How to Write an Article Saying Absolutely Nothing at all

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Ben Cohen
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DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 -Peter Mandelson, C...

Lord Peter Mandelson has penned an interesting article published in the NewStatesman on the European Left's need to intelligently reform its agenda to become more in tune with globalization.

It's interesting because it gives an insight into a politician who thrived in an era of triangulation and political doublespeak. Mandelson has written an amazing 'non article' where he doesn't actually say anything at all - the hallmark of a New Labour acolyte.

The article is titled ''Say no to Protectionism' - a bold statement designed to grab the readers attention. The problem is, nowhere in the article does Mandelson say anything about saying no to protectionism. Instead, he talks vaguely about the instability of globalization and the inherent problems of an overly financialized economy, then goes on to say that the Left needs to be careful about dismissing globalization.

The crux of his (non) argument:

If the left's strategy is to take back a greater measure of control over our economic lives there are plenty of credible candidates. Tougher regulation of financial markets will help, as will promoting greater long-termism in investment. Reducing deficits at an appropriate pace will help keep the bond market off our backs. But the most important focus for the left should be on equipping people to live in an uncertain economic world, not shutting that world out. Railing against globalisation misses the target.

And that's about as detailed as it gets. Mandelson says something about having an 'open and competitive economy' and focusing on 'growth' while balancing it with deficit reduction. In other words, the Left needs to triangulate and be business friendly like New Labour was when he was in power.

I'm guessing Mandelson must be pretty bored now he's out of government and is churning out articles to stay relevant. Problem is, centrism and third way politics aren't exactly grabbing European's attention in the middle of one of the worst economic crises in modern history. Mandelson bears responsibility for crafting Britain's economic policies before the markets imploded. He was a key member of government when the crisis occurred (he was the European Commissioner for Trade), and he wasn't banging the drums for regulation beforehand. In short, he doesn't have much credibility on economics so should probably stay quiet and write about something else.

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