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The liberalism that has dominated British politics for a generation is looking battered. The financial crash has eroded confidence in economic liberalism, while the shocking inner-city riots have done the same for social liberalism. Watch out, this party conference season, for signs of post-liberalism.

You will not hear authoritarian rants from the conference podium, or calls to abandon market economics or individual rights. But a more pessimistic and nostalgic intellectual mood is emerging. It combines social conservatism with greater economic interventionism—tough love for inner city kids, less immigration and a more sceptical view of globalisation and high finance.

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