The battle of free enterprise and state control



        Capitalism has a bad name with the left who wish to make out it is characterised by exploitation of labour, overcharging and sole preoccupation with profit. Most businesses know that offering keen prices and good service are fundamental to success. They recognise that employees are one of their main resources, so treating employees well is crucial to delivering for customers and shareholders. Capitalism works best when ownership is widely spread. Many people in prosperous free enterprise societies own a home of their own. They own shares through their pension funds and their insurance policies, or they own shares direct. Many have stakes in the businesses they work for through employee share schemes. In the self employed and small business sector individuals and families own businesses and keep the profits of their labours directly. 


       Nationalisation and state control have a bad name with advocates of free enterprise democracy. In the Uk nationalised industries in the last century sacked much of their labour. They put up  prices, using their monopoly powers. They often delivered bad service and failed to innovate. They were kept short of investment capital in many cases because their investment competed with spending on public services and was a charge on taxpayers. British Rail was famed for cancelled and delayed trains, poor  catering and high ticket prices. The Post Office telephone service fell way behind US technology and capacity prior to privatisation owing to a lack of modern investment. There were long waits to get a phone, the need to accept a line shared with the neighbour  and little choice over equipment to use on the network.  The Steel industry got big investment in five major new plants, only to be unable to sell nearly enough of the steel and to embark on a series of closures. The electricity industry concentrated on large coal burning stations. Once privatised it was transformed by a dash for gas, cleaning it up and greatly raising its energy efficiency. Socialist supporters of nationalisation look back to that era with nostalgia, wishing to see there keener prices, better service and better employment than ever existed.


       It is true that there is no single country that has adopted a purely democratic and free enterprise system of government. Nor are there many examples of complete government control, though North Korea gets close. Countries are somewhere on the spectrum with the USA and small countries like Norway, Switzerland, Singapore and San Marino clustered towards the free enterprise end with high incomes per head, and Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea at the other extreme with low incomes. Most advanced countries accept a substantial role for government. They want government to tax successful people and companies more to redistribute money to people on low and no incomes to help them have a better lifestyle. They use government interventions to keep markets more competitive and to secure other social ends. The danger all face is if they interfere too widely for however good a reason, they may end up damaging markets, restricting supply and undermining prosperity.




  1. Mark B
    February 5, 2023

    Good morning.

    Sorry it is a bit long, Sir John 🙂

    Capitalism has a bad name with the left who wish to make out it is characterised by exploitation of labour, overcharging and sole preoccupation with profit.

    This use to be the case but, with better employment laws and the growth in jobs from tertiary industry, coupled with a decline from primary and secondary industries, this has led the Labour movement into the realm of State services (via the unions) and the championing of minority interest groups in order to survive and prosper. It has found that its more traditional supporters seem to be moving away from them in so many ways.

    The danger all face is if they interfere too widely for however good a reason Most businesses know that offering keen prices and good service are fundamental to success. 

    In my younger days I use to work for a well know ‘fast-food’ outlet. Of the many things that I learn was that, the customers that walked in though your door has already made their decision to buy from you. There was no effort on YOUR part in that. What was the effort, and this is true of any business that deals with people up close, is to keep them coming back to you and not anyone else. I always knew they had a choice.

    For Capitalism to be a success, there needs to be ‘risk and reward’. The risk being you will lose everything. The reward being that of a success and to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

    When you have a government and a State that is run so badly it needs itself to be subsidised by those in the Private Sector, whether this be through taxation or borrowing (which has to be paid back via taxation), or even QE, the State takes more and more of YOUR rewards to subsidies itself but never takes on the risk. This creates a situation where one has to ask, “Why bother ?” And so the first steps to decline begin. This is why I keep screaming about cuts to the State.

    The danger all face is if they interfere too widely for however good a reason

    The road to hell, or bankruptcy, is paved with good intentions.

    1. MFD
      February 5, 2023

      You hit the nail square on the head. Agree with you, that is why I buy local produce.
      This has a secondary benefit in that you know idiots have not messed with your food- insects like the EU propose! Thank goodness for Brexit

    2. Peter
      February 5, 2023

      A lot of the recent articles seem to be about abstract political theory. Not so much about what is going on in the running of the country.

      I was interested to see Liz Truss defend herself in print yesterday.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 5, 2023

        Rightly so. Truss’s policies were and are right but needed combining with large cuts in things like HS2, net zero, the duff worthless degrees and the endless other waste. The Kwasi “budget” may have been the straw that triggered the market reaction but the blame for the economic mess lies more with the money printing and incompetence of Suank & Bailey and the lockdown & tax, borrow and waste policies of Sunak as Chancellor (for 2+ years). Not the few days of Truss/kwasi . Sunak supporting Tory MPs and the establishment had their knives sharpened well before she she become PM. She had no chance from day one.

        The government five priorities should be:-

        1. Go for cheap reliable on demand energy and ditch net zero.
        2. Stop and deter illegal immigration now. Legal and skilled people only allowed on application.
        3. Halve the size of the largely parasitic state sector to encourage growth and cut tax rates.
        4. Get real and fair competition & not rigged markets in Healthcare, Energy, Education, Transport…
        5. Deregulate hugely and stop the wars on motorists, small businesses, investors…

        Not Sunak’s pathetic five (pass another law for migrants- just pathetic) .

        1. Peter
          February 5, 2023

          Agreed. It was a coup but Sunak was never blamed for the state of the economy.

          As for the five principles, I never gave them any credence. They were just empty promises.

          Sunak is not listening to any of the voting public either.

