Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What should Gordon do?

I had my say HERE and HERE. Now it's the turn of Jon Cruddas, Jon Trickett and Compass.

"One strong aspect of the New Labour project that must be jettisoned is a rather dry economic puritanism which sees work as the solution to every moral and social problem. Clearly, the effective management of the economy is critical and Brown has been brilliant at it.

But a tendency to prioritise the market inverts the principal point of social democracy - to ensure society is the master and that social justice and cohesion are our objectives. Left uncontrolled, the market leads to the growth of inequality and social recession across all classes."

I really couldn't agree more. But the paraphrase contained in the Guardian's headline - "Brown's fightback must be built on a real shift to the left" - doesn't really help matters in my view.

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MorrisOx said...

While ever it is couched in such unreconstructed Old Labour terms, this is an arid debate, as I hinted in my two penn'orth on CiF today.

When you pull out these two paragraphs they don't sound unreasonable or unrealistic. But the rhetoric that surrounded them reminded me of nothing more than the left-wing pamphleteers pissing in the wind while Maggie got on with the job.

You can't uninvent the market as the likes of Cruddas, Trickett, Brendan Barber and Polly Toynbee would like. And for all their attachment to fairness, neither would most voters want you too.

It's no good sitting on the sidelines wailing about debt without realising that financial innovation (i.e., credit mechanisms) has been responsible for the economic growth that brought in revenues that allowed Labour to invest.

What Cruddas and Trickett were suggesting (in language that was almost twee - the 'Good Society') was an ill-defined fantasy land construct that gave power and prominence back to groups that have long since ceased to have a widespread authority and on a basis that is no longer relevant to the society we live in.

We are not hermetically sealed from the world outside and it is irresponsible and almost infantile to pretend that the vision they espouse would not have some severe consequences.

Markets do need regulating (and regulatory lessons need learning from the current credit crunch), but I see no public clamour for the kind of heavy-handed legislative clampdown that some would like to see. In any case, all that would happen is that the worst 'offenders' would go elsewhere.

You need wealth to be able to re-distribute it, as Brown well knows. Sound disapproval by all means, get the market to explain itself, apply some top-slicing if absolutely necessary. But don't try to find a new vision through the same old spectacles.

Anonymous said...

What a load of tosh from two losers.