The class politics of Lord Wolfson and his pals


2:34 pm - October 18th 2010

by Dave Osler    


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Genuflection to the opinions of those we have come to call ‘business leaders’ has formed an unquestionable norm of economic orthodoxy under every British government since 1979.

Trade unions are repeatedly castigated as vested interests. By contrast, the agenda of the wealth creators is routinely presented as ideologically neutral.

OK, these guys dodge a bit tax here and there, and get to run a yacht or three. But what’s good for business is good for Britain. Now shut up, chill out, and be intensely relaxed as governments tailor each and every policy to the facilitation of people getting filthy rich.

Seen in this light, the letter signed by three dozen FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 chairman and chief executives, and published in the Daily Telegraph this morning, is more than just one statement of opinion among many. Their call for public spending cuts to come hard, fast and all at once will widely be regarded as carrying substantial weight.

We are invited to believe that these people must know what they are talking about. If Britain’s top bosses want drastic cuts and they want them now, who is anyone else to question their collective wisdom?

If they reassure us that the private sector will replace the jobs lost in the public sector, and that the resultant redeployment of people to more productive activities will boost this country’s economic prospects in the long run, everything is going to turn out hunky dory, right?

The position outlined in their missive dovetails with the commonsense comparison between Britain’s public finances and a maxed out credit card. When you’ve overdone it on the plastic, you rein in the spending for a few months, right? Everybody knows that.

Things are not quite that simple. For a start, this letter didn’t happen by itself. It is a political intervention deliberately co-ordinated by Tory peer and Next boss Lord Wolfson, in support of the heir to the Osborne baronetcy.

Many of those who have signed up – such as Paul Walsh of Diageo and Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher – are partisan backers of the Conservative Party.

It’s a reasonably safe bet that all 35 of those who have appended their names are multimillionaires. They are members of a cohesive class that wishes to see the burden of economic readjustment shouldered largely by another class, even if that will mean the dismemberment of welfare provision in its current form.

The economics of deficit reduction are more complex than Wolfson and co will permit. Keynesian arguments that the comprehensive spending review is a guarantee of double dip recession are entirely coherent, and any number of reputable economists from Will Hutton to Joseph Stiglitz are willing to make it.

The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms, and is still considerably lower than it was in the years in which the post-war Labour government put in place the basis of the welfare state and even Tory administrations embarked on public housing programmes on a grand scale.

Yet Wolfson and his pals are only too happy to demand the return of mass unemployment, the end of universal child benefit  and the transfer of the costs of higher education onto individual recipients. Anything, so long as the six and seven figure bonuses stay in their pockets, untroubled by higher rates of taxation.

Of course it does no good whatsoever to expect Osborne to ignore their entreaties. But nobody should be fooled. This is special pleading fo the rich, by the rich and for the rich, and nothing more.

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About the author
Dave Osler is a regular contributor. He is a British journalist and author, ex-punk and ex-Trot. Also at: Dave's Part
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Reader comments


Not a well expressed article.

I prefer the biblical interpretation of what we now call ‘capitalism’. It’s the moral version and fits comfortably with Liberal origins.

http://bible.org/seriespage/parable-talents-matthew-2514-30-luke-1912-28

It’s a reasonably safe bet that all 35 of those who have appended their names are multimillionaires.

Indeed. And contrary to your spartist ventings, that makes them almost disinterested parties. These guys have made enough dosh not to need any more in their lifetimes. Many would have to work quite hard to actually spend their way through the pile they’ve made. Insofar as they still want to make money, it’s only as a way of keeping score.

So, they have no selfish interest one way or the other. If the whole economy tanks. they’ll be fine in Monaco, or wherever. A bit more tax here or there wouldn’t worry them.

That makes their considered advice all the more valuable.

3. Chaise Guevara

That’s right, Flowerpower. It’s impossible to be both rich and selfish. Have a biscuit.

@2 – “These guys have made enough dosh not to need any more in their lifetimes… So, they have no selfish interest one way or the other.”

You’re obviously not a multi-millionaire yourself. I work with (or rather, on behalf of) several and it is quite staggering how belligerent they can get over paying tax at 50% on bank deposit interest. They are certainly not “disinterested parties”.