        2. glen cullen
          February 5, 2023


  2. Ashley
    February 5, 2023

    I listened to Sunak’s interview with Piers Morgan. He actually said the “UK’s world leading modern slavery act” or similar does the dope really think this? Another appalling “gift” to the nation from the dire Theresa May (like the net zero lunacy) now being used to try to preventing deportation of thousands of economic migrants and criminals.

    A shame Piers Morgan decided to not ask anything remotely challenging. He obviously wants to be granted more such soft “what would you like to say now Mr Sunak” interviews.

    1. Gabe
      February 5, 2023

      “Britain faces destitution because it refuses to admit the state pension is unaffordable. The current plans to raise the pension age are too timid. If we had stuck with Lloyd George’s approach, it would be approaching 100”
      DANIEL HANNAN in the Telegraph calling for (in effect) yet further large tax increases by asking the government to default & cheat even further on the state pension promises.

      This at a time when life expectancy has declined significantly over the past three years (due largely to government and NHS gross incompetence over the Covid period and the net harm vaccines). Overall deaths are still running at about 20% up on the five year average and showing little decline.

      The current proposal of increasing the age to 78 would already put it above actual life expectancy in many parts of the country like Blackpool & much of Scotland. This especially for males and manual workers who are clearly discriminated against by the system (more contribution yes far less pension). So nothing at all for many people’s years of large NI contributions.

      What is really unaffordable Daniel is the bloated size of the overpaid and largely unproductive (or even worse negatively productive) state sector with their gold plated index linked pensions and indeed MPs sold gold pensions. Start there please by halving the numbers and scrapping DB pensions for them. They can prob. get another job. Less easy for a 70 year old brick layer, roofer or scaffolder!

      1. Berkshire Alan
        February 5, 2023


        Certainly agree with your comments about manual work, because too few politicians understand that if you have been doing heavy/active/physical work, most or all of you life, your body is usually broken at 60 years old, and that is a simple fact !

        1. a-tracy
          February 10, 2023

          I’ve had two good friends die this past year; one retired at 66, and died four months later. The other was still working part-time and died at age 70. Not everyone lasts 30 years on pension. In fact, pension claimant numbers have dropped.

    2. Ian wragg
      February 5, 2023

      Fishy is a WEF plant and will talk a lot but deliver very little.
      We are following the Canadian way of woke politics only slightly slower
      What is the justification for bankrupting us with net zero when the rest of the world is laughing at us.
      We have years of natural resources but we can’t touch them
      It’s OK to import them
      Sheer hypocrisy.
      The sooner the stables ate cleared the better.

    3. MFD
      February 5, 2023

      OR! Sir Piers!!!

    4. Nottingham Lad Himself
      February 5, 2023

      Yes, everyone can see that e.g. Southern Water care just as much about protecting the quality of river and coastal waters as they do about profit can’t they?

      It’s good to have a roaring out loud belly laugh first thing in the morning.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 5, 2023

        Yep. When it rains reasonably hard, raw sewage is flushed into rivers and streams in Oxfordshire. Anglers, walkers, swimmers, kayakers etc either no longer enjoy their pastime or are disgusted at the effluent clearly evident. Campaigners publicise the worst offender locations, but a pretence of wringing hands is all that happens. This has gone on for as long as living memory, even under EU (far better controls/penalties) little action was ever taken!

      2. Mike Wilson
        February 5, 2023

        I don’t know about Southern Water but Wessex Water seem very on the ball to me. A chap knocked on the door recently and advised me that they would be parked outside the house in the early hours of the morning. They have meters in the mains that ‘listen’ to water flow – expecting almost nothing in the early hours – and these meters send a message to HQ and they come out at night to identify a leak. I asked the chap how much was being lost and he said 10,000 litres a day. Which sounds a lot but it’s only 10 cubic metres. Two days later they were digging up the road fixing the leak. Also, if you suspect a leak on your own property, between the main in the pavement and your house, they are out the same day.

  3. Gary Megson
    February 5, 2023

    The last time anything was “nationalised” in this country was some parts of the banks 15 years ago, as a result of the catastrophically stupid and greedy practices of the private sector. Before that, it’s the 1950s. Whatever is wrong with the UK today is nothing to do with “nationalisation”, and nothing to do with the left either. What is wrong with the UK today is the result of the policies of the Conservative Party, which has run this country for over 12 years and for over 30 of the last 44 years.

    Reply Most of the railways have been nationalised and they are now heavily loss making and on strike. Energy companies under price controls went bust.

    1. Peter Wood
      February 5, 2023

      Sir J,
      The British railway system is a fascinating history, worthy of much study, since it has always been a ‘natural monopoly’ operated occasionally and in parts by privateers. Look at its formation in the late 1800’s, many small private lines that went broke, later amalgamated into a few large ‘semi-private’ operators, then full nationalisation, then quasi privatisation and now a sad mix of public and private operators all dependent on subsidy. Private operators have never been able to make a long term viable business out of running train businesses.
      Get back to basics, a private company owns and operates all the assets it employs, without state subsidy. if it cannot turn a profit it must go out of business. IF the nation’s population tells the government it wants a railway, then the government should tell us what it’ll cost and let us decide if we wish to pay for it through taxation.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 5, 2023

        By 1850 many railway companies had been set up, built and 8000 miles of tracks were proposed and agreed – the estimated cost to complete them was roughly the same as the country’s GDP.! There were frantic purchases of shares in those companies, you could liken to the recent technology bubble (that burst). Different regions and steam locomotive designers battled to seek ever more powerful engines, comparing power, speed and cost of coal consumed per mile. By the end of 1800s the standard gauge track width had been chosen and costs of food in cities had fallen due to ease of transport from production counties. Eventually things started to go wrong, and massive neglect of infrastructure and rolling stock took place prior and during WW2, culminating in nationalisation in 1946/7.

