We have to set about rebuilding our country's institutions for the globalised ageby Liam Byrne / July 21, 2016 / Leave a comment
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Labour’s leadership battle is on. What is vital now is the battle of ideas. Real ideas. Not old slogans. But new solutions for Brexit Britain. For this could be a progressive moment—if we have the ambition to seize it.
If there are prizes for chilling lines in the post-Brexit debate, surely Lord Lawson must win a medal. His crie d’guerre (from his French chateau?) for the new Tory prime minister “to finish Thatcher’s work” unencumbered by Social Europe is a warning that the old New Right, vanquished in the ‘90s, is now vampire-like returning from the grave.
So now is not the time for Labour to march our battalions into fighting the last war. Britain has voted out. Our job now is to crack on with designing a centre-left “new order” to finally make globalisation work for the working class voters who resolutely rejected Europe last month.
Our starting point must be this: we have to recognise that we know how to globalise. But we don’t know how to make globalisation work for the majority of voters.
I remember watching the fall of the Berlin Wall on a rubbish telly in a university common room. Since then, we have created an extraordinary world. The doubling of Europe’s size after the fall of the Soviet Union, the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the admission of China to the World Trade Organization together has connected seven billion people in a marketplace, where an $8trn corporate merger and acquisition wave has now created companies bigger than countries.
Just 1,400 companies now control half of global research and development. In sector after sector, a handful of firms now dominate. But they are rewarding those at the top, driving down wages, and failing to invest in the jobs of the future. The result? The top one per cent now control over half of global wealth—85 families own more than three billion of the…