Profits fuel jobs and innovation

We live in a very regulated world. Modern governments are very powerful, both in laying down detailed controls over business and in commanding huge spending power. We have just seen how this interplay works with vaccines. As government will be the main buyer of the products they have considerable say over the development and production. Whilst the ideas and production emerges from the private sector, government was involved in setting the challenge, offering seedcorn money and advance contracts. There are many other areas where this model has to be used to get breakthroughs given government importance. Energy today is dominated by government rules and controls, with government organising markets for competing businesses to win contracts to a government specification. It needs to get better at what it specifies and how much power it conjures for our use. Defence is of course dominated by government procurement. Railways now are effectively nationalised.

It is important that we do not allow all this to become an argument for more things to be carried out by fully nationalised industries under government direction of innovation, cost structures and production. The UK tried that for some 30 years after the war and fell further and further behind in coal mining, steel production, car production, shipbuilding and other affected areas. The joy of not for profit became the woes of heavily loss making businesses in need of perpetual taxpayer subsidy, arguing over what to close next and who to sack. The well meant five integrated plant investment in steel struggled from the first and spent years of recriminations over which of the works to shut. The coal industry was a major source of industrial tension over how long to keep open high cost mines. We witnessed a bitter retreat from shipyards around the UK. A nationalised industry often hit customers with high prices and sacked many employees at the same time as it wrestled with poor productivity, poor innovation and better overseas competition. The nationalised telephone system backed an out of date mechanical switching system as the USA leapt ahead with new electronic technologies.

We need to make the case again for competition, choice and profits. Competition drives innovation. Monopoly encourages sloth , resting with what the monopolist already has. Allowing consumers choice keeps companies honest. Above all profits are essential to pay for research and development, to make new investments in products and production, and to help pay for new jobs and growth. Profits made by our larger companies are shared with millions of UK citizens through dividends paid to pension funds and insurance companies that look after people’s savings. The government needs to work with the private sector and liberate it more. We need to ask ourselves why the USA has been so much better than the UK/EU at powering the digital revolution and developing most of the great success stories of the digital age in the free world.


  1. agricola
    April 2, 2021

    Railways may well be in effect nationalised. I can almost guarantee that their response to much reduced commuter demand post covid will be continued demand for subsidy. The obscenity of HS2 will continue.
    Government is not qualified to specify anything, it is better left to our enemies and the market place. The destructive scramble for all electric travel clearly demonstrates government ineptitude. Yet again chinese covid set the challenge, the private sector responded and provided the solution. Governments response was for once sensible, provide the cash, the orders subject to approval, and the right person to organise the application of the solution after a government department had demonstrated its inadequacy over PPE supply. It was a Lord Beaverbrook moment. Whoever realised the need for it deserves praise. Now of course it is back in the hands of politicians, specifically on the other side of the Channel, there seems to be a determination to make a political and lethal pigs ear of it. Politicians are mostly not fit for purpose.
    We in the UK and Germany are very good at developing original thought, but useless, with the malicious short termisim of politicians, at commercially exploiting said original thought. Other governments are much better at stealing it or exploiting it. The USA exploits well, the communists steal well. What have we ever got from communism, vodka and sweet and sour prawns. Thats enough for today until the comment fest starts.

    1. Peter Wood
      April 2, 2021

      your comment is well made. What can we draw from such experience. Broadly, when there is a national emergency government participation is needed and directed at getting results. When government goes looking for projects, then, almost invariably money is at best, spent inefficiently, and worst, simply wasted, as in HS2.

      Here’s a weekend project, which frankly scares the pants off me; we are about to send the Navy’s most expensive new project, the carrier Elizabeth 2 and group to the South China sea. Now Google the ‘Shanghai 2020 drone show’ on youtube, and watch and remember, every light is a controlled drone. Now imagine what a few thousand of those would do to a battle group’s radar sensors, followed up by a half dozen hyperspeed ship killing missiles.

      1. nota#
        April 2, 2021

        @Agricla – Elizabeth 2 the first big carrier that can utilize one form of fixed wing aircraft. No F35 no carrier – expensive mistake.

        1. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2021

          Very expensive mistake indeed and one of very many. In the state sector care not what it costs nor what value they get. Not their money nor they who get the value so long as they get the pay and pension.

    2. Peter
      April 2, 2021

      ‘Railways are now effectively nationalised’

      Not so. The use of the word ‘effectively’ is also laughably ironic.

      The government tried all out privatisation but the Hatfield catastrophe meant they had to intervene and take back control of the network for safety reasons. Nobody wanted the responsibility for running a train service so the government had to guarantee profits to find operators. Those franchises run a service for a fixed sum with little in the way of responsibility or incentive to improve things. If they get tired of the business they simply walk away.

      So what we have is not a joined-up, nationalised railway service but a fractured mishmash that is worse than what we had with British Rail.

    3. jerry
      April 2, 2021

      @agricola; “I can almost guarantee that [the railways] response to much reduced commuter demand post covid will be continued demand for subsidy.”

      You do realise that Amtrak in the US is in effect a for-profit State owned Corporation, subsidised at both the State and Federal level; you do realise in the 1920s &’30s the UK govt both supported and used tax based incentives to drive investment in the railway system, for example the Southern Railway received aroud £6m [unadjusted, so would be vastly more in 2021] via the “Railways (Agreement) Act 1935”, this funded -amongst other things- the electrification of the Waterloo to Portsmouth main line. Such electrification schemes allowed the private housing developers enact many a pre war Metroland style WW2 estates south of London.

      Whilst passenger numbers might currently be very low, and may even remain so, the railways are still vital freight corridors and need to be both maintained and invested in. If the govt was to dust off the 1982 Serpell Report, for example, taking its ‘Option A’ as the commercial future of the railway network it is very unlikely to cut overall govt spending as there would have to be substantive investment in roads to compensate.

      As for the current health emergency and specifically PPE, not it hasn’t been a Lord Beaverbrook moment at all, the last thing we needed was PR and donations of useless piles of raw materials (clue all those pots and pans made not one Spitfire, the quality of the metal was to low), 1940 and 2020 were Ernest Bevin moments, when both management and workers stopped there infighting, began adapting processes and practices, even their entire products, to the needs of the emergency – sometimes to the detriment of their usual customers.

      Only the UK, since 1979, takes such a fundamentalist approach to using taxes to directly or indirectly fund what are core requirements to both individual and business life, and it is this dogma which has been our economic undoing, probably more than being a member of the EU has – just look at Germany, ho-hmm…

  2. Everhopeful
    April 2, 2021

    As of last March 11th every minute aspect of our lives has been either screwed or regulated by this government.
    We seem to be skating over reality here.
    For we are prisoners and lab rats. What do we know of hidden schemes and deals?
    I can’t see that anything any govt. has ever done has actually worked long term in our interest.
    Endowment mortgages, GDP obsession, deregulation of banks, pension fund scandals and many more.
    And how long will we be paying for the latest imposition?

    1. Nick
      April 2, 2021

      The day Gordon Brown stole our pensions was the day it became clear the state was an aggressive, offensive enemy. From 1997 onward it has been clear that government is either incompetent or vicious. Personally I hope it is the former.

      Big state is hideously overmanned with jobs clearly going to chums and cronies while ensuring people are shuffled around quickly enough that they get the notice on their CV, but never actually do anything.

      Quite plainly we do not need HS2. The state does – it started as an EU project, as most pointless things do. We do need fibre to the home. Big fat government did the precise opposite in the funding round.

      We do not need ‘green’ at any level. Certainly not in the form of destroying our economy, windmills and solar panels – their source material is hideously polluting. Same for electric cars. The public money wasted on green fanatisicm could and should be spent on genuine next generation energy sources.

      Heck, to see the damage of government look at the erosion of buying power. My father could raise a family of three with Mum not needing to work. It takes 2 of us to keep one child now. That’s because the value of our money has been destroyed – mostly by the oaf Brown and lies from the BoE about inflation, because inflation erodes the 16 trillion of off book debt we have.