    2. Dave Andrews
      February 5, 2023

      It is a delusion of the left that people in nationalised industries will pull together for the common good. In reality, the workers lay back in the knowledge their job is guaranteed by the state, and they can go on strike for more money as and when they like. With no competition to take their work away from them, their employers have no choice but to capitulate.
      If any of their number has a good idea, they will keep it to themselves. After all, everyone hates a smart-arse. Moreover they will make sure they never do an outstanding job, so as not to show up their comrades. Even if they do a bad job, they aren’t likely to get sacked, more like promoted. Consequently the business languishes in mediocrity.

    3. Peter
      February 5, 2023

      “Reply Most of the railways have been nationalised and they are now heavily loss making and on strike. ”

      The railways were much better when they were initially nationalised. Everything was joined up. There was a simple and reasonable fare structure.

      Privatisation threw a spanner in the works.

      The Conservative Party will not admit failure on this issue, so the sad saga persists.

    4. Ian B
      February 5, 2023

      @Gary Megson

      The banks problem was interference from Gordon Brown, yes some needed to go under, due to their neglect in providing service to Customers. Then we had the Left in the disguise of Brown manipulating the market and the UK taxpayer is still paying down that debt with interest today.

      Had the Banks been left to their own devices we would be clear and free.

      It is direct Government interference that always ends up in manipulation, distortion and the taxpayer paying twice.

      You are right about the Conservatives, the last coming up-to 13 years we have seen it shift to being a major left wing Party, well left of Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It has achieved the market manipulation and state interference that the Left can only dream of. The Party in Government does not support the Economy, it does not support Free Enterprise, it discourages the very idea of independent business, it does support back door state control with no responsibility attached

    5. Hat man
      February 5, 2023

      Reply to reply:- ‘Rail and bus operator FirstGroup reinstates dividend as profits rise’. ‘The company posted profits of £226m compared with £220m a year ago for the year to March 26.’ (Sharecast 3rd Feb. 2023)

      That doesn’t sound like a nationalised company to me. More like a hugely subsidised private business.

    6. Mike Wilson
      February 5, 2023

      as a result of the catastrophically stupid and greedy practices of the private sector.

      Whilst that is self evidently true, one must ask who was in power while this particular episode went on? Who said they would ‘not allow a boom in house prices’ and stood by while house prices went up 5x in many areas of the country between 1997 and 2007. (A two up-two down in Newcastle could be had for £15k in 1997 – very affordable on a local wage of £13k. By 2007, following uncontrolled and unrestrained lending – particularly to the new breed of buy to let parasites – the same house was over £100k. Well done, New Labour, by failing to control the banks you made property unaffordable for the working class you pretend to represent.

      1. Peter
        February 5, 2023

        Mike Wilson,

        You don’t mention switch from standard repayment mortgages( usually capped around three times salary) to other more risky ones. This was as a result of building society deregulation under a Conservative Government. The subsequent housing crash of the 1990s was also under a Conservative government.

  4. Wanderer
    February 5, 2023

    “They recognise that employees are one of their main resources, so treating employees well is crucial.”

    The first half of the sentence is correct, but not the second. When UK governments allowed the influx of cheap labour from overseas, most companies treated their employees as badly as they could get away with.

    When you’ve been an employee in that position, you don’t forget. You are a “resource” like any other, to be procured as cost effectively as possible. As one manager said to us on the shopfloor “Shut up and go then, there’s 10 Romanians waiting outside the door for each of your jobs!”

    Hence a lot of the support for Brexit. Even the foreign workers were unhappy we were letting more of them in, as it clearly just led to worse conditions for those of them already with a job.

    1. Ashley
      February 5, 2023

      A company in a competitive free market largely has to pay the market rate or they just become uncompetitive on price, go bust, lose market share or get taken over. Furthermore the benefit system is such that every £1 more you pay staff they often usually keep a tiny percentage after tax, NI & benefit losses (and even this is less child care & commuting costs etc. The government/state sector is the problem as usual.

    2. Mark B
      February 5, 2023

      It is not just the increase in labour but also technology. This has been an ongoing issue right from the beginning of the industrial revolution when cottage industries like weaving were homogenised into factories because the new invention of looms coupled with water power and then steam engines. The modern equivalent now being ‘self-service’ checkouts.

    3. Shirley M
      February 5, 2023

      Agreed, Wanderer. It led to minimum wage becoming the ‘standard wage’, even for those jobs which required experience, or qualifications.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 5, 2023

        Capitalism getting away with the ‘standard wage’ and almost advocated by Governments!
        All part of the control freakery.

    4. Bloke
      February 5, 2023

      If your manager was a man, he was wrong.
      He should have said “There are 10 Romanians”.

    5. mickc
      February 5, 2023

      To Wanderer
      Yes, absolutely right. We didn’t need vast numbers of cheap labour flooding the market but we got it, courtesy of Tony Blair. His pro EU stance, whatever the cost, was at the cost of the working class. As usual, our rulers’ bright idea is at others’ cost, as is Net Zero.
      The British ruling class love Britain to “set an example”… to the detriment of the British people. And when the people actually get the chance to decide, Brexit, the rulers seek to reverse it.

    6. Peter
      February 5, 2023

      “Even the foreign workers were unhappy we were letting more of them in..”

