Monday night saw my farewell performance as a member of the London Region Executive Committee. I admit that it was high time that I took a step back, as I'd lost my edge on a committee that had given the impression of a lack of respect.
Last night, I celebrated my new-found freedom by attending the launch of Stephen Haseler's new book, "Meltdown - how the Masters of the Universe destroyed the West's power and prosperity" at London Metropolitan University. Professor Haseler is a friend of Ros's, and his view is that the neo-conservative vision of low regulation, encouraged by the triumph of capitalism over communism, combined with poor political leadership is the cause of much of our current discomfort. As interesting as Stephen was, his fellow panel members, Lord Skidelsky and Larry Elliott, added further intellectual lustre to the evening.
Stephen managed to bring together a whole clutch of concepts which have nagged at me like a slightly loose tooth for some time. The notion that the societal norm of debt-averseness has been overturned, that there could not be a reversal of the previous inevitable advance of living standards and of personal wealth has seemed, to this bureaucrat at least, to be flawed in terms of ts credibility. Without Vince Cable's lonely campaigning over the years, the strategy of debt-fueled growth, promoted by the Government and basically unchallenged by the Conservatives, would have been unanimously supported.
The audience was interesting too. Given Professor Haseler's somewhat social democratic view of the world, the presence of Progressive Vision's own Svengali, Mark Littlewood, was perhaps a mite unexpected. Whilst they share a love of Championship football teams (QPR and Southampton respectively), I am unconvinced that they would see eye to eye on many aspects of the book.
So, all in all, a thought-provoking evening out...