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A Radical Agenda for Britain
As the Conservative Party threatens to break up on the contradiction between market dogma and traditional Conservative values and institutions, it is sobering to reflect that neither the Labour Party nor the academic Left has produced a hegemonic interpretation of this event, or a persuasive alternative vision of the future. [*] The Labour leadership, traumatized by four electoral defeats, has imposed a tight control over policy debate and proposes only respectful and cautious modifications to the Thatcher legacy on monetary policy, taxation, the health service, education, even Europe. Tony Blair represents Major’s leadership travails as those of a man prevented by his rabid right-wing from drawing back modestly from the excesses of Thatcherism, not as symptoms of a profound national crisis which Labour has a vocation to resolve. Academics, for their part, have produced excellent retrospective studies of numerous aspects of Britain’s decline, but not, in recent years at any rate, any systematic, general analysis, let alone a persuasive set of policy proposals. A severely wounded labour movement; a somewhat disoriented Left intelligentsia (producing symptomatic titles like Beyond Left and Right, Politics in an Antipolitical Age, Reinventing The Left);  no fusion of popular energy with powerful analytic and programmatic initiatives, like Labour’s embrace of Keynes and Beveridge in the 1940s. 
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