British blogger Tom Doran wants his nation's left to embrace free markets:
Apologies for the lengthy quote. It's really good, and you should read it in full.
I can report any number of dispiriting conversations with fellow Labour voters in which they tut over the opening of a new supermarket or the ubiquity of corporate sponsorship. Beneath it all is the terrible knowledge that they have thoroughly lost the majority of the country. When the average voter looks at Tesco, they do not see a sinister corporate megalith, raping and pillaging their way of life. Rather they see that keeping their family fed and clothed is now that much cheaper and easier. Moreover, they don't believe this because they've been brainwashed into false consciousness by consumerist propaganda. They believe it because it's true, which brings me back to the washing machine.
This single invention liberated countless millions from needless drudgery. Now take a look around you. When I do, I can see an electric light, a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a laptop computer, a blow-heater and a mobile phone. In all likelihood, you are also surrounded by a similar array of man-made objects. Each one represents the endpoint of a long process of winnowing, pruning and perfecting, driven entirely by the market. Even where government investment can get an idea off the ground, it still takes the forces of supply and demand to drive prices down and put once-miraculous developments within anyone's grasp. Taken cumulatively, the fruits of capitalism have produced an improvement in quality of life that was once unimaginable.
This essential truth does not oblige those of us on the left to become uncritical free market fundamentalists. On the contrary: for all its genius, capitalism will continue by its very nature to have victims and losers, and they aren't going to get any sympathy from the right (as the current government makes abundantly clear). Labour can and should be proud of the welfare state it did so much to bring into being. But we are obliged to recognise the facts. Namely that, for most voters, especially Labour's core vote, the market is not a cold tyrant or a cruel exploiter. It is a liberator, perhaps the greatest in history.
There are still many hard years ahead for British workers, and only a strong private-sector recovery will bring them to an end. Any self-respecting party of the working class needs to make that their primary goal and truly embrace the market instead of tolerating it.