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British Sound Money MP Replaced by Labor Party Apparatchik: A Sign of the Times

Sound money advocate and Conservative Party MP for Wycombe Steve Baker lost his seat in the general election that took place on 4th July–curious timing for a sitting Prime Minister to have called an election his party was always near-certain to lose. As Americans were celebrating Independence Day, the remnant Brits opposed to the government meddling in every aspect of their lives were bracing for a prime minister who describes himself as a socialist–and thinks that sits comfortably with the platitude of “putting the country first.”

That is not to say that the remnant had been enjoying anything close to a bearably innocuous level of government. In a short list of memorable and more recent highlights from a long list of offences (they entered power in 2010), the outgoing Conservative premiership spends ~45 percent of GDP, has levied the highest tax take in over 70 years, imposed tyrannical “lockdown” policies, botched leaving the EU, has overseen record migration levels, gave welfare recipients a “pay rise” in excess of that achieved by many in the productive sector, and forces the working age population to pay for inflation “triple locked” pensions for the elderly. Indeed, it is a party whose righter-most leader since Thatcher felt the need to placate her colleagues on both sides of the aisle that government spending would remain over a trillion pounds–that is nearly half of the then ~2.2 trillion GDP!

The problem is that the incoming government would do all of the above with additional verve for the “net zero” ruse, particularly egregious offshoots of which are creating a nationalized energy provider and banning petrol cars by 2030–a policy to be reinstated by Starmer. GB Energy has all the hallmarks of a conduit for the government to transfer income away from the productive, voluntary sector to those political entrepreneurs most alert to the latest regime obsession. As a nationalized entity, without even looking into the specifics, it is apodictic that it will waste resources and produce a poor product at a high price. But of course, specialists have already investigated the specific claims of the incoming government and debunked them.

With a brief look into the state of the two parties set out, a remarkable exchange between Steve Baker and former Labour MP Ed Balls can be put into context. Baker, standing at a vote counting station, was being interviewed by Balls and former Chancellor George Osborne, who were in the ‘Good Morning Britain’ studio. Giving his thoughts on why he lost, Baker–who has read Mises and given impassioned speeches in parliament about sound money–cited the policy of Balls’ government (led by Tony Blair) that helped facilitate and oversaw the credit boom of the noughties that led to the GFC. He pointed to the sense of social and economic injustice in the aftermath of the resulting monetary policy aberrations. He explained that the hugely inflated broad money supply resulted in far higher asset prices, and how this explains why property prices are at such a multiple of average earnings now as to be unaffordable (as an aside, this is one of the reasons the “triple lock” is particularly egregious). He lamented his weariness at trying to explain monetary economics to his colleagues–and was sure not to leave smirking Osborne out of the accusation of ignorance.

One might think this level of understanding and insight is to be celebrated in a politician, and indeed it is incredibly rare. Ed Balls–who studied PPE at Oxford–however, never missing a beat, was quick to remind us of the usual caliber of the politician. With glee at Baker’s loss, he breathlessly retorted that the GFC was 17 years ago, is it not time to move on? As Baker finished by looking ahead to the fiscal reality the incoming Chancellor faces, he suggested that there will have to be austerity–with the ideology of the incoming party, chance would be a fine thing. Balls was seen to do a comedic yawn for the cameras, and it all seemed so revealing of the modern political activist’s yearning for a moment in the limelight, juxtaposed to the sincerity of a throwback politician who acquired enough economic literacy to lament the mess created by his reckless and ignorant colleagues.

Alas, Baker was voted out in favor of someone who most certainly has not read Mises.

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