Saturday 24 November 2007

The Scottish "Right"

On Wednesday I attended a conference arranged by the Policy Institute.

The event was titled "The Future of the Right in Scotland". I thought this a rather unfortunate description for a day that was really about the future of free market, or perhaps liberal, ideas!

The conference itself was excellent and I liked the 11 am start and 3.30 pm finish.

First off was Mark Pennington who gave a very good talk based on his new book:

The authors argue that government attempts to undertake 'cultural planning' to create social capital are subject to exactly the same problems that led economic and industrial planning to fail. In order for democratic systems to work, they must be limited to co-ordinating certain core political functions.
I look forward to getting my copy from the IEA.

At lunch we broke up into three groups. Mark hosted the Environment group and Brian Monteith led the Public Services lunch. I was in the third group, which was hosted by Bill Jamieson of the Scotsman and which discussed the economy. Twenty or so of us had our say round a table that included some heavy-hitters from the academic, banking and investment worlds. Yours truly gave his usual spiel about the Austrian School of economics, about money being created out of thin air, about the fiddled inflation figures, about gold and all the rest of the old-time gospel. Normally this gets some amused smiles before conversation returns to the "real" world. Not this week. The heavy-hitters were nodding their heads in agreement. Keynesianism was nowhere to be seen.

After lunch there was a panel consisting of Professor John Curtice, Katie Grant, Murdo Fraser MSP and David Watt. Professor Curtice teased Murdo Fraser by suggesting that Scotland now had a right-of-centre government that was effectively an SNP-Tory coalition!

This was a most enjoyable event and I look forward to others like it.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

John Lewis
No wonder Scotland is so liberal. All the real Scots (we hilanders) were removed by the Anglo dogs.
31 January 2008, 18:31:48 GMT – Like – Reply

Neil Craig
Katie Grant suggested that the Tories should accept another period in the wilderness as a price for persuading Scotland to believe in markets. While I think it would be legitimate to pay that price I think it misunderstands the difference between Westminster's FPTP votes & our PR. It may be the case that to win the Tories at Westminster need to become cuddly to gain the middle ground (it is also arguable that it isn't) but in Scotland nobody is going to get a majority so what they need to to is to get their natural voters to support them. It is clear that at the last election a lot of Tories voted SNP in the, correct, opinion that they were more likely to allow economic freedom & success.
28 November 2007, 15:05:05 GMT – Like – Reply

That, David, says it all. Also, liked Simon's comment above.
25 November 2007, 10:17:35 GMT – Like – Reply

David Farrer

A banker present was asked why the banks had stopped lending to each other. The reply: "Because we don't necessarily believe what's on their balance sheets."

An investment management company boss said that they no longer held any financial shares.

I commented that cutting interest rates would be "Stealing from grannies to bail out fat cat investors in the City."
24 November 2007, 18:09:12 GMT – Like – Reply

David Farrer

In some ways, yes.

The SNP has considerable support from the business community, partly because of the decline of the Scottish Tories. The recent SNP budget has been seen as more pro-business than pro-welfare. There were strong hints from Murdo Fraser that the Tories may support the SNP in getting their budget through Holyrood.

Strange times...
24 November 2007, 17:35:59 GMT – Like – Reply

Simon Jester
So let's get this straight: Scotland now has a right of centre government while England is governed by left-wing Scots...?
24 November 2007, 17:22:03 GMT – Like – Reply

Yours truly gave his usual spiel about the Austrian School of economics, about money being created out of thin air, about the fiddled inflation figures, about gold and all the rest of the old-time gospel.

Good work, David. Thank you.
24 November 2007, 17:02:36 GMT