Political labels such as left and right, we told ourselves when the Cold War ended two decades ago, are now meaningless. Yet we still use them, pondering endlessly which of the Eds, Miliband or Balls, is the most “left-wing” of the candidates to lead Labour. This may be a generational problem — too many of the ponderers grew up under Harold Wilson — or it may be for want of anything better. But the economic crisis should give us a further explanation: it is that until the Left (as it were) works out what it actually stands for, no new label will be forthcoming or, more important, convincing. to 10,000 students to help them to study outside the region, and to environmentalism.
If I were running a left-wing political party, that is the sort of combination I would go for: acceptance of the market, social mobility, the environment, plus attacks on privileged groups or vested interests in whatever country I was operating in. Whether I would be elected must remain, of course, a matter for speculation.