Regular readers of this blog we doubtless be aware that Mediolana’s CSO is rarely seen without a copy (though not necessarily one he has read cover-to-cover) of the Financial Times, indubitably a publication of choice in these extraordinary times where even the most sacred political and economic orthodoxies are being questioned. And it was with some anticipation that he began to read a piece by David Goodhart – a figure who is no less than the head honcho at think-tank Demos, headquartered in the (formerly) dilapidated London neighbourhood of Southwark – which promised to set out nothing less that a new conceptualisation of politics.
Welcome to the post-liberal majority (11th May 2012) posits that the ‘new’ ideology of ‘post-liberalism’ has as its central goal the addressing of ‘the silences, excesses and unintended consequences of economic and social liberalism’, including ‘unchecked’ immigration. It would combine social conservatism – based around the trinity of ‘flag, faith and family’ – with an economic policy that is vagueness itself but can be read as being slightly more to the ideological left than the status quo, the ultimate mission being to ‘reform capitalism’, which is thought of as inherently ‘bad’.
Following some considered reflection, our CSO made the following observations:
1. Lack of Anything Much. It is articles such as this which make we at Mediolana seriously concerned for the future of the United Kingdom. The paucity of vision, contextual knowledge of the British experience or insights from other countries left us pensively staring at the remains of our cappuccino.
2. Education, Education, Education. Perhaps ingeniously, no mention was made of the elephant in the room: the circa 300% increase in university tuition fees, a move which at a stroke virtually guarantees social ghettoisation for future generations in the UK; slashed expenditure on educational capital was also glossed over. Instead, ‘discipline and character’ were extolled – as if these qualities were ever somehow expendable.
3. Ever Played Sim City? There was no discussion whatsoever of what can be done to stem Britain’s economic decline, much less a realisation that successful countries create goods and services that are in global demand. If Goodhart’s thesis is at all representative, there appear to be no plans at all to confront this issue – and enable the UK to pay its own way without having to resort to the doomed fiscal magic of schemes such as ‘indefinite’ bonds.