The Party Conference Season is drawing to a close amid an extraordinary time of anxiety and distrust. Politicians are regarded with suspicion because they talk up but deliver down.
Many shortages exist and are increasing all across the economy, affecting everyday life for everybody and every sector. In this febrile atmosphere the Prime Minister rubbishes the entire economic model which has been the bedrock of the Tory party’s philosophy since Margaret Thatcher gained the leadership in 1975. So ingrained has it become that few are old enough to have had adult engagement with the Keynesian model which dominated before. Even Blair/ Brown only tinkered at the margins but did little to depart from the basic ideas.
The big centrepiece idea is that command economies do not work and that the market leading and supply and demand responding, is the only pure economic theory upon which free people can rely. The market as driver, the balance of supply and demand as regulator. The Tory party, or better said, the Boris government is now moving towards an interventionist model where the state sets conditions and everyone has to change to meet them. Brexit is obvious as the biggest game changer, but it is turning out to be a much bigger game than anybody expected, especially its promoters.
Added to that there are multiple crises building , including the out of control energy market, inflation, rising interest rates, distribution bottlenecks, labour shortages; the list grows longer every day. Boris’s speech, which wowed his party’s conference, has been almost universally ridiculed as scant on detail about how he is going to achieve his lofty ambition to change the whole broken economic model. Perhaps the biggest potential crisis of all is the mounting fear that the government does not understand what it is trying to do, nor have a clue how to do it.
Older folk remember the Winter of Discontent. Unless Boris and Co get a grip, the winter coming could be one of very real hardship and suffering for very many people.