Monday, March 07, 2016

Are the Left v Right battles a phoney war - one being fought by people on the fringes ?

I'm not sure what "Left Wing" means any more. Common ownership of the means of production has gone. Largely because the goods and services the private sector produces are not labour intensive any more. What's the point of nationalising them? Where we do have high labour intensity is in the public sector - the NHS and Education for example. Despite what some on the Left say neither of these sectors have been or are being significantly privatised. The threat is largely a fiction. 

Defence is not a Left/Right issue. Trident is opposed by Michael Portillo as well as Jeremy Corbyn. Actually Defence is really a Foreign relations issue. It is blindingly obvious that the UK only needs a small independent capability. Our real Defence is via alliances. 

So what else? Should some things be better managed in the public interest than they are? Energy. Yes. The Railways. Yes. Does that mean nationalise them? Not necessarily. The Tube and the John Lewis Partnership might be models here (different ones of course). No need for ideology.

This Conservative Government is shifting the Left/Right balance in society slightly. But the mixed economy - the national Public/Private partnership - is much as it has been for 20 years. Social Democrats and Red Tories have much in common - a fierce determination not to have government by the extremes. That common ground is shaken sometimes. But it stands firm in the end. Usually! 


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