      I had similar experience. Indians complaining about outsourcing and people arriving from Noida and Chennai for work assignments. They were worried about opportunities for their own children in this country

    7. glen cullen
      February 5, 2023

      Fully agree with your sentiment, successive governments have encouraged cheap foreign labour over the indigenous population, which politicians proclaiming full employment they and the media never talk about the 1.2 million unemployed

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 5, 2023

        More like 5+ million!

  5. Clough
    February 5, 2023

    Britain’s privatised utilities, privatised Royal Mail, and privatised railways all charge some of the highest rates in Europe for what they offer. Why? Because there is no effective competition. But that’s because these are domains where competitors cannot easily co-exist, simultaneously using the same rails, wires or pipes to supply the public. The private enterprise model has been over-extended in these cases, allowing price-gouging by corporate juggernauts whose profits go to shareholders as a first priority, not necessarily to investment.

    1. Peter
      February 5, 2023

      Agreed. Some form of mixed economy works best where there are natural monopolies.

      The key is getting the right balance of public/private. We could do with a lot less non-productive quangos and departments and having publicly-owned essential services instead.

      No point in destroying national services for doctrinaire reasons. ‘Selling off the family silver’ and all that.

      Reply There are very few natural monopolies. Competition improves energy , transport, water etc

      1. Mark B
        February 6, 2023

        Reply to reply

        How do I get someone else to supply my water, Sir John ?

        Reply We need competing companies as business has in Scotland. Pipes as common carriers.

  6. Anselm
    February 5, 2023

    Too much capitalism leads to Kartels like Google, Facebook and Twitter which get out of hand and turn, in effect to monopolies. Also there is a huge fall out of people who just get sacked and turn to drink, drugs and the gutter. San Fransicko is apparently a good example. Then the do gooders move in and make it a lot worse (Shellenberg).

    Too much nationalisation leads to the chaos you describe. Ask any Russian! Or East German. Or Venezuela where the state ruined the oil industry and impoverished everyone. And, here in UK dependency culture wrecks the lives of about 5 million (out of 60 million) people on the dole. Ask the Afghans who are being moved to Wetherby!

  7. DOM
    February 5, 2023

    The power-mad, Neo-Marxist woke Left under Labour and their allies now control this nation, its government, its Parliament and the public sector at both local and national level. It controls our sport, our culture and our freedoms

    The Tories are without question the most appalling appeasers of woke and the Left and this article is cannon fodder for the naive. The left will destroy this nation as we know it and the Tories won’t blink of an eyelid

  8. John McDonald
    February 5, 2023

    Dear Sir, you are correct in how you discribed the theory of Capitalism and how it should work. Free enterprise and state ownership are not mutually exclusive. Tax payer ownership is not the same as State control which tends to end up as political control by the left or right.
    We must look at the result of privatising Gas, Water, and Electricity and the GPO. Who now owns these Strategic State Resources and where do the Profits go ? We have to ask why is EDF stated owned but can export electricity to the UK at a higher price to us than consumers in France ?
    Also zero carbon as mostly nuclear generation.
    Perhaps one day someone can show that we are now paying less in real terms for our utilities. It’s not just the price on the bill but the higher tax we pay due to the profits made going aboard and not to the UK

  9. Lynn Atkinson
    February 5, 2023

    The real problem is that the capitalist-capable people migrate into the wealth-creating sector and the corporatist-remainder end up being employed by the corporations and the state.
    Because capitalists are tested every day in The Market, they are fully stretched inventing, implementing and making more and more efficient production and delivery work.
    The remainder working in the corporation/state sector have time on their hands because they are ‘unsackable’ ‘untested’ and ‘unproductive’.
    They are jealous of the wealth the capitalists create and scheme about how to use their state and corporate power to steal it.
    You end up with Ukraine, where Zelensky has just claimed, on the brink of defeat in war with 200,000 plus dead, that ‘there is plenty of many still to be made in Ukraine’. The Panama Papers revealed some years ago that Zelensky owned 20 houses and some £700,000,000.00. He has more now.
    The Corporate State, in extremis, has consumed the Capitalist market.
    That is the price all Capitalists pay for not controlling and maintaining the size and power of The Stste.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 5, 2023

      My God what a load of social networking nonsense.

  10. Peter van LEEUWEN
    February 5, 2023

    free enterprise versus state control, how about government policy?
    Spending power in the UK roughly doubled from 1948-1978, and again from 1978-2008.
    Today you’re back at the 2008 level. What happened to Britain???
    With the poorest 10% now worse off then the poorest 10% in Slovenia, what happened to “leveling up”???

  11. Lynn Atkinson
    February 5, 2023

    I have made a mistake in my comment quoting the President of Ukraine. The correction is that he said ‘There is plenty of MONEY still to be made in Ukraine’.

  12. Cuibono
    February 5, 2023

    At a totally non economic/scientific level the old “nationaliseds” always seemed far more “human” than the services we have now. You could go into a shop where you knew the people and pay your bill…with cash! No question of overcharging to hoard your money!
    Companies now are so centralised and “woke” not a grain of joy or levity. Ghastly.
    My far more logical husband always trots out the story of his grandparents waiting for ages in their Cornish village for a phone.
    In the end the MP intervened.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 5, 2023

      I think the delay in getting a home telephone installed by BT was about 3 months back in late 50s/early 60s.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 5, 2023

        I should have said ‘installed by General Post Office’ – it wasn’t called British Telecom or BT until a lot later.

  13. Donna
    February 5, 2023

    “The danger all face is if they interfere too widely for however good a reason, they may end up damaging markets, restricting supply and undermining prosperity.”

