Posts Tagged ‘progressive moment’

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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