Of course, this is just anecdotal evidence – but then I imagine yours is too.

That, or I’ve been working too hard and my sarcasm detector has failed…

“The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms”

Tripe. Labour left us with the largest peacetime deficit EVER.

“Keynesian arguments that the comprehensive spending review is a guarantee of double dip recession are entirely coherent”

Except politicians (especially socialist ones it seems) are unable to follow true Keynesian doctrine by savng in good times to use as a warchest in bad ones. They are always incentivised to spend now and spend later, not think of long term fiscal management. Then of course there is the fact (yes *fact*) that Keynes formulated his ideas within the framework of a closed system….which in this globalised world economies are NOT. Much of the stimulus employed by the US, for example, has simply gone offshore to producer nations like China.

“Trade unions are repeatedly castigated as vested interests. By contrast, the agenda of the wealth creators is routinely presented as ideologically neutral.”

Trade unions ARE vested interests. They don’t have the welfare of the business in mind, and some would argue that they rarely have the interests of many of their members in mind either. The BA strike (a company losing money hand over fist) for example looked very much like Turkeys voting for xmas. Bosses, love them or loathe them, have very vested interests in growing their businesses, which is good for staff and the economy, and obviously good economic conditions facilitate this.

Frankly, the article above is simply yet more shouty left wing rubbish. There is no cogent argument there.

6. James from Durham

Flowerpower – you are naive if you imagine that the prupose of wealth beyond a certain level is for spending even on hyper-luxury items. At this level, wealth buys power. People like power! They like to have access to the powerful. Some may have dynastic leanings, wanting to set up the next generation.

Disinterested, my arse!

And, I think you might find that most were quite interested in tax – that’s why they employ accountants, usually quite clever ones.

Anyway, what’s so clever about being disinterested? I am much more interested in the opinions of those who have a real stake in what happens here. I’m not disinterested – I have a family, children. I do care about what happens.

4

..and our hearts are supposed to bleed for them?…or we’re supposed to take their whiney arsed protestations at all seriously, and not as the special pleading of a bunch of over compensated hogs squealing in outrage that the filling of their trough by some Robin Hood in reverse freakonomics is being questioned?

Give us a break. Instead of haruphing in support of the Tories in their house publication, we’d be more impressed if they put their hands in their pockets to finance some of the public services which are about to be cut. Nobody buys the promises that they will replace all the public service jobs with bight shiny new ones working in the service industries either.

Allowing our manufacturing base to disappear has worked so well for us after all hasn’t it?

@Flowerpower: “Indeed. And contrary to your spartist ventings, that makes them almost disinterested parties.”

MITIE’s CEO signs the letter saying her and her colleagues’ companies will ensure “redeployment of people to more productive activities”.

And her annual report says:

The public sector faces the prospect of considerable pressure on expenditure in the coming years. We believe that this will create significant opportunities for the outsourcing market as contracts will tend to become larger and broader in scope.

We anticipate higher levels of tender activity to result in the medium term. Whilst this may not have any material effect on our anticipated performance during the current year, we believe that in subsequent years we will benefit from the efficiency agenda that is expected to impact central and local government.

So MITIE’s CEO will in fact be employing people to do government-type jobs, but on lesser terms and conditions.

In what way is that “redeployment of people to more productive activities”, exactly?

Her signing of this letter not a conflict between her pretence at interest in the economic health of the country and her real interest in maximising her shareholders’ value (and her bonus/stock options) through the privatisation of government?

See also http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2010/10/18/mities-conflict-of-interest/

@5, just who is shouting here?

Who is the one resorting to using capitals? That would be *you*.

And it’s a typical tactic of the right: tell everyone that those rotten lefties shout people down, while doing exactly that yourself. Straight out of the Fox book of smears.

The spending review may indeed *risk* a double-dip recession but it is not a “guarantee” of that.

Nor is Will Hutton a highly regarded economist!!!
(Unlike Stiglitz.)

“The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms…”

You probably mean the *debt*/GDP ratio.
The annual *deficit* itself is extremely high.

@9 Tim Fenton

At least I bothered to makke an argument.

I’m pretty sure the title of the article could equallly well read;

“The class politics of Dave Osler and his pals”

“The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms…”

Sadly Dave you seem to have confused the budget deficit with the national debt. Any article about economic policy where the writer does appear to not know the diference between the two massively undermined the credibilty of that arguement.

