Ten years after the financial crash, the timid left should be full of regrets | Larry Elliott

Capitalism’s near-death experience with the banking crisis was a golden opportunity for progressives. But they blew it

Placards are being prepared. Photo-opportunities are being organised. A list of demands is being drawn up by a coalition of pressure groups, unions and NGOs. Yes, preparations are well under way for protests to mark next month’s 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers – the pivotal moment in the global financial crisis.

Make no mistake, the fact that events will take place in all the world’s financial centres is no cause for celebration. On the contrary, it is a sign of failure. The banks were never broken up. Plans for a financial transactions tax are gathering dust. Politicians toyed with the idea of a green new deal and then promptly forgot about it. There never was a huge swing of the pendulum away from the prevailing orthodoxy, just a brief nudge that was quickly reversed. The brutal fact is that the left had its chance, and it blew it.

Related: Labour condemns ‘sickening’ Lehman Brothers reunion party

The process of challenging business as usual lacked a unifying analysis of what had caused the crisis

Related: The Lehman Brothers party is a red herring – it’s the system that stinks | Stefan Stern

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