Don’t let the Tories’ free market rhetoric fool you

I listened to chancellor George Osborne’s speech to the Tory faithful, and noted somewhat sceptically all the good-sounding verbiage about strivers and entrepreneurs and all the rest, as it was all sandwiched between declarations of how well the government is “running the economy” and interventionist gimmicks, such as the proposals concerning share-owner workers.

The sad truth is George does not realise that the good-sounding half of his speech was contradicted and undermined by the other half, where he showed that he is as much wedded to state intervention as Labour. The best we can hope for is that they are better at managing the bloated monstrosity inherited from 100 years of ever-growing state power.

If George wants to help, here are two things he could do tomorrow, the economic benefits of which would be immediate and widespread:

Slash fuel duty

Abolish Employer NI

5 Comments

  1. I will always have some affection for the Tories, but they are like a lover who cannot stop cheating. In time, I do think the CP leadership will be forced to give up this mushy centrism for a more genuine and radical politics of liberty. The fallacies of Keynes can’t have much time left, at which point there will be nowhere else to turn but to free market solutions.

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  2. Unfortunately I don’t share your optimism.

    “The fallacies of Keynes can’t have much time left, at which point there will be nowhere else to turn but to free market solutions.”

    Tragically, the political/media class believe that what you and I would call Keynesian fallacies are actually the free market, red in tooth and claw, so when it doesn’t work out, what we will be told is we need to try Keynesianism. The same thing happens with Marxists. Neither set of deluded followers recognise just how fucking successful they have been, so they never take responsibility for the ongoing damage to our economy and society caused by these poisonous creeds.

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  3. My feeling is that the developments in the US since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 will destroy these modern notion of Keynes and central planning in time. We might then hope to gain some traction for our ideas at the heart of the UK political system, which might mean as a faction of the Conservative Party.

    Why do I say that?

    Because it should become obvious (if not already), even to the political/medial class that whatever trajectory the US has been on, it has not been a free market one. And subsequently, that the gigantic fiscal and monetary stimulus the world at large has been engaging in is nothing other than government chicanery. When these experiments ultimately come crashing down under a stagnant and debt-ridden economy, I just cannot see anyone credibly blaming the free market for the mess. Government interventionism, just like pure socialism before it, will be discredited by the history of human of experience.

    Do we not see signs of this in the UK? Doesn’t the mere fact that the liberal BBC’s decision to run a pretty fair 1 hour programme on Hayek indicate that the wheel of ideas could be turning in the right direction, albeit very slowly?

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  4. I say again, I don’t share your optimism.

    “When these experiments ultimately come crashing down under a stagnant and debt-ridden economy, I just cannot see anyone credibly blaming the free market for the mess. ”

    Even so (and I have my doubts), what will people demand? A return to laissez-faire? More likely they’ll demand the government steps in to take over. What will the Marxists be saying? That’s an easy one: aha, the inevitable collapse of capitalism, leading on to the inevitable arrival of socialism. And the Keynesians will claim not enough was done.

    We have a major task on our hands to make the economic arguments to support economic liberty, they will not even be heard if we don’t between the statists fighting amongst themselves for their turn to ‘run’ the economy. As for the BBC, I wasn’t too impressed with the Hayek, documentary, but it may well have a positive effect. If it leads people to read ‘The Road to Serfdom’, that will be a good thing indeed.

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  5. I certainly wouldn’t rule out that possibility, Richard.

    But good may come of it.

    After all, when the UK had the choice in that very tumultuous year of 1979 whether to march on towards socialism or choose freedom they chose freedom.

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