Monthly Archives: November 2011

There’s no middle way: Stretch or be squeezed

THE Oxford English Dictionary has declared Ed Miliband’s phrase “the squeezed middle” its word of the year. Yes, it’s a phrase, not a word, and let’s set aside how tricky writing the definition must have been, given that Miliband’s concept of the middle appears to reach over the whole population except for far extremes of poverty and wealth. The strength this slightly flabby concept exercises in the popular mind seems to show it is getting at a real anxiety, however vaguely. But its passive phrasing misses the point. The real question for the worried middle of British society is not how bruised it feels by the nation’s current economic pinch, but how it confronts that challenge. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Freedom, History, Politics

Democracy is thrown aside in the Eurozone

THERE is not one elected official in Italy’s new government, but it’s apparently very bad form to mention it. Democratic government has been suspended on the fringes of the Eurozone with barely a whisper. News reports mention in passing that “technocrats” have been ushered in to make sure Greece and Italy reform their economies as Germany and France desire. How quickly freedom’s demise gets buried in jargon. Continue reading

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Let’s agree we’ve had enough of consensus

IT’S A curious thing that people welcome the end of one consensus by calling for another. On the New Statesman blog this week, Owen Jones wrote “the old neo-liberal consensus is crumbling” and argued this was the moment for Ed Miliband to establish a “new political consensus”. It seems to be the creed of the moment, with the Occupy protests as its apostles. But the problems we are suffering from are due to an excess of consensus, not an excess of neoliberalism. We should scrap the first and keep the second. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Economics, Politics

The zombie menace of anti-capitalist thought

WHEN the Occupy protest movement began, how twenty-first century it seemed: leaderless, emergent and driven by a fury at unprecedented cronyism between high finance and high politics. But how quickly it has decayed, in its London incarnation at least, into reheated anti-capitalist slogans with nothing original to say. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Economics, Finance, Freedom, History, Human nature, Politics