Has political consensus become a pipe dream? | Letters


Doug Simpson, Dr Nicholas Falk and Susan Zagor respond to an article by Martin Kettle on the polarisation of politics. Plus Terry Ward on Labour’s source of inspiration

Perhaps the liberal democratic managed capitalism desired by Martin Kettle did exist in the 1950s, including the new welfare state in the UK (The toxic polarisation of our politics can be reversed, but it will take humility, 26 November). It didn’t prove robust – the Conservatives moved to the right and embraced free-market capitalism; regulation exists but is weak and largely captured by “experts” from the relevant market sectors.

It is difficult to see how the idealised consensus can be created today, especially within one state. Multinational companies moving activities to poorly regulated locations and tax havens means that regulation must be multinational. The EU is attempting to regulate and tax tech and online firms, cooperation with which the UK has abandoned. The replacement of Donald Trump by Joe Biden doesn’t mean that economic nationalism will go out of fashion.

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