I spoke to some people who would call themselves firmly ‘left’ in the political spectrum on both economic and social grounds and they were opposed to exit and wanted to strengthen integration. The major reasoning that I could deduce for that extraordinary ‘left’ position in the current context was that the extreme right were leading the charge on the exit option and the ‘left’ couldn’t afford to be associated with Euroscepticism.
That also amazed me. That there could be such a lack of tactical leadership aspiration on the ‘left’. I argued that the challenge was to articulate the differences (and there are huge differences in terms of social policy and attitudes to immigration, climate change etc) even if on some of the economic issues, the left and the right were one.
If you go back to Germany in the early 1930s, the National Socialists rejected the orthodox (neo-classical) policy prescription for solving the Great Depression and were Keynesians before Keynes. The macroeconomic management was excellent and allowed growth in employment to return much more quickly than elsewhere. Sure enough, their national aspirations were appalling as were there social policies. But should the ‘left’ have rejected major macroeconomic public sector stimulus packages just because the Nazis also were doing it?
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