The UK – too few producers

Fifty years ago when a Labour government came into office early  in 1974 they spent more in the public sector, borrowed more, fuelled a subsidy and wage inflation in the nationalised industries and lost control of the nation’s fjnances.  They had to go cap in hand to the IMF to get a bail out to defend the pound. The IMF made them start a programme of spending cuts. After a disastrous economic performance with high inflation, collapse in  growth and many industrial closures they lost the 1979 election.

Labour had got in following the unfortunate short Heath government of 1970-4. The Heath government presided over an inflation followed by a recession along with the US and Europe. They blamed it mainly on the decision of the OPEC Middle Eastern oil producing countries to form an aggressive cartel, cut output and force the oil price up massively . This was certainly very damaging and affected many advanced countries. The UK version was made worse by a miners strike.  It was also the case during these events that the UK government put up its spending and greatly increased its interference in the economy with a prices , wages and nationalised subsidy programme. It  allowed the Bank of England to expand the money supply by adopting a new monetary policy called Competition and credit control. Large amounts of lending were generated which led to a property bubble.

I mention this not because our current position is the same, though we can learn from the impact of an external energy shock and from bad Central banking in both 1970-3 and 2020-3. I mention it because the period of damaging Labour government led to the publication of the work by Eltis and Bacon, two Oxford economists, pointing out the  UK had too few producers. The UK then had a worse productivity problem across the whole economy than we do now. Their analysis  showed how the massive overextension of the public sector to 60% of GDP was unsustainable. It led to tax rates that were far too high, which deterred new investment in the private sector and encouraged the brain drain as successful and talented people went elsewhere to avoid the penal levels of income tax Labour imposed. The marginal rate was 83% on earned income and 98% on savings income, effective confiscation. The poor productivity in the public sector was compounded by low productivity in the private sector. Contrary to common belief at the time a lot of business did have modern machinery like the US and Germany, but did not get the  same output per person from it.

The Eltis and Bacon main perceptions that too much public spending led to a squeeze on the private sector were correct. When looking at today’s problems there are some  similarities. It is however important to recognise  the fact that the public sector does produce valuable output which is captured in modern GDP figures by assessing the number of pupils taught and the number of NHS treatments undertaken. I will be looking again in future articles at the fast productivity decline in the public sector 2019-23, a new feature, as well as the related lack of good control over public spending growth rates.


  1. Javelin
    January 16, 2024

    The Conservative party on mass migration is currently like a spouse who is having an affair. They hide their phone, stop sleeping in the same bed, come home from work very late at night, lose weight, buy new underwear, have lipstick around their mouth. Yet they still pretend not to be pro mass migration. They seem to be insisting on criminal levels of proof when just a reasonable suspicion is enough. The Conservatives want the absolute opposite on the most absolute policy, than the British voters and press on regardless.

    The results of a gold standard survey in the DT says the vast, vast majority of the public demand illegal migrants are sent home immediately with no appeal.

    Sacred marriage vows have been broken in the most brazen way. There will be no forgiveness, only an existential crisis.

    1. PeteB
      January 16, 2024

      Back on Sir J’s piece for today, I’d simply repeat Henry Thoreau’s wise words:

      “Government is the best which governs least” (Civil Disobedience, 1849)

      1. PeteB
        January 16, 2024

        As examples of government involvement:
        – How much of the UK canai and rail network was built with government money?
        – If government needs to own rail companies why not also own national airlines and coach companies?
        – Why does government need to fund/run education & healthcare but not food supply and housing?

    2. Peter
      January 16, 2024

      Sheik YerMoney and rampant inflation.

      There was plenty of work though and lots of companies, big and small, still manufacturing things.

      If you were starting out in the working world you could expect massive wage rises to counter inflation and also to account for your increased experience. If you switched jobs after the pay rise you could boost your pay even further.

      We were years from mass unemployment of the late 1970s.

    3. R.Grange
      January 16, 2024

      I see Mr Sunak has set up a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine. As it’s bilateral, each country has pledged to defend the other against invasions. Surely that means we can call upon the Ukrainian military to spare a few detachments that will stop the Channel invaders.

