Monday, December 18, 2006

Protectionism Anyone?

I'm an avid reader of the Guardian's economics correspondent Larry Elliot. I like his hard headed matter of fact kind of tone, in this case on the subject of BAe systems and the Saudis.

There is little point in defending what the government has done, the best I can say is that it's realpolitik in action and that I doubt the Tories or the Lib Dems would have behaved any differently had they been in power.

The point that Larry makes is that blocking the SFO enquiry is essentially protectionism, something that is often considered a bad thing among pretty much universally among the main parties. He then makes the point that since the government sees fit to support arms dealers, perhaps it might consider providing support for less controversial industries.

For me, this is one area where my opinions part ways with those of the Labour leadership. Like Larry, I view portectionism as a potentially useful potential policy option. I'll admit sometimes you can't stand in the way of the market, but I question the current PROTECTIONISM=BAD mantra and put it to people that it's not quite as clear cut as that.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

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