Lessons from Norway
It is common wisdom that back in the 1970s and 1980s the Hard Left in the Labour Party, led by Tony Benn, made Labour unelectable with their extremist ideas.
One of Tony Benn's extremist left-wing ideas was that the British government should keep the North Sea oil money ring-fenced for specific projects and ensure that the government planned to ensure maximum benefit from the revenues from the oilfields. Maggie Thatcher, of course, opposed this and spent the oil money on tax cuts for the rich, profits for private companies, closing down coal mines and out of work benefits for millions of people.
In contrast, Norway decided on the same approach as Tony Benn recommended, and have built up a multi hundred billion dollar State Petroleum Fund.
As a result, in 2009, the Norwegian political debate is 'how shall we spend the vast sums of money that we have', and the British political debate is 'how savagely can we cut spending and raise taxes'. And last week, our comrades in the Norwegian Labour Party were re-elected, increasing their share of the vote compared to 2005.
But, y'know, thank goodness Maggie Thatcher 'saved' Britain from the loony left who wanted Britain to have its own sovereign wealth fund.