    4. Ian B
      January 16, 2024

      @Javelin – this Sunak Conservative Government are not Conservatives, they spend to much time pandering to the London Metro left-wing Luvvies. Or in other words the rest of the UK can go to hell in a hand cart I have got my ego to contend with

    5. Hope
      January 16, 2024

      Tories closed down steel works. Javid flew back from Australia u dear fan fare to save a steel works. But….. did nothing. Where is the UK going to get steel to build ships, weapons etc? Ask China? Is our govt going to rely on our enemies to provide us energy, food, steel etc? Utter madness at the alter of a scam called net zero promoted by the utterly insane Tory party.

      Snake gave away part of our country, N.Ireland, and forced UK to be in lockstep and under EU control through ECJ laws and regs!! EU checking goods travelling from one part of our country to another and make us pay for the checks!! EU allows illegal immigration across channel, yet, forces UK to give the same territorial waters and fishing!! Cameron made clear UK under EU law from EU courts!! EU/France stopped what was thought to be life saving vaccines, stopped electric to Channel Islands, stopped PPE, held up food lorries until Johnson submitted to lock down, Snake currently making UK dependent on EU energy connectors is he mad? Snake has now filled his cabinet with ardent remainers!! It seems from what Jenerick said on TV last night Mass immigration on orders of OBR and cabinet content with that policy!!

    6. Lifelogic
      January 16, 2024


      Three-quarters of Tory Voters oppose Sunak’s insane bans on gas boilers and petrol cars. Polling shows the Prime Minister’s green policies are hugely unpopular with voters who gave them victory in 2019. But still he plows to the cliff edge.

      We have no spare low carbon electricity anyway Sunak so these will be driven largely by electricity generated from burning Gas, Coal, Wood which make zero sense – even if you have fallen for the CO2 devil gas con trick.

      1. Hope
        January 17, 2024

        The other mass immigration route through RoI to N.Ireland then into GB without passport checks not yet exposed.

        Could JR tell us how many immigrants come through RoI route?

        Tory party want mass immigration, the cabinet content with 3.5 million coming every two years!

    7. glen cullen
      January 16, 2024

      13th Jan, 124 crossed
      14th Jan, 139 crossed

      1. formula57
        January 16, 2024

        How many Houthis amongst them?

        1. glen cullen
          January 17, 2024

          Unknown as they don’t have documents, they don’t throw them away, they post them to the UK and collect them upon successful arrival at hotel …then they’re free to disappear and if caught they can say that they’ve been here for decades

    8. IanT
      January 16, 2024

      An amusing analogy Javelin – but unfortunately seemingly a true one.

      Was no one really watching the levels of legal migration nor wondering about the low minimum wage levels being set? I’m afraid it’s beyond belief this Government wasn’t fully aware and listening to Robert Jenrick last night, my fears were confirmed.

    9. Bloke
      January 16, 2024

      I recall a colleague mentioning during days when men wore white pants of one having to explain or hide a lipstick smudge on his. Some things do appear suspicious, but truth is everyone’s most faithful friend. Even a lying politician can rely on it to decide what to do next.

    10. a-tracy
      January 16, 2024

      And then we’ll get Labour and SNP that will give them all a passport.

    11. mancunius
      January 16, 2024

      The clue is in the financial and career interests of the PM and of those who backed him to oust Johnson and take over the leadership. Their politics are guided by a narrow and undeclared self-interest. The pretence of ‘international law’ is a fig-leaf.

      1. Hope
        January 16, 2024

        James Daley MP appeared to me just justified on TV why no one up north, Bury, should vote for him. He appeared a clueless Fool, even though he stated he was a solicitor!

    12. Mickey Taking
      January 16, 2024

      who will pay alimony and to whom?

  2. Mark B
    January 16, 2024

    Good morning.

    The Public Sector is less affected by competition both internally and externally. This makes it quite attractive to those that seek a less competitive life and more job security. They are also more heavily unionised and are more protected politically as the Labour Party will always seek to protect its main donors and funding. This why we have such a large State Sector because it is a cash cow for political parties. Yes, even the Tories get funding by sub-contracting out State services to private companies. Usually the same small set.