      1. Everhopeful
        April 2, 2021


    2. bigneil(newercomp)
      April 2, 2021

      How long will we be paying ? As the words of the song goes “Until the 12th of never – and thats a long long time”.

      1. Everhopeful
        April 2, 2021


  3. Richard1
    April 2, 2021

    Dead right and it’s really important the govt gets on with this in order to make a success of brexit. We need to be super competitive versus at least the eurozone. Unfortuantely we don’t see much yet. The govt still plan to waste £100bn on the HS2 vanity project – now more then ever likely to be a white elephant with new working practices. There is talk of the state funding a tunnel from Scotland to NI- why ? Mr Kwateng plans to criminalise accounting errors by directors – who will want to be a company director if so, better to be a politician or a civil servant where such rules won’t apply. There appears to be no plan to do nigel lawson style reforms of the tax system. And of course there is an absolute refusal to engage in any rational analysis or discussion of the costs and benefits of the green programme.

    We do have the saving of money from leaving the EU, we have put as much distance as we can between ourselves and the impending eurozone disaster and liz Truss has done a great job with trade deals.

    But much more is needed to have a chance to make brexit a success. No time to lose.

    1. Andy
      April 2, 2021

      There is no saving from leaving the EU. In fact there is a huge cost from doing so.

      The comparatively small cost of membership – which allowed the single market to function – is vastly outweighed by the cost in Tory pensioner Brexit paperwork facing businesses. And those costs will be passed on to consumers.

      We’ll pay more – £250 to export a chunk of cheese for example – we just pay it in a different way. Rather than EU membership costing you 7p a day on your taxes, it’ll cost you several times that on price hikes for the goods you buy. The Tories hope you won’t notice a penny or two here or there – and, to be fair to them, YOU probably won’t. Some of us already have. But then we pay attention.

      After all you are still prattling on about making Brexit a success and the reality is that many companies – especially small ones – have already gone because your Brexit has already failed.

      1. Lester
        April 2, 2021

        Andy, you must have a hide like a Rhinoceros, I admire you for how you come back everyday and face the torrent of well-deserved criticism, a lesser man(?) would have buckled years ago… keep strong!

        1. Peter2
          April 2, 2021

          Or maybe listen and learn Lester?

      2. Lifelogic
        April 2, 2021

        There are massive potential savings from leaving the EU but this does rather depend UK politicians doing the right thinks for once:- massive deregulation, easy hire and fire, much smaller government, cheap reliable on demand energy, much lower and simler taxes, real freedom of choice in education, health care, housing … Alas all the signs are that Boris and Sunak are essentially tax, borrow and piss down the drain socialists. Worse still they are socialists who have fallen for the hugely net damaging OTT lockdown, climate alarmism, the renewable (expensive energy) subsidy lunacy, HS2, ever bigger government, vast tax increases, over regulation of everything …

        1. Pauline Baxter
          April 2, 2021

          Lifelogic. I agree almost entirely with your comment. Sunak is probably not quite as bad as Boris.
          Socialist is not a bad enough word for him. He has become a power mad dictator.
          Over the top Lockdowns, indeed. Perhaps Boris could be ‘persuaded’ to ‘retire’. He’s obviously suffering from ‘Long Covid’.

          1. Lifelogic
            April 2, 2021

            But to be replaced by whom. Tory MPs are, in the main, sheep or LibDims at best.

          2. Jim Whitehead
            April 2, 2021

            +1 to P.B. and to LL
            Fully endorse the comments on the incompetence of Boris and I see nothing much to justify exonerating Wishi Rishi Snack-Unsnack. Are there no experienced business men/women in the Conservative Party anymore? There is so much that I could add but it would enlighten no one and depress everyone.

      3. jerry
        April 2, 2021

        @Andy; Not saying what we should do so but, that EU membership fee is substantial, both financially and by way of the political strings attached. By comparison a lot of cheaper -due to scale of production- US prime, non hormonal or GM, produce could be bought on the open market for the same budget (assuming no tariffs), nor is this limited to imports of US food (and they would be more inclined to import what we produce better, certain cheeses for example…) or the UK could subsidies our own farmers better than the CAP has – by cutting the green eco-nonsense, for example rather than paying farmers to set fields aside, we pay then to actuality produce crops as was done prior to 1973. What is more such a policy would trickle-down into other sectors, such as agricultural R&D and engineering etc.

      4. Nig l
        April 2, 2021

        All our decisions re vaccines were taken because Brexit allowed us to. If you think the garbage that is happening across the EU is somehow positive and good for us you are seriously troubled.

        The real rubbish is that you give us this constant moaning negative tosh but stay here. I guess you think the EU is worse.

        1. Andy
          April 2, 2021

          All our decisions regarding vaccines were taken in 2020 – when we were still subject to EU rules, thanks to the lousy deal you mob of charlatans negotiated.

          I would be more than happy to leave the country when my children have finished school. Indeed, I wanted to retire abroad – maybe to my place in France, perhaps Italy.

          Mr Redwood’s party removed that right from me – despite the fact that the majority of voters voted against them.

          So you are stuck here with me pointing out that your Brexit is rubbish – until it is undone, which one do it will be.

          You lot are mostly in your 70s. I am in my 40s. I know of virtually nobody younger than me who thinks Brexit is anything other than a disaster. And the few who did vote for it are very unhappy about what has been done. All we have to do to undo Brexit is wait. Most of us will be here in 20 years time. Most of you won’t. But we’ll make sure it is as uncomfortable and humiliating for you as we possibly can until we rejoin.

          1. jerry
            April 2, 2021

            @Andy; “All our decisions regarding vaccines were taken in 2020”

            Not quite, all our decisions regarding, UK govt backed or otherwise, Covid scientific R&D were taken in 2020, almost all our decisions regarding vaccinations have been taken in 2021; only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine being approved and deployed (post trials) in Dec. 2020, but of course by then the UK had legally left the EU, from 1st Feb 2020 we entered a transition treaty period that allowed certain divergences.

          2. Glenn Vaughan
            April 2, 2021

            Andy I have no personal interest in you or your fantasy family.

            I will proffer the observation that the immaturity of your posts suggests strongly that you are not yet old enough to cast a vote and are a long way short of being in your forties.

          3. Peter
            April 2, 2021


            There are schools abroad. Childrens’ education is no excuse to delay moving to your ‘place in France’.

            You are all talk and no action.

          4. beresford
            April 2, 2021

            But Andy, by then you’ll be 70 and therefore a Brexiteer!

          5. Richard1
            April 2, 2021

            Support for rejoin has now fallen below 40%. As you frequently point out, probably a fair number of leave voters have died. That means there are many people who voted remain who now see the merits of Brexit (I can certainly confirm that), and most likely many young people who are new voters who have decided the EU is a shower – like young people in many EU countries, such as Italy.

            The grim farce of the EU vaccine disaster has ensured there will be no early calls for rejoin. The next eurozone crisis will put paid to any chance. What might happen – if this govt doesn’t move to take advantage of the possibilities of brexit, and / or if the eurozone outperforms the U.K. – is the U.K. may rejoin the EEA.

          6. ukretired123
            April 2, 2021

            Well hello Andy amazing but not surprised to hear you are still banging on about the good old days when we basked in the Brussels sunshine and you bet on Brexit lost it. You should have sold your pied-a-terre in France or taken French citizenship for your personal gain. Complaining about this especially given the EU’s incompetent CV19 rollout is unwise given recent events. Still its a great wind up act you perform for us. How is the Aston Martin and the weather wherever you are today?

          7. Fedupsoutherner
            April 2, 2021

            Andy , when we lived in Spain as residents there were plenty of Brits that came to live with their kids of school age and settled. No excuses. If you become a resident, as you should, you could still live there – that’s if you really have a house there.

      5. Denis Cooper
        April 2, 2021

        I suppose that chunk of cheese will be one of the kinds of cheese that we don’t like to eat in this country and which have to be exported to the EU.

