Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Open up the factories and get Britain moving again

This piece of mine, on how Britain can escape its deepest recession, appears in the First Post

It's certainly not the sort of news that Gordon Brown wanted to hear just before Christmas. Official figures released yesterday show that despite the Brown government‘s efforts to boost the economy, Britain has remained in recession for a record-breaking sixth quarter.

As The First Post's business correspondent Edward Helmore reports today, the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent between July and September - meaning that Britain is now the only G20 nation still mired in recession.

Why have we got it so bad while our European neighbours are already enjoying a return to economic growth? The opposition have of course been quick to pin the blame on Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. But the problem runs deeper than two individuals. The reason why Britain is still in recession, while France and Germany are not, is because of the type of economy we run.

Britain, since the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, has been a country where manufacturing industry - and a diverse, mixed economy, has been sacrificed at the altar of free market dogma. We have allowed important industries to close, or be sold overseas - mistakenly pinning our hopes on a burgeoning financial services sector fuelling long-term economic growth.

Our continental rivals have pursued a more balanced, less-ideological approach. Unlike Britain, France, Germany and Italy have maintained a strong industrial base. Six of the top 14 automobile manufacturers in the world are from those three countries. Europe‘s largest engineering company - Siemens - is German; the largest energy company - EDF - is French and 85 per cent owned by the French government.

You can read the rest of the article here.


Gregor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neil craig said...

My opinion is not that government has been supportive of services & unsupportive of manufacturing but that it has been overwhelmingly destructive of manufacturing.

China is doi8ng well in good part because they have electric power at about 1/4 the cost of ours. |This is simply because we have decided to prevent the building of nuclear power stations while pushing up costs with the "carbon levy" (which isn't actually about carbon or it would not apply to nuclear).

We have government restriction of building which has created a false "boom" in house prices & ridden that boom. In fact 3/4 of the price of housing is government regulation. It says something about modern "socialism" that its major effect is to deprive people of the affordable housing a free society could certainly produce.

The rule of thumb is that regulators cost society 20 times as much as they cost to maintain them. So 200,000 "Health & Safety" regulators destroy the work of 4 million workers. "Halth & Safety" is a wicked lie since it is easy to show that the foregone national wealth causes the premature death of 100 people for every one "protected|" by them.

We also see all the government carbon regulations virtually forcing the closure of our steel manufacturers & their relocation to India.

None of these have no effect on the financial services industry but all of them have been very destructive of manufacturing. The answer is not to switch government "support" from finance to manufacturing but to fire all the government parasites whose only role is to impoverish us. No politician who has regularly voted to thus destroy our industry should, under any circumstances, be allowed to get away with pretending they have the remotest intention of creating jobs.