    Global competition has affected British industry and UK Government policies are busy hammering further nails into its coffin via Nut Zero and various DIE initiatives where the selection of an individual is based on characteristics other than that of them being able to do the job. Diversity,Inclusion and Equality are designed to achieve an outcome based on ideology rather than merit. A race to the bottom.

    No matter who we vote for we are going to get more of the same. The only difference is the pace at which this change happens. For me, the sooner the better. Then once everyone has realised the cockup we can begin the repair.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 16, 2024

      Indeed also selling places off in the Lords and other honours was often a good party fund raiser it seems.

    2. a-tracy
      January 16, 2024

      Are you young enough to recover following ‘the cockup’?

    3. Mickey Taking
      January 16, 2024

      I like the three strikes and you are out policy. In this case, for three strikes read the annual three strikes committed.

  3. formula57
    January 16, 2024

    And since Eltis and Bacon we have had Reinhart and Rogoff on public debt threshold although of course their ninety per cent. level is debated, with some suggesting the appropriate percentage varies as between countries. After the ravages of the last decade or two, creating economic well-being is going to be a struggle.

    1. Ian wragg
      January 16, 2024

      Many of the Public Sector do immense damage to the country and economy the same as many limp dumb masquerading as tories.
      The public sector could be halved without damaging the economy.
      6 months to get Probate and 2 years for PoA just 2 examples.

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 17, 2024

        Probate in 6 months sounds very quick, didn’t happen according to friends.

  4. Lifelogic
    January 16, 2024

    Indeed the idiot Denis Healey moronically raised the top rate of income tax to 98% in the 70s (thus decreasing the tax take and deterring investment and hard work). But the Tories and the dire George Osborne gave us income tax often at well over 100% for landlords as they tax “profits” that have never even been made, by preventing the deduction of interest costs. This is thus taxed twice one on the bank and once on the landlord. Hence the huge lack of properties available to rent. All the appalling Chancellors since – Hammond, Javid, Sunak, Hunt retained this. They also have CGT tax without any inflation adjustment (again over 100% in effect often) then they steal another 40% of the balance off you should you die. Probably best to leave if you have any money.

    A long interview with Robert Jenrick former immigration minister (on Patrick Christie GB News) finally saying some of the right things about immigration levels. But far too late now mate. Sunak is very clearly in favour of very high levels of tax and of immigration both legal and illegal (as is Starmer). People like Sunak and Hunt can only be judged on their actions and inactions.

    Taxes highest for 70+ years and still rising, net immigration running at 745,000 PA which undercuts wages and decreases GDP per cap. It also causes huge shortages in housing, schools, road space, energy demand, NHS demand and caused yet further tax increases.

  5. Everhopeful
    January 16, 2024

    Callaghan tried to cure the English disease.
    By making everyone middle class ( completed by Major?)
    In the process the working classes were hugely disappointed
    Becoming middle class was not what the tv ads suggested
    So they turned to the Marxist unions and continued striking.
    Not good for productivity.
    Now work ethic all but disappeared.

    1. Everhopeful
      January 16, 2024

      They didn’t stop to consider ( like socialists always) that the ethos of middle classness is precisely what leads to productivity.
      What has now been foisted on a molly-coddled society can only lead to lack of application and low productivity.

    2. Mickey Taking
      January 16, 2024

      surely the Governments’ successive policy of pay benefits which is almost equivalent to working for a living, plus striking tends to be worth the time off for the workers, and the pretence of work from home, means that productivity and work ethic are long gone. Those businesses and technologies that appear to be profitable with a rosy future are being regularly snapped up mostly by foreign investors ….. so what do we get left with?

  6. DOM
    January 16, 2024

    Do bears crap in the woods?

