but in what way do the data suggest a failure as opposed to simply a change (maybe demographics, technology, preferences, I don't know what)?


Blairites are just like Clintonites - they're doing quite well for themselves , thank you very much , and would like to keep it that way. So , "education" , "training" , "upward mobility" , and " positive thinking " , but forget about restraining predatory finance , or taxing the oligarchs. That stuff ain't gonna happen'.

And , deep down , they think Maggie and Ronnie were just super.

Dave Timoney

It's worth remembering that neoliberalism (of which Blairism is clearly a flavour) owes much to Marxism in its theory, if not its praxis, notably the teleological belief in progress and the idea that capitalism is the wellspring of modernity.

Where it diverges is in its ahistoricity (which is the product of post-modernism rather than Austrian economics), which leads to both its annihilation of the past and its inability to envisage a future other than an endless present. This is why its apologists are not speaking the same language as social democrats such as Krugman.

Basically, the Blairites are stuck, hence their increasing bewilderment. Contrary to the propaganda, most lefties are cynics (in the original Greek sense of the word) rather than dreamers. Blairites in contrast believe in fairy stories. WMD wasn't the half of it.


A2E is right that the Blairites are stuck.

There was a period in the 90's and into the 00's when it seemed that Free Market Capitalism could finally deliver high living standards for the mass of the people. The Blair government was about managing the markets to give the best results for the people.

The banking crash revealed that much of the prosperity was built on a pyramid scheme of selling property to each other for higher and higher values. The crash came about because there was no-one left to lend to. The collapse was only stopped by the people at large standing behind the banking system.

The Blairites seem to want to continue from where we were before the crash, but its a different world in all sorts of ways. The people at large seem to be asking what price they should be required to pay for supporting banking and the rest of the businesses that require banking to function. The Blairites do not seem to want to answer that question.

Peter K.

It's political economy. The Blairites policy of "letting capitalism loose" has led to a redistribution upwards and worsening of political economy. The worsened political economy then forces austerity on the economy despite the economic facts.

The worsened political economy blocks sufficient fiscal or monetary policy so that wages remain stagnant and inequality increases.

Albrecht Zumbrunn

It is not unimportant to keep in mind that the Blairites are TRYING to win elections; so far they are far from actually winning them.


The number one problem most inward looking Leftists especially Corbynites have is their re-writing of history. So all New Labour becomes problematic to them. However those who lived through the 'four' consecutive Tory governments welcomed New Labour as their saviour and to win back the power New Labour had to 'win back' the voters. We welcomed it because it removed the social injustice, neo-liberal economics and class oppression of 18 yrs. So life chances, schooling, universities, health care, children, low paid, women, pensioners, regional investments , technology, life sciences, infrastructure, human capital was all re-invigorated and the economics generally improved. The Tory years see again rising inequality, crises in health and schooling/universities, insufficient investment infrastructure , life chances by post code lottery, public services crises and so on.

The need for a centre left alternative with broad appeal similar to New Labour remains as was classically illustrated in the News Night/IPOS ex-Labour marginal voter panels who dismissive of Corbyn yearned for the Blair years and a similar centrist figure who could unite centre voters.

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