    And if they take complete control, as they did with the massive and completely unjustified by their own scientific evidence, Covid restrictions, they end up fracturing the markets, wrecking the economy and ruining millions of lives.

    And now they are doing the same thing with the Net Zero lunacy which is also based on scientific opinion justified by models (just like Covid) which have and are being proven wrong by other scientists. The continual propaganda about “a climate crisis” is just that …. propaganda. It is not FACT and the evidence shows that the apocalyptic warnings are wrong. Yet those scientists (just like Covid) are being silenced. The BBC decided many years ago that it would not allow dissent from the Establishment’s climate change propaganda to be aired on its channels.

    And so we are forced to conclude that in both cases, there is/was an objective which is/was more important to them than maintaining markets and prosperity.

    That objective is Agenda 2030, which no-one has ever voted for, and the WEF’s objectives of a COMMAND and CONTROL society run by a self-selecting group of “Elite” businessmen, experts, technocrats and tame politicians …. with the little people returned to a condition resembling serfdom.

    Serfs were tied to their Overlord’s land and they weren’t allowed to travel freely. Does that remind you of the Government’s plans, which are being imposed with no mandate, for 15 minute cities; Low Traffic Neighbourhoods; effective removal of private vehicles by banning affordable ones and failing to provide infrastructure for the supposed alternative?

    We are witnessing a power grab by the Globalists. The largest “peaceful” power grab in our history. They want complete CONTROL. And that is far more important to them than maintaining markets and prosperity.

  14. Bloke
    February 5, 2023

    Wide personal ownership improves nations’ well-being. People tend to look after what belongs to them, maintaining it well and protecting it from risk or damage from others. The same applies to our neighbourhood and our country.

  15. Berkshire Alan
    February 5, 2023

    The Government need to understand people go to work for themselves and their families, to fund things for themselves.
    They do not go to work to fund politicians spending, and to pay for others who cannot be bothered.
    That is not to say we do not need some element of taxation as a contribution to all of our basic needs, to keep us safe (Police and Armed forces) to fund basic care for the real unintended consequences if life, be it health, or short terms of unemployment to name but a few, but living solely off of the State/Taxpayer long term, should not be an option.
    The tax and benefits system should encourage self sufficiency, not penalise it, and at the moment, the risk for many people in either being self employed, or running their own business, is simply not worth the meagre returns/rewards, after tax.

  16. Mickey Taking
    February 5, 2023

    Liz Truss has said she was never given a “realistic chance” to implement her radical tax-cutting agenda by her party. In a 4,000-word essay in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss stood by her plans to boost economic growth, arguing they were brought down by “the left-wing economic establishment”. They are the first public comments the ex-PM has made on her resignation. But she said she was not “blameless” for the unravelling of the mini-budget.
    Ms Truss was forced to quit after she and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts panicked the markets and tanked the pound to a record low. Her brief time in power – 49 days – made her the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history. Ms Truss said that while her experience last autumn was “bruising for me personally”, she believed that over the medium term her policies would have increased growth and therefore brought down debt.
    She argued that the government was made a “scapegoat” for developments that had been brewing for some time. “Frankly, we were also pushing water uphill. Large parts of the media and the wider public sphere had become unfamiliar with key arguments about tax and economic policy and over time sentiment had shifted leftward,” she wrote. “Regrettably, the government became a useful scapegoat for problems that had been brewing over a number of months.” She also said she had not appreciated the strength of the resistance she would face to her plans – including plans to abolish the 45p top rate of income tax.
    “I assumed upon entering Downing Street that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was. While I anticipated resistance to my programme from the system, I underestimated the extent of it,” she writes.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 5, 2023

      11.57 ‘brought down by “the left-wing economic establishment”.
      Isn’t this what you and commentators on here have been saying?

  17. Cuibono
    February 5, 2023

    Can it be right though to hand control (or ownership even) of national resources over to private enterprise, often foreign at that?
    Why would all state ownership have to be soviet style?
    After Beeching, the terrible mess of split privatisation, Blair govt. refusal to renationalise plus the covid scam it is scarcely a wonder that the railways are in a mess.
    I once knew an economist who advocated free travel on all transport.
    Might that work?

  18. Bill Brown
    February 5, 2023

    Sir JR

    Good article but higher taxes doesn’t mean lower competiveness. Denmark, Norway Sweden, Holland and Finland are good examples

  19. agricola
    February 5, 2023

    The great danger in the UK is that government/ the establishment are preoccupied with subverting democracy. I gave you glaring examples yesterday which you found too accurate to publish. So in the UK it is irrelevant which of the two major parties has power, taxation is so high that there is little incentive for enterprise unless you can incorporate in a tax haven or as a self employed person working from home make sure your home is in a more tax sensible location.

  20. Cuibono
    February 5, 2023

    Meanwhile the country is fatally overcrowded, horrifically in debt, and has probably committed suicide by refusing to store power.
    They forcibly jab you, close everything down to save you and then starve and freeze you!
    The old world of the tardy, nationalised gasman made far more sense!
    Oh…and the lovely, solid, properly-made, slot-in, eye-level-grill cookers you could buy at the electricity and gas board showrooms! (With no appalling never-to-be-understood, plasticky little icon knobs).
    Not that we can use cookers any more 🥺.
    Cold mealworms for us now!

