Will Hutton gives us a diatribe about how awful the terrible four were after they left office:
What Alexander does and how much he is paid are opaque, but part of the AIIB’s mandate is to shape applicants’ projects so they can receive BRI funding. Alexander, in short, is facilitating a China that is suppressing Uyghurs and Hong Kong alike, with international protest limited because BRI signatory countries want the continuing flow of Chinese funds. Cameron also had eyes on China as a career move, becoming co-chair of a planned UK China Investment Fund in 2017. But with his reverse Midas touch, the fund never got off the ground and he is spared another public embarrassment.
Osborne’s pursuit of riches is to be made away from prying eyes. He is now to become a full-time member of the private, Mayfair-based boutique investment bank, Robey Warshaw, which, with 13 staff and three partners, has earned a reputation for being the secretive but successful go-to adviser on mega-mergers. The skill is to help bidders navigate delicate issues of regulation, intellectual property, security and competition, like those involving SoftBank’s bid for the hi-tech company Arm or Shell’s merger with BG, two great British companies extinguished by takeover. Over the last five years, the three partners have pulled in cumulative net profits of £187m. Doubtless Osborne will be using his mobile phone to good effect, if with a great deal more discretion than his old boss, to sustain that level of super-profitability. The author of public squalor is to become accomplice to scarcely credible private affluence; an invisible line has been crossed.
Then there’s Clegg off in California with Facebook and Cameron shilling for Greensill. Sure, we would all be persuadable that this isn’t the finest behaviour. But there’s an important bit here that Hutton isn’t getting.
Hutton being one of those who insist that government, and politics, must be intimately involved in how the economy develops. He is the archetype of the managerial technocrat. Well, OK, it’s an idea, a damn stupid one but it’s an idea. The inevitable consequence of which is that the politicians, who are now the gatekeepers to who gets to make money, will be hired by those who wish to make money.
This sort of political lobbying for contracts is only possible in a world where politics decides who gains the contracts. What the hell else does Hutton think is going to happen?
The answer to this is, of course, minarchy, in which politicians don’t get to decide and therefore no one thinks it worth the bother of buying them. Or, given the similarity with with the populace getting screwed, renting them by the hour.
Of course, it’s always possible to identify the true lunatics:
Politics should be a noble, lifelong cause,
Now there’s a candidate for the boneyard of idiot ideas.