It’s time to build bridges to preserve all that’s good about democracy and the mixed economy

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You can be cynical if you like when Philip Stephens writes this in the FT:

The beginning of wisdom for parties of the left – and, for that matter, of the moderate right – is that populism can be beaten only from what is best called the hard centre. Globalisation cannot be wished away but nor can it continue to distribute all its gains to the richest. Closing borders will impoverish everyone but communities need help to cushion the social upheaval. Patriotism is to be celebrated but not allowed to bleed into xenophobia. Global corporations must pay taxes, and boardrooms curb the excesses of executive pay.

Oft-drawn parallels with the 1930s are at once inexact and unnerving. Too many people have lost faith in the system. And something has gone seriously wrong when voters in the rich democracies consistently report that they expect their children will be worse off. Populists feed on such pessimism. What politics needs is the optimism of a muscular centre.

You can say what does the FT know about the left?

And you can speculate that this really just means more of the same that we've had for 35 years.

Or you can read this as something else. You can see it as a hint that others are saying that the time for real new thinking has arrived, as I have been doing here and here.

Global corporations paying tax and curbing excess pay are not enough to keep people happy; not by a long way. But maybe, just maybe, the realisation is dawning that unless people do share in the opportunity that democracy and a mixed economy can provide then something much worse is on offer.

And it is time to build bridges with those who share that understanding.