Monday, 25 October 2010

Two Visions of Britain: A Return of Ideology?

One of the most interesting things about the recent public policy debate over economics has been the return of ideology. However much politicians ruminate about the importance of 'the centre', there is no doubt that both the election of Ed Milliband as Labour's leader (rather than his slightly more centrist brother) and the Coalition's extremely radical policies on almost everything - from council house tenure to Child Benefit - have led to the re-energising of the world of thinking around economic and social policies. One can compare the Chancellor's Bloomberg speech of the summer with that of Ed Balls:

What is so noticeable is that the party debate in the 1920s, 1930s or 1960s and 1970s might have been conducted around the same themes; austerity versus expansion; the bond markets versus 'the people'; 'crowding out' versus a lack of demand. Where is all this going? It's not clear - but probably to sharper dividing lines for the next few years.

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