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Thursday 26 July 2012

Heath’s Claptrap Rallying Call

A form of behaviour particular to the right is the unquestioning support and promotion of anything deemed a significant publication by one of their number: the whole community almost as one tells that, whatever the book, paper or even lowly blogpost, it was an event of the greatest significance. All are urged to read it. The solidarity is unequivocal, even if those doing the commendation have not read it.

Leave them, Al, they're not worth it

This last point undid the dubiously talented convocation of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) when they gave their unyielding support to the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), that museum of outdated economic thought that has fraudulently appropriated the name of the founder of economics, over the latter’s hatchet job on the HS2 project.

Sadly, the ASI “report” had not been read for technical competence: it is difficult to take seriously a paper on railways that cannot correctly figure out the distance between the two rails that the trains run on. The endorsement can be a little too unequivocal and automatic, and so it has been with today’s “Britain Unleashed” rallying cry in the Telegraph by City AM Editor Allister Heath.

Heath is, as anyone who looks in on Zelo Street will know, less an independent force and rather more a TPA stooge. He was not chosen as the head of the so-called “2020 Tax Commission” by chance. So it should surprise no-one that he advocates full implementation of his own body’s report, and removal of supposed “bureaucracy”, which is held to stop firms hiring.

He remembers Margaret Thatcher as if through rose-tinted spectacles, telling that she “eventually engineered a progressive revolution that empowered ordinary people and unleashed an astonishing economic revival”. Empowered ordinary people to do what, exactly? Meaningless flannelspeak. And the “astonishing economic revival” had more to do with North Sea Oil money, and yet more debt.

Heath’s favourite economist is clearly Friedrich Hayek, but once again he has not done his homework: even Milton Friedman, darling of the Thatcherite right and exponent extraordinaire of quack doctory, while admiring Hayek for his book The Road To Serfdom, was not impressed by his economics. But Heath also thinks we should rediscover the spirit that drove the Victorians to build the railways.

So once again he hasn’t bothered looking first. Many of the railway companies were built from the misplaced generosity of shareholders, most of whom never got their money back, or even a fraction of it. Not for nothing was the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway known as the Money Sunk and Lost. I somehow doubt this style of expropriation would get Heath many admirers.

Still, it gets his fellow righties a nice warm feeling, so that’s all right, then.

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