Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cruddas n Taleb

These two pieces are from/about two people who are saying some fairly interesting things. The piece by Jon Cruddas is a week old and has been done to death elsewhere, but I thought I'd plant my flag here and say I think he might be talking a bit of sense. I've seen him speak once or twice (for example in support of the Living Wage campaign) and been fairly impressed.

There is still a big hole in Labour's strategic thinking, demonstrated by the way we are polarised between More New Labour and Tack To The Left as the way out of our current position. Cruddas has correctly argued that this is a false choice. I still think some of his arguments - "Labour can enforce fairer prices" - haven't been properly thought through, but he strikes me as one of the Labour MPs more likely to come out with some decent ideas given a chance.

Meanwhile this weekend the Sunday Times ran an interview with Naseem Nicholas Taleb that is worth a read. It's set up in a bit of a false way. He didn't 'predict' the credit crunch, for example, and as he himself points out that was not a Black Swan since it was widely anticipated. As I've said before, anyone with a good grasp of probability probably finds Taleb's stuff a bit underwhelming, and his writing style obviously annoys a fair few writers. But I like a bit of iconoclasm, and I struggle with all that Bayesian type stuff, so I like the bloke.

7 comments:

Charlie Marks said...

Labour's choice is: side with working people and fight the Tories on the fairness and justice agenda, or be reduced to a third party in much of the UK. That's if the party survives financially in the next four weeks... Unfortunately, the policy agenda will not be decided by party members or affiliates, but by the New Labour clique.

Tom P said...

Very strange time politically. I can't claim to understand it properly. Argh!

Charlie Marks said...

I hope you understand that your party is on the verge of going bust...

Tom P said...

Financially, but not politically... unlike the non-Labour left ;-)

I meant to write a post about this stuff yesterday. For me this is the end of a very long cycle - one that began ewith getting interested in politics as a teenager and then having to wait for years for the Tories to lose.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I assumed that was a 'final' moment. I never really considered what a resurgent Tory party would like like. So it's a strange time for me. For younger Labour supporters, who only really know 1997 onwards, it must be quite destabilising.

Time to regroup and rethink...

Phil BC said...

I remember being in a political science seminar just four years ago talking about whether the Tories will ever get their act together. I didn't think I'd find out inside the subsequent four years!

Tom P said...

And at the same time the Left (of all shades) has collapsed in on itself.

Charlie Marks said...

I do wish you'd stop using the term "left". It's meaningless. As it stands the Labour party has lost its image as a party for working people, which allows Cameron to triangulate on issues of poverty - something unimaginable before now.

Within Labour, I think Compass offers the best analysis of the direction that could be taken. However, I can't see much change with Gordon in charge, and there's a narrative problem with any pursuit of more progressive policies, namely the talk of a "lurch to the left", a phrase that makes my stomach turn.