Will Hutton on Digital Britain

Posted by on Apr 20, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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Will Hutton popped up at the Digital Britain Summit on Friday but I felt his comments on the financial crisis in Sunday's Observer give more clue to the DB thing than what he said directly about it

He's previously articulated what happened last September on the markets crispy and cleanly:

"There was not a run on the banks by depositors queuing in the streets to
withdraw their savings. Rather, it was an escalating and terrifying run
on the banks in effect by themselves, which, if it spread to millions
of small savers, would reproduce the events of 1929"

And this weekend he also noted:

"For this recession
is palpably the result of the collapse of what was, in effect, a
gigantic pyramid debt selling scheme. The City's rise was feted by
politicians across the political spectrum, none more than Gordon Brown,
confusing Ponzi finance as innovation and creativity"

He then underlines the desire of Wall St (and the City) to go back to how things were and how fundamentally wrong-headed this is.

"We need
to borrow more, even with the budget deficit this high, in order to
create jobs. And yes, we need the state to build a banking system that
supports enterprise and innovation, rather than making fortunes for its
personnel from gigantic Ponzi schemes.

The old business model is
bust. The government, under duress, finally did the right thing last
autumn. It must not regress to old mistakes this spring."

This I feel speaks rather more strongly to the DB debate than his comments on Friday: the people of the pipeline businesses – the BBC, Trinithy Mirror and Universal – want the game to go back to how it was, but the fact is it can't. And won't.

Btw different clowns, same old circus: Do you think a change of cast in  the Conservative Digital Britain team will really make that much difference to the conclusions? I'm not sure

UPDATE: Go read James' thoughts on DB