Master of the boomlet
Conservative politicians are crowing over Nigel Lawson’s ‘achievements’ since the news of his passing was announced today. I well remember one of his achievements. That was when my mortgage interest rate hit 15% in the late 1980s. ChatGPT provides a balanced view of what Lawson was best remembered for “Today, the Lawson boom is often seen as a cautionary tale of the dangers of economic overheating and the importance of balancing short-term growth with long-term stability.” In that regard he might be seen as a patron of Trussonomics, which 30-odd years later also aimed for short-term growth at the expense of stability (of any variety). There’s no doubt Lawson played a critical role in Margaret Thatcher’s downfall, for which we should be grateful, but his resignation from her government did nothing to stem the tide of deregulation and the sell-off of publicly owned assets, and the continuing influence of finance. He was just one amongst many Chancellors whose duty it was to keep the financial top spinning. After his retirement Lawson’s baleful influence continued with his founding the so-called ‘Global Warming Foundation’ climate change sceptic think tank. Eventually even the BBC had to recognise that his views should not be broadcast without the equivalent of a health warning. He also played out a role as high priest to the Brexit mob, for which, whilst they stew in their coaches stuck in Dover many holiday makers this Easter will no doubt feel grateful. Rishi Sunak when Chancellor had a portrait of Lawson hanging behind his desk. Let’s hope he still hasn’t got it now he’s Prime Minister.
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