Dead Men Left

Monday, June 06, 2005

The State He's In

Maybe I'm being a little unfair. Perhaps, between the 1995 publication of The State We're In, damning all that was British in economic policy before all that was European, and his 2005 cheerleading for precisely the opposite view, Will Hutton had a Damascene moment. But I haven't seen it, and the contrast jars. Where once he would have condemned the British "economic and social model", he now praises it to the skies. Where once he held Germany up as an example for us all, he now condemns its lack of "honesty" when facing its failings.

It is all a little hard to fathom; the substantive recommendations of The State... have been studiously ignored by Blair and Brown: the Treasury is more centralised and domineering than ever; millions have been exposed to great financial risks through the staggering expansion of personal debt; and the City, the real villain of Hutton's earlier drama, is feted, courted and mollycoddled by this government whilst manufacturing industry is squeezed ruthlessly.