Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good Journalism is Good for Exports

Here’s an innocuous piece by William Rees-Mogg, the former editor of The Times (London) having a go at Gordon Brown, self-proclaimed admirer of Adam Smith (they both come from Kirkcaldy, in Fife, Scotland) and Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (no 2 job in British politics). He hopes to occupy the no 1 job when Tony Blair retires as UK Prime Minister.

Nothing wrong factually with the references to Adam Smith (as expected from a proper journalist of the old school), with the possible exception of the heading (work of a sub-editor?), it being a bit much to quote a source from the 18th century about a problem in the 21st.

However, enjoy a positive use of Smith’s name in the body of the text. (Osborne is the shadow Chancellor from the Conservative interest in the UK parliament, who hope to replace Brown at the next General Election – quite lively young man he is too.)

Ignore Gordon Brown — cutting tax is good for us

I was pleased that Osborne also referred to the work of the classical Scottish economist Adam Smith. Many young economists — and Osborne is only 35 — tend to think Smith, who lived in the 18th century, is out of date. Better young economists recognise the value of the history of ideas. Truth is sometimes unfashionable, but that does not mean it ceases to be true.
Smith wrote that taxation should be transparent, simple, efficient and fair. Gordon Brown has created in his own image a system that is opaque, complex, inefficient and unfair. That is some achievement, particularly as Brown is also a student of Smith.”

William Rees-Mogg sybdicates his journalism around the world. Doing his bit for British exports and his pension!

I found this on Mail on Sunday (UK), International News Service (NZ), Kaleej Times Dubai, United Arab Emerates (7 June), and it probably appeared elsewhere too.


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