Lest we forget… September 21, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, The Left, Uncategorized.
It’s easy to forget the panic that possessed the financial markets and private sector in 2008. Here’s a short extract from Steve Richards excellent “Whatever It Take: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour” which underscores that:
He [Gordon Brown] had cause to do so sooner than expected and in supremely more dramatic circumstances. The following week [in 2008] the Republican administration in the US was forced to intervene to save the housing giants Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac… from going bust. In effect a right-wing US government was nationalising two of the biggest and most revered private financial institutions. This sensational development made waves around the world. On the morning after the nationalisation the BBC’s Today programme hosted a discussion between two senior bankers pleading with the US government to do much more to prop up the ailing banks. Ed Miliband awoke to the discussion and assumed that the contributors must be members of the left-wing Compass pressure group, such was the focus on the need for massive state intervention. He could not quite believe it when he heard at the end that the speakers belonged to the Goldman Sachs.
There are more quotes from the book – some of which I’ll post up – that demonstrate the utter incoherence of the orthodox social democratic project in the first part of the twenty first century, how cowed it was (for some good reasons but for many bad) even when it was actually in power in the UK and had been for over a decade. Reading the book there’s little doubt in my mind that there was a degree of sincerity on the part of Brown and others around him in respect of redistribution, but what’s also evident is a near pathological fear of making the case for that – or indeed any other progressive measures – publicly and a degree of credulity as regards markets and business that would have left almost any previous generation of social democrats puzzled, if not entirely uncomprehending.