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Home Opinion Ideas & Debate Social justice in tough times

Responses to In the black Labour

Market capitalism is widely held to be in crisis. But no new theory or alternative economic vision has yet altered its present neoliberal design. Part of the problem is that centre-left parties across the world are mired up in the politics of debt and deficits. Conservative and centre-right narratives hold sway.

The reality is that coping with inescapable fiscal constraints is a necessary precondition to being in a position to shape the next stage of capitalism.

In the UK, Labour party leader Ed Miliband has framed his agenda of a fairer country and a more responsible capitalism in a context where there is less money to spend, arguing that “it’s Labour’s responsibility to find a new approach for tough times” and that he wants to “demonstrate once and for all that Labour is a party for all times, not only a party for good times.”

In response to the In the black Labour discussion paper, Policy Network have published both a series of UK and international responses.



International responses

France: Hollande’s message of fiscal responsibility must promise progress
Having embraced a degree of fiscal conservatism, the Socialists are nonetheless wary of it becoming a dogmatic position or an end in itself. By Benjamin Senes


Sweden’s fight for survival
Budget consolidation became a critical ideological victory for Swedish social democracy in the aftermath of the 1990s financial crisis. By Katrine Kielos


Germany: SPD fiscal policy and the “Golden Rule"
Germany’s constitutional debt “brake” sets the context for the SPD to bring together social democratic values and strict fiscal discipline. By Michael Miebach


Chile reaps the rewards of prudence
The Chilean left withstood the temptation to spend its copper bounty and worked hard to build national consensus for fiscal responsibility.
By Francisco Javier Díaz

US: Why Obama needs to cut and invest
To most Americans, fiscal responsibility is a question of political morality. If Democrats allow the debate to be framed as a choice between more deficit spending and debt reduction, they lose.
By Will Marshall

Six lessons from Canada's path to fiscal virtuoso
The Canadian Liberal Party's experience of battling fiscal crises in the 1990s offers six telling lessons for centre-left parties today.
By Eugene Lang & Frank Graves

UK political responses

Black Labour is in danger of taking us to the wrong place
Fiscal sense is a key tenet of centre-left political economy. But Labour must retain agility in economic policy and avoid conceding ground.
By Dan Corry

Socially fair adjustment in hard times
Labour needs to have a frank exchange with voters about fiscal responsibility and the scale of the economic predicament the whole of Europe is now in.
By Roger Liddle

Next Labour must be radical re-engineers
Social democrats have to think about economic room for manoeuvre in terms of levers and the radical reshaping of markets.
By Kitty Ussher

Without a rebalanced economy we will never have sustainable public finances
The pressing need to rebalance the UK economy and raise household incomes could well be higher up voters’ priority lists than fiscal discipline come the 2015 election.
By Duncan Weldon

The challenge is to find optimism in fiscal discipline
Town halls and local councils should be at the forefront of Labour’s political renewal, driving innovation and reform in tough times.
By Joe Goldberg

A time for tough prioritisation
Labour needs to quickly choose between the disastrous and the unpalatable if it is to regain economic credibility.
BY Jonathan Todd