Here is yet another article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ – I know – people will think I read nothing else!
Which is probably why I chose – just in case – to add this piece to our series on understanding the Right Wing mind.
If Johnson is the after-dinner speaker as Prime Minister, then I surmise Hague is the after-dinner speaker you might actually want to listen to. I suggest he’s a bit less right wing and rather brighter, even if he’s another of our favourite PPE Oxford graduates.
So in this Telegraph article Hague suggests:
It will be a conflict in which the natural supporters of free enterprise as the foundation of human progress, and fiscal responsibility as the bedrock of a confident economy, will suddenly find themselves on the back foot. In Britain, and many other countries, the state has intervened in the lives of families and businesses more than ever before in peacetime. It is only too easy to think that what has happened can become the new normal.
We can all argue with the ‘free enterprise as the foundation of human progress’ , but actually I wouldn’t. What is much more questionable is that he seems under the illusion that this was something that existed before Covid-19 came along to muck it up. And fiscal responsibility and a confident economy seem to have preference over people’s lives. That is certainly an odd concept of responsibility.
Against this background, Left-wing thinkers will be able to advance more easily an agenda of state intervention, and unaffordable ideas such as a national basic income. Most conveniently of all for them, the magic money tree – that Conservatives have spent years saying does not exist – appears to have been found. If we need a few hundred billion we can conjure it up, or so it must seem. Never mind the awful truth, that one day it will be paid for in higher inflation, a much-devalued currency or crippling taxation. The concept of endless billions whenever we need them is now firmly in the public mind. And if we need taxation, those of a socialist disposition will say, this is the moment to tax wealth, land and corporations. With millions unemployed, how else, they will argue, can higher spending be financed?
At least he recognises that the Magic Money Tree exists – so tacitly admitting that the Conservatives have been lying all along, but really he is saying it shouldn’t be harvested because of the ‘awful truth’ of inflation ‘one day’. It certainly isn’t imminent – so I suggest that the taxation system can be relied upon to look after it ‘one day’. The currency will be much-devalued – no, it won’t when everyone else is doing the same thing – but he’s right – the prospect and realisation of Brexit (of which he was in favour) has already seen to the devaluation of the pound. And then of course we shouldn’t tax wealth although his deputy editor is of a contrary opinion…
He concludes by suggesting in effect that the market must be allowed its ‘animal spirits’ to get us out of the mess and that Conservatives are ‘champions of a free and enterprising society’, based on ‘sound money’.
In mentioning a free society he doesn’t mention who exactly it should be free for, or from. I expect he thinks Telegraph readers will know. And yet the idea of ‘sound money’ seems to revolve around not using it. This may be second nature to a Yorkshireman, but Hague seems to have forgotten that government owns the bank that creates it. Mentally he still thinks he’s working in his parents’ soft drink business.
The soundness of money should really be so that we can use it for human welfare, not to fulfill some imaginary rule to indicate its value. In the end ‘sound money’ forgets the purpose of money and of course the purpose of tax.
William Hague, has, it seems to me, failed both in human and monetary understanding.
In the end the article is rather surprisingly shallow – I had thought better of him – or perhaps he’s just talking down to his readers?
I do hope his after-dinner speaking is of a better standard, though I’m pretty certain it is much better than Boris Johnson’s.