At what time on Wednesday do the lights go out?

“Except politicians (especially socialist ones it seems) are unable to follow true Keynesian doctrine by savng in good times to use as a warchest in bad ones. They are always incentivised to spend now and spend later, not think of long term fiscal management.”

What about Bill Clinton? He ran a surplus, and it was nominally right wing allegedly fiscal conservative George W Bush who fucked up the US finances.

You also don’t need to run a surplus “to follow true Keynesian doctrine by savng in good times to use as a warchest in bad ones” in a growing economy, with a growing population and improvements in productivity etc you only need your deficit to be smaller than the increase in the size of the economy to reduce the debt burden you face. (I’m not advocating this, just saying that you appear misguided).

The government deficit is also a reflection of private surplus, one can drive the other so its not necessarily true that “politicians (especially socialist ones it seems) are unable to follow true Keynesian doctrine”, sometimes they just can’t.

“Then of course there is the fact (yes *fact*) that Keynes formulated his ideas within the framework of a closed system….which in this globalised world economies are NOT. Much of the stimulus employed by the US, for example, has simply gone offshore to producer nations like China. ”

True, but a lot of production/consumption/investment etc is still national.

__

Dave, good post.

The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms, and is still considerably lower than it was in the years in which the post-war Labour government put in place the basis of the welfare state and even Tory administrations embarked on public housing programmes on a grand scale.

Oh for fuck’s sake. We’re not seriously having another thread by someone who doesn’t understand the difference between ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’ again are we? It’s really not a complicated distinction.

On the off-chance that you’re not being stupid, and are instead merely being ill-informed, it’s worth knowing that the Atlee administration ran budget surpluses, as did Churchill and Eden; and that adouble digit deficit is unprecedented in peacetime.

Some good postings.

Old saying, if you’re not a socialist at the age of 20, there’s something wrong in your heart. You guessed, if you’re still one at 40, there’s something wrong in your head.

One is ideological and the other is pragmatism. The important difference is not to succumb to the politics of envy.

16. Ted

It’s not about the politics of envy, it is about a growing sense of frustration that we’ve all been had. The rich of course will sail serenely on, making a few economies here and there, not renewing their Porches quite so often. Meanwhile the poor watch their services being savagely cut, and those on middle incomes get treated like milch cows as per usual to pay for other people’s mistakes.

You don’t have to be on the far left to find it unacceptable, or be seen as some ideological raver who doesn’t live in the real world. Things can and should be done differently.

What you call pragmatism looks to me fairly indistinguishable from the sentiment expressed in the statement (however apocryphal) “let them eat cake”.

@ 17

Good point. How about an old tory philosophy;

“the poor can’t get richer until the rich get richer and bigger crumbs fall off the table”

Real Liberals find that statement completely unacceptable, Lib-Dems don’t appear to have a problem with it.

18

I think it’s pretty well accepted by now that the last few expeditions launched to search for the LD’s principles came back empty handed. Go figure.

Under the Tories we could of course expect little else. Now we discover that not only are the LD’s signally unable to make good their promises to act as an ameliorating influence on the Tories in government, but that their supine nature is such they have in fact sold their souls to the devil not just cheaply, but apparently with equanimity.

I don’t agree with Nick anymore, OK?

19

Spot on. All credit to Labour for rejecting a coalition. Love them or hate them at least we know what they, and the Tories stand for – most of the time !

20

Errrr..actually no.

New Labour are largely responsibel for getting us where we are, and it should be remembered that the New Labour ultras strangled a Labour/LD coalition before it had a chance to draw breath. Not sure I could have been too enthusiastic about that combo either mind you….not as if we were exactly spoilt for choice is it?

22. Chris Baldwin

It’s business as usual really, isn’t it? We’re always being told that politics has changed, but it really hasn’t. It’s still the interplay of conflicting interests and social forces.

@ 22 Chris B

Unfortunately you’re right. Democratic government has always been a two-faced fiasco of compromises, ‘U’ turns and dubious deals to achieve power and keep the country running as best they could.

The alternatives to this form of government have all been tried and failed.

Galen10 @7 – you perhaps misunderstood.

