Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

ISPENT the appropriately joyless socialist May Day bank holiday wading through piles of accumulated correspondence, including the candidates' addresses for the Euro elections.

Ukip's was all about immigration and taking back control; while the Conservatives focused on their economic record and "fighting to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU". At which point the cynic in me wondered why I had observed such limited progress on that front.

I cannot comment on the Lib Dems because they have not bothered to write to me.

And then there was Labour, which appeared to be fighting a completely different election, focused entirely on domestic issues like "the cost of living crisis" and the NHS.

We to It is certainly brave of them to have picked another fiveword catchphrase for endless repetition, bearing in mind what became of the last one: "no more boom and bust."

perpetual revolution through " You can certainly argue "they would say that, wouldn'tGovernment interventionthey?" about the various interest groups who claim that Labour's evolving programme would spell disaster. Turkeys rarely enthuse about Christmas, so energy companies, landlords and rail franchise-holders may all be expected to say that price freezes, rent controls and increased state involvement in the railways are all bad things.

But that does not mean they are not right. No one old enough to remember the Stalinist anti-service culture of the state telephone, gas, electricity or rail monopolies would ever wish them back.

Furthermore, all experience suggests that free markets will ultimately deliver better and cheaper products and services than anything dreamt up by politicians and civil servants.

If you doubt this, consider the food retail market where, without any encouragement at all from Mr Miliband, the major players are making their contribution to alleviating "the cost of living crisis" by slashing prices.

Not content with spending hours of TV airtime and acres of newsprint telling us about it, one of them even tastelessly blazoned its message across the Angel of the North. …

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