Thursday, 29 January 2009

What Next?

This blog has got derailed. I started it as a semi-private means of reflecting on what had happened to the political world - and by implication, to my political beliefs - since I stopped being an activist in 1991. Quite unexpectedly - at least to me - the global economy went belly up two weeks later. The years of the so-called 'Great Moderation' (copyright Ben Bernanke) were suddenly over. Capitalism was in crisis once again and it seemed as if everyone, not just me, had to start thinking through how they thought things should be put right. & what an economy and a society 'put right' might look like. So the blog has had a very heavy economic focus. It may even have flirted with what Flip-Chart calls 'recession porn'.

But the blog is really suppose to be about politics, and specifically the prospects - if any - for some form of re-energised movement which pushes forward equality and community. (Note I've avoided the word 'socialism'). Before the crisis I thought New Labour was all but dead as a viable political tradition, and about to get its electoral come uppance. Despite the rally of popularity occasioned by the Government's unexpected sureness of foot in the early stages, it still might. Martin Jacques points out that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the man who presided over the amazing growth in neo-liberal finance should shoulder at least some of the blame of the current mess. The opinion polls look bad. & at this late stage attempts to rope the Lib-Dems to the mast of the quite-possibly-sinking New Labour ship look more than a little desperate.

So what comes next? Comrade Mason points out that, seen against a European canvass, everyone is facing a pretty bloody time: 'Iceland' may come to Eastern Europe in the form of total financial implosions, pulling down Austrian and Italian banks; France is ....well, doing that traditional French thing of mass protest today; and the Eurozone itself is coming under pressure as increasingly divergent national interest rates are applied. But there are, as yet, no mass protests against the recession here in the UK. Despite many radical hopes I have a hunch there won't be - or at least not in anything like the French form. Our Labour Movement has been well and truly castrated for over a generation now. I just can't see how it might rise to the challenge of prodding this administration into even the semblance of radicalism.

So although the political situation is very febrile and changeable, I am increasingly of the view the Tories will come back to power. & they will blame New Labour for 'wreckless spending' in order to impose 'fiscal discipline'. It is at that moment that the real political battles will begin in Britain: after the election.



  1. I know what you mean. My blog started off being about organisations and the world of work but it has shifted onto broader economic issues.

    Then again, you can no-more keep politics out of business than you can keep politics out of religion or sport.

    The next election is going to be close, I think. I dn't think many people believe that, had the Tories been in power, things would have been much different.

    Their key selling point is that they are not New Labour, just as Obama benefitted hugely from not being George Bush.

    I think the Tories will win, not because people think they are brilliant but because things are so bad that people think they have nothing to lose by giving someone else a go.

  2. Thanks for the comment Rick.
    I see the Spectator is already starting the business of blaming the current govt for the prospective loss of jobs under the next one.