  21. Keith from Leeds
    February 5, 2023

    Your last sentence sums up the UK situation perfectly. The Government is too big, interferes too much, majors in the minors, ( Woke nonsense ) & ignores the majors. (Illegal Immigration, High Taxes, EU red tape, the money pit that is the NHS, the nonsense of net zero, and Civil Servants working from home, to name a few).
    Where there is no vision, the people perish! It seems we have had no vision from our Leaders for a long time hence the mood in the UK of dismay, depression & disgust.
    Are you the only MP with some vision, intelligence & common sense? How many agree with you on the conservative benches? When will there be enough to insist/force some conservative policies on this lack lustre government, beginning with a serious reduction in the cost of government.

  22. Kenneth
    February 5, 2023

    I would add that the free market is the best way to prevent large disparities between rich and poor through competition.

    If someone was getting rich quick providing a product or service, someone else would realise the potential and provide a better product or service at lower prices, thus spreading the wealth.

  23. Lucas
    February 5, 2023

    “that’s actually interesting” – said Grant Shapps on Sophy this morning – he couldn’t answer a straight question with a straight answer especially about the pre-paid electricity meters scandal – again we have the media feeding the politicians and the politicians soaking it up. I suppose If I switch to BBC I’ll see him again – doing the rounds. Am sick of it all

  24. Walt
    February 5, 2023

    Lord Andrew Tyrie is quoted in the FT of Friday 3rd February, “Regulatory failure has contributed to the crisis in capitalism…”.
    He is correct: the ‘watchdogs’ have permitted rip-off charges and practices; they have failed to stop the discharge of effluent into our waters; often they appear to be captured by industries that they are supposed to regulate. The article is behind a paywall but, for those who have access, it is well worth reading.

    1. Bill B.
      February 5, 2023


    2. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2023

      Almost invariably the regulators fail to look after consumers and fall into bed with the companies they are supposed to be regulating. Often with people working for one jumping to the other. Witness the rip off one size for all 40% personal overdrafts for all (from the FCA while Bailey was in charge) and still in place now. Clearly market rigging and a total lack of any real or fair competition.

  25. MPC
    February 5, 2023

    But the ‘offering of keen prices and good service’ is being destroyed in various sectors by the Conservative party in government. I’ve just replaced my gas boiler with a more modern and highly efficient model for £3,500. The boiler is superb and manufactured in England by Ideal Logic of Hull, with only one component originating in China. I was advised that a ground or air sourced heat pump would have cost about £20,000. So the Tory Net Zero policy, with its eventual ban on gas boilers advocated by Chris Skidmore and others, will bring ‘high prices and poor service’, in terms of mandating appliances that people neither want or can afford. Zero distinction of policy between Conservative and Labour in terms of such policy is why the tories are set for annihilation.

  26. Narrow Shoulders
    February 5, 2023

    The problem is not capitalism per se it is the regulation of capitalism by the state. This make entry and competition more difficult and then socialises the losses of the big players.

    This gives capitalism a bad name and allows the left to play on the image of an uncaring moustachioed capitalist.

    Government intervention is the source of more ills than capitalism.

    Competition provides solutions that command economies can not

  27. Ian B
    February 5, 2023

    “Nationalisation and state control have a bad name” Because they never work. It is a short term for most part well meaning knee jerk reaction, essential to cover up Government mistakes. Governments are irresponsible when spending other peoples money

  28. Ian B
    February 5, 2023

    “Capitalism has a bad name with the left who wish to make out it is characterised by exploitation of labour” its another untruth put out by Governments in fear of their people. You vote for me because you are the same ‘class’(whatever that means) as me, – there is no such thing as class its a manufactured ideology to create division.

    Capitalism only works when there is Free Enterprise. Free Enterprise only works when Governments but out. Governments are there to serve not dictate. As always as we have seen with the EU Governments manipulate to create barriers to Free Enterprise and that is mainly protect themselves.

    Under WTO terms tariff barriers are discouraged, the EU and others revert to pseudo rules and standards to ensure they don’t have competition.

  29. ChrisS
    February 5, 2023

    Like many posting here, I believe Liz Truss was “stitched Up” by the Treasury, financial commentators and particularly by Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England.

    Reading her Telegraph article, that comes over very clearly. The problem that supposedly almost led to the collapse of UK Pension funds, had its origins up to a decade before. The financial regulators and the Bank Of England allowed Pension funds to build up balances in LDIs, highly risky derivatives, that amounted to 60% of UK GDP, an enormous sum which amounted to £1,366bn in 2021 !

    According to her article, Ms Truss states that pension regulators encouraged pension schemes to use these instruments, even though there were concerns as to the risk. Even more worrying, Ms Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and long-term cabinet member while this was going on, knew nothing about it ! Even when she became PM, neither she nor her Chancellor were given any warning of the potential problem.
    It was clear that any volatile reduction in gilt prices would cause a problem, and just at the worst possible time, Bailey announced a bond sale when prices would guarantee a huge loss !
    This caused a degree of panic in the markets that led to the end of the Truss government.

    Serious questions should be asked but, of course they won’t be, because the establishment is already closing ranks against Liz Truss’ very believable version of events.

    The downfall of her government was a coup, just a more gentile and effective one than had troops been marched up Downing Street.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 5, 2023

      at least your version gets published, unlike mine.

    2. Ian B
      February 5, 2023

      @Chris S – the pension problem specifically the LDIs were pointed out as a problem many years ago by the man that was then charged with redressing the situation, the same Andrew Bailey. Then when it became the problem he predicted, seemingly he realised he ‘forgot’ his job back then, it would now give the appearance of trying to shift blame.

      LDIs still need attention, but hey ho with this crowd who cares.

      But, yes Liz was well and truely stitched up for trying to manage a dire situation the UK still faces.

