Friday, June 24, 2011

Nick Clegg's bank shares plan and North Sea oil

Nick Clegg has endorsed the idea, promoted by his fellow Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams, of giving the public shares in the banks that their taxes helped to rescue.

Earlier this week Andrew Hill, writing on the FT Business blog, pointed out that a similar plan for shares in North Sea oil had been promoted in 1978 by Samuel Brittan and Barry Riley.

Brittan was the liberal older brother of the Conservative home secretary Leon Brittan. Indeed a whole generation of commentators could not take Leon wholly seriously because they remembered him as Samuel's ink-stained little brother.

Andrew Hill reminds us that direct distribution of shares was not the route that Mrs Thatcher took. He goes on to say:
But Sir Samuel has not abandoned hope. When I asked him on Thursday what he thought of the Clegg plan, he told me: “If I were an independent MP, I’d vote for it.”

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