If anyone was in any doubt about the impact the financial crisis is having on the world and on world politics, one only has to look at what happened in the UK on Monday to get the answer: big changes are on the way.
Had you suggested even a year ago that a UK New Labour government would signal a new 45p in the pound income tax rate on high income earners; increase payroll taxes for public services; ramp the budget deficit up to 118 BILLION pounds sterling and cause part of that by a cut to the VAT rate.... you would have been dreaming, in fantasy land.
But then a year ago, if you had suggested that the United States government, sort of in the hands of the Republicans, would offer $700bn as a bailout of the banks, followed a month later by $800bn more purchase of distressed assets, I and everyone else would probably have suggested you had gone barking mad.
The simple fact is that for thirty years the West operated in a fantasy land of its own making. We thought we could borrow and hope forever, to bridge the gap between rising expectations of living standards, and lackluster per capita economic growth.
People, smart people, honestly thought that liberalising markets was always the right thing to do - even in finance, and that even the creation of more and more assets that were more and more distant from the real economy was good for finance and good for the rest of society.
The events of the past year or so, which have really come to the fore in the past few months, put paid to that for once and for all. The whole neo-liberal framework of "leave it alone" is now shown to be what those of us on the left generally argued it was: bankrupt.
People have now come rather hurriedly to the realisation that it is only the State as the embodiment of the public interest that can withstand the shocks and unravelling that is to begin. Which is why the debate in Britain today and in the United States during the whole course of the Presidential election campaign highlighted rather more fundamental differences than has been the case.
Briefly, in democratic politics we now have a social democratic view that says the state must intervene to protect the public interest, and we have a neoliberal view that says we should keep the state in its box, except for the current crisis.
It gives me great comfort to belong to a party and a movement whose principles are the right ones to deal with this crisis and to make sure that the recovery from it is designed with the public interest in mind, rather than the financial interests of those who gambled and lost being protected once again.
Of course, at home in NZ it is a bittersweet intellectual victory, because we've just lost the ability to put those principles to work. The upside is that the work of the past nine years has so changed the National Party that it has little choice but to work in the framework of moderate, social democratic values that the New Zealand public support.
The extent to which the new government remains true to what they said in the campaign, as opposed to the rather more savage and offensive liberal extremism that still beats in the chests of National's true believers (and their ACTivist sidekicks), is the extent to which it has a chance of winning the next election. Any deviation back to the horrors of 1990s extremism, ignoring the lessons of this financial crisis, will do NZ great damage, and lead to a very big repair job for the incoming Labour government.
Our task as an opposition will be to spell out clearly why it is that our values are the best fit for generating the recovery New Zealand needs once the storm has passed, and why, unlike any of the other parties, our arguments are actually ones that a) will work in practice, and b) we believe in.
Been travelling for work, it's conference season. The next conference is in India. I am not convinced it is worth going there, given yesterday's horrific events. Maybe home early which would be fantastic.