John Naughton: Boris Johnson’s ‘new deal’ is Roosevelt lite

The PM’S building bonanza involves a sleight of hand while Dominic Cummings’s plan to ape the Americans’ advanced tech agency is flawed

It’s back to the future time again. Boris Johnson is trying to wrap himself in the cape of Franklin Roosevelt and his famous New Deal, while his consigliere, Cummings, wants to go back to the 1950s and reboot Britain by building an imitation of the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa – later Darpa, with the D standing for defence).

Both projects have touching aspects of romanticism, ignorance and absurdity. In relation to Johnson’s FDR tribute band, his proposed £5bn splash on infrastructure comes to about 0.2% of GDP, whereas Roosevelt’s New Deal was estimated to be worth 40% of US national income in 1929. Roosevelt built dams, housing, roads and bridges across America. He restored the banking system, set up the Securities and Exchange Commission, encouraged trade unions. From 1933, his public works administration built the Lincoln Tunnel in New York, the Grand Coulee Dam and completed the Hoover Dam. Roosevelt instituted a minimum wage and maximum hours in certain businesses and asserted the right of workers to organise. For his part, Johnson will be refurbishing schools and repairing bridges – both good in their way, but on a minuscule scale. And he doesn’t seem to have any plans for reining in the City or for encouraging workers’ rights. So his Roosevelt rhetoric is basically back-of-the-envelope hogwash.

Darpa has spurred innovations such as weather satellites, the internet, GPS and voice interfaces

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Boat – Tread Lightly

This LP was brought to my attention by The Finest Kiss but I have been aware of them for a while, also thanks to The Finest Kiss, due to Unlikely Friends the multi Moon offending joint project with members of Maths and Physics Club. They are from Seattle, Trumpyland and it is their 8th LP, but first for 7 years after 2 Unlikely Friends LPs of original material and a Bandcamp only covers one from 2019. This new LP is Top Pop rock n’ roll that is up there with the best of Unlikely Friends.

Basia Bulat – Are You in Love?

Ms Bulat is an artist  from Montreal, Canada that I have been aware of for a while due to being heavily featured in FRUK and The AV Club and also past appearances in NPR and GIITTV. This is her 5th LP and one that is bolder and more poptastic than her previous one and, as suggested by the breadth of her coverage, her sound is not easy to pigeonhole. Check out the LP review on FRUK.

Stand aside, everyone: the Conservative cowboy builders are back on the job | Marina Hyde

‘Build, build, build,’ gibbers Boris Johnson, as the party that bodged everything now wants to tell us how it will fix things

“We will double down on levelling up … We will invest … to fuel the animal spirits … We will not just bounce back, we will bounce forward.” Thus gibbered Boris Johnson this morning, sounding exactly like Franklin D Roosevelt shortly after the latter’s massive intracerebral haemorrhage. Or, as the prime minister put it of his “new deal” spending plans to restart the UK economy after coronavirus, announced today in Dudley: “it sounds positively Rooseveltian.”

Related: Boris Johnson refuses to rule out tax rises to fund recovery plans

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