Sunday, 18 June 2017

Churchill was right (continued)

After posting Friday's piece, I came across this, which concludes:

I suspect, therefore, that the Tories are now rather like the party they were in the days of the Corn Laws: they represent interests which are hostile to economic progress.  
There is of course nothing original in the claim that landlords’ interests are a block on economic growth. As somebody once said:
Unearned increments in land are not the only form of unearned or undeserved profit, but they are the principal form of unearned increment, and they are derived from processes which are not merely not beneficial, but positively detrimental to the general public…The land monopolist only has to sit still and watch complacently his property multiplying in value, sometimes many fold, without either effort or contribution on his part!
That was Winston Churchill in 1909. Tories like to compare themselves to him. But in one respect at least, they are more reactionary now than he was a century ago.  
Today's Tories might retort that, by 1909, Churchill had been seduced by the Liberals and would not return effectively to Conservative politics until after the Great War. However, there was probably little to choose between the instincts of the Edwardian Churchill and those of the man who, looking forward to reconstruction after the Second World War, agreed to commissioning the Beveridge Report and gave RA Butler his head over the Education Act 1944.

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