For thirty years, the British economy has repeated the same old experiment of subjecting everything to competition and market because that is what works in the imagination of central government. This book demonstrates the repeated failure of the 30 year policy experiments by examining three sectors: broadband, food supply and retail banking. It argues against naïve metaphors of national disease, highlights the imaginary (or cosmology) that frames those metaphors, and draws out the implications of the experiment. Discussing the role of the experiments in post-1945 Britain, the book's overview on telecommunications, supermarkets and retail banking, reveals the limits of treatment by competition. Privatisation of fixed line telecoms in the UK delivered a system in which the private and public interests are only partially aligned in relation to provision of broadband. Individual supermarket chains may struggle but the four big UK supermarket chains are generally presented as exemplars because they have for a generation combined adequate profits with low price, choice and quality to deliver shareholder value. The many inquiries into retail banking after the financial crisis have concluded that the sector's problem was not enough competition. In a devolved experiment, socially-licensed policies and priorities vary from place to place and context to context. However, meaningful political engagement with the specifics in the economy will need to avoid losing sight of four principles: contestation, judgement, discussion, and tinkering. While others can be blamed for the failure of the experiments, the political responsibility for the ending and starting another is collectively peoples'.
Coping with TINA:
the Labour Party and
the new crisis of capitalism
Relying heavily on its financial services, the Britisheconomy has been one of
the hardest hit in Europe by the collapse of the banking industry. The credit
crunch, aggravated by the bursting of a decade-old house price bubble, has taken
a severe toll on the economy. For many commentators, the banking crisis of
2008 marked the end of New Labour economics. The Keynesian style reaction
to the crisis by the Gordon Brown government and, subsequently, the election of
relevance of Croslandism
to his critics and then to suggest in what ways his ideas can be reapplied to
the contemporary situation.
The chapter begins by outlining the main arguments contained in The
Future of Socialism. These consist of first an account of the transformation
of the Britisheconomy, which was followed by a discussion of socialist aims
and finally an analysis of the policies most appropriate for their attainment.
Of fundamental importance for the revisionist position was the distinction
between values and policies, or ends and means as they were
underreported at this time was their resistance to
With reference to the notion of difference, the cultural visibility of the Irish in the
nineteenth century can be contrasted with the cultural invisibility of the post-1945
generation of immigrants, when the Britisheconomy was in the process of
expansion. Known as the ‘second wave’ of emigration, it is this period – the 1950s
to early 1960s – which established the reputation of male and female Irish immigrants as low-skilled, manual workers. At this time the demand for labour included
(EEC), officially formed in 1957, was
enjoying a 6.5 per cent economic growth rate. Incidentally, the relative
economic decline of the Britisheconomy, and the parallel success of the
fledging EEC, were major reasons why Britain subsequently applied to
join the Community: economic pragmatism and financial calculation
rather than genuine political principle and firm commitment.
In turn, Britain’s declining share of world trade in exports, coupled
with the domestic economy’s low rates of economic growth, yielded a
corresponding deterioration in the country’s balance of
at home and abroad
The emigration question was interconnected with the way in which the labour
supply for the industrialisation of the Britisheconomy was achieved. Creating
the workforce for the vast new industries of the new economy was a much greater
task than supplying the human resources for overseas migration. It is possible
that emigration drew on the same streams of labour as for industry; emigration
may have been a side-stream or it may have competed for labour with the home
The conventional view is that labour was in general surplus in the
to become a viable medium for
targeting mass consumers, the arrival of ITV quickly transformed the market
for advertising. By the early 1960s, faith in the power of the new medium
had helped to elevate it to a central position in the business of commercial
The market for advertising services
The recovery of domestic consumer markets and with them advertising expenditure was a notable feature of the Britisheconomy in the late 1950s and 1960s.
Overall consumer expenditure returned to its pre-war level by 1950, though
spending on key sectors like
a series of fantasmatic narratives, which
articulated both the ‘beatific’ benefits of aviation expansion for the
Britisheconomy, as well as the ‘horrific’ threats of overcapacity at
British airports on economic and social well-being and the ‘threat’ of
competition from the US in the aftermath of the Second World War.
These myths and fantasmatic narratives were pivotal in sustaining
successive governments’ investments in civil aviation.
The chapter proceeds by analysing the predominance of Heathrow
as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of UK aviation. Questions about
British India as
India was unique in the British
experience of Empire, not just because of the scale of the enterprise or
the importance of India to the Britisheconomy but also because the
British consciously felt that they were inheriting an imperial mantle.
Although British administrators in the nineteenth century followed Mill
which further strained the links between workers and municipal institutions.
The following section will investigate the impact that these new estates and
factories had upon male leisure patterns and examine the perceived new
problems that these developments brought to the interwar authorities.
Structural changes in the Britisheconomy and urban environment convinced contemporary researchers that, by the end of the interwar period,
there had been signiﬁcant shifts in patterns of work and leisure. Updating
Charles Booth’s pioneering study on London’s life and