Posts Tagged ‘globalisation’

A coherent centrist response to Brexit means resisting economic nationalism – in all its forms

17/05/2017, 10:14:43 PM

by Mark Stockwell

One of the many, many issues faced by Labour’s moderate wing at the moment is that they are – perfectly understandably – so preoccupied with the short-term problem of saving their seats in June, and the medium-term one of how to oust Jeremy Corbyn and his ilk afterwards, that the longer-term challenge of putting together a viable centre-left platform is going largely unaddressed.

Those who favour trying to resuscitate a seemingly moribund party have directed longing glances across the Atlantic to Justin Trudeau’s Canada. Those who are coming to the painful conclusion that a breakaway may be necessary – with a view to triggering a full-on realignment – are casting admiring looks across the Channel to the newly-inaugurated French President, Emmanuel Macron, and his fledgling ‘la République en Marche’ movement.

But more immediate concerns have left little time or energy for thinking through what political centrists will need to do to provide an effective opposition – and, all in good time, an alternative government – to an emboldened Theresa May with a large majority at her back.

The Prime Minister is essentially campaigning for a free hand to negotiate Brexit, in the hope that increased parliamentary numbers will strengthen her negotiating hand, not just with the EU but also with potential internal critics.

She has also repeatedly made it clear, however, that she is looking to take both her party and the country in a different direction. Brexit is only a part of this story: a necessary but not sufficient condition for what amounts to a rethink of the Conservatives’ view of the role of the state in the economy. The May team’s conversion to the cause of a cap on domestic fuel bills is a recent, high-profile example of this, and recent pronouncements on ‘workers’ rights’ are also part-and-parcel of this repositioning, but the change in approach goes much deeper. It amounts to a rejection of the laissez-faire approach that has characterised Conservative industrial policy for 30 years and more (with the exception of Lord Heseltine, now paradoxically estranged from the higher echelons of the party).


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Labour, like Britain, must look to the future

14/07/2011, 11:30:09 AM

by Ian Austin

I’ve been really worried these past few months. People kept asking me what I thought of “all this Blue Labour stuff”.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but I knew it must be significant because it was creating such a buzz.

You can imagine my relief when they put together an “e-book” setting out the details.

It explained that a series of seminars had been held in London and Oxford to “open up the Labour tradition to new syntheses of meaning, and so to originality and transformation.”

The introduction said it would discuss the “relationship with tradition and modernity, nation and class, labour and capital, community and the individual, society and the market, the state and mutualism, and between belief and empiricism, romanticism and rationality, obligation and entitlement.”

Fortunately, help was at hand in the form of an interview a week or so ago with Lord Glasman, the leading figure behind our new approach.

“There are three poles,” he said, when asked to explain Blue Labour. ‘”First: a conception of the common good. That comes from Aristotle. Second: an impulse to organise labour. That comes from Minsky and Alinsky. And third: decommodification. That means stopping things that were not produced for sale being sold. That comes from Polanyi.”’

Of course we need seminars as well as conversations on doorsteps, but it’s where the theory takes us that worries me, not the inaccessibility of the language.

Elsewhere we’ve been told the new big idea is based on the insight that New Labour’s response to globalisation failed to value and protect local and community services like post offices and pubs and the traditional high street, or failed to recognise the value of the human relationships that underpin our communities.

The danger, as Mary Riddell pointed out recently, “lies in a neverland inhabited by superannuated pigeon-fanciers who like Woodbines and Watneys and don’t think much of foreigners.” She was absolutely right to warn that “Britain is not a museum of nostalgia but a forward-looking country.” (more…)

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The globalised middle: social justice is key to more easing, less squeezing

05/01/2011, 03:00:04 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Tony Blair made adaptation to globalisation a Labour leitmotif. Yet the existence of the “squeezed middle” is a symptom that he did not finish the job. Today’s globalisation is more about the rise of Asia than was the case when Blair became party leader. Easing the squeezing requires better adaptation to this Asian age.

It will take more than David Cameron hawking UK PLC from one rising Asian power to the next. The prime minister is listless in the face of power seeping from the over-indebted West to the resource-rich East, so neatly encapsulated by FIFA’s world cup decisions. His PR smoothness is no substitute for leadership in urgent debates about the architecture of globalisation. It seems that his only reason for attending the G20 was, unsuccessfully, to press the flesh for England’s world cup bid.

Perhaps Cameron confused diary entries, and we lost the world cup after he confronted FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, on macro-prudential regulation. After all, the Tory-Lib Dems’ bail-out of the Irish demonstrates that we live in an interconnected age. It exposes their myth: that our economic predicament is solely Labour’s fault. (more…)

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