        Like the fish caught in our waters that aren’t to our taste but are much in demand on the continent, and the meat raised on our farms which has to be exported to the EU because there is no longer any home market for it now that nobody cooks meat stews or pies at home at more, they are all too busy in their high flying executive jobs …

        Actually the UK runs a chronic and substantial trade deficit in cheese, and not necessarily just with the EU , see the charts here:

        so I suppose UK cheese producers could try to sell more at home, especially when our reciprocal controls on imports from the EU kick in, and perhaps they could see if Louise is still available to promote it:

        Of course you won’t remember that, but your mum might.

      6. Richard1
        April 2, 2021

        As ever you are incapable of civilised or rational argument.

        Certainly there is a saving. £12bn pa net, rising for ever. What’s that worth at current interest rates – £250bn, £1/2 tr? Also we have no liability – as even non-eurozone states do – for the euro fiasco. There will be much more along the lines of the €750bn ‘covid recovery’ euro bailout. And of course we have the excellent decision to avoid the the EU vaccine fiasco, which you would have had us join.

        It’s true there have been some initial problems with goods exports – mainly created deliberately by the EU. But we haven’t had anything like the catastrophe shrilly predicted by you and other promulgators of project fear. If the U.K. performs in line with or even ahead of the eurozone you will be made to look even more foolish than your posts here already achieve. That’s why I urge Sir John and his colleagues to get serious about making Brexit a success. There’s everything to play for. Bad luck.

      7. Mike Wilson
        April 2, 2021


        is vastly outweighed by the cost in Tory pensioner Brexit paperwork

        is vastly outweighed by the cost in Labour supporter Brexit paperwork. Fixed that for you.

        it’ll cost you several times that on price hikes for the goods you buy

        Well, I won’t buy ’em then. I’ll buy British goods.

      8. No Longer Anonymous
        April 2, 2021

        I watched job after job go to the EU when we were in it. And person after person come to our country to compete for those that were left.

        EU membership has been a disaster for us and we have a housing crisis, a schools crisis, a hospital crisis a roads crisis, a culture crisis, a social crisis and a crime crisis to prove it. None of these appeared just in the last year.

      9. jon livesey
        April 2, 2021

        In someways, Andy’s comments are very valuable because they tell you what the issue is *not* about. He takes a very journalistic view of things, always looking for the “disaster” and the cliche, not the substance.

        Brexit is not about keeping everything the same, avoiding disruption and pleasing the people who use to order us about. Brexit is about free enterprise and regulating things the least.

        Brexit is about keeping track of how the World is and what its demands are, and then reacting to that, because the World is our customer. It is also about having the freedom to react without being regulated by a body that thinks it can regulate and legislate the future.

        Central planning is very seductive to some people because it promises to reduce your risk by giving you a predictable job to do, but in fact no planning system can do that. And we see that with the EU; they can’t run their own currency without periodic crises, and the pandemic, which was where Government planning ought to have saved the day, was a disaster for them.

        Brexit is going to be a bumpy ride for a while, because we are rebuilding the aircraft while flying in it, but we’ll be able to make decisions that are right for us, not just for our nearest and dearest friends and allies.

      10. Original Richard
        April 2, 2021

        Andy : “There is no saving from leaving the EU. In fact there is a huge cost from doing so….. We’ll pay more – £250 to export a chunk of cheese for example…”

        Andy, you keep missing the point, I suppose on purpose.

        A majority voted to leave the EU, despite the dire economic and cost warnings given by the PM, the Chancellor, the Governor of the BoE, the POTUS, the CBI etc. etc. because they wanted the ability to be able to influence our laws and policies (trade, fiscal, taxation, energy, environmental, foreign, military, immigration etc.) through retaining the right to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

        They didn’t think it was worth selling our future freedom, democracy and sovereignty for a few pieces of silver today – such as the cost of exporting cheese to the EU.

    2. Nick
      April 2, 2021

      However, then you realise that the majority of state officialdom do not want Brexit at all. They liked giving away power to Brussels. Hell, they were employed on grossly inflated salaries and increasingly had nothing to do apart from vote to give away their jobs!

      Now these same statists find themselves in a position to thwart Brexit and all of it’s opportunities in favour of slavery to the EU and their own cushy little number. They dress it up as doing the right thing, but the reality is it’s just a sham of faceless officials undermining their country for their own profit.

  4. Mark B
    April 2, 2021

    Good morning

    This article makes for depressing reading.

    In more and more areas we are witnessing government displacement, where the government can effectively outspend and thereby distort the market. I have touched on this worrying trend in previous posts and will not indulge on it here.

    What we have to look at are the various external pressures government, ministers and MP’s face. These come in many forms from professional lobby groups to international bodies to individuals. All pressing for their view to be given life through government intervention and spending. It is this area that I think we must look at and seek to address.

    For example let us take the Climate Change Act 2008. Here we have a piece of legislation that is and will continue to cause enormous damage to the UK and its citizens. But why would any government ever consider creating such a deeply damaging piece of legislation and, why would the then Conservative Opposition (now in government for over 10 years) support it ?

    It is one thing to seek clean water, soil and air, but is another to seek economic suicide in the name of saving the planet when it is clear others (yes China and India we are looking at you !) are clearly producing more pollutants year on year with no sanction.

    It is ‘my view’ that there is an unholy alliance between big investment, the CCP and its useful idiots here in the West to cripple us with such legislation. What surprises me is that there seems very little opposition to this and, when one sees a politician (ie President Trump) try to fight this, he is attacked by those in his own country. Something clearly is not right ?

    This form of environmental cum political warfare has to be faced up to before it is too late.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 2, 2021

      I feel alot of the problems the Trump’s of this world face today is manifested through social media and our dire news channels who rather than just reporting news, seem to be able to bend news reports to their way of thinking. The BBC is really great at this. It doesn’t matter what is reported, if they don’t like the result they find a way of twisting the results. Trump didn’t stand a chance once the lefties got hold of his policies. It was unending critizism of him everywhere. There never was debate over what he tried to do. It was just all out war against him worldwide. We face the same thing here whenever there is a solution to a problem that doesn’t sit well with the woke bridgade. End of.

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        April 2, 2021

        The BBC has reported nothing on President Biden’s memory problems in public.

        Either he is a dimwit in which case the BBC should satirise it (as they did Trump) or he is ill, in which case he should not be President and certainly was not as fit for office as presented in the campaigns.

        Either way the BBC should not be hiding this issue from us at the moment. It is either headline news worthy or it is material that Graham Norton should be using. BBC bias is utterly shocking.

        Fake news indeed.

        They are setting and corrupting the agenda.

      2. anon
        April 3, 2021

        Why is the BBC not privatized? or closed down. Is it an essential service? or a natural monopoly?
        It is not a mutual organization loosely controlled by its members that competes in the market place?
        Why does it “alone” have the right to charge £150 to anyone who wishes to watch live broadcasts via the airwaves?

        We will not be free until large vested interests which are monopolies are broken up. We can do our bit here. Fascinating struggle going on in the US. In the US media organizations have to make money in the market from the plebs or the deplorables.

    2. agricola
      April 2, 2021

      Good points Mark B.
      “Why would any government consider such a damaging piece of legislation” , because politicians, egged on by pubescent teenagers, think they can control the Sun. Were they intent on mitigating the effect of climate change I would be supportive. You only have to see what an uncaring destructive race we can be when you look at the pictures of the detritus left by the first day of release of stay at home lock down trailer trash. Cleaning up the planet in all respects would have my support.

      Bribery, which we euphermistically call lobbying of politicians ,should be reduced to an A4 sheet of paper. What we have is criminal by any none parliamentary rule.

      I think the possible further evolution of democracy by making use of more referendums is the way to impose more democratic control. The furore our Brexit referendum caused among politicians of all colours indicates to me that this is the way to get them under control and enacting the wishes of the people.

    3. Christine
      April 2, 2021

      Follow the money. There is much to be made from the Green agenda. China must be laughing at our virtual signalling that is destroying western industrial power. Our politicians have a lot to answer for and history will not treat them kindly. Voters need to wake up and get rid of the current two-party system. We have removed the undemocratic EU commission; let’s use our democracy to install a new party with fresh ideas.

