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The City and Westminster have survived their crisis

Posted by Richard D North in Media / Money / Politics / Rights on 13 June 2009

Why we posted this: The dust is settling on a major political and economic ruction in the UK. So far, the evidence is that our democratic process and economic management will change a little, and for the better.  Most people won’t notice or care.

The original story:
“Crisis? What crisis? The market confounds the left”
Philip Stephens
Financial Times
12 June 2009

and others…

Summary of the stories
Philip Stephens – a commentator symapthetic to New Labour – notes that a largely free market view of capitalism and globalisation seems to have survived the latest ruction. He notes that in the recent EU elections, the left – including the social democrats (the UK’s LibDems, for instance) and incumbents of the left – did badly, whilst the right (including some “far-right”) – including incumbents of the right – did well.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same newspaper, Peter Clarke notes that the LibDems might surf to success on Labour’s discomfiture and resurface to mimic the success of their Liberal forebears. Richard Reeves made much the same point.

livingissues comment:
It is indeed fascinating that the left at the moment is suffering even though capitalism and ancient institutions have proved rather fallible. The City and Westminster have survived their recent crises much better than is widely supposed and in all sorts of ways, it may be business surprisingly as normal.

I think this is because people do deep down recognise that things have worked pretty well and probably will again.

There is a pretty good chance that MPs and Parliament will emerge stronger than ever. Good. It is likely that Anglo-Saxon capitalism will stay different from more state-controlled capitalism. Good.

It is indeed quite possible that the problem of politics being a battle between dead classes and ideas will be solved. Good. That may happen because centrists parties hoover up the right of the left and left of the right. Good. It may even be that party structures will matter less. Good.

The British on the whole like private life and not public. Their ideal is not to have to bother with the public realm because it is doing well in the hands of professionals paid to run it. They make a partial exception for politics because it is sufficiently like sport to offer amusement at least as a spectacle. Similarly, they follow business news when their wallet is on the line, or the events are exciting.

It is very fashionable just now to say that politics is about to become less “top down” and more “bottom up”. On this account, the elite won’t be able administer everything centrally because we the people will spring up in myriad forms to manage things more locally, and for ourselves. This is supposed in part to be a function of two-way digital media. These may be good developments, but I see no evidence whatever of a widespread urge to take up the tedious and irksome business of running things like schools, hospitals, prisons, and welfare services. If you do… do write in.

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