My heart doesn’t exactly bleed for multi-millionaires; it would be more accurate to say that my heart longs for multi-millionaires to bleed (metaphorically).

I absolutely agree that the letter Dave refers to in the Telegraph represents:

“… the special pleading of a bunch of over compensated hogs squealing in outrage that the filling of their trough by some Robin Hood in reverse freakonomics is being questioned.”

No argument at all. I was merely questioning Flowerpower’s ridiculous assertion that such individuals could realistically be described as “disinterested parties”. No war but the class war, and all that – even in Stoke Newington, apparently!

(Although it is a shame that Dave appears to have confused “debt” and “deficit”.)

Dear Tories
Have a look at the treasury’s public sector database.

You will find that the three main measures: govt borrowing, govt debt, govt spending (% of GDP), were under Labour from 1997 to 2007 within historical limits and in some cases compared well with the thatch/major years.

The big explosion came in 2008-9 when the global crash/recession occurred and govt spending rose. Even now it’s debt, as % of GDP, is better than the rest of the G8 apart from Russia.

For example, between 07-10.
govt central and local borrowing jumped from 2.6 to 11.2 (% of gdp)
public debt from 36.5 to 63.6 (and rising)
govt spending from 40.1 to 48.1

(If the editor’s of this blog want I’ll even write something on it or just list the figures.)

And as for the point about the distinction between deficit and debt, Attlee, and Tory governments were running govt debts more than 100% of GDP until 1963 when it fell to 99%. It could be that the surplus was big enough to cover interest/placate markets but it isn’t cause and effect. In fact IIRC, there were quite a few problems with the UK economy in the 1950s during a time of the post-war boom.

A combination of indebtness on that scale and budget surpluses could have had a detrimental effect on the economy, money would have poured out of the UK market, reducing demand and pushing up inflation.

Like I said go and read the treasury’s stats on it rather than ignore reality.

Great article and so true.

So called business men are no more knowledgeable than anyone else. How many of them saw the crash coming? The banking meltdown has destroyed the idiocy that these masters of the universe are all wise. What they are is selfish, arrogant, and behave like tyrannical dictators. This of course is not new, Henry Ford used to have a special department that would send people round to his employees houses to check that they were living a life that Henry approved of. No surprise really as Ford was a fascist, just like most businessmen. Businessmen are like crocodiles, they can never be appeased. You reduce tax to 40% they will come back for more. Reduce it to 20% and they will be back.

The idiot ramblings of the lemming like trolls on here who see it as a badge of honour to roll over and defend these lazy, selfish bastards just shows how screwed we are. The idea that because they are rich makes them neutral, is one of the stupidest things I have read on here from the moron trolls, and that is saying something. They are not neutral, they are greedy for themselves which is why they want cuts in all the things that don’t effect them. That is not neutral , it is just fucking selfish.

Surely a good recession that gives us high unemployment is a good long-term plan for the large corporate entities who have signed the letter.

Large unemployment (and welfare cuts) will allow pay and conditions to be cut to the bone and may facilitate a large emergency cut (or even abolishment) of the minimum wage to “allow the labour market to clear”.

Their smaller rivals are less equipped to cope- might allow a consolidation of their oligopolistic power.

Tax cuts on wealthy business managers are always welcome.

No wonder they signed the letter.

“Labour left us with the largest peacetime…. ”

Technically speaking, we aren’t in a peacetime period.

Class war you say? I think you’ll find our media only wheel that phrase out when it is working upwards y’know “the politics of envy”.

But when it is working downwards as with Lord Wolfson et al you will find the vast majority of the commentariat saying how sensible it all is.

Latest bit of non-class war: ending council tenancies for life and making council tenants pay as much as 90 per cent of the market rate.

Implement this and there will be blood….

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/spending-review/8070073/Spending-Review-2010-Higher-rents-and-no-council-house-for-life.html

It is only class war when the poor fight back.

If the letter had been orchestrated and signed by the CBI it may have had some grvitas but as it was a bunch of self serving peer purchasing oligarchs it smacks of hypocrisy to me.

@25 – “Like I said go and read the treasury’s stats on it rather than ignore reality.”