    It isn’t rocket science to assert a strong private sector is of fundamental importance to countering the poison, ignorance, stupidity and cowardice of the British political and bureaucratic establishment

    There’s no need for a smart ass report from two Oxbridge grifters to tell the nation what we know and have always known, that the private sector finances the state and delivers our daily bread


    as an aside. The Police take orders from their political paymaster so to see Burnham crying croccy tears was nauseating political theatre. We’re up against the lowest of low politicians. Always focus on what they don’t want you to see

    1. Everhopeful
      January 16, 2024

      But why has the private sector cosied up to the state and blatantly adopted its agenda?
      Very much I believe, like in 1930s you-know-where.
      Is it the EU crony capitalism? Oh…is that my answer?
      But where does crony capitalism come from?
      The customer is never right now!

    2. Lifelogic
      January 16, 2024


    3. Hope
      January 16, 2024

      HMIC have forced police forces into woke, weak LGBT agenda, policing for which they are assessed. May brought in her chief HMIC who had no police experience, only failing railways!, cut police numbers, forbid any pay rise even when other public sectors got one, lowered the standards of recruitment, only promote by gender or ethnicity. Was it a coincidence BLM and and eco demonstrations allowed, anti vaccine or lock down forcefully shut down? Grooming gangs who raped white school girls allowed and covered up because of the ethnicity of those of who committed the crime!

      Tories have betrayed their voters and country. Snake now says they will stick to their plan of high taxation, big woke state- teaching four year olds a man can be a woman or cat LGBT trans rot this that and other, big spending, dire public services and mass immigration is the way to get elected. No thanks.

    4. IanT
      January 16, 2024

      Burnham was a Labour politician with shrinking prospects who decided to go to Manchester (The Emerald City) and transform himself in ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful’. All still smoke and mirrors of course!

      1. Hope
        January 17, 2024

        Failed and ousted lib dumb MP is mayor in south west, no one wanted the enforced mayor. Brought toy up by Tory part.

    5. The Prangwizard
      January 16, 2024

      Another example, and more proof of adminstrative, legal, politicaĺ and police corruption and perversion.

      As far as I understand it there has been no punishment of failed police and those who co-operated with criminals. There was fear to tackle them, the overwhelming numbers being from alien cultural and religious origins.

      And don’t just think it is local politicians. National politicians are often cowardly and daren’t mention where the danger lies, and people like myself are often prevented from speaking out.

      If courage, and the promotion of our traditional moral standards, is not found our society will soon be controlled by them, their aim of course is worked on daily.

      It is time ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ stopped being used for indiginous self destruction.

  7. Peter Gardner
    January 16, 2024

    As a percntage of GDP the public sector was less than 35% in 1989 (Thatcher), rose to 38.4% and then fell again to 35% in 1999/2000 (Major, from 1997 Blair). Since then it rose to 46.3% in 2009/10 (Blair, Brown), declined to 39.4% in 2019/20 (Cameron, May), rose during the pandemic, not surprisingly, to 53.1% and declined to 44.5% in 2021/22 (Johnson) and was 45.6% in 2022/23 (Johnson, Truss).
    As a comparator, Australia’s rocketed from less than 25% to 31.6% during the pandemic and now stands at 26.8%.
    UK has had a bloated public sector for decades under both Tory and Labour Governments but it has always declined under the Tories except for exceptional times such as during the pandemic.
    Australia has a far superior health system in terms of outcomes and it costs only slightly more per capita than the NHS. This, coupled with far lower debt than the UK and the small state sector gave Australia the flexibility and capacity to respond to the pandemic far more successfully than the UK.
    UK will not improve public sector productivity nor reap the benefits of independence from the EU unless and until it shrinks its public sector down from the mid 40% to the mid 30% range. That is a 20-25% cut in the public sector across the board assuming GDP grows at only marginal percentages around 1-2%.
    It will require a government with a sound conservative philosophy of government, a clear view of the national interest and considerable backbone.
    From where can such a government be found in the UK?

    1. Peter Gardner
      January 16, 2024

      I should add that Australia’s GDP per capita is almost 50% higher than the UK’s, hence it can afford to spend a bit more on health than the UK but the reason its health outcomes are so much better is structural, not the amount of the spend. And of course UK needs also to cap immigration, not just by total number but by skills categories. It also needs to make it more expensive to hire from abroad than to hire Brits at home. At present the shortage categories in UK make it cheaper to recruit overseas than to employ Brits – a policy that would be regarded as insane in Australia.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 16, 2024

        Well yes but higher GDP tends to mean higher pay to find and retain doctors. Many UK doctors go there and can often earn double what the NHS pays them. A first year doctor in the UK get 29k-34k gross about £2400 PCM net plus they prob. have about £100k of student debt with £7k of interest on it. Simply not enough to live on and rent a room in many areas. So yes it is surely a far better system but then the NHS is an appalling system.

