Letter From London

Letter From London

A few years ago, pundits on both sides of the water were pleased to announce the imminent convergence of British and American politics. There were said to be international forces at work too powerful for merely national political cultures to resist. Between them Reagan and Thatcher (with some help from Gorbachev and Yeltsin) had demolished their two countries’ left-wing parties, big governments, and welfare states, but also carried their own free-market policies too far; in 1992 it was confidently expected that both British and American electorates would turn to parties of the center: Clinton’s New Democrats and a Clintonized Labor party.

Since 1992, however, punditry has fallen strangely silent on this theme. Only half of the electoral program was realized—Clinton’s victory but not Labor’s. Then it appeared that neither was Clinton stable nor was the American electorate in the mood for centrist consolidation. What about the other half of the forecast? What h

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Duggan | University of California Press Gardels