    4. Nick
      April 2, 2021

      If an MP were forced to pay a hundred thousand for a box that cost more over time than it ever returned, they would refuse and laugh at you.

      Yet when they slap up windmills they do just that – but with our money. (Personal attack left out ed)

      The most disgusting part is that all this monumental waste of public money does absolutely nothing for the environment whatsoever, yet there’s big fat waddling state signing us up to the WEEE directive which ends with our getting a nice certificate while our waste is dumped in the sea by India, Chinese and African companies.

      There is nothing green about green. It’s just a massive con to destroy wealth and move it from the worker to the statist waster.

    5. SecretPeople
      April 2, 2021


  5. oldtimer
    April 2, 2021

    How very true. Over regulation by government, coupled with the application of the precautionary principle, stifles innovation and change. The domination of the producer interest over the customer interest will have the same effect. The UK’s future prosperity will depend on its capacity to innovate. That is more likely to emerge from the private sector than from government.

  6. Corky the cat
    April 2, 2021

    Mankind’s greatest invention? The limited liability company
    The greatest achievement of science? The age of reason
    Both looking to be headed to the graveyard of history.

    1. MiC
      April 2, 2021

      Evidence, fact, and truth are of little interest to John’s party. They care only about the twisted perceptions that they are able to engender with the help of their press friends.

      For instance, System X Telephony – push button tone dialling and all-electronic exchanges – was developed under public ownership.

      The privatisation of BT was timed to precede shortly its introduction, specifically to create the misleading impression that such progress stemmed from privatisation.

      It had nothing whatsoever to do with it, but this example has been used endlessly to promote others.

      John tries it yet again here.

      Reply No other country bought System X and we then caught up with the USA with global procurement after privatisation.

      1. MiC
        April 2, 2021

        There have been several electronics revolutions and a massive restructuring of global politics and economics since System X!

  7. GilesB
    April 2, 2021

    What can be worse than ‘Nothing is permitted, unless it is expressly allowed’ for preventing innovation? The EU found a way by applying this mantra to not only what can be produced, but also how things are produced. As an inevitable result, sclerotic working practices are impossible to change because they are embedded in immutable regulation.

    The U.K. has always believed in ‘Everything is permitted, unless it is explicitly prohibited’, which allows for innovation and requires regulators to be in constant catch-up mode, following the market to reduce egregious behaviour and side-effects, but not trying to second-guess, let alone steer market forces. And this principle can be made even better by government procurement being specified wholly in terms of the products or services to be delivered, and to say absolutely nothing about how the results are to be achieved.

    Even desires such as keeping vaccine production in this country, are better specified by saying the delivery must be robust against disruptions in international trade or transport, and/or in terms of the number of jobs created within the U.K.

    1. MiC
      April 2, 2021

      Your premise is utterly and totally wrong. There is no such underlying principle to law between all the different twenty-seven members of the European Union, nor of the institutions themselves.

      The UK has three different jurisdictions, incidentally.

      1. Mockbeggar
        April 2, 2021

        Until we left, we had four jurisdictions. If the EU goes ahead with its plan to confiscate vaccine production within the EU that is destined to supply AZ’s contract with the UK Govt., it will be stealing private property. I wonder how AZ would get on by seeking redress from the ECJ?

        1. MiC
          April 2, 2021


  8. Stred
    April 2, 2021
    With jobs paid out£750 a day working on communication for asymptomatic testing in the NHS, it looks like the best profits are to be made waffling about something that isn’t needed for the government.

  9. Nig l
    April 2, 2021

    Inexperienced, unworldly politicians being led by the nose by a ‘Dickensian’ inward looking civil service. Two examples.

    Firstly. Our very poor record on digital totally due to legacy issues with BT and both the regulator and politicians too weak to challenge them until finally the situation was/is so dire change had to be forced through.

    Kwasi Karteng main observation, on his first interview as business minister, on a whole page of the DT was the introduction of new rules to improve corporate auditing. With all our technological and enterprise needs and challenges, that’s all he came up,with.

    Secondly hydrogen. We have belatedly joined the battery brigade when more and more hydrogen is seen as the fuel of the future with masses of investment but not from the U.K. As billions of investment in an EU factory is producing hydrogen powered vehicles the U.K. has just committed the equivalent of pennies to hydrogen research.

    Only last year senior civil servants stated unequivocally that hydrogen had no future in cars being only suitable for marine propulsion. Presumably those civil servants and their ‘dead hands on our economy’ are still earning large salaries with gold plated pensions to follow.

    Difference between the U.K. and the US. Risk averse nanny state versus free enterprise.

  10. Nig l
    April 2, 2021

    Ps our broadband network comes under the Department of Culture not business, sums the pantomime up.

  11. Nig l
    April 2, 2021

    I remember Lord Digby Jones recruited for his business experience giving it up because of stifling bureaucracy and that is the experience of umpteen other business leaders.

    Our vaccine success showed what could happen but the driver was almost a war time situation.

    When it is passed weak politicians will allow the civil service to revoke to its old ways protecting personal fiefdoms at the expense of our economy.

  12. MiC
    April 2, 2021

    The effect of outsourcing is the mass de-professionalisation of very important people.

    For instance, being a vet was once highly regarded, but the Government has outsourced the inspection of abattoirs etc. to a favoured private company, who then employ on poor pay and conditions “Official Veterinarians” to do this work.

    So yet another class of person no longer earns a proper occupational pension etc.

    The same is true of building regulations inspectors – and we see horrifically the results of that – public health, pest control officers and so on.

    Society absolutely needs these people to be diligent and principled in their work.

    Cynically exploiting them for easy profits and grinding their faces in that is the last way to achieve it.

    1. Peter
      April 2, 2021

      ‘For instance, being a vet was once highly regarded, but the Government has outsourced the inspection of abattoirs etc. to a favoured private company, who then employ on poor pay and conditions “Official Veterinarians” to do this work.’ Absolutely – an evil thing to do.

      So much is now outsourced that the government now even need to include consultants in decision making, as in-house expertise is often non existent. This is a licence to run rings around those in charge of the public purse strings.

    2. Mike Wilson
      April 2, 2021

      Difficult to find a poor vet.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 2, 2021

        Lots of wealth and often rather gullible pet owners in love with their pets mist help. But at least you can find a vet easily and at short notice unlike NHS GPs.

  13. jerry
    April 2, 2021

    “The UK tried [nationalisation] for some 30 years after the war and fell further and further behind [as a result] “

    It wasn’t nationalisation that caused the problems but political meddling, many other countries (outside of the communist block) have State owned industries, even the USA. Nor is State ownership a barrier for profit, indeed the UK Royal Mail was at one time so successful at making a profit successive govts tended to use it as a cash-cow for HMT, the only difference between the nationalised sector and private is were any profits end up, reinvested, syphoned off, or spent paying dividends.

    Ship building in the UK suffered , as indeed steel did too, because other countries had either nationalised their own industries or had chosen the soft option of subsides, either way offering huge investments to maintain a competitive edge and work place strife to the minimum.

    reply Not true. Korean shipyards are competitive quoted companies. The massive U.K. state intervention came via the nationalised structure

    1. jerry
      April 2, 2021

      @jerry; …/cont
      “The nationalised telephone system backed an out of date mechanical switching system”

      The GPO wasn’t allowed to invest, by their POLITICAL masters in the most up to date systems! Yet when Mrs Thatchers govt wanted BT privatised such investment funds suddenly became available from HMT, just as a farmer makes sure his lambs are ‘fattened up’ before going to auction!

      Competition drives innovation. Monopoly encourages sloth , resting with what the monopolist already has.”

      That is a disease of private as well as public ownership.

      “Allowing consumers choice keeps companies honest.”

      Cough! My water company was a damned sight more honest when nationalised than it is now [1], as was our regulated local monopolistic public service bus provider. Indeed the Thatcher govt recognised this, why else set up arms-length official ‘Offices of Regulation’ for the newly privatised industries, whilst govts have had boards of enquiry to prevent mergers & acquisitions becoming private monopolies, also having laws against cartels.

