Thursday, April 01, 2004

Blair's Labour

"In opposition, new Labour emphasised the need to reinvigorate the relationship between state and citizen. In practice, it has largely accepted the redundancy of political action in favour of economic action. It has convinced itself that in an individualised and consumerist age, the state must remodel citizenship according to market mechanisms. What the citizen should get from state, the government has decided, is the sleek delivery of the private sector. But in trying to consumerize politics, it has pulled the rug from under those who still want to act as citizens and to participate in remaking their political community." 1

"[The government] has, in effect equated economic efficiency with social justice. The state's old role of providing collective insurance against poverty and or misfortune has been usurped by the market. As long as people can find work...they can buy their own protection against old age and short periods of unemployment." 1

"The historic goal of social democracy, to make the markets the servants of the people has been inverted." 1

"find the right balance between market creativity and the protection of the public domain." 1

1. Neal Lawson and Daniel Leighton, 29 MArch 2004, Burn the village to save the village, New Statesman.