Only governments can trigger the investment in the physical, social and human capital necessary to support growth. Only government can redistribute the income needed to alleviate poverty, and promote more equal opportunity.No no no. This is errant nonsense. Let's take them one by one. Physical capital - it was not government that built, crewed and filled merchant ships that built trade, not government that founded markets, not government that built canals and railways, not government that planted fields, not government that built shops and stores and warehouses. It's certainly not government that builds social capital - in fact the effect of big government is to destroy social capital by displacing the Burkean horizontal ties of family, neighbourhood and community by the sterile anomie of individual relationships with the State. And it was not government that developed indentures and apprenticeships, training and education, founded grammar schools, endowed universities, trained cadets for the merchant service, engineers for the workshops or managers for trade and industry - all this investment in human capital was done by, well, capitalists. All that's required for all this private capital investment to flourish is the maintenance of a system of law - that's all we require of Hutton's State. But like the besotted kommisar who believed that tractor production increased when Stalin smiled, Hutton is utterly blind to the reality of our economy.
And as for government redistribution alleviating poverty, has Hutton forgotten already the gross failure of thirteen years of redistributionist policy under Labour? A failure so startling and clear that poverty and inequality actually increased under Labour?
Hutton was at the heart of the cancer known as 'the new public management' that sought to destroy local autonomy and grass-roots democracy in favour of a central and Statist universal model of governance, with local councils totally in thrall to the central State. Together with the corrupt, destructive and discredited Audit Commission and the rapacious tentacles of the PwCs, KPMGs and Deloittes, Hutton and his risible 'work foundation' were part of a determined effort to destroy Britain's capacity for local governance. We now have a chance to make a final bonfire of Hutton's evil and all its like - let's not waste it.