The public finances are in a mess. The economy is stagnating. And there's talk of a Wealth Tax.
It's beginning to sound like the 1970s again.
Just like the 70s, the government seems to be drifting towards corporatism. Hand outs for big business. An industrial policy. Whitehall fiat trying to engineer growth.
Coalition economic policy is not just Continuity Gordon Brown. Its starting to seem like Continuity Heath.
A generation ago, a Tory Chancellor, Anthony Barber, tested the notion of fiscal stimulus to destruction. Today a Tory Chancellor seems to be doing much the same to the idea of monetary stimulus.
Back in the days of the Bay City Rollers, external oil shocks pushed up energy costs, making us less competitive. Today we're managing to do it all by ourselves, subsidised wind turbines and restrictions on shale gas pricing us out of world markets.
But perhaps the most striking parallel with the 1970s is the inertia of the public policy making establishment. Like in the 70s, the Downing Street Policy Unit is run by civil servants. All too often mandarins seem to run ministers, not ministers their departments.
So six years into a prolonged downturn, it does not seem to have occurred to anyone in the Treasury to try something other than more stimulus. The banks are still zombies. Public debt is still rising by over £100 billion a year.
Is this what national decline looks like? Too many inert and vested interests, carrying on with the same failed policies that landed us in this mess to start with?
Of course, back in the 70s we snapped out of it because a handful of radical thinkers started to think differently.
Those at the helm today seem unwilling to be bold. They are dismissive - often literally - of anyone prepared to think differently. I fear that if they'd held office in the late 70s, they'd have dismissed Keith Joseph as a crank.blog comments powered by Disqus
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times