Lord Hague (The Times today) may recall from his brief time in Shell that we used to refer to the Corporation as a Super Tanker that took quite a long time to change direction. If it was true of Shell how much more true is it of a country like Britain?
In post war times only Margaret Thatcher succeeded in repositioning the nation created in 1945-51. The astonishing establishment of the Welfare State, linked to the taking into public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, endures to today despite Thatcher’s privatisations.
There needs to be debate about who does what on the margins of the mixed economy – does anyone doubt that our railways need to be better integrated and more customer accountable for example? Similarly the public/private partnership that is the NHS needs a dispassionate examination to find the ideal balance not ideological claptrap.
The new Prime Minister’s fatal error was to think that dramatic urgent macroeconomic action , on taxation especially, was needed. Politics is the Art of the Possible and change needs debate and you need to prepare the public and the markets for it. Truss and Kwarteng charged in like an ideological bull in a china shop. We’ll be picking up the pieces for quite a while.