      1. ChrisS
        February 5, 2023

        I’ve posted several times here, and in the comments columns of the Times and Telegraph, about the disastrous career of Andrew Bailey. ( I was a practicing IFA when he was regulating Financial Services, so I experienced his handiwork first hand). He was one reason why I chose to retire at 62.) How he ever got his current job heaven only knows.
        It seems amazing that Liz and her Chancellor were not warned about the LDI problem and that Bailey went ahead with the bond sale in the full and certain knowledge of what would happen.
        This really needs a Select Committee enquiry but I suspect that the only one that would choose to take it on would one be packed with Members with traditional Treasury establishment views. The outcome would be an entirely predictable whitewash.

        1. glen cullen
          February 5, 2023

          The Tory MPs could have stopped the coup

  30. Denis Cooper
    February 5, 2023

    Off topic:

    “As the Remoaners cling on to their hope that Britain’s got Brexit fatigue: The 10 awkward questions you should throw at the next EU ‘Rejoiner’ who corners you at a dinner party”

    1. Believeme
      February 5, 2023

      Don’t know why the Daily Mail persists with this useless speculation about the brexit the remoaners or the chance of UK rejoining the EU? because there is not a snowballs chance in Hell we’ll ever again be allowed within sniffing distance – not in this generation, not in the next or the next – not even by the tradesmans entrance. Farage, Widdecombe and Hannan along with the same rag Daily Mail have already seen to that.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 5, 2023

        Good news, then, and you should spread it around as far as possible.

  31. Gabe
    February 5, 2023

    Grant Shapps, on BBC1 this morning says the government need to sort out growth, the “small boats”, inflation, the NHS… “before” cutting taxes – so about 50 years off at least. How on earth will you get much growth with the highest taxes for 70 years, net zero rip off energy, vast over regulation and the prospect of a dire Labour/SNP Government in under two years time.

    1. Mark B
      February 5, 2023

      You are Lifelogic and I claim my £5.

      There will be no Labour / SNP government. Stop peddling that nonsense. If anything, it will be a Labour landslide or a Labour / LibDem.

  32. glen cullen
    February 5, 2023

    With an 70+ seat majority the battle for free enterprise should be easily won ….if only there was a will, if only there was a leader with a vision to scrap net-zero, reduce taxation and leave the ECHRs

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 5, 2023

      if only the dark forces would allow it!

    2. Pauline Baxter
      February 5, 2023

      glen cullen. Yes, if only! You left out scrap the Protocol and also defend our borders from immigrants, though leaving the ECHR would help there.
      A genuinely conservative P.M. is what is needed.

  33. Bryan Harris
    February 5, 2023

    Yes, it is true that devout communist countries have adopted a good amount of Capitalism to make them stronger and more competitive.

    The left:
    – have used Capitalism as a weapon to beat us with and to justify their love of big nanny government;
    – are full of so many false ideas they use to get the advantage that true logic would deny them.

    There is enough evidence around that socialist/communist ideology means destruction – Time we sent the men in white coats around to those heavily pushing destructive policies, for they are certainly not rational.

  34. Bert Young
    February 5, 2023

    The motto and initiative of capitalism should be ” free enterprise ” . State control doesn’t work . No society can be based on a single model ; the strong will always emerge .

  35. Geoffrey Berg
    February 5, 2023

    This time I agree with the blog.
    As the free market is relatively efficient and state control isn’t, I say we need to be inventive in getting more of our activity into the free enterprise sector and reducing the public sector.
    One method is going more for privately run with genuine competition and a real market but publicly financed activity. There is much scope for that especially in the big spending sectors of health and education.
    Another aspect is reducing the amount of legislation and regulation. The question that needs to be asked with all legislation and all regulation is is it worth the candle? Is it going to salvage more overall human time than it costs in human time (counting all human time, both paid and unpaid human time) in implementing the regulation? Also is the legislation going to reduce or increase overall human freedom?

  36. agricola
    February 5, 2023

    Having read Liz Truss it is clear your policy and hers of going for growth via much lower taxation is an absolute no no with the Treasury Mandarins and their socialist web, and to subvert anyone who steps away from their mantra of high tax, high spend, managed decline. It mitre fits with my supposition that we suffer a duality of government. One via elections for the public, the facade, and another, infinitely insidious, unelected but permanently there to correct any illusions of democracy.

    I suspect that Margaret Thatcher faced a similar problem. You will know the details, but I think she developed her own financial policy with the help of Sir Keith Joseph and perhaps others. With the present incumbents of Downing Street joined at the hip with the Treasury this is unlikely to recur. We need a lobby group of right minded MPs and outside industrialists to start pushing an alternative financial stratergy in opposition to the Treasury. Managed decline will not win elections.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      February 5, 2023

      Interesting agricolar. I’ve been thinking lately what a pity we do not have a Maggie Thatcher.
      I wonder though, whether all the powers that were against Truss, are now much stronger than they were in Thatcher’s time.

      1. agricola
        February 5, 2023

        Pauline, they probably are much stronger, having been in control of legislation while we were in the EU. They are intent on exerting continued control now we have left. They will gain further strength from their succes in ousting Liz Truss.

        I see no prospect of the con/socialists or the lib/dems taking back control. There are just not sufficient of our hosts thinking to carry the day. Ideally the real conservatives in parliament should join with the real conservatives of Reform and sweep the current rabble from power. To do so they need to make the electorate fully aware of what is at stake well before the GE of 2024, and to keep hammering it home every day till voting day. Should they do so it must be with legislation fully prepared to put the scribes back in their box. Essentially democracy is at stake.

