Tuesday 19 September 2023

Ignore the public

I've written something on my Substack about why politicians need to make decisions when the public want things that are directly contradictory. You can't have it all and it seems to me that, in practice, people want jobs and money rather than the luxury policies that too many politicians focus on.

It is time for the public to understand what the trade-offs are. They need to be told that yes, you can have all the stuff you say you want - nutrient neutrality, silent city centres, triple lock pensions, net zero, protectionism, bans on everything you don’t like, 20mph speed limits, high speed rail, state-run healthcare, more borrowing, more regulation, more tzars, more badgers, more wolves or whatever - but you are going to be poor.

Nobody wants to hear that and nobody is going to hear that, because politicians won’t level with the electorate. And so politicians will have to make the decision for them. They will have to be - I know this sounds crazy but hear me out - leaders.

It should be taken as read that local residents will oppose any development that they don’t directly profit from, that single issue pressure groups will oppose everything, and that opinion polls will always show support for luxury, high status policies unless the consequences are spelt out. But it seems fairly clear from opinion polls on voting intention in the last two years that lower prices, higher incomes and economic growth are the real priorities of the British public and that these should therefore be the priorities of the British government even though public opinion will be against the engines of economic growth in the short-term.

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