ONCE in a generation, a new economic idea makes such an impact that it transforms the way nations run their affairs. Margaret Thatcher's privatisation revolution was one such defining moment.
Could Britain be on the brink of another?
This time, the tide of radicalism is sweeping out of Eastern Europe, where governments are queueing to join the 11 nations that have already embraced flat taxes, a policy under which everybody pays at the same rate and there are no loopholes to be exploited by the rich and their armies of accountants.
The appeal of this reform isn't confined to former Communist states.
Germany's Angela Merkel, who is set to win this month's elections, has a key adviser who passionately advocates flat taxes. Greece may introduce them by 2007.
Now Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is about to launch a review of our system, with the aim of simplifying it or paving the way for flat taxes here.
For the hitherto timid Tories, this is a fiscal radicalism not seen since 1988, when Nigel Lawson slashed the top rate to 40 per cent. The only pity is that it comes from one of the few senior party figures who isn't running for the leadership.
Nevertheless, this …