      [1] according to the findings of Ofwat, as notified to customers via our latest bill/invoice, Ofwat do not hand out £120m company fines and a £3m hit to shareholders for nothing…

      “Profits made by our larger companies are shared with millions of UK citizens through dividends paid to pension funds and insurance companies that look after people’s savings.”

      If the above is a reference to once nationalised companies it is surely an admission that at least some nationalised industries, run correctly, without govt meddling, could have done exactly the same, for little has changed other than ownership!

      reply Most nationalised businesses lost money and took subsidies off taxpayers

      1. jerry
        April 2, 2021

        @JR reply; Most British nationalised businesses suffered from far to much political interference, left or right, they became idealogical battle fields, something that our competitors, free market, mixed or command, did not – so whilst others made hay we fought between ourselves.

    2. jerry
      April 2, 2021

      @JR reply; The point is, a private competitive quoted company can be in receipt of massive subsidies, in place of otherwise nationalisation, what is more this was recognised as a threat by the EU who outlawed member states from propping up failed companies – wasn’t this why, ultimately, MG Rover could not be saved in 2005 as it would have broken EU law? Far Eastern ship builders have, in the past, received such subsidies.

    3. hefner
      April 2, 2021

      Reply to reply: I am not sure Ha-Joon Chang would actually agree with you. The Korean shipyards NOW are competitive quoted companies. But what happened between 1970 and 1990 (see L.C. Bruno & S. Tenold, The basis for South Korea’s ascent in the shipbuilding industry, 1970-1990, 27pp). And may I say that I am surprised that you don’t know that.

  14. Walt
    April 2, 2021

    A prime example of a dog-in-the-manger monopolist is BT. Privatised from our national Post Office Telecommunications, BT controlled our country’s telephone network and broadband. There were some small exceptions, e.g. Kingston Telecom, but most of us had no choice but BT; and when limited choice came the cabling infrastructure was still controlled by BT, who for decades underinvested in its network whilst blocking potential rivals. On what did BT spend its money? Executive incentive schemes, generous dividends to shareholders, vanity projects such as TV and football. The result is that broadband in the UK has fallen way behind that of other developed countries. Now that Ofcom has eventually pushed BT into action with a threat of break-up (sadly not enforced), it is not to its shareholders that BT turns for investment in its telephone and broadband network; oh no, it is to its customers, who BT force into new contracts that rise each year by CPI plus 3.9%, saying that this is so its customers can have better service in the future. Were it not a monopoly, BT could not force its customers on its current sub-standard systems to pay in advance for a better product it has yet to deliver.

    1. hefner
      April 2, 2021

      Ever heard of uSwitch? Or MoneySuperMarket? Or MoneySavingExpert? Read the information about phone + internet on this type of sites, then decide what is best for you. There is much more than BT around.

    2. jerry
      April 2, 2021

      @Walt; Indeed, and even for those who do break away from BT, as retail or business customers, to one of the other telecoms/IP/TV providers, they are still constrained by the ****-poor service from the BT group by way of their Wholesale division who provides an almost monopolist backbone. LLU might now allow competitors equipment to be installed in BT exchange racks/cabinets etc but it does nothing about the physical interconnects between exchange, roadside box and the customers property.

    3. MiC
      April 2, 2021

      Read in conjunction with my earlier comment.

    4. Mike Wilson
      April 2, 2021

      You do realise that OpenReach was split out from BT and OpenReach maintain the network.

      We had an inane consultation in our town recently. Someone from OpenReach was invited by the council to talk about the plans to provide fibre to the home. We, it seems, needed to sign up for a voucher which OpenReach could redeem to fund the work but we had to commit to taking the fibre to the premises service. OpenReach would be bringing fibre to the pavement.

      I asked – before being prepared to commit to a vouncher:

      1) How much will it cost to have the fibre brought from the pavement into my house?

      2) How much will the fibre services cost?

      To Question 1) there was no reply. They said it would depend who I bought broadband services from. I pointed out that whoever it was – Vodafone, Plusnet – whoever – they would have to sub-contract the actual ‘fibre cable into the house’ work to OpenReach so, could they give me a ballpark figure? Answer came there none.

      To Question 2) the reply was ‘it depends on who you buy your broadband services from’.

      So, we are being asked to sign up to an allegedly legally enforceable contract if we agree to have a voucher – but without knowing how much it will cost to get fibre into the property and how much the subsequent fibre broadband services would be.

      I pointed out to OpenReach that for a contract to be legally enforceable there has to be a consideration. I don’t the person from OpenReach knew what I was talking about.

      1. jerry
        April 2, 2021

        @Mike Wilson; OpenReach is still wholly owned by the BT Group. Operationally at arms length, but as any tailor knows, an arms length is subject to measurement, hence why some believe Ofcom failed…

        The problem with OpenReach is they are actually banned from speaking to the retail/business customer, we as the customer can not even speak directly to OpenReach about an existing ticketed fault, both parties have to communicate via the relevant retail/business telecoms supplier. So no you will never get a price for that that final connection from them, even though they do know how much they are charging wholesale to do the work.

        ’twas never this confusing with the GPO, even if it was frustrating at times!

  15. Mike Wilson
    April 2, 2021

    The funny thing is the biggest problem with our society and economy is caused by the government NOT doing something.

    We are uncompetitive because we need high wages to live. The biggest cost to the vast majority of people is housing – regardless of whether you have a mortgage or rent.

    The ludicrously high cost of housing is a result of the fact that banks are allowed to create money out of thin air when they create loans. The vast majority of the money the banks create goes into the property market and inflates prices. This has been going on at scale for at least 60 years. My father in law bought a house in 1959 for £2600. That house sold recently for £600,000. It is now worth 230 times what it was worth when he bought it. At the time he earned £1250 a year. Now he’d need to earn £288,000 a year.

    The government, via the Bank of England needs to take over creating money and stop allowing the banks to do it. It needs to restrict the money going into the housing market to stabilise prices for 60 years (to allow wages to catch up) and ensure the new money goes into the real economy to benefit everyone and not just the parasitic banks.

    1. a-tracy
      April 2, 2021

      This isn’t uniform throughout the UK Mike, and as some areas got popular the children had to move out away from their childhood home to afford new property and many areas rose in popularity because of the new young buyers.

      An example my parents paid £2890 in 1969 that house is now worth between £125,000 and £130,000.

      A local housing association about a decade ago bought every single Council house in the area for an average of £7000, they are the best employer around, but what benefit have the residents and local estates got? They pile that money back into themselves, no planting, there is just unkempt grass, unkept streets. They lord it as a not for profit organisation but they’re all doing very well out of it all ‘working’ from home for the past year. How much new house building has gone on compared to private companies reinvesting and growing? Very little. I don’t see much other than tiny rabbit warrens on the edges of the new estates private builders have been forced to build with inadequate parking for the often van drivers that need to live in these homes. There is more emphasis on good pay increases, pensions and rewards for the ex-councillors and guardians running it than there are for the people and the area. The local shopping centres and convenience stores are a mess and left to rot, they don’t have to bother, don’t tell me public sector is better at looking after the people than the private sector because I can invite them to visit my area with me I walk around it every day.

    2. Everhopeful
      April 2, 2021

      Economists and accountants argue quite hotly that money is not created out of “thin air”, not ‘ex nihilo“ and that it does not come from the “magic money tree”. Neither, according to them, is it “fairy dust”.
      I don’t even pretend to understand it although I expect that folk like JR certainly do. However, apparently it is all about I.O.U.s “issued” by the bank concerned and the fact that the money is created out of assets.
      There! That might be a bit helpful. You could always Google it and check?

      Reply Central Bank money is just created and put inton wider circulation by buying government bonds from holders.

      1. Everhopeful
        April 2, 2021

        Reply to reply
        That sounds a bit precarious. Wonder how it will all end.

