Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Glug Glug

The thing is, we don't have all the time in the world. 13 years of Labour misrule have left our economy holed beneath the waterline, and we need to get cracking on the repairs right now.

Consider what's going on down in the engine room of our long-term prosperity - private enterprise. When Labour took over, the UK was one of the most enterprise-friendly countries in the world: low and stable taxes, a highly flexible labour market, and relatively light business regulation. But over time Labour has chipped away at these strengths, and our relative position in the world rankings of economic freedom has lately been slipping alarmingly.

The best known of the rankings is that produced annually by the US Heritage Foundation. Its latest assessment has us slipping down to 11th position, way behind Australia, Switzerland, and even Comrade Obama's US (htp Ted B and A Reader). Click on image to enlarge:

Now, you may think our position is not a disaster, but the direction and speed of travel certainly is - five years ago we were 7th in the world rankings, and 15 years ago we were 3rd. Yes, 3rd.

And a key factor driving us down is the burgeoning government sector, both in terms of its size and the taxes required to pay for it. As we may possibly have mentioned once or twice before, Big Government squashes enterprise and ultimately makes us all poorer.

But right now, we have a problem. You and I may understand what's going on in the engine room, far below the promenade deck, but most of our fellow passengers don't yet seem to have understood.

So this morning we have those gloomy chaps at the National Institute forecasting a further rise in unemployment after its current mysterious pause, a renewed fall in house prices, a dip in consumer spending, and yet further over-runs in government borrowing. Yet at the same time, the passengers seem to remain full of consumerist cheer - the Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index rose by three points in January.

Talk about the Titanic.

PS Last night Tyler met up with a whole bunch of Tory Bloggers over a beverage or three. A very enjoyable evening, and as always, good to put faces to names. The high spot for Tyler was winning the prestigious "Thorn in the Government's Side" award. This hand-tooled award parchment will proudly hang alongside Tyler's other awards - his ten yards swimming certificate from 1959.

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