Labour should be ashamed of some of the mistakes it made. Its next leader needs a lesson in economics for dummies: here it isby Tim Leunig / September 22, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Without a coherent narrative on the economy, Labour’s new leader has no chance of returning the party to power. This, rather than Britain’s place in the world, reform of the NHS, or rethinking immigration, has to be at the core of the next Labour project. We live in an era during which economic inequalities in income and wealth have increased tremendously. The original “new left” view of the economy, first fashioned by Clintonistas such as Robert Reich, argued that we could all benefit from globalisation—provided we improved education so we could all earn our keep. It is fashionable to claim that this approach has failed (see Gavin Kelly and Nick Pearce in Prospect September 2010), but it has not. What failed was its implementation—and patience.
New Labour got some things right. The left does have to embrace globalisation. The biggest beneficiaries of cheap goods from China are the poor, for whom low prices for clothing, toys, electronic goods and so on matter enormously.