Author Archive

Roger Liddle

Roger Liddle is a Labour Whip and a frontbench spokesperson on Europe and Foreign Affairs in the House of Lords. Roger joined the Lords as a life Peer in 2010.

Roger’s background is in policy development and politics, with a particular focus on Europe. He was special adviser on European Affairs to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair (1997 – 2004) and chaired the Government’s New Industry, New Jobs Advisory Panel in BIS (2009-2010). From 2004-2007, Roger served in the European Commission, first in the Cabinet of Peter Mandelson (the EU Trade Commissioner) and then as economic adviser to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. From 2007 to 2010 he chaired Cumbria Vision, the sub-regional economic development partnership in his home County.

He currently chairs Policy Network, the international progressive think tank, and is a Director of the University of Cumbria.

Roger has written extensively on European and British Affairs, including The Blair Revolution (with Peter Mandelson, 1996), Global Europe, Social Europe (with Anthony Giddens and Patrick Diamond, 2006) and Beyond New Labour (with Patrick Diamond, 2009), as well as several other Fabian Society and Policy Network pamphlets.

He is the co-author of two papers for the President of the Commission’s think tank, the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, on “Europe’s Social Reality” (February 2007) and the “Single Market: Yesterday and Tomorrow” (July 2006). He has contributed to various edited collections on the Single Market, the Social Challenges facing Europe, The Case for a Social Investment Strategy and Britain’s European Policy.

Labour’s challenge is to position the active state and responsible ownership as essential prerequisites of business success in an age of intensive global competition Among the most insistent questions in British politics is what model of capitalism the UK needs to remain a wealthy and cohesive society. Since the financial crisis, public disquiet about avaricious global capitalism has been palpable. The growing unpopularity of business and large corporations risks undermining the moral compact in favour of open markets. The backlash against the private sector is hardly surprising: when financial institutions broke down following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007, the costs fell not on wealthy financiers but society as a whole in an era when middle income households were suffering an unprecedented squeeze. The irony is that both bankers and the left have faltered in the wake of the crash. Far from gaining politically from the ‘crisis of capitalism’, the Labour party has been left utterly disorientated. The New Labour model of political economy was shaken to its core, having pledged allegiance both to Thatcherite deregulated markets and an overly complacent social democratic model of ‘tax and spend’. Despite delivering forty four consecutive quarters of nominal GDP growth, Labour’s embrace of 1980s neo-liberalism guaranteed neither economic stability nor the sound productive base necessary to sustain long-term social investment. The Blair/Brown economic legacy was one of under-investment in key infrastructure, notably transport and energy; a continuing decline in manufacturing contributing to a structural balance of payments deficit; an accelerating regional economic divide; and a speculative property and construction boom financing public and private consumption through highly leveraged government and household debt. Not everything about the pre-2008 model was proved wrong: far from it. Research, innovation and high-tech start-ups flourished; labour market flexibility generally kept unemployment down; Britain’s cities underwent a renaissance; the United Kingdom remained a successful base for global companies. In the meantime, financial services – including the City of London – have bounced back from the crisis as the leading-edge professional services centre in the EU.