John Godfrey

A Beacon on the Port Bow

Politics is for People

By Shirley Williams

Penguin 230pp. £2.50 and Allen Lane £8.50 order from our bookshop

Governments of the left need radical vision in order to succeed. Dick Crossman has made a good case that the post-war Labour administration was rejected by the electorate when, having done what it set out to do, it had no clear aim in view. The recent Labour government’s major success with inflation was achieved by its social contract. This went sour in the end because it was accepted as it was presented as a means of managing the crisis. The coherent thinking on the left has been the Bennite alternative economic strategy. This rests on a brilliant analysis of some problems, but fails to present a prescription for action that will be accepted by the electorate, or that would work in the real world. There is no evidence that voters want corporate socialism; or that Britain, of all countries, could take an isolationist road to prosperity.

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