By Colin Hay (auth.)

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In this respect, as in many others, Cameron’s Conservatives and their coalition partners are no more carriers of an alternative economic paradigm than the government of Gordon Brown they replaced – nor have they offered an alternative growth model. But there were during the election campaign – as there remain today – significant differences in emphasis between the parties on economic policy. Indeed, perhaps predictably, as time has passed so the differences have increased. First, although they did not explicitly deny that they would have engaged in the same public underwriting of the banking sector, the Conservatives were clearly much more uneasy about deficit financing and the associated ratcheting up of public debt.

The question of Labour’s culpability: falling out of love with prudence? 1057/9781137360519 From Bubble Burst to Austerity  views of which, see Coates 2009; Pemberton 2009; Thain 2009). This is a tricky issue. For, in the end, what matters politically is not whether and to what extent we, but the electorate, held, hold and continue to hold Labour, when it was in office, culpable – and, perhaps, no less significantly whether and to what extent that sense of culpability persists. Whether it deserves to be held culpable is a secondary and a more narrowly academic consideration.

1057/9781137360519  The Failure of Anglo-liberal Capitalism economy – an economy which can and will no longer be able to afford the public sector to which it had previously become accustomed. Unremarkably this alternative vantage point generates very different expectations about the likely effects of deficit reduction – expectations, I would contend, much closer to exhibited patterns of economic performance since 2010 than, say, government or Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) growth projections.

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