I have no idea whether or not you’re referring to me, or to any of the others who have pointed out Dave’s confusion of “debt” and “deficit”.

For my part, I totally accept that there are ‘exceptional’ circumstances which go some way to explaining the scale of the deficit; I also accept that the debt is not currently unmanageable and that there are several alternatives to the coalition’s cuts agenda (for starters, ditching Trident).

So: I don’t think pointing out an obvious factual inaccuracy necessarily qualifies me to be a Tory or a troll.

“The fact remains that the budget deficit is not particularly high in historical terms, and is still considerably lower than it was in the years in which the post-war Labour government put in place the basis of the welfare state…”

This is simply economically illiterate nonsense.

@J

The Treasury stats are very interesting.

They show that the “fiscally responsible” Tories had a £326 billion current budget deficit 1979-1997 – an average of £18.1 billion per year.

This compares with “fiscally irresponsible” Labour’s £154 billion current budget deficit 1997-2010 – an average of £11.9 billion, great depression and all (looking pre-2008 to take out the impact of recession, Labour operated a £2.5 billion budget surplus, despite their so-called reckless spending spree).

The Tory’s average budget deficit was over 50% larger than that operated by Labour.

See Table A2 of http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/public_finances_databank.xls

Now, I might be being stupid so please do correct me, but the evidence to me seems not to support the Labour irresponsibility mantra the Tories like to push.

The main criticism of Labour economic policy over their 13 years in power is their failure to regulate the City properly, but there are strong reasons to believe it was politically unfeasible to do so and the Tories spent 11 of Labour’s 13 years in power criticising Brown for being a Stalinistic over-regulator who killed the City by being to heavy-handed. Cameron and Osborne were both pushing strong financial deregulation cases as late as Summer 2008.

@33 – I don’t disagree that the Treasury stats make interesting reading.

I already said: “I totally accept that there are ‘exceptional’ circumstances which go some way to explaining the scale of the deficit; I also accept that the debt is not currently unmanageable and that there are several alternatives to the coalition’s cuts agenda.”

I agree that it is a mistake to criticise New Labour as “fiscally irresponsible” solely by looking at the deficit as a ‘big scary number’ – although I would in fact level this criticism at New Labour for other reasons.

If it isn’t already obvious, I despise the Tory (coalition?) agenda and everything the Tories stand for. I live in Liverpool, FFS; whenever I take the bus into town, I see evidence of the “success” of the last Tory administration.

None of this detracts from the point that it is all very well to talk about class politics from (relatively) comfortable Stoke Newington, which this clearly is (the letter by multi-millionaires in the Telegraph), but that it makes you look an eejit when you do so apparently confusing debt and deficit.

Mmmm…..we’re starting to get a bit lost in this (good) debate.

Past treasury statistics are useful but offer little real value to our current predicament. In recent years – compliments of Labour – government financial commitments have risen sharply. We are now dealing with far greater structural debt than ever before. By that I mean things like Private Finance Initiatives etc.. Many of these have 30 year liabilities attached. At the moment I fail to see how this problem can be solved, irrespective of what emerges on Wednesday.

This is an age old problem of self-delusion when business persons take it upon themselves to advise government. I have no doubt that all the letter signers are highly accomplished at running businesses. However, being highly successful at business does not give them some special insight into the economy. Moreover, it is a fallacy of composition to imagine what is good for their business must also be good for the economy.

It is never desirable that government allows business leaders to get to close to government. Companies care what is good for them and when they get to close to government it ALWAYS results in vested interest pleadings. The leaders of existing companies are conducting corporate lobbying when they write public letters to the government even when they themselves are unaware that is what they are doing. As advised by Adam Smith, any government who keeps them at arms length are doing everyone else a favour.

Of course, every government makes earnest statements about working with business. All very well but how can they ever tell who they should be listening to and who should be ignored? As John Kay pointed out in a good article a few weeks ago, it will nearly always be the wrong people that the government speaks to. If it is the wrong people it will probably also be the wrong advice.

