Samuel Brittan - a collection of the writings of the economic commentator and Financial Times columnist
Click on the headlines to the right to see the latest pieces. Older ones are filed in the sections below.

The pitfalls of Britain's confidential civil service
The Financial Times 05/03/10
There have been numerous reports on the organisation of British government in general and the role of the civil service in particular ... They are nearly all unreadable. This is for a very simple reason. They try to analyse the process of taking decisions without any examples of actual problems and policies in a manner reminiscent of management consultants - mainly due to an exaggerated respect for the confidentiality of Whitehall advice. The latest report, from the Better Government Initiative, is unfortunately no exception...more
Greek light on an over-hasty project
The Financial Times 19/02/10
The late Eddie George once remarked to me that the euro project, which was launched in 1999, came 10 years too early. He was wrong. It was 20 or 30 years too early or perhaps should not have been launched at all. The former governor of the Bank of England was far too strict a constitutionalist to pronounce in public on the issue of British membership but there was little doubt where he stood. For a long time the euro project seemed to be doing well and confounding the sceptics. But with the emergence of the Greek problem the weaknesses of the project are there for all to see...more
Britain has been hit harder than you think
The Financial Times 05/02/10
Any British citizen who bases his or her vote in the forthcoming general election on the "flash" official national income figures showing that output rose by 0.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2009 ought to be disenfranchised. These initial estimates are not exact enough even to say where in a range of plus or minus 1 per cent the change occurred. Later revisions - which go on for years after the period in question - could be in either direction. Our hypothetical citizen ought to be doubly disenfranchised if the intended vote is changed by similar decimal percentage point movement in the estimate for the first quarter of 2010 due a few weeks before the most likely date of the general election, May 6...more
Against The FlowAgainst The Flow: Samuel Brittan's book
Atlantic Books - Now in paperback
"Samuel Brittan has been one of the Financial Times' leading columnists for nearly thirty years. He has also advised numerous Chancellors of the Exchequer on economic policy. Against the Flow collects the most important of his writings from the last three decades. Taken together the pieces in Against the Flow amount to a robust defence of classic liberalism"...more
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