It is an irony of contemporary European politics that the essentials of a neoliberal project – the subordination of society to market discipline – is being consolidated by social democratic governments (eg. Crouch 1997). This articulation of social democracy with economic liberalism, pursued in a political project referred to as the Third Way, sets high demands on ideology in the Gramscian sense, as a multi-levelled phenomenon that contains and fuses a wide range of more or less coherent discursive forms from 'common sense' to 'philosophy' (Gramsci 1971: 326–43, 348–51, 367; Hall et al. 1977: 46–52; Mouffe 1979: 185–88, 190–92, 195–98; Simon 1982: 58–66).1