The Brown government’s decision to nationalise Northern Rock takes us back to the days when Labour governments in the UK were wont to nationalise just about everything that moved–literally in the case of British Rail and British Leyland. (I’ve compared the latter to the Anglican Communion elsewhere, and in fact the Church of England itself is a nationalised entity, in its own way.)
Today London is probably the single largest financial market in the world, in no small measure because of two factors:
- The progressive deregulation of the financial and economic system initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980’s.
- The moralistic over-regulation of the American one by Sarbanes-Oxley, doubtless one of the most ill-conceived pieces of legislation that Congress (the opposite of progress) has ever promulgated.
If the Brown government allows this kind of mentality to spread to other aspects of policy (especially taxation,) they will oversee the running down of the UK as they did following World War II, as capital goes elsewhere.