21 July 2010


1. It is increasingly clear that the people who will pay for Britain’s economic crisis are those least able to do so and that the Con-Lib coalition’s cuts will do serious damage both to economic recovery and to the fabric of British society.

2. It is just as clear that a vast number of people whose primary source of income is selling their labour power – the proletariat in Marxist jargon, though the category has long extended way beyond manual industrial workers into what most think of as the middle class – are happy with this. They're the ones in work that aren't in the public sector. They didn’t vote Labour.

3. Most of this group has nothing but disdain for the work-shy or, paradoxically, for over-eager immigrants who undercut wage rates. (This disdain is spread much more widely, but that's another question.)

4. They feel, with reason, that they have a stake to lose – their job, their nice house, their top-notch motor, their credit rating, their regular holidays – and want to minimise their taxes because they want to keep what they’ve got in tough times.

5. They see the economy as an extension of household budgeting – so if you’ve maxed-out on your credit card as a nation you have to rein in pretty soon. Keynes doesn’t get a look-in.

6. They don’t give a damn about the Third Way, the Big Society or electoral reform.

7. So someone has got to work out a means of dragging suburbia back to the social democratic project. It ain't going to be easy.

All right, I know it’s an amalgam of J K Galbraith 20 years ago and contemporary cynicism, but take it as a starting point...

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