Andrew Hindmoor (University of Sheffield and University of Queensland), ‘Through the looking glass: Austerity and the left in Britain’
This is the fourth instalment of the semester two seminar series organised by the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. We are pleased to be jointly hosting this seminar with the Department of Government and International Relations.
Date and Location
Tuesday 4 October 2016, Darlington Centre Boardroom, 12.00pm-1.30pm (note different time and date to usual)
Madeleine Pill, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gareth Bryant, email@example.com
Our sense of history defines how we think about who we are. The left has a pretty clear sense of Britain’s recent history. It is the history of austerity. The Conservatives returned to office in 2010 and reverted to type. They cut taxes and slashed public expenditure and brushed aside anyone who dared suggest any economic alternatives. The costs of austerity were loaded on to the poor. Labour lost in 2015 because it failed to challenge the Conservatives and instead offered the electorate austerity-light. I think this history is wrong. Austerity is one part of a larger story. The left holds to a remorselessly bleak view of British political history – one in which Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979 marked the start of a still-continuing decline and fall marked by inequality, social decay, rampant individualism, political failure and, above all, the triumph of a free-market neoliberal ideology. This is wrong because Britain has in many respects become a much more politically progressive country over the last four decades.