Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The hole in the middle of that Dominic Cummings interview

Dominic Cummings' interview with Suzanne Moore has garnered plenty of attention, but for me the most remarkable thing about it is the hole at its centre.

Do you still think it was right to leave Europe?

A lot of people, especially the centre-Left in London, thought joining the Euro would be a success. Now we know we are best off out of it. When the Euro came under pressure it completely wrecked the Greek economy.

That took the blinkers off for me.

Especially now, when you look at how history worked out, and knowing that Covid was coming, it’s very hard to make the case that things could have been different.

I find Cummings' reasoning bizarre.

Moore asks him about British membership of the European Union and he replies by talking joining the Euro.

But Britain joining the Euro hasn't been a serious prospect for 20 years. Tony Blair was attracted to the idea in the early years of his premiership, but his chancellor Gordon Brown wasn't and the idea went nowhere. Since then it has hardly been mentioned.

And then there is his idea that the coming of Covid showed that Brexit was the right decision.

I suppose this rests on the belief that having shaken off EU Britain was able to race ahead with its vaccination programme. But EU law would not have held us back and, though the percentage of the British population who had been vaccinated was impressive for a while, our performance soon dropped back to the European average.

So no benefit from Brexit there either.

Elsewhere in the interview I see the polishing of the Cummings myth: he is the disruptive outsider who shakes up systems and gets results. Except there is little sign of any results from his time at Downing Street.

And behind it all somewhere is another myth: that public schools and Oxbridge and foster a "brilliance" that must be tapped at the heart of government. The result is that contrarianism is valued over knowledge and competence, with results we see all around us.

1 comment:

Matt Pennell said...

Greece's economy tanked after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis for four particular reasons:

1) It spent A LOT of money on the 2004 Olympics
2) Tax evasion/avoidance is widespread in the Greek economy (so many friends tell me have been on holiday there, go into shops and they say 'oh the cardreader's not working today' - cash payments = VAT avoidance)
3) Greece is one of the highest spenders on Defence by GDP in the EU
4) Greece's retirement age is ridiculously early - this affects the ratio of working age:OAPs massively

If you're looking to scapegoat anyone beyond the choices made by the Greek government and the people of Greece it's the IOC, not the EU you should be looking at