Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Ratchet Effect.

The ratchet effect is the process whereby when left wing parties get into government they move the country to the left, but when right wing parties enter government they simply hold things steady and rarely move things rightwards.

Part of the reason is that the Tories are often wimps and because political insiders are often more centrist than their supporters. However I wonder if the current economic crisis demonstrates another reason why. If the Tories win the next election they will inherit an economy that has been utterly wrecked by the global recession and the monumental incompetence of Labour in office. There will be very little appetite to reform public services or to shrink the state in a serious manner. This was also true of incoming Conservative governments in 1950 and 1979.

In contrast when Labour took office in 1997 they took over an economy that had been reformed and was growing strongly and was in a very healthy state. The opportunity to reform anything from welfare to schools to healthcare was huge.

4 comments:

Umbongo said...

"In contrast when Labour took office in 1997 they took over an economy that had been reformed and was growing strongly and was in a very healthy state. The opportunity to reform anything from welfare to schools to healthcare was huge."

True: but, despite the state of the 1997 national finances being very much to the credit of the Conservatives, don't expect to hear much of that from Cameron, Osborne, Letwin or Hammond. After all, the Conservatives had to be a wee bit "nasty" to get the economy right.

If Osborne's interview this morning with Humphrys is anything to go by, all Osborne now wants is the banks to lend more - to anyone. He's switched in 24 hours from blaming Brown for the whole mess to blaming Brown and the banks for the banks not lending more.

Ross said...

"After all, the Conservatives had to be a wee bit "nasty" to get the economy right."

Running from their own record in government isn't good and lends credence to Labour's narrative.

Anonymous said...

"The ratchet effect is the process whereby when left wing parties get into government they move the country to the left, but when right wing parties enter government they simply hold things steady and rarely move things rightwards."

Ross, any chance of you expanding on that statement?

Only its a bit hanging in the air from where I'm sat.

The only left wing party in Britain is Labour, so how come you say "parties".

Personally i dont see any "Ratchet Effect".

What i do see is social legislation based on the advice of the same people who ever is in power.

Ross said...

"The only left wing party in Britain is Labour, so how come you say "parties"."

I've heard the phrase being used to describe events in other countries, so that part of what I wrote did not refer to Britain exclusively.

"What i do see is social legislation based on the advice of the same people who ever is in power."

I think it is clearer with the economic side of things, Labour increases the scope of the state and the Tories rarely if ever roll it back when they are in office.