Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

A Hung Parliament Could Yet Be the Saving of Labour

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

A Hung Parliament Could Yet Be the Saving of Labour

Article excerpt

In our first leader of 2010 we argued that, at the coming general election, it may fall to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats to resolve the historic "progressive dilemma" in British politics. This was to say that a hung parliament--the likelihood of which has increased, not receded, since the Conservatives' lead in the opinion polls began to narrow shortly before Christmas -offers the prospect of a realignment of progressive politics in this country and the establishment of a left-liberal coalition on a common programme of wide-ranging constitutional and economic reform.

That prospect remains tantalising for those of us who recognise that a new politics is required to deal with the convulsions of the past 18 months. Anthony Barnett, launching a series of essays on the future of progressive politics on page 22, argues that progressives need to "help Britain vote out New Labour". But, in truth, the New Labour "project" is already dead, fatal blows having been administered to it by the financial meltdown and the disgrace of MPs' expenses.

Gordon Brown seems to understand this--as is evidenced by his reconversion to something like Keynesianism following the crash of autumn 2008 (seemingly vindicated by new figures showing a drop in unemployment), and his belated recognition of the merits of electoral reform (albeit in the watered-down guise of the Alternative Vote system). Moreover, as David Marquand points out in his response to Mr Barnett on page 28, David Cameron, by contrast, grasps neither the role played by deficit finance in a recession nor the pressing need to overhaul Westminster institutions that are both discredited and dysfunctional. To suggest, as Mr Barnett comes close to doing, that Labour would benefit from the purgative effects of defeat--not something we endorse--is to underestimate the damage that would be wrought by an anti-Keynesian and Europhobic Conservative government. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.