        1. Donna
          February 6, 2023

          It comes back to what many of us have been saying for a long time: the Pretendy-Conservative Party needs to have a clear-out of the Senior Civil Service and Quangocracy. Currently, any Conservative Government which tries to BE a Conservative Government is dealing with a powerful Blair/Brown Civil Service/Quangocracy.

          Truss obviously recognised this by dispensing with the services of Tom Scholar, senior Mandarin in the Treasury. But it wasn’t enough. There needs to be “a night of the long knives” but the CONS simply haven’t got the cojones to do it ….. and at least half of the Parliamentary Party are effectively Blairites and don’t even WANT to, including Hunt and Sunak.

    2. ChrisS
      February 5, 2023

      Sadly, it might win the next election, because the decline would be micro-managed by a Labour, Lib Dim and SNP coalition so would be faster and steeper than under Sunak and Hunt.
      The “what is a woman” question that Starmer and Sturgeon refuse to answer is going to turn off millions of female voters, ( genuine ones, that is ) as long as the Conservatives come out very strongly in support of women and women-only spaces.

  37. The Prangwizard
    February 5, 2023

    I have just read Liz Truss’s article in the Sunday Telegraph. Clear wording. Clear views. Courageous attitude.

    Let’s hope Tories will.see this is the direction the party must move and support her.

    Sadly there are too many at the moment who are weak, having had a comfortable life, and cowsrdly, but now is the time for them to heavily challenged.

    Frankly the party should no longer want to keep them.

    1. ChrisS
      February 5, 2023


    2. glen cullen
      February 5, 2023

      But does the party, in its current, warrant our support

  38. Jason
    February 5, 2023

    The Prangwizard.. So you think she wrote this article all by herself you must be as simple as she is. I suppose she’ll bring back her pal Kwasi as well.. jeez she just cost us upwards of 30 billion in a few weeks and now she wan’s to come back. Is there no end to it?

    Reply She is not trying to come back as PM and she did not cost us £30bn

    1. glen cullen
      February 5, 2023

      Liz has, if anything, highlighted the divide in the Tory party …not in its membership but the divide in the parliamentary party

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 6, 2023

        I doubt the Party Members nor the stalwarts of Conservatism displayed on here, are divided. It is that a vast majority of the MPs do not support the long established views and policies. The only way to rebalance is after defeat in the next GE, and a long detailed examination of the following proposed parliamentary candidates.

        1. glen cullen
          February 6, 2023

          Thats wot I said

    2. hefner
      February 5, 2023

      So, Truss/Kwarteng did not cost us £30 bn. How much then? As someone so good with figures you should have no difficulty to tell us. £5bn? 0.5 percentage points on a 30-year government bond? An additional 0.9% of the cost of a 15-year mortgage?

      Reply Uk 10 years now lower than US. I E nothing

      1. hefner
        February 6, 2023

        ‘ie nothing’? Ridiculous. Tell that to people who have had to renew their fixed rate mortgage in January.

    3. Jamie
      February 6, 2023

      Reply to reply, Yes nobody knows how mush she cost us but according to some reports the amount is incalculable – your’e a parliamentarian Sir John and if you’re prepared to defend that by saying it wasn’t 30 billion then there’s little hope for the rest of us – so then go on you’re also a financial person have a stab at it and let us know. And as someone else recently suggested imprisonment wouldn’t be too good enough for the perpetrators of the lies, spin and waste emanating from our political class at this time.

      Reply Bonds quickly returned to where they would have been without the mini budget and above all the LDI problems

  39. paul
    February 5, 2023

    I think you are all wrong, international busnesses rule the roost, governments civil servants and quangos are their helpers, Ukraine is just a corporate takeover, its already been cut up for sale when west win the war.

  40. Elli ron
    February 5, 2023

    Sir Redwood,
    Re nationalisation: Yes but, looking at water, which has zero competition and which has been polluting our rivers and most beaches, while rewarding share holders and managements with billions of pounds.
    Look at rail, again hardly any possibility of competition.
    In both those industries the government has failed to exact the minimal control, resulting in abject failure.

    Reply I have proposed competitive models for both

  41. The Prangwizard
    February 6, 2023

    You refer to nationalisation but here we are faced with massive overseas ownership. The profits and surplus cash is sent overseas and they are allowed by the government to get away with failures too. Government policy in attracting overseas ‘investment’ ie. selling anything we own leaves us powerless against abuse.

  42. mancunius
    February 6, 2023

    “Many people in prosperous free enterprise societies own a home of their own”
    Paying off a mortgage is not ‘owning a home of one’s own’. Unless the mortgage is punctually repaid (a hostage to fortune, as it relies on continuous employment that only the public sector can guarantee), it will be repossessed; and until the mortgage is fully paid off, the property belongs to the lender.
    The words ‘mort’ and ‘gage’ should be taken seriously.
    Owning a leasehold – even mortgage-free – is not ownership either, as any experienced leaseholder knows only too well.
    In England, only 36% of properties are actually owned by the occupier.
    It always amuses me to hear estate agents saying, to justify showing some terrible house where nobody would want to live: ‘Well, some people are forced to buy, as they can’t afford to rent.’ As if lenders were performing a social service.
    In prosperous Westminster, 43% of properties are privately rented – the highest proportion in the country.
    The fact is that there is very little decent and reasonably-priced stock available, as most of it has been bought up by landlords. That – and cheap mortgages – has made the housing shortage much worse.

  43. mancunius
    February 6, 2023

    Btw, the stats I gave are from ONS.

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