Gold Medal for John Major, Nil Points for Richards

Steve Richards is supplanting Polly Toynbee as Guido’s favourite comedy commentator. Today he has a piece not quite as good as his genius three word summary of Brown in four words. Nor is it up there with his only stupid people will vote for Boris. Whereas Guido can guess and probably even write a Polly column, Richards is so much funnier than Polly, his ideological eccentricities are unpredictable.Today he makes the claim that Britain’s gold medal tally at the Olympics proves that we need higher government spending. Does it?

The Fabians took the lesson of World War II and the centrally controlled state war machine’s victory and drew the wrong conclusion. They thought a centrally controlled economy and centrally planned health and education would triumph. Ignoring that it was the free market economy of the U.S.A. that was the arsenal of democracy which brought victory over the totalitarian and rigidly controlled Nazi war economy.

Higher investment in sports training has brought results. The money raised was raised without resort to taxation, did not end up in Whitehall or in the hands of state bureaucrats. John Major loved sport and it is his strictures that have produced the golden results. Higher spending on education and health will produce better results, but not productively if the spending is made in state controlled schools and hospitals. Blair realised that eventually, the Tories single best policy is to encourage Swedish-style “Free Schools“. That policy will do for aspirational parents what council house sales did for aspirational tenants – free them from the failing clutches of the state.

Richards’ tax and spend thinking would not result in gold standards, just more government waste.

UPDATE : John Major has just made the point on the Today show that the government has been diverting money away from sport towards New Labour’s pet projects.




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