      2. Everhopeful
        April 2, 2021

        Ah…it must all be about power then.
        The B of E (and other central banks) are so powerful that whatever they say is money…just IS! (£1000 scratched on a cabbage leaf).
        And govt. does as it is told.

      3. Mike Wilson
        April 2, 2021

        Reply to reply: we weren’t talking about central bank money, we were talking about the money in the economy created by the banks.

        1. anon
          April 3, 2021

          Most money is mostly created by banks in the boom growth stage. When things go “Bang” & boom become bomb, the loaned money becomes a loss for the lender, unless the taxpayer bales them out. Then the plebs get inflation & tax increases to pay for it.

  16. Dave Andrews
    April 2, 2021

    Someone with vision and imagination can start their own company to exploit their ideas and reap the profits from it. As the business grows, they take on staff, who though they might do a good job, add nothing by way of ideas.
    Now go to a large company, and anyone with imagination is wasted because their ideas just become the property of others and there’s no incentive to develop.
    This becomes worse when it’s a nationalised industry, because then the workforce become politicised. In that situation, anyone with imagination is treated as a target for resentment, and they had better keep their ideas to themselves.
    What is needed is some way to motivate good people in large organisations, especially government. Normally, their brightness is diffused in a sea of mediocrity.

  17. acorn
    April 2, 2021

    UK spends 1.7% of GDP on R&D, twenty-first in the World Bank’s listing and below the average of 2.2%. That is less than half what our major competitors spend on R&D.

    I see the UK has bought access back into Horizon Europe for £250 million, with a commitment to spend 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

    1. Peter2
      April 2, 2021

      Not much below average.
      And it rather depends on size of GDP.
      Cash is a better measure.

      1. acorn
        April 3, 2021

        Actually it is the number of international prizes and patents a country aquires that’s the best measure.

        1. Peter2
          April 3, 2021

          Nothing beats cash spent.
          Your percentages are meaningless.
          Prizes !

    2. anon
      April 3, 2021

      Perhaps a ratio of R&D spend divided by overseas aid spend would be informative.

      Indeed arguably our overseas aid spend should be spent in the UK developing technology for the use of mankind. Where we are self sufficient and retain surplus capacity to help others where we are able.

  18. Lester
    April 2, 2021

    There’s absolutely no need for a vaccine, the virus was deliberately released by the CCP and has achieved its purpose with the active participation of Western governments.. vaccine passports will surely follow… when will politicians develop a spine and stand up for their constituents, on present performance things don’t look too promising…

  19. nota#
    April 2, 2021

    ‘Profits fuel jobs and innovation’ I find that amusing on many levels, in a literal sense from the other end ‘not for profit’ translates into ‘we have no future’, because we have no profits to invest in to it.

  20. nota#
    April 2, 2021

    UK Governments tend to do the opposite of what is needed to create a future, more of a knee jerk response to be seen to be on message. They see literally chucking taxpayer money at something as their function. Other Countries ‘thinking Marshal plan here’ invested money with an expected return therefore having more money to invest in a future, they created an every increasing way of bankrolling the future.
    UK Government’s don’t invest to create a return on the investment, therefore see the bank as always being the bottomless pit of the ever burdened taxpayer. If HS2 was such a good idea, shouldn’t the taxpayer own it then expect a return so as to create HS3 and so on. It appears not to be the UK way of doing things.
    No Profit equals no future and that applies to Government as much as it does the individual, company and so on.

  21. Everhopeful
    April 2, 2021

    When all passenger air travel ceases will we still get stuff like grapes and bananas?
    I mean will goods be flown along with elite holiday makers?
    Oh..not in their private jets.
    No bananas then! Or exceptions made for trade?

    How will we make steel windmills without coal? Wooden ones?
    Woodworm. Rot.

    1. Mike Wilson
      April 2, 2021

      Anyone would think we didn’t get bananas from the West Indies by boat in earlier days. Maybe we still do!

      1. glen cullen
        April 2, 2021

        bananas don’t come from the West Indies they come from deliveroo via an app… magic

    2. dixie
      April 2, 2021


    3. jerry
      April 2, 2021

      @EH; “When all passenger air travel ceases will we still get stuff like grapes and bananas?”

      Air mail/freight is older than passenger air travel, and indeed air freight has carried on flying through out the pandemic, the fact that you might have to be content with two weeks at a B&B in Blackpool, or as a guest of Billy Bullin, will not stop any necessary air freight of fresh produce.

      As for iron ore and the such, they travel by sea, as I believe bananas still do.

    4. SecretPeople
      April 2, 2021

      Isn’t there to be a new ferry service to and from Morrocco?

    5. hefner
      April 2, 2021

      EH, I hope you know that only the windmill tower has some steel components. Blades and nacelles of wind turbines are made of composite materials like fibreglass epoxy and/or polyester.

  22. nota#
    April 2, 2021

    Profit thanks to our left leaning liberal elite becomes a dirty word for the wrong reasons, mainly because they don’t understand it, then perversely personally practice it themselves. In general terms people don’t just work to live hand to mouth (I said in general) they expect to have a bit more money than what pays for their food and shelter. The expect to fund their TV, their car, their Holiday and all the other nonessentials from their income i.e. they expect personally to make a profit on their endeavors – the investment in their comfort and future.

    It brings into focus some of the old parables – do you give someone a fish or do you give them a fishing line, a loaf of bread or the seed. UK governments as a rule hand out fish as it makes them look good for today, as tomorrow is another day.

  23. Peter
    April 2, 2021

    ‘Modern governments are very powerful’

    But global corporations are now even more powerful.

    Nationalisation is less of a threat than such corporations pressuring governments to act in their interest at the expense of the interests of the country.

    Croneyism is also a bigger threat than nationalisation. Work handed to incompetent yet hugely expensive consultants or outsourcing firms. This happens time and again – the usual suspects are involved with no penalty for failure. At least much-maligned civil servants were not on sky high rates of pay. For all the alleged tea drinking and lack of dynamism they did have an ongoing interest in the well being of their department or industry.

  24. John Standing
    April 2, 2021

    How does one explain to neoliberals that the neoliberal model of Man as a unit of economic cost is reductive and impoverishing?

    1. Peter2
      April 2, 2021

      Yet in Western mixed economies standards of living have risen by huge amounts since the 1960s.

  25. Andy
    April 2, 2021

    Profit SOMETIMES drives innovation. But often profit just drives greed.

    With the exception of communications, privatisation hasn’t really driven innovation. The privatised train companies didn’t innovate. They just creamed off profit. Nor did the water companies or the gas and electricity companies.

    Talk of dividends also demonstrates how massively out of touch the Tories are. Dividends are paid to rich old people. Young people have no money to invest in the first place. All their money goes paying rent to rich old people – and in paying off their student loans, from which rich old people also profit.

    Capitalism has worked well for the Baby Boomers – mainly because they stole most of the wealth. They now wonder why Millennials are, in droves, turning their backs on capitalism as we know it. It’s because the system doesn’t work for anyone but the old.

    What the Tories haven’t yet realised is that capitalism as they think of it, is dying – and the Baby Boomers are killing it. That pure profit motive is not enough anymore. In future companies will only succeed if they also demonstrate that they are socially responsible – by paying their fair share in taxes, by properly compensating their employees, by not harming the planet.

    It is also bizarre to talk about ‘liberating’ the private sector when this government has imposed more red tape on it than any in history. We used to be free to export cheese and fish. And now we can’t.

    1. David Brown
      April 2, 2021

      Andy, As always an excellent contribution, very good narrative.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        April 2, 2021

        What a joke. Andy is supposed to have a second home in France – believe that if you will. He is hardly finding it tough. Does he not stop to think that we were all broke and young once? Many of us haven’t inherited from our parents unlike most of the young today who will as the Baby Boomers he refers to worked their butt off to own their own homes. His posts are becoming more aggressive towards the elderly and I’m amazed John keeps printing his garbage.

