Blogs such as this are more often than not a good indicator of coming swings in political consciousness. For years we've banged on about the growing dangers to democracy and the need for Big Bang Localism, the malign influence of the global corporates, the disconnect between the powerful and the disenfranchised, the dangers of a patrician political class. Well, such things are by no means all mainstream, but it's astonishing just how frequently they are now popping up in the mainstream, particularly over the past year.
Liam Halligan's piece in the Telegraph today is yet another that gives us a warm feeling of validation. It warns of the malign effects of the global corporates. In the Telegraph.
Doubts are being raised, more widely and loudly than at any time since the end of the Cold War, about the future of capitalism. With British youngsters struggling to attain living standards enjoyed by their parents, and after years of real-terms pay cuts, faith in market economics is slipping. Swathes of voters now view the UK not so much as capitalist, but corporatist or even “cronyist” – with good reason.Liam covers familiar ground - our children poorer than their parents, excluded from the housing market, laden with debt, subject to the market dominance of oligopolistic service providers. Firms obese with QA cash, inflated assets, stock bubbles, the wealth of the 1% and the disadvantage of the 99% are all listed. He even recognises the Elephant.
But while inequality between countries has narrowed, inequality within countries, certainly the post-industrial West, has got worse That’s why, across much of the UK, stagnant living standards and escalating corporate profits are fuelling a sense that capitalism is skewed, with the benefits accruing to an elite few at the expense of the many. Our natural sense of opportunity and fair play has meanwhile been reversed. A recent government study found “an increasingly stark social mobility postcode lottery across Britain”, with life chances increased bound to who your parents are and where you live. That’s why, for millions, Corbyn’s dangerous rhetoric about aggressive renationalisation, punitive taxation and class war holds appeal.For the Right of the political spectrum, that raises a challenge we must meet. It's simply no good parping like sheep that Corbyn is wrong; we must recognise our failure to regulate the effects of globalism and the power of corporatism, the failures of managerialism and the bleeding of the benefits of capitalism away from the vast majority of people in this country. In short we must take democratic action that reboots capitalism, and not allow Corbyn to destroy it.
Now Liam isn't quite as radical as we are - he recommends limited competition action against the oligopolies most disbenefitting the young
Very few policymakers I know acknowledge or even understand the issues I’ve just described. One who does is Andrew Tyrie, the former Tory MP who is now chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority. Last week, Tyrie gave an important speech pointing to “fragile public confidence in the benefits of market competition”. UK competition law currently “falls short of what consumers are entitled to expect”, he told the Social Market Foundation. Tyrie talked of “price discrimination against the vulnerable in energy, insurance and other essential services”.....It's a decent start.
Every now and then, if capitalism is to survive, its supporters must overhaul the rules to tip the balance of power away from overbearing, all-powerful corporate lobbies and back towards ordinary people.
Today is such a time.