Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finally, the end of the legacy of Mrs Thatcher?

The bubble that built up after the "roll-back" of the state under Mrs Thatcher burst some months ago, but the philosophy that she espoused seems to be up for challenge only now.

In today's Financial Times a British think tank, Policy Exchange, calls for a publicly-funded bank focusing on energy, communications, utilities, schools and hospitals - not to mention transport!

This would amount to re-nationalisation by the back door, and is being called for in an exchange (or reversal) of policies not merely by ANY think tank, let alone a leftist think tank, it is an exchange of policies being called for by the favourite think tank of the CONSERVATIVE leader, David Cameron, who has inherited Mrs Thatcher's mantle. What delicious irony! Policy Exchange indeed!

The danger is that the backlash against Thacherite policies will go too far.

What Policy Exchange, or any other think tank for that matter, ought to pursue before specific recommendations such as this publicly-funded new bank, is a debate on the role of the state versus the role of the private sector - and not merely in the UK but globally.

Without that global perspective, debate and consensus we are condemned to swing between on the one hand the Keynesianesque/ trade union extreme that preceded the Reagan/Thatcher era, and on the other hand the monetarist/ bubble era heralded by the Reagan/Thatcherite extreme. Sphere: Related Content

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