        Australia does indeed seem to have better life expectancy than the UK (by about three years) and this despite spiders, snakes, crocodiles, sharks, skin cancers…

        Indeed the amount the government spend (& mainly waste) makes a huge difference to economic growth. The more they waste (often doing nothing of any value or worse positive harm like net zero, road blocking, paying people not to work or HS2) the poorer we get. The more OTT & misguided regulations they have too. Hunt is spending (largely wasting) over 45% of GDP currently – a hugely anti-growth policy.

      2. forthurst
        January 16, 2024

        The largest category of study at UK university is Business and Management. Twice as many as Engineering and Technology. There are also twice as many people studying Psychology than either Physical Science or Medicine.

        1. Berkshire Alan
          January 16, 2024

          That is probably because most of todays youth want to talk about anything rather than actually doing something productive.
          Sad fact is those who have never actually done it make poor mangers, and consultants are usually failed managers, hence the reason why we are going downhill as a Country,
          First thing an outside consultant does is to meet the MD ask what he thinks the problem is, and he then goes straight to the shop floor to get the truth from the workers. He then fills in a very expensive and lengthy report, which outlines the reasons gained from their shop floor meetings, and presents it to the board as his own work thoughts and ideas..
          A good manager or board of directors would make regular, sometimes daily visits to the shop floor, for better communication and feedback in the first place.

        2. Mickey Taking
          January 16, 2024

          Is there a degree course for ‘Networking – the science of lining up wealthy and influential friends to be used in the future’ ?
          just asking.

          1. hefner
            January 16, 2024

            Oxford PPE?

          2. Mickey Taking
            January 17, 2024

            Hefner – – – ha ha!

    2. Ian B
      January 16, 2024

      @Peter Gardner – ‘bloated public sector’ with every Conservative PM promising to reduce it, manage it and bring it down to what we can afford. This PM likewise has promised similar while like most things does the opposite. Australia it should be noted is a free sovereign democracy, its own parliament makes, amends and repeals the laws, rules, and regulations. The UK under this Conservative Government is a fully signed up puppet of the WEF Socialist dictatorship, is still under EU Control. As the UK legislators refuse their job the UK finds itself subordinate to the ECHR, something Australia as a Democracy and similar to the rest of the free world doesn’t have a bow down to.

    3. Roy Grainger
      January 16, 2024

      Wes Streeting went to Australia recently to look at their healthcare system. No Conservative minister would ever dare do that, they are far too scared of being accused of privatising our NHS. So at this point, for the next election at least, Labour provide the best hope for improvements.

    4. Richard1
      January 16, 2024

      Good stats. The much maligned Major govt was in fact quite successful if you look at growth and the limiting of the size of the state. The ‘growth’ under Blair-brown was an illusion fuelled by a debt binge, private and public. What of course did for Major in 1997 was the ERM fiasco nearly 5 years earlier. Just as, I’m afraid the Truss fiasco, ERM 2.0, is going to do for us next time even though Starmer will manifestly be worse.

  8. agricola
    January 16, 2024

    The question at the next GE will be, do you prefer Labours or Conservatives version of failure. To which the answer should be, a pox on both your houses. With the exception of Margaret Thatcher all have systematically trried to wreck the UK to satisfy political ideology or the act of corruption. None are deserving of a single vote. Those who do vote for either will be responding to s pack of lies, their manifestos, that time proves worthless. The fwo and a half main parties are shallatons. They all belong to too many vested interests, having sold their soul for power and nothing more. All are bent as a nine bob note.
    There is only one party of honest intentions, willing to drain the swamp of deceit and incompetence, and that is Reform. Their previous manifestations called UKIP and Brexit did exactly what they said on the tin. That they now wish to drain the failed swamp bone dry and return a level of sanity and honesty to the governance of the UK is a promise you can believe in. For sure they will get my vote.

