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The Guardian view on a death of consensus: politicians are having different nightmares

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D o political parties concur because they agree about their goals or their fears? Phil Tinline argues in his book The Death of Consensus that it is shared nightmares, not aspirations, that create unanimity in politics.

This might explain why a new consensus seemed to form earlier this year – personified in the Economist by the character of Ms Heeves, a portmanteau of the Conservative chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and his Labour shadow, Rachel Reeves.Both politicians were temperamentally unsuited to the radical policy experimentation of their parties under populist leadership.

Neither would accept the characterisation that they agreed on much. But faced with an inflationary shock, both Mr Hunt and Ms Reeves retreated to a cosy consensus of sound money, pro-business policies.

With an election likely next year, that period of agreement is ending. This is no bad thing.Ms Reeves this week laid out her political dividing lines in a speech and policy paper in Washington.

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