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Left with no illusions

Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle have just written the unofficial New Labour manifesto for the next election. It is more coherent and less conformist than he had feared. But the book does not develop a political economy of stakeholding and it lacks the bite of the US Democrats' latest plans

By Will Hutton   March 1996

For all of this century the search has been on for a model of economic and social organisation offering an alternative to the brutalities of laissez-faire capitalism and the inefficiencies of central planning. For the British left, failure at four successive elections, combined with the implosion of scientific socialism and the triumph of market individualism, has made the quest more urgent. Comfortable leadership in opinion polls can be anaesthetising, but in its bones Labour still knows that power depends on elaborating a viable and attractive conception of social capitalism-that elusive “middle way.”

It is in this context that Peter Mandelson’s…

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