The comparison with Labour today is striking, and few in the party seem able to learn the lessons from history. Two articles appeared today—one by me—involving the word 'delusion'. Over at Spiked, Brendan O'Neil marvels at Labour's cognitive dissonance.
After it ditched everything it once claimed to believe in, launched three disastrous wars, obliterated key freedoms, and went from viewing the working classes as potential voters to branding them a dumb, unhealthy blob in need of constant policing, you might think there is nothing left to admire in the Labour Party. But there is one thing. Its powers of self-delusion.
These are so strong, so unshakeable, that they cannot help but inspire a kind of bizarre, wide-eyed awe in anyone who beholds them. And they have been on full display following the election of Ed Miliband as the new Labour leader.
And at the Institute of Economics Affairs blog, I discuss Milliband Minor's wide-eyed faith in a certain piece of political junk science.
As Labour draws backs into its left-wing comfort zone, the easy answers being peddled in The Spirit Level will continue to hold a certain allure. Buttressed by soft science and sold under the guise of equality, the reheated policies of the Michael Foot era can almost appear new and exciting. In truth, reducing income inequality is easily achieved, if there is a will to do so and if one is prepared for the unintended consequences. There are no such easy answers for reviving the economy and tackling complex social problems.
The electorate understands this. Across Europe, the economic crisis has failed to provoke the backlash against capitalism that was predicted (and hoped for) in some quarters. Even in Sweden, voters have condemned the Social Democratic Party and its Spirit Level-loving leader to an unprecedented second successive electoral defeat. If he wants to avoid the same fate, Labour’s new leader will have to draw on more than populist paperbacks and wishful thinking.
Please take a look...