      2. MiC
        April 2, 2021

        With respect, David I think that we should abandon this Postmodernist-promulgated term “narrative”, which is neutral between a factual, well-focused account such as Andy’s, and a pack of distortions and falsehoods as we see so often here.

        1. Fedupsoutherner
          April 2, 2021

          When I left school I worked a 40 hour week as a typist. A pair of jeans were £10 and my weekly wage was £7.49. I had to give my mother half this for my keep and save a pound. Oh, yes, we had it really easy. I remember the recession of 87. There’s been nothing like it since. Get a grip. Most the the elderly you are so keen to slag off have been through hard times. That’s a fact, not fiction.

    2. Peter2
      April 2, 2021

      Dividends are paid to institutional investors.
      Pension funds for example.
      Good dividends equalds a good pension for your generation young andy.
      Most young people in work pay into a workplace pension.
      Capitalism is working netter than ever before.
      Reducing poverty and improving living standards for the poorest on the planet.
      Your preferred ootion socialism just creates abject poverty for all and a reduction in personal freedom.
      Exporting fish and cheese is a result of deliberate yet unecessary bureaucratic actions by your beloved EU.

      1. glen cullen
        April 3, 2021

        Shame that this government interfered with the payment of dividends of banks to their private investors….and still dictate the conditions for payment ?

  26. Iain Moore
    April 2, 2021

    We are getting a command and control economy due to the Government pursuing a totalitarian climate change policy. It is why the left love it so much , they get control of energy and so to tell people how to live their lives. The Tories though, as we have become so familiar, are lazy and fail to defend their political territory , and so say ‘me too’ to all the causes of the left. The Government has failed to push back against the cultural war that has been inflicted on us. Yesterday, Johnson, though given an opportunity to change the narrative on it via the report some brave people put out, threw them to the wolves, and we see the Tories have become climate change zealots. Green armed forces? electric tanks? Army planting trees? Strewth, give me strength.

  27. DOM
    April 2, 2021

    The British State’s become a vested interest in its own right and that alone makes it a very dangerous beast indeed. It will fight to protect its position and it will target and destroy any threat to its status. This explains the slew of oppressive speech laws to target potential threats to the two main party system that is the bedrock of what we see today.

    The more the State takes in taxes and debt the more oppressive it becomes. That process is deliberate, planned and cynical. The State does not act out of compassion but out of self interest as is reflected across most areas of life.

    When a Tory PM is taking advice from a left wing fascist or as some call them a Marxist then I know that we are facing serious impositions and assaults on our mind, our soul, our identity, our psychology, our physiology and our emotions. These criminals view human individuals with contempt as they seek to impose their brutal political vision upon us. It always leads to great suffering

    I know what Boris Johnson is. I can see and smell his bullshit. The guy’s a chancer playing a game. Unlike Thatcher who was moral, real and sincere in her aims to liberate our nation from Socialism, Johnson is merely focused on its own personal interests of career and future and on that basis he’ll sell us down the river into the gaping mouths of people like McCluskey and Harris

    Yes, the State has a role to play, that is without question but what we see is a political entity that acts to protect vested interests within a vested interest. The State’s hands-off response to the events at Batley is instructive and reveals how it discriminates between threats and who exactly it treats as the enemy and the friend

    We have become the enemy. We are financing our own demonisation and our own discrimination

    1. MiC
      April 2, 2021

      Do you know any *true* stories, Dom?

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        April 2, 2021

        Mic You wouldn’t know the meaning of true if it slapped you in the face. You and Andy are experts at fabrication.

    2. Jim Whitehead
      April 2, 2021

      Another trenchant and perceptive comment from DOM.
      Margaret Thatcher was ‘the real thing’ and her integrity and intelligence cut the Gordian knot of vacillation, bewilderment and indecision, but the knot, like weed of the Sargasso Sea entwining propellors and rudder, has once more regrown and baffled the easily baffled.
      Some comments recognise this and declare it as it is, thank you DOM.

  28. boffin
    April 2, 2021

    ‘Defence is of course dominated by government procurement’

    …. with such a sorry history. When the WWII Air Ministry was demanding lumbering heavy bombers equipped with multiple gun turrets barely able to fend off WWI stringbags, De Havilland pressed on in defiance of Whitehall with private development of the Mosquito – arguably the most potent and versatile airframe of that time – which was to make Goering remark ‘I am yellow and green with envy’ when the penny very belatedly dropped in the Ministry. Mosquito aircrew had about double the odds of returing from a bombing sortie. Onwards and onwards ….
    … TSR2 scrapped as soon as it flew, on schedule.
    … Cameron’s butchery of brand-new Nimrod fleet.
    … Donation of our Harriers to the USMC, leaving us with no fixed-wing for our new, catapultless, carriers.

    The Whitehall Warriors are indeed a powerful asset to our potential adversaries.

    1. agricola
      April 2, 2021

      When you lost a Mosquito to enemy action two people might be killed. In a Lancaster it was seven and a B17 it was ten. The potential fire power of a suitably kitted Mosquito was once described to me as roughly the same as that as a broadside from a cruiser. It also flew higher and faster than anything it faced until the german jets came along. Its jet successor the Canberra was equally versatile.
      The tales of government butchery and sale or cancellation of brilliant projects for political purposes are legion. Possibly most of the technical progress in the USA or the USSR was handed to them for nothing, taken from the Germans at the end of WW2, or stolen by traiterous citizens in the case of the USSR.

      1. glen cullen
        April 3, 2021

        USA F35 fighter £190million per aircraft
        UK Hawk fighter £20million per aircraft

        Which one do you think we buy as a front line fighter ?

    2. Mike Wilson
      April 2, 2021

      Yes, it is terrifying how incompetent they are.

    3. lifelogic
      April 2, 2021

      Government defence procurement, like almost all the rest of government run monopolies, has been appalling for as long as I can remember. At one time, many years back I worked for BAC now part of BAe Systems it was dire then too, though I suspect it is even worse now.

  29. agricola
    April 2, 2021

    Your submission has provoked me into speculating on what government could do that might prove positive for its citizens and their endeavours.
    Tax of every colour needs to be simplified. For the individual and business it requires the services of too many expensive people. It is therefore in need of radical surgery.
    Inherited EU law and regulation needs to be audited where it is found to be an unnecessary impediment to individual and business life.
    Woke, BLM, PC should be erased from our thinking and being. It needs to be disintered from all public services. It has caused unacceptable trajedy to too many individuals, be they the trafficked girls of Rotherham and many other places, or the wrongly investigated. I am not getting into names, lest it upsets our host, but you all know to whom I refer. These new religions are as false as many of their predecessors and bring with them the same fervour as the inquisition. Not least taxpayers money is used to feed them.
    We need a “Dragon Den” equivalent to forensically dismember the tendency of government and individuals within it to create virtue ribbon cutting projects that do not bare financial scrutiny. Dome, Channel Tunnel,HS2, The Boris Burrow, and various goverment digital projects come to mind. None stand up to financial scrutiny. Meanwhile of course the medical end of the NHS stays underfunded when there is a good financial cause in having healthy citizens.
    It is now time to know exactly what government has signed up to in our Brexit break from the EU. We hear increasing UK complaints of what they have got wrong, but little complaint from the EU apart from french greed for our fish. This lack of complaint makes me highly suspicious. Lets have it laid out on a spreadsheet, as profit and loss. We can then decide whether it is acceptable or whether WTO would be a better proposition.
    Finally the House of Lords in spades, and the House of Commons less so, are both in need of drastic pruning. Not only in numbers but in operational rules as well. There should be no privaleges financial or in any other way that do not apply to any citizen of the UK. Their life in Westminster should not be subsidised, nor should that of any civil servant.
    If this parliament could sort out all the above they could look upon it as a real virtue project.

