Will Hutton can go boil his head

Britain’s return to the gold standard in 1925 has become a byword for a self-inflicted economic fiasco. The idea was to seek stability by fixing a price for an ounce of gold on demand – trade and confidence in sterling would flood back and Britain would continue with the roaring 20s, the boom that followed the First World War and the 1918 flu pandemic.

However, the exchange rate was pitched so high that industry, instead of seamlessly adjusting its prices and costs, was devastated. The consequent public austerity, deflation and attempted wage cuts triggered mass unemployment and the General Strike.

But at the time, Conservative opinion was universally for it and the Labour party made no objection. Indeed, Ramsay MacDonald’s short-lived government four years later continued with the policy until it collapsed. The empire, free trade and sound finance demanded no less.

This from the cretin who insisted Britain should join the euro in order to support free trade and sound finances, right?

14 thoughts on “Will Hutton can go boil his head”

  1. The British wartime economy boomed, it took a couple years into peacetime for it to unravel. I’m not sure that the twenties ever really roared for Britain. The Gold Standard was re-introduced to bring stability to a struggling economy now seriously dislocated by transition, but times had changed and the pound’s value was pitched too high against the dollar. I’m not sure that the Gold Standard per se was necessarily a bad idea.

  2. No matter that trade in 2020 is not in bulk cotton and coal but in precision-engineered complex artefacts and sophisticated business advice and services. The preconditions are mutually recognised standards, specifications, qualifications and rules, a negotiated framework in which sovereignty is shared to deliver the gains from trade.

    “Guys, you don’t understand. We NEED to be ruled by a distant transnational bureaucracy that dictates what lightbulbs you may buy and wants to abolish your nation state so that Accenture can pursue greater efficiencies in its global operations.

    Won’t SOMEBODY think of Accenture?!?!”

  3. Also, the exchange rate wasn’t pitched high by mistake. It was set at the pre-war rate so that investors in GB bonds would get their money back, and continue to invest.

  4. Another problem was that Britain had financed the French and Russians during the war, money that was basically now lost and in turn relied on loans from the USA using gold as collateral and paying gold-based cash for weapons and supplies from The Americas (north and south).

    It is a sad truth that it was Britain’s determination to pay her bills that helped bugger the economy after each of the two world wars.

  5. No matter that trade in 2020 is not in bulk cotton and coal but in precision-engineered complex artefacts and sophisticated business advice and services. The preconditions are mutually recognised standards, specifications, qualifications and rules, a negotiated framework in which sovereignty is shared to deliver the gains from trade.

    The aerospace and motor sectors are perfectly capable of setting their own global standards without a few thousand extra bureaucrats sticking their oars in. Ditto for banking and insurance. All the EU ever did was to get in the way, in order to featherbed [insert whoever bought them the biggest lunch here].

    We didn’t vote Leave to be able to specify a different type of gasket, we voted to recover control of our own laws and destiny, thanks Will.

  6. Years ago I was at a Tory drinks do. The local MP asked what business I was in. Then he asked what the government could do for me. “Keep out of the way” said I. “Oh, a real conservative” sneered he.

    There’s yer problem.

  7. @ dearieme
    When I was young we had part-time MPs paid a modest salary and earning a living in the rest of their time (or being subsidised by a Trade Union or a rich spouse/parent). as a result they had some idea of what real life was like and suffered some of their burdens placed n their fellow men by bureaucracy. Hence the real conservatives were not keen on unnecessary regulation, unlike Sir Humphrey.

  8. the interesting bit about this is the exmaple of a government setting a bad policy and then burying its head in the sand. Interesting in the sense that that is what they always do, and we always fall for it!

  9. @ asiaseen
    Time was when all the top blokes had served in the War (except Sir Alec who volunteered but got turned down on medical grounds and Rab who would have been rejected before his medical if he’d tried). [When Winnie got sacked as First Lord of the Admiralty after Gallipoli he used his army record/status to get a front-line posting as an officer on the western front but survived.]
    Now we’ve got Rishi and Sajid who had careers in the City before entering politics. Dominic Raab was a lawyer before entering politics; Keir Starmer worked as a lawyer after entering politics which may account for his promotion to DPP under Gordon Brown. Robert Buckland (Lord Chancellor) was a lawyer then a Recorder (junior judge). Ben Wallace (Defence) was an army officer. Matt Hancock worked for family business and as an economist for the Bank of England. Alok Sharma worked as an accountant for Cooper’s and then in banking. Admittedly Liz Truss read PPE but she worked for a decade in energy and telecoms industries as an economist and/or management accountant. George Eustice (DEFRA) grew up in a farming family.
    You have to get down to Gavin Williamson before you get to a career politician comparable to Ed Millionaireband.
    Admittedly Boris and Michael Gove were journalists and Priti Patel worked in PR – so halfway to being politicians.

  10. “Matt Hancock worked … as an economist for the Bank of England”

    The current Health Secretary? The one pushing for ever more severe lock downs? Extraordinary.

  11. Apologies John..:)

    It was idle bemusement. The same Matt Hancock that calls for ever more economy destroying measures (he’s one of those calling for even more lock down) used to earn a shilling as an economist – on Threadneedle Street no less! I’m easily amused….

  12. The same Matt Hancock that calls for ever more economy destroying measures (he’s one of those calling for even more lock down) used to earn a shilling as an economist – on Threadneedle Street no less! I’m easily amused….

    John didn’t claim that hancock was a good or even competent economist

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