State intervention is proposed for one failed market. Trains, housing and heavy industry should be next
If it’s right for the state to intervene in one broken market, why not apply the principle across the board? When Ed Miliband unveiled his modest proposals as Labour leader to limit energy bill increases and reform the energy market, the Tory response was hysterical. The party and its outriders – otherwise known as most of the British press – frothed about Marxism and the Soviet Union. It was a striking example of how Britain’s right had increasingly adopted the unhinged intolerance of their US counterparts, suggesting even modest state interventions would end in the resurrection of Joseph Stalin and the nationalisation of your gran.
Yet now it’s the Tories who are floating a cap on energy bills. Quite a U-turn, then. Ah, but it isn’t the same as a proposal we described as full-blown Marxist, they claim. And they’re right: the Tory offer is clearly less effective. And there are three rather big caveats attached to it.
Can anyone really look at Germany and credibly argue that state intervention has reduced its economy to a basket case?