  30. Denis Cooper
    April 2, 2021

    Off topic, around three years ago we had Irish government ministers pretending that at present there is no land border on the island of Ireland and one should not be allowed to “re-emerge”, and in January we had a UK government minister pretending that there is no Irish sea border:

    but this is what it is like driving a truck from Leicester in one part of our country across that Irish sea border which Brandon Lewis says does not exist into another part of our country:

    No wonder that some of our fellow UK citizens in Northern Ireland are beginning to feel unwanted:

    “Denis Bradley: Unionists are in a family that doesn’t want them, and that hurts”

    “Being unwanted is a deep hurt. Only unionism can grapple with the reality of being in a family that doesn’t want them. That aspect of the debate is coming more to the fore and is becoming more difficult to ignore. That depth of rejection is something that takes time to come to terms with.”

    1. anon
      April 3, 2021

      Potentially very dangerous Statecraft at work. Not in any manifesto or via a free vote of those most impacted? Not a good look… for a democracy is it?

  31. Original Richard
    April 2, 2021

    “A nationalised industry often hit customers with high prices and sacked many employees at the same time as it wrestled with poor productivity, poor innovation and better overseas competition.”

    Fully nationalised industries was an attempt after the war to move towards communism but unsuprisingly was found to be a failure for both the employees and their customers.

    In the digital age we are seeing the rise again of left wing authoritarian monopolies where unelected CEOs, admittedly often under pressure from politicians, are deciding by themselves what is the truth and demonstrating they have even more power than the old nationalised monopolies by deciding who can and cannot use their services.

  32. The Prangwizard
    April 2, 2021

    Profits and individual drive if allowed will provide a future worth having but we are too far into our long term decline for minor improvements to change that. That decline now includes our freedoms and our culture both of which are being subverted conciously and willingly. We ought to expect our leaders to protect these but the majority are with the groups carrying out the destruction.

    We are still led by the same strata of weak self important and incompetent people as we have been for decades who as I mention have now become corrupted as well.

    We did try after the war to make a go of it but every innovation was scrapped because of the failure to think or plan long term, and the failure to stand firm against pressures became built in to administrations. The list of what we gave up and which became developed later by others is long and severely depressing.

    First the US was allowed the upper hand then the EU, lately the Chinese and anyone with money who could buy everything we had. We even allowed a widespread view that foreign was always best.

    Only a radical change, a wholesale removal of the elites will give us a chance. We need people of courage and integrity who will put our sovereignty and identity above all.

  33. dixie
    April 2, 2021

    We also need to ask ourselves, if the private sector is so good why has so much of our innovation, infrastructure and companies disappeared into foreign hands and moved offshore along with the jobs, assets and investment.

  34. glen cullen
    April 2, 2021

    I agree ‘profit fuels jobs & innovation’

    But only a regime of low taxation, small regulation and zero subsidies will produce a profit

  35. Pauline Baxter
    April 2, 2021

    You are quite right to argue for competition Sir John but I’m afraid there are a few things you do not say.
    Competition also drives success globally.
    How on earth can Great Britain compete world wide, if it runs out of power, because of the Crazy CO2 neutral targets.
    How can the British people be competitive and innovative if they are living in an authoritative government controlled, society, like we have now. Imposed on the flimsy excuse of the dreaded Covid.
    I have noticed your diary speaks for England. I support the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    1. Barbara
      April 2, 2021


      Authoritarian indeed.

      Coronavirus Act 2020

      ‘The act allows the government the discretionary power to limit or suspend public gatherings, to detain individuals suspected to be infected by COVID-19 …’

      ‘To detain individuals suspected’

      Utterly terrifying

      1. Jim Whitehead
        April 2, 2021

        +1 to P.B. and Barbara.

  36. David Brown
    April 2, 2021

    Totally disagree with you such policies are old school and not fit for purpose.
    We need regulation for employment rights and protection.
    Deregulation leads to corruption and bankruptcy.
    The good thing is that voters can very quickly turn and stab a political party in the back when they get bored of the same party, Conservatives need to look beyond the old core Tory voters if they want to stay in power because many of the working class areas will default back to their labour roots, and a majority can easily be slashed bringing in a labour Scottish and Liberal Coalition .
    I read that President Bidens Policy of infrastructure spend has gone down very well with the stock markets and city financiers, we need to be doing the same. The Presidents imaginative tax and spend policy has won lots of praise.

    1. jon livesey
      April 2, 2021

      “Deregulation leads to corruption and bankruptcy.”

      I don’t know about corruption, but bankruptcy was one of the UK’s best inventions. It used to be that when you invested in a company, if they lost money then their creditors could come after your private wealth, not just what you had invested. That, obviously, held up investment by making it very risky.

      Bankruptcy broke the connection between investments and un-invested wealth because it made your liability in a company no more than your original investment. That’s when free market capitalism really took off and became safe for small investors.

      1. David Brown
        April 2, 2021

        Wow I totally agree with you

    2. Peter2
      April 2, 2021

      We are increasing spending greatly in the UK too.
      Exactly how much more deficit spending do you want?

  37. jon livesey
    April 2, 2021

    I think that JR may be worrying too much. I think that the history of the UK in the 20th and early 21st Centuries is one of Governments trying to run the economy and failing, but then private enterprise taking over and nudging us towards whatever transition was needed.

    We entered the 20th century as a very old-style manufacturing country, the Great War was a disaster, but then the economy successfully made the transition to radio, electrics and light industry replacing the old behemoths. Historians have noted that the trade skills learned in making bicycles powered the auto industry, and the engineering learned during the Great War founded the aircraft industry. Then two more big transitions, and so on.

    That’s a repeating pattern. An old UK industry dies, but is replaced by a new one that uses the wreckage of the old. But that requires some freedom from planning, because the instinct of a Civil Servant is always to preserve jobs in existing industries, not to throw all the balls in the air and replace what does work with what *could* work better, which is what businessmen do all the time.

    And that is why we have Brexit. The EU is pretty good at running predictable mid-tech manufacturing. The EU is really 1950 with go-faster stripes. But that isn’t the future. To meet the future you have to use the insight and knowledge of people who are not in Government but who can attract the capital it takes to power our next transition, and that requires regulating them the least while they do it.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    April 2, 2021

    We need to ask ourselves – and you need to ask the Prime Minister – why this so called Conservative Party has not got rid of vast chunks of the regulation. The PM seems reluctant to tackle the vast swathe of EU laws and UK laws resulting from EU Directives that have accumulated since the Maastricht Treaty enter UK law. He seems reluctant to abolish the totally unnecessary and deeply damaging Northern Ireland protocol. And he wants to add substantial public transport subsidies to increased social (subsidised) housing and increased free at the point of consumption health services. Such things generate more regulation and taxation because there is a need to limit the damage that they do the economy. We have defeated Corbyn twice but they have been Pyrrhic victories because we have adopted many of his policies.

    You are on notice, Sir John. If Conservative policy is an indistinguishable echo of Labour policy come the next General Election, then I will vote Reform or UKIP. Let me spell it out: once BoJo has fully delivered Brexit, he is dispensable.

  39. jon livesey
    April 2, 2021

    “We need to ask ourselves why the USA has been so much better than the UK/EU at powering the digital revolution….”

    That is a key question and valuable since it is something we can learn from. Part is just the self-confidence the US has gained in being at the front of technology for so long. But that begs the question why they were at the front so early.

    I think part of the answer there is that decision making in the US economy is so distributed that Government cannot make the kinds of errors that would seriously hold them back. Industrial giants like GM and AT&T are just as conservative and risk-averse as anyone else, but allocation of capital is still in private hands, and when US industry generates new ways of doing business, the industrial giants adopt the new ways just on the basis of cost, no “vision” required. Just think of how the PC and the laptop developed, and how many companies now totally depend on them.

    Tentatively I would say Boris just about gets this. An investment here, a research institute there and a splash of financial support over there is about the extent to which he wants to run the economy. He does not seem to intend the kind of destructive “help” and micromanagement the UK economy has suffered from over and over again from Governments of all parties.

    1. hefner
      April 3, 2021

      Incredible that you can waffle so much without having any idea about the history of computers, Alan Turing, development of transistors, work at University of Manchester, how WW2 changed the perspective of the US federal government on these ‘computing’ and defence matters, ENIAC, ARPA, … What a waste of space.

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