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Protesting too much: Alastair Darling's constructions after the financial crash

Walsh, Catherine 2016. Protesting too much: Alastair Darling's constructions after the financial crash. Critical Discourse Studies 13 (1) , pp. 41-56. 10.1080/17405904.2015.1074599

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How did UK political elites publicly represent the economy after the Financial Crash? In his budget speeches, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling (2007–2010), talked about finance and mortgages much more, and taxation much less, than one would expect by comparing him to other chancellors. With his rhetoric he constructed a vigorous defence of the financial sector and mortgage market, and described limited technical reforms comfortably. But as well as avoiding taxation as a topic, he appeared less comfortable and more inconsistent defending his taxation policies. Refusing to increase corporate or capital-gains taxes, he argued instead that top-percentile earners, banks, and tax evaders should pay more tax. Coming many months before Occupy would encamp at St. Paul’s, these are surprising characterizations of top-earner and financial taxation from an elite orator. I argue that Darling understood the power of anti-elite critique, and so was willing to criticize some limited and select elements of financial activity and taxation in order to protect more fundamental aspects of the financial system, particularly the capital upon which it depends. Via an appropriation of critical language about finance and the Crash, his elite rhetoric defensively protected owned-capital and corporate profit from other claims.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 1740-5904
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 August 2017
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 15:41

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