Monday, February 17, 2020

"Like Paris, London boasts industrial policy and regional planning"

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Losses & profits. A world renowned expert in political rebounding series, the United Kingdom never ceases to surprise its spectators. While the soap The Crown is overwhelmed by the reality of the Harry and Meghan affair, the one on Brexit has just given us a dramatic turnaround. While the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, proclaimed wanting to transform Great Britain into a haven of disheveled liberalism like Singapore-on-Thames, here he comes out of his hat a model that will look more like a kind of Paris-on-Thames. Like France, the British government now prides itself on industrial policy and regional planning. Even if it means taking some liberties with the competition.

Read also Flybe: UK government and owners bailout deal

Thus, fifteen days before the final exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, its main airline, IAG, parent company of British Aiways, filed a complaint, Wednesday, January 15, with the European competition authorities to denounce the "State aid granted by the British government to its competitor, Flybe".

Socialization of the Right

The day before, Downing Street, which had not moved a finger to save its tourism champion, Thomas Cook, announced a rescue plan for the country's first regional company to prevent it from going bankrupt. This includes a bailout from shareholders and a commitment to defer, or even cancel, the payment of tax per passenger.

It must be said that the Conservatives' spectacular victory in the last election owed a lot to the overthrow of Labor strongholds in northern England and the Midlands. Hence the eagerness of the tenant at 10 Downing Street to save an airline specializing in connections between medium-sized cities. It represents more than 50% of the activity of airports such as Southampton, Exeter, Jersey or Cardiff.

When you get elected by promising to boost forgotten regions, you cannot afford to drop such an operator, even a loss-making one. Even if it means backing up environmental defenders who see the only green tax flying away affecting a sector already pointed out in Europe for its contribution to global warming.

It's only a beginning. The populist "socialization" of the British right, already underway under Theresa May, is expected to gain momentum with a massive plan for infrastructure investment and sectoral policies in favor of industry and public services. After preaching economic laissez-faire at the heart of the European institutions, the United Kingdom withdrew with a bang and did just the opposite. Amazing Albion.

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