  9. Berkshire Alan
    January 16, 2024

    The simple fact is we were freewheeling slowly down hill, but Cameron, May and now Sunak with all of their Chancellors have pressed the accelerator.
    Public spending out of control, as is its management.

  10. Ian B
    January 16, 2024

    Sir John
    “To few producers” – Yes that is the situation that is destroying the UK’s future. Although it is also this Conservative Governments policy. They desperately remove UK producers, either by killing them off, forcing an import only strategy or in their exorbitant tax rises that push up UK prices.
    Under this strange PM he will push UK taxpayer money abroad funding those that don’t contribute equally to the UK economy, while at the same time hold actual UK Companies down, with his high taxes, borrowing and red tape.
    Then he runs around the World saying how great he is ‘look at me’ I’m a UK PM, while refusing to manage, refusing to run a balanced budget, refusing to get to grips with expenditure.
    Labour will not win the election this PM is out there canvassing for, but this PM will lose it for the Conservatives left in the Country. So many good people about to be sacrificed in pursuance on personal self-gratification.

  11. David Cooper
    January 16, 2024

    Slightly O/T, but there are two Powellite episodes from the Heath government that deserve recollection in present times.
    1. Heath’s betrayal of Selsdon Man when introducing temporary price freezes (etc), leading Powell to ask in the Commons whether Heath, in thereby betraying cornerstone conservative principles, had taken leave of his senses.
    2. Heath’s calling of the February 1974 General Election for the apparent purpose of obtaining a mandate for an industrial policy that he was evidently intending to abandon as soon as possible afterwards. Powell denounced the election as fraudulent and unworthy of British politics. The rest was history.

  12. Donna
    January 16, 2024

    It does rather feel like a re-run of the 1970s, except this time it’s the Not-a-Conservative-Party which has spent more in the public sector, borrowed more, fuelled a subsidy and wage inflation in the nationalised industries and lost control of the nation’s finances.

    Except this time, they’ve also completely “lost control” (ie dismantled) our borders. They’ve imported 3 million people in just two years (most of whom will never make a real contribution to this country) and almost 100,000 potential criminals and/or terrorists.

    And then they have the nerve to say “vote for us because Labour will be worse.”

  13. Original Richard
    January 16, 2024

    Fifty years ago the UK only had to protect itself from the communists who saw their path to power by destroying the economy through strikes.

    Today we have both communists and WEF feudalists seeking to gain power through not only the destruction of the economy with Net Zero but also the UK’s social cohesion and nationhood through mass immigration.

    Voters who wish to reverse this need to clearly demonstrate by their voting preferences that they are voting for policy changes and not simply for uni-party/personnel changes. A vote for any existing Parliamentary party will be taken by the communists and WEF feudalists as a mandate to continue with Net Zero and mass immigration.

  14. Paul
    January 16, 2024

    Too few producers is code for too many parasites. Also too many war mongers and too many corrupt criminals in government. Civilisations grow old and decrepit. They burden themselves with ridiculous ideas and awful leaders and in time that destroys them. We are watching the slow motion collapse of western civilisation.

  15. Bloke
    January 16, 2024

    Although public spending can add value to what is delivered, approaching 100% of GDP is a strange target to tolerate.

  16. glen cullen
    January 16, 2024

    I agree with SirJ that the BoE and OBR keep getting their forecasts wrong ….but this morning after a week of forecasting and proclaiming snow – zilch, oh yes its cold like it always is in January, but no snow here, the Met-Office should be cut back, they don’t even provide a service to the BBC …why is the taxpayer funding them, just another quango providing false information

    1. glen cullen
      January 16, 2024

      30 schools reported closed due to ‘adverse weather’ in merseyside region….but its not even snowing

      1. Lifelogic
        January 17, 2024

        What a sick joke! Any excuse for a teachers etc. day of on full pay. Must do wonders for productivity all those parent worker who will not get paid if they have to take the day off for child care.

