Posts Tagged ‘big government’

Message to the gathered comrades: West Wing was a fiction, not a documentary

26/09/2011, 08:13:21 AM

by John Woodcock

In this time of iconoclasm on the centre-left, there is one political leader who remains untouched.

We may have signalled the need to move on from Blair and Brown and highlighted lessons from the days of New Labour in government. But there is a continued, unquestioning reverence for a small band of smart, dedicated change-makers gathered around a charismatic leader who shone a beacon for progressive values, no matter how hostile the political landscape. Mulling
over intractable problems, a surprising number of political types have been known openly to make reference to the tactics and strategy that these people deployed in government. And even if they don’t say it out loud, you know that many are thinking about the example they set as they work out what to do.

I am talking, of course, about the Bartlet White House. It is time to cut down to size the influence of the West Wing on the British Labour party.

Stating this instantly runs the risk both of permanently alienating the many West Wing nuts and leaving everyone else wondering why an American drama series that ended in 2006 is remotely relevant to Labour conference this week.


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Small man, big world

30/05/2011, 12:00:52 PM

Jonathan Todd

The financial crisis was unprecedented and complex. But the left’s interpretation of it tended to be straight-forward. Banks and bankers were bad. Government and politicians were good. Government saved the banks from themselves and would stimulate economies. This enlarged role for government made a “progressive moment” inevitable. Yet government is now being scaled back and the left is out of power across Europe.

The left must move beyond its misconceptions to recover. While Labour’s plans to close the deficit concede limits to government’s size, George Osborne was much quicker than Gordon Brown to acknowledge such limits. The lesson of the debate on the deficit during and after the general election is that the left cannot be abashed by fiscal reality. It must confront it squarely. This is a lesson that Barack Obama might now reflect upon as debate in the US on the size of government moves to a similar place to that in the UK in the six months or so prior to the general election.


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Labour needs to stop being the bossing and interfering party

21/04/2011, 08:39:28 AM

by Peter Watt

Last week’s decision to end the so called bin-taxes was clever politics by the government.  And as there hasn’t been an awful lot of clever politics recently by the government, I thought that it was significant. What was particularly clever was that the weekend “announcement” was actually an announcement that the ending of bin taxes would be announced in about a month’s time.

But the government knows that the local elections and AV referendum (whatever the result) are going to be pretty challenging for them. They know that there is not a lot that they can do to alter that. So they have decided to keep reminding people of what they think the public see as Labour weakness. So they might lose the battle in the next month, but they will keep sowing the seeds of an election victory in 2015. These reminders obviously include playing the blame game on the deficit and attacking Labour’s economic competence. But it also involves something else. Something more personally emotional for many voters. A perceived tendency by the last Labour government to overly interfere in people’s lives. (more…)

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