Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Gordon, You've Got to Be Able to Fire Them before You Start Hiring Them

Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Gordon, You've Got to Be Able to Fire Them before You Start Hiring Them

Article excerpt

The company chairman paid Margaret Thatcher a compliment she might have done without: `Say what you like, but she's moved unemployment off the shop floor and on to the street.' I thought at the time that she planned to win the election by calling it while the employed were still in the majority. Now Gordon Brown in his Mais Lecture puts all this down to doctrinaire monetarism, defunct and not to be resurrected. Since those days, our economy - and still more, of course, America's - has come up with new jobs for old, and unemployment has moved to the Continent. It has been entrenched there by a multiplying host of regulations, all intended to protect jobs. As Alan Greenspan has been heard to say, you've got to be able to fire people before you start hiring them. In Britain, the turning point came 20 years ago this weekend, when a new Chancellor, Geoffrey Howe, took a deep breath and scrapped exchange control. …

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