I've finally had a chance to have a quick look at what Nick Clegg said yesterday. This jumped out, when he was Labour bashing (which seemed his main purpose):
Because let me tell you this: You don’t play politics at a time of national crisis. You don’t play politics with the economy. And you never, ever play politics with people’s jobs.
Hang on a minute. Look what Clegg's saying:
- When markets fail politicians should not intervene
- In a crisis politicians should shut up
- Government has no role in the economy
- The level of employment is not the government's responsibility.
That's what this means. And it's pure neoliberalism.
It's also one of the founding hypotheses of my book - The Courageous State. In it I argue that neoliberalism has bred politicians who think that nothing they can do will beat the market so they'd best leave it alone. That's what Clegg was saying - that markets should be left to sort out crises.
Neoliberal theory is wrong of course. It creates the crises we're having. And it has no solution to them. But none the less Clegg wants to walk away from his responsibility to exercise judgement, to correct market failure, to ensure we have full employment - the very things politicians are meant to do.
No wonder he's unfit for his office and his party is consigned to the history books.