Regulatory competence

There is a notable ‘Guardian’ article by Will Hutton on the the crashes of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and the pervasive capture of the American state by corporate interests, where he highlights the bonfire of regulations (where have we heard that before?) that has led to reductions of funding of the Federal Aviation Administration to such an extent that Boeing has 1000 staff subcontracted to them. Needless to say the safety case for those Boeing jets that have been hurtling groundwards lately was, he discovers, conducted by Boeing themselves.

Like the Conservatives, the Republicans have, spent decades telling people government is incompetent, although not that it is very less incompetent than no government control at all. Indeed it is relevant, in my view, that with both the US and the UK having denied the value of government so frequently and completely, it has led to the election of two of the most incompetent governments in recent history in both countries. If governments are useless then the useless have been elected to them. The UK’s equivalent of life-threatening self regulatory failure came a little more spectacularly in the form of the Grenfell Tower Fire, though probably the Brexit fog makes that difficult to recall. Putting the needs of business before people is the wrong way round.

Hutton suggests that the twin crashes of the Boeing 737 Mark 8 aircraft are a condemnation not just of Boeing, but the entirety of weak US regulation as well as the result of their uncontrolled lobbying system. He goes on (later) to invite the ultra libertarian Brexiters infatuated with the US to fly the test trials of the Mark 8.

He concludes “I”ll use Airbus”.

Those in the Grenfell Tower had of course, no such choice.