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How the Grassroots can rebuild Labour Print E-mail
Monday, 05 January 2009 00:00

by Mark Seddon

Future historians may well look back on 2008 as the year in which the free market consensus was finally broken. They may even pin-point the collapse of US Bankers, Lehman Brothers as the tipping point; the point in which all of the received wisdom of the past twenty five years was finally turned on its head.
‘Events! Events!’ former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan said when asked what shaped his Government. Political parties that can loosely be described as on the Left have not shaped these latter day events. The European social democratic parties have been floundering for the best part of two decades, unsure where to go. Britain’s Labour Party transmogrified into ‘New’ Labour, going much further than the French Socialists or the German Social democrats in embracing de-regulated, privatised free market economics. Peter Mandelson, now Lord Mandelson, the high priest of ‘New’ Labour once famously said that he was ‘seriously relaxed’ about the super-rich, and by extension the massive growth of inequality and insecurity, that has now culminated in the collapse and nationalisation of a number of major banks here and elsewhere, and job losses amongst the middle classes that are beginning to resemble the job losses experienced by the working class as manufacturing industry was allowed to go the wall, since the future, we were told lay in financial services and the retail sector.
Britain is likely to suffer more in this new economic depression than many of its European counterparts. Along with the United States, Britain is more dependent on the collapsed financial sector and collapsing retail sector. For it was turbo charged Anglo American capitalism that was offered as the model to what was disparagingly called ‘Old Europe’, and it is Anglo American capitalism that is at the root of our current crisis.

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