Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 11 June 2006

The Brown and Blair economic legacy for the UK

Disastrous, in a word. To read a cogent analysis of just why this is so, Niall Ferguson has a fascinating article in today's Telegraph. I don't always care for the Ferguson style of argument, but he seems to me to cover the main issues, of which I highlight what seems to me to be amongst the most relevant, with this article:

"Superficially, to be sure, the British labour market is more flexible than, say, the French. But British Government statistics are deceptive. Officially, only 920,000 people claim unemployment benefits. However, more than five million adults of working age - nearly 15 per cent of the workforce - depend on benefits, and nearly half of them have been on welfare for more than five years. The reason they don't show up in the statistics is that many of them are counted as unfit for work rather than jobless."

"This is the tax-and-spend mentality that has inexorably turned not only Mr Brown's homeland but also Northern Ireland, Wales and the north of England into virtual Soviet republics, with Government spending accounting for somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of GDP."

Ferguson mentions only Gordon Brown in his article, but of course he couldn't have done all he has without the slick marketing and presentational skills of New Labour, personified by Prime Minister Tony Blair. Nor of course without the gullibility and shortsightedness of the British voting public.

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