Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Unpublished NS letter on editorial policy

The Leader`s summary of the dire effects of the ideologically-driven austerity measures ends with an admission that this "is not left-wing alarmism" (After austerity, 7th December, 2018). Its conclusion, therefore, seems rather bizarre; the statement that the country is "in urgent need of social and economic renewal" is accompanied by the implication that the reason is that the government is "absorbed by the epic task of Brexit"! Does the New Statesman really believe that if it wasn`t for the 2016 referendum result, a Tory administration would have delivered the transformation required? With no workers on company boards, no "burning injustices" removed, but much underfunding of key services, and budgets favouring the rich, where is there an iota of evidence to support this?
     One also wonders why, in the same edition`s "Editor`s Note", Mr Cowley says that in the light of recent events like "the collapse of the centre-left across Europe", what the UK needs is "moderation". Surely the main reason for the decline of the centre-left has been its support for moderate, laissez-faire policies which have failed to rein in either the excesses of capitalism or the rising inequality?
By all means, "take the New Statesman upmarket", but being free from "the clutches of the Labour Party" does not mean unfair criticism of every one of its policies is required; dismissing its electorally-popular pledges to increase the income tax paid by the rich as "unimaginative" (The tax conundrum, 16th November 2018) smacks of unnecessary bias, when for most voters these proposals look about "the best in context"! "Getting the balance right" requires that left-wing solutions are not always lambasted!

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