    2. Original Richard
      January 16, 2024

      gc :

      I think the Met Office is in fact a Government Department as it’s listed here as one with its own Chief Scientific Adviser :

      So no wonder it pushes CAGW and Net Zero.

      1. glen cullen
        January 17, 2024

        Doesn’t provide any service to the BBC

  17. Keith from Leeds
    January 16, 2024

    Too few Producers – but whose fault is that? For the last 13 years, the coalition and conservative Governments have had no vision, no strategy and no direction for producers. It is not about the government picking winners because it can’t, it is about creating a tax and regulation system that encourages business to produce.
    It is about not making stupid, short sighted decisions to pursue the never achieved target of Net Zero. Cheap, reliable energy is available to the UK and is the basis for a modern, productive economy. Instead of using our own assets we import energy! Instead of focusing on food self sufficiency and growing our own, the government makes no effort to encourage food production, but re-wilding is seen as a priority. What does it say about our education system for the last 50 years that we have a majority of ignorant MPs, our host excluded!

  18. Madge
    January 16, 2024

    Eltis and Bacon – Ah, those were the days in the late 70s when Oxford actually had some academics in favour of capitalism rather than the solid left wing woke mob across all faculties today!

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 17, 2024

      was it near the zenith for spy production?

      1. hefner
        January 25, 2024

        It was at then of the 30s then 40s-50s and they were from Cambridge.

  19. Bert+Young
    January 16, 2024

    History doesn’t seem to have much impact on Sunak ; if he was wise enough he would now step down and let someone else more experienced and capable take over . Lord Frost got it absolutely right in his front page article in the Telegraph yesterday ; he pulled no punches delivering his knock-out delivery . Time has almost run out now for the Conservatives to re-invent themselves and the prospect of a Labour Government would be terrible . There is no-one on the Conservative Front Bench I would select to lead the country ; ” quelle tragique “.

  20. Ralph Corderoy
    January 16, 2024

    The IMF of ’76 bailout is interesting as it shows the power of HM Treasury over politicians. From

    ‘James Callaghan’s Labour government had to borrow $3.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the intention of maintaining the value of sterling… Only half of the loan was actually drawn by the British government and it was repaid by 4 May 1979, the day after the general election. Denis Healey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, went on to state that the main reason the loan had to be requested was that public sector borrowing requirement figures provided by the Treasury were grossly overstated.’

    The reputational harm done by having to request the IMF loan was large. The recent harm by the Bank of England to gilt prices days before a ‘budget’ when it knew pensions were leveraged was large. Perhaps the ability for money to be manipulated when it is fiat gives the manipulators power over the politicians. Money didn’t used to be fiat.

  21. Ian B
    January 16, 2024

    In today’s MsM – The Post Office now 970 and climbing.
    Mr Bates is still waiting for a compensation offer. Now 4 years since the case against these Guys was found to be wrongful by the High Court.
    So, were is Rishi Sunak the Post Office’s ownership boss? The one that can call the shots. He is out canvasing on the ticket of ‘trust me’, vote for me in the GE, vote me as your next president.
    CCHQ has made the election about Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister and not the Conservatives.

    1. Ian B
      January 16, 2024

      Mr Sunak you are wanting us to choose You, or Square One? I would prefer to vote for an honest Conservative Candidate, instead Mr Sunak wants to destroy the lives of good Conservatives. Sounds familiar

  22. Ian B
    January 16, 2024

    This Conservative Governments bosses, the Socialist WEF at today’s symposium say that ‘early interest rate cuts unrealistic’
    So we know what Rishi and chums will do – just toe the line and ignore the UK. After-all they were never voted, never paid by the UK’s electorate. the Conservatives in Government are betting that as we are faced with more of the same from them that is better than more of the same from someone else. What a sorry lot that have hijacked democracy, our laws our Country

  23. Javelin
    January 16, 2024

    Of the five systems within society that calibrate themselves, DNA is strongest and quietest. It may not shout as loud as the other calibration but it will always win.

    Life – DNA
    Markets – Money
    Science – Facts
    Justice – Legal Actions
    Politics – Votes

    It’s not the money stupid, it’s life stupid.

