Public Policy

John has long been active in public policy, co-founding the Institute for Fiscal Studies and working closely with Conservative Treasury Ministers and Shadow Ministers, and with key economic Think Tanks. He served for over 30 years on the Taxation and Economic Committee of the Institute of Directors, and the Taxation and Technical Committee of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

An active advocate of free-market capitalism, his career working in his specialist capacity with merchant bankers and other professionals made him only too aware that many in the financial world worked to maximise their own benefits rather than giving best advice to the clients. Ethics apart, he feared that these activities would damage public support for free markets. He attacked these practices very discreetly but in one outrageous case more openly.

John takes a major interest in the future of the economic system post Covid-19. Will we revert to free markets, or will the politicians and bureaucrats, having temporarily increased their own power, succeed in taking over and ruining everything? He began a major study “Reforming Capitalism to Save It” intending, based on experience, to concentrate on this aspect. As work progressed, it soon became clear that this interacts with two other long-standing and related interests – Regulation and Innovation. We now have excessive regulation for two reasons. One is “the unholy alliance between Regulators and Compliance Officers” determined to keep their jobs and expand their empires in expanding its influence, as explained long ago by Parkinson. The other is established incumbent companies, fearing the threat of disruptive innovation, also favour regulation which impacts more heavily on small early stage businesses than large ones. Both Regulation and the large companies lobby seriously to limit Innovation for future prosperity.


John has long been concerned with the possible effects of Brexit. He voted, but did not campaign for, “Remain” after long discussions and arguments with people from both sides.

Looking back, the EU could have developed in two different directions. One would be to move towards a proper Federal constitution with provision for “States Rights”, preferably on the Swiss or Canadian model. John’s travels suggested there are small, but growing, influential groups in several countries who would welcome a move in this direction. If the UK had `remained’ after a close vote, we could have become the focus of such a group.

Brussels wants a centralised system run by unelected bureaucrats and enjoying the support of Civil Law (imposed to protect the State against the) Citizen while Common Law developed after Magna Carta, to protect the Citizen against the State.

The outcome will undoubtedly be bad for trade but there are other issues. Will we take the opportunity to free ourselves from excessive regulation?


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