Wolfgang Münchau rightly raises the alarm (The Remain campaign is losing the argument over Europe, April 4). Indeed, we are not sleeping walking our way to the Brexit; we are rushing headlong towards the door.
Pro Europe campaigners appear unable to marshal any meaningfully engaging reasons to remain in the EU. They seem unable or unwilling to find anything good to say about European membership, choosing to focus on complex cost/benefit analyses that are meaningless to the average citizen.
Earlier this month David Cameron pledged “an all-out assault on poverty”, committing his party to tackle entrenched social problems and promote social mobility. It’s a considerable task: meritocracy and mobility have for decades proved illusory to the British public, a rhetorical mirage conjured at party conference but rarely experienced in reality. Cameron is battling a forceful tide – a spate of recent studies suggests that economic inequality is on the rise, at the same time as mobility diminishes.
As Sir David Walker says in his City Sage interview in the April/May FW, “By far the greatest challenge facing the banking sector is to restore confidence and trust.”
He notes that banks are being “forced to tick stricter regulatory boxes, rather than doing the right thing because it is right.”
Speaking at a recent conference on Finance & Society organized by The Institute for New Economic Thinking, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde went further, saying “We need to build a financial system that is both more ethical and oriented more to the needs of the real economy – a financial system that serves society and not the other way round.”
These and other similar expert observations point to the compelling need to change the culture of the financial sector.
Danny Kruger makes an important case for David Cameron’s “One Nation” government to address a welfare state founded on the ambition of meeting all the needs of all the people, an ambition we must agree is no longer sustainable.
Faced with the need to make even more challenging cuts to government spending, the Prime Minister should not be afraid to reignite his vision for a Big Society that embraces not just citizens as good neighbors, but also the providers of private capital.
Making the case for capitalism should not be a PR exercise with attention grabbing labels such as inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible. No amount of artful messaging can alter observable or perceived reality. It does, however, require much more effective communication than we have seen to date if the case is to succeed.
We are at a critical moment in history, where many orthodoxies and shibboleths of faith are being challenged and rejected by citizens around the world.
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