Look, I don’t want to hammer at this. Too much.
What I’m getting at is a simple question: what is this magnificent Tory “Long-term economic plan”?
The Tory’s own attempt at a definition is on their own web-site:
That got them through the election campaign, and — as Larry Elliott succinctly derived it:
To amend Abraham Lincoln’s famous saying, in a UK general election you don’t need to fool all of the people all of the time, you just need to fool enough of the people for the duration of a six-week campaign.
Round about now the wheels start to fall off that abortion. Notice, for example, the conflation of “capping welfare” and “working to control immigration”. Not, note as well, the more pointed, direct and verbally-efficient “controlling immigration” — this on the day we learn Margaret Thatcher’s government enters the surreal:
Britain’s National Archives on Friday released a 1983 government file called “Replantation of Northern Ireland from Hong Kong,” which showed British officials discussing a far-fetched proposal to settle 5.5 million Hong Kong people in a newly built “city state” between Coleraine and Londonderry in the uncertain years before Britain handed back the former British colony to Chinese rule.
This, we are assured was a Civil Service “joke”. That’s ignoring the parallel fact that the great Edward Pearce (who lives just down the road from Redfellow Cott), about the same time, was suggesting the solution for Hull was to hand it over to the Hong Kong Chinese.
So I, for one, am not convinced that this “Long-term economic plan” is worth the paper it hasn’t been printed on. Even Stalin and the East Germans put their Five Year Plans into written form.
… and I do so hope someone points this pout to Gids Osborne.
This “Long-term economic plan” had a prior existence, out of the same putative 18th-baronet’s mouth:
A generation ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable. The Irish Republic was seen as Britain’s poor and troubled country cousin, a rural backwater on the edge of Europe. Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn.
For good reasons Osborne’s speech of 23rd February 2006 has been purged from Tory records and Tory thinking.
Still, we know now what Osborne’s “Long-term economic plan”, Mark One, was about:
Some will quibble there: all capitalism involves cronies. Chomsky nailed that in one:
What’s capitalism supposed to be? Yeah, it’s crony capitalism. That’s capitalism, you do things for your friends, your associates, they do things for you, you try to influence the political system, obviously. You can read about this in Adam Smith. If people read Adam Smith instead of just worshipping him, they could learn a lot about how economies work. So, for example, he’s concerned mostly with England, and he pointed out that in England, and I’m virtually quoting, he said the merchants and manufacturers are the principal architects of government policy and they make sure their own interests are well cared for, however grievous the effects on others…
So, next week, when Osborne spouts his umpteenth “emergency budget’, there’s just one more question, at the heart of the “long-term economic plan”: