Boris picks up where Maggie left off
The indomitable Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, last night gave the prestigious annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture, staged by the right-wing think tank Centre for Policy Studies. And the content of the speech got well and truly into the heart and spirit of the lecture’s namesake.
In his address – and possibly due to the freedom from national responsibility that he enjoys that other politicians of his stature do not – he once again demonstrated his ability for delivering in a knock-out manner the plain truths that far too many MPs shy away from.
In his speech, he argued that greed isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he praised what he called the “spirit of envy”, said some degree of inequality was “essential” for economic growth, and argued that “like it or not, the free market economy is the only show in town.” But he insisted he didn’t want to see a return of “heartless bankers”.
He said: “I also hope that there is no return to that spirit of Loadsamoney heartlessness – figuratively riffling banknotes under the noses of the homeless; and I hope that this time the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous not just for their greed – valid motivator though greed may be for economic progress – as for what they give and do for the rest of the population, many of whom have experienced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”
Naturally it was his comments that trying to counteract economic inequality is “futile” because some people’s IQ is too low for them to compete, that have hit the headlines today.
He noted: “I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth.
“Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent have an IQ above 130.
“The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top. And for one reason or another – boardroom greed or, as I am assured, the natural and God-given talent of boardroom inhabitants – the income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever.
“I stress I don’t believe that economic equality is possible.”
Whilst I do not agree with all of Boris’ arguments set out in the lecture, I do champion his overarching theme which was that wealth is good. It is a sentiment that I support. Indeed, it’s almost as if Boris Johnson had read my recent blog ‘Thanks to Capitalism…’
Nigel Green deVere Group
Written 28th November