‘ If you were a government department pondering the future of the computer industry in the 1970s, you would naturally have turned to IBM for thoughtful experts and presentations. You would not have consulted Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, who were barely out of school, or Michael Dell, who was barely in it. But IBM did not know the future of the industry. If it had known, it would have tried to prevent it. The interests of the industry and of consumers were not only different from those of the dominant business: they were diametrically opposed. ‘

Present day successful business leaders are a reflection of the past and there is no guarantee they have anything particularly useful to say about the future. Disinterested indifference to them all is the best course of action for the government.

http://www.johnkay.com/2010/09/29/the-job-of-business-secretary-is-to-put-the-future-first/

*Companies care what is good for them and when they get too close to government *

@27

Large unemployment (and welfare cuts) will allow pay and conditions to be cut to the bone and may facilitate a large emergency cut (or even abolishment) of the minimum wage to “allow the labour market to clear”.

Not to mention allowing the wealthy to buy up all the recently foreclosed properties at knockdown rates and jack the rents right up – not enough to render them completely unaffordable, but just enough to ensure the new tenants will be living a little more hand-to-mouth than they would otherwise have been.

It looks like this has recently become a big deal on the other side of the pond – it’s only a matter of time…

@36

Don’t forget that Bill Gates got his leg up in the industry because his parents were both product lawyers for IBM and put him in touch with the right person at the right time. While you’re right in that it is practically impossible to predict future business and technology trajectories based on the past, it is just as important to take the legends of supposedly “self-made” success stories with a pinch of salt. Jobs too – he might have staged a comeback worthy of Elvis at the end of the ’90s, but he’d practically driven Apple into the ground in the mid-80s.

Everybody knows the dice are loaded…[/cohen]

These people know that they will be taxed more if the alternative is implemented. They will have to be in this more than most, but of course they are only looking after their own self interest as wealthy people.

For instance the backing from the CPW man, will it bother him if there is another downturn? Probably not, The internet and mobile phones have become the new cigarettes and alcohol. They will most probably be ok during recessions as people think they need them to survive.

I find it hard to credit that anyone could possibly imagine that these bloated oligarchs are,in some way, unbiased.It is not envy to simply point out that they are supporting their class. As for me,I find myself,along with millions of others,on the cutting edge of the coming cuts.Being fifty and having suffered a stroke,I have been informed by three consultants that I shall never work again.This probably means that I’m some kind of scummy scrounger in the eyes of some of the people on this thread.All i can say is that I hope the apologists for this rotten government never have to live in fear like I do for having committed the heinous crime of being ill….what a sad and dangerous place our poor miserable country has become.

Warren Buffet has said there is a class war going on and it’s his class that is winning it and has been winning it for years.

This is why a bunch of corporate whores (sorry the Supreme Court ) in the USA have recently turned over a 100 year precedent that stopped allowing corporations to donate to political parties anonymously. From now on corporations will be allowed to donate as much money as they like and will not have to say who they are. It is another example of the increasing special rules that corporations are taking for themselves against the individual.

Remember that the next time you hear the Right whining about Trade Unions. The Republican party is out spending the Democratic party by a margin of 9-1 thanks to all this corporate money. And not only that, the corporations can run negative attack adds without having to say who is behind them. Who needs communism when you can have corporate communism?

42
Totally agree.

Everybody knows the good guys lost.

Galen 10

Allowing our manufacturing base to disappear has worked so well for us after all hasn’t it?

Oh come off it. Manufacturing has done jolly well in recent decades. And still is.

Total manufacturing output rose by 6.0 per cent in August 2010 compared to the same month a year ago. This is the strongest picture since December 1994. Source ONS

manufacturing output in terms of both production and value has steadily increased since 1945. A 2009 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, citing data from the UK Office for National Statistics, stated that manufacturing output (Gross Value Added at 2007 prices) has increased in 35 of the 50 years between 1958 and 2007, and output in 2007 was at record levels, approximately double that in 1958.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_in_the_United_Kingdom

45 flowerpower

The fact that what is left of our manufacturing base is doing well doesn’t speak to the central theme that the base as a whole COULD be much bigger, and a much more effective “motor” for helping us out of recession as in Germany, had so much of it not collapsed in previous decades.

Some of this is just down to incompetence, lack of political will, industrial relations being a sick joke, short term-ism etc., but the ideological actions of successive governments have also played a big part.

We’ve seen it time and time again over the decades that British manufacturing in so many areas imploded: civil aerospace, ship-building, steel, coal, cars and motorbikes.


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