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March 21, 2012

Comments

nick s

It’s an odd feeling watching financial repression happen around you; like living in the middle of a crime in progress.

Smells like Thatcher's arse. At least, it brings back memories of growing up in the northeast in the mid-80s, when it felt like policy was painstakingly designed to shit on people who would never vote Tory. And reading about the council's impending demolition of estate libraries and community centres, should there be no private takers (not bloody likely) I imagine that it's no better in my native land.

Back in the 80s, the loan sharks were door-to-door; now they work out of retail space.

Alex

"Financial repression" is usually taken to mean repression of finance (capital controls, bullying pension funds and the like to hold tons of government paper, tolerating inflation) so that you can run a full-employment policy. The classic case is the high welfare state after 1945.

I'm not sure that's what you mean...

Blissex

«the mid-80s, when it felt like policy was painstakingly designed to shit on people who would never vote Tory.»

Well yes, indeed, and to some extent Labour would do the same.

But there was a special twist to the Thatcher experience: a think tank had studied voting patterns and found that people who owned real estate, company shares, and cars voted to the right far more than renters, bond savers and public transport users.

Therefore conservative and new labour (and USA republican) policy for the past 30 years has been targeted that way, and North East culture is not quite aligned with the "aspirational" rentier middle class culture of the South East.

jamie

Alex @2 Ah, yes. Changed accordingly.

guthrie

I like the way this post sums up the been here before-ness and also the deliberate nastiness of the situation.

It has been suggested elsewhere that the north of England should become part of Scotland. Should we draw the line south of Manchester?
(And you'd get to vote against Alex Salmond)

jamie

I suggested on twitter that we have a northern federation down to the Trent, thereby including my home town. Then we liberate London, turn North and deal with narrow-minded Caledonianism. Forward!

CMcM

But it's different now. Thatcher had an enemy - an 'internal' one as I recall her specifying quite precisely. The labour movement and its sociological base. It was a real enemy, one that frightened the other side.

& now? Well, not so much to be frank. They're just grinding folks faces' in the mire because they can and there is no one to stop them.

Dan Hardie

Charlie McM: 'It was a real enemy, one that frightened the other side.

& now? Well, not so much to be frank.'

I dunno, Charlie. I think a lot of middle class people are genuinely frightened of the 'chavs', or whatever the latest word is. They're worried that, in extremis, the lumpen proles will come out burning and looting, and that in normal times, the feral muggers' luxury dole-queue lifestyles plus huge Legal Aid bills will be paid for by law-abiding taxpayers.

Potentially it's a very useful fear, and it probably got a fair bit of reinforcement during the events of last summer.

But, just possibly, Gideon's budget may have blown a big hole in the 'middle classes against the evil poor' strategy. The front pages of the Mail and the Telegraph headlined it as, essentially, 'Osborne robs pensioners to cut taxes for the rich'. That can't be terribly good news for the Tories.

(Perhaps I am looking a little too hard on the bright side. Miliband still looks to me like the shyest work experience kid ever.)

Martin Wisse

Labour in general has the same problem as the Tories had after '97, in that we all still remember too well how awful they were. They need but can't reinvent themselves away from New Labour because they were all true believers and they're clueless about how to oppose properly.

guthrie

New labour lacks a philosophical , economic and cultural framework that is in opposition to the condems. Yes there are differences between them, but much less than there used to be, which makes it harder for them to function properly as an opposition.

For instance the raising of uni fees. All I heard on the radio was that milliband would only raise them to 6,000 not 9,000. Instead he should have said "The current system is fine, we would change it back".

So the problem is, how do we take the labour party back, get it to shed its authoritarianism and urge to market madness.

CMcM

how do we take the labour party back

I'll suppress my facile instinct to mutter 'good luck with that one, chum'. Instead I'll just offer the doleful opinion that you can't have the pre-Blair Labour Party back because the sociological coalition that underpinned it has, if not quite vanished, certainly shrunk and loosened the bonds of mutual recognition & shared interest which once held its seprate fragments (manual Trade Unionists, white collar state employees, Fabian technocrats etc) together.

guthrie

Agreed, CmCM.
It is painful though, feeling so powerless in the face of massive changes to peoples lives, when the propaganda is that we are supposed to be in control of things and able to affect things for the better.

Cian

The problem with the Labour party is they shed their principles, and became focused purely on the pragmatics of winning elections. In the process of doing that they convinced themselves that because they were progressives, everything would work out when they were in power. Instead what we got was proof of Keyne's maxim about dead philosophers. If you don't consciously choose an ideology, it chooses you.

Personally I think the current generation are basically useless. They swallowed the cool aid, they're neoliberal zombies now. Maybe the younger generation can be salvaged, but Milliband's generation have no ideas, no principles and don't even have any tactics worth a damn. The kind thing would be a bullet in the head behind Millibank Tower.

On the other hand, it turns out that the Tories really haven't changed one iota since 1997. I mean just wow.

Igor Belanov

I agree. When you think of the fuss that was made about Labour having to change their policy and image massively after their election defeats, the Tories were walloped in 1997 and 2001, but apart from some leadership changes they are practically the same party. I expect this is because as the establishment party they have less to lose being in opposition and can rely on their mates in the media and in finance/business to maintain the class war outside parliament.

ajay

When you think of the fuss that was made about Labour having to change their policy and image massively after their election defeats, the Tories were walloped in 1997 and 2001, but apart from some leadership changes they are practically the same party.

Which would explain why they didn't win (outright) in 2010 either...

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