  24. Ed M
    January 16, 2024

    The Post Office Scandal is a perfect example of corruption / negligence in: 1. The Public Sector 2. The Private Sector and 3. Politics / The Government (A. Labour B. Lib Dems C. Tories).

    Which is why we need to focus on TRYING to:

    1) Restore Traditional Conservative Values, in particular, in this case: Work Ethic (by working more closely with the churches, media, educators and people in the arts).
    2) Help to create Cambridge as the world’s second Silicon Valley so that we can do more of our own high tech stuff for government and in general here in the UK – and produce and export more high quality brands abroad.
    3) Attract higher quality MPs into Parliament with proper business / entrepreneurial and leadership experience.

    And so dramatically reducing the burden of tax …

  25. agricola
    January 16, 2024

    SJR you are excellent at analysing the depressing performance of our politicians and financial institutions over the last 75 years. Hovering over the cadaver with your scalpel has one virtue, that of not repeating the same mistakes. It is not however conducive to leading the platoon from the trench to slay all these dragons.
    What I would like to read is what sort of post Brexit you would wish to see, and more pertinently how in detail would you personally achieve it. We get hints from time to time , but what is your battle plan. Forget about political parties who have failed miserably, I for one would like to read of your plan for a successful UK.

  26. glen cullen
    January 16, 2024

    Stop net-zero and produce more
    Stop facing the UN and start looking at your own people
    We need a real Tory government, like what the USA are going to get with Trump

    1. glen cullen
      January 16, 2024

      …and it doesn’t matter if Labour win this year, its what we have right now ….nothing will change

      1. Peter Wood
        January 16, 2024

        Labour probably has less room to borrow and spend than the Tories; they have poor ‘form’, as our host has noted.
        However, the trouble comes, suddenly (remember ERM and Soros) when foreigners stop accepting or investing in the £, and that can’t be far off if we keep spending more than we make.

      2. Mickey Taking
        January 17, 2024

        the change will be should you carry on such hopeless, divisive governance you will be kicked out!

  27. cold out
    January 16, 2024

    The public don’t want saints in parliament but they hate secrecy.
    JFK, Boris the Italian bunga bunga guy no saints but popular.

    Masqueraders of probity.
    Self proclaimed Champions of the PEOPLE
    through the internet ‘s memory are exposed.
    Secret little clubs, groups bolstering up their like minded members
    are risible.

  28. mancunius
    January 16, 2024

    Heath had many headwinds in 1974, not just the miners’ strike but the power workers’ strike in cahoots with the miners – which led to the ruinous 3-day week. The legislative attempt to limit union power was hit by widespread wildcat strikes, there was a virtual insurgency by the Angry Brigade, fomented by Soviet agents and weakly opposed by a passively leftwing establishment. Heath was basically a rather complacent postwar europhile civil servant, and British politics were beyond him.

    1. Peter
      January 16, 2024

      I am sure I am not the only one who quite enjoyed the three day week. In my case, same money -less work.

      We did not have working from home back then. Winter of discontent was overplayed in the media too. Not much impact around my way

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 17, 2024

        I think it (evening power cuts) boosted the birthrate. Not all bad then!

  29. ChrisS
    January 16, 2024

    “Too few producers” applies in government too.

    In less than a year, Sunak will almost certainly be gone, unless he can somehow scrape back with a tiny majority. If not, whatever the scale of the defeat, he will be gone, on his way back to a warm and sunny California, and could you blame him ?

    Who does the Conservative party have to replace him ? I can’t see anyone, currently on the government benches, of the right calibre and who also has the necessary charisma. ( I’m assuming here that there are a few MPs left who are possible replacements ).
    Four or five years in opposition is not a great prospect to look forward too, is it ?

  30. glen cullen
    January 16, 2024

    If the MPs agree that sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda is safe ….then in principle they could send them to an army camp on a Scottish island

  31. JayCee
    January 17, 2024

    Eltis and Bacon also wrote an article in the Sunday Times in 1973 pointing out that the Public Sector was good at recruiting additional staff but very bad at cutting back.
    Another similarity between 1970-73 and 2020-23.
    It is my view that the economic theories prevalent in the 1960’s are the basis for university syllabi today.

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