Tag Archives: protectionism

Opinion: for a market to be free you must have regulation

Whenever I utter the phrase ‘free trade’ within those Liberal Democrat circles in which I am permitted to mix, the reaction is akin to that which I might get if I suggested making it compulsory for all party members to worship statues of me.

And that’s a pity (the reaction to the free trade, not the statues) because most people when they meet an advocate of free trade, mutter darkly about the effects of ‘light touch regulation’. But free trade and light touch regulation are not the same, indeed in many ways they are inimical to each other.

The debate should not …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

When should the state intervene? RBS, Kraft & Cadbury and the Eternal Liberal Dilemma

US firm Kraft’s proposed takeover of Cadbury’s has made headlines in recent days. First, because it’s a major, historic British brand being snapped-up by a non-UK business (or ‘foreign predator’, as Vince Cable labels them). Secondly, because of the fear that job losses will result. And, thirdly, because of the role of the Royal Bank of Scotland – in which the British government has a majority stake-holding – in lending the money to Kraft which will fund its acquisition of Cadbury’s.

The Lib Dems – in the shape of Nick Clegg and Vince – have sharply questioned the role of the Government in the takeover. At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Nick asked Gordon Brown:

… there is a simple principle at stake. Tens of thousands of British companies are crying out for that money to protect jobs, and instead RBS wants to lend it to a multinational with a record of cutting jobs. When British taxpayers bailed out the banks, they would never have believed that their money would be used to put British people out of work. Is that not just plain wrong?

Posted in Op-eds and PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 11 Comments

Should liberals back Fair Trade: an LDV debate

We’re midway through Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February – 8th March), and so today and tomorrow Lib Dem Voice is running two articles asking the question, ‘Should liberals back Fair Trade?’, putting two opposing viewpoints to our readers. Today, Lib Dem MP John Pugh makes the case for fair trade.

Why Liberals Should Back Fair Trade

There is no such thing as free trade. All trade is conditioned and controlled by regulation, convention, norm and even tradition. It is a process of social exchange.

Historically, Liberals have seen little benefit in insisting that people buy goods only from a given nation or …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments
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