'Britain's economy is so bad we are becoming less like USA and more like France' says Kelvin MacKenzie

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Kelvin Mackenzie

By Kelvin Mackenzie

Published: 24/04/2024

- 13:55

Updated: 25/04/2024

- 09:26

Kelvin MacKenzie delivers his verdict on government failings

There was a throwaway line the other day from an important figure in the global financial world about the state of the UK economy that I thought should be front page news. But, in fact, it hardly got a mention. I presume our media was too ashamed to carry it.

This chap, Indermt Gill, chief economist of the World Bank, said Britain used to look most like America, but thanks to huge government spending and massive taxation we now look like France. How awful.

And, as the Telegraph’s Matthew Lynn, points out, at least France gets results from their sprawling state, while our potholes are so large the motorist is never too sure if they are an extension to the Jubilee line.

This is what Gill said: "The country that used to be most like the United States in all Europe was the UK. And you guys decided to go and become a lot more like continental Europe. You look a lot like France, not like the US.’’

Has there ever been a bigger insult to a proud Briton than to see we are shadowing the French?

So here are the numbers. State spending in France is 58%. Public spending in the UK rose from 39% in 2019 to 50% during the pandemic, slipping back to 44%. Expect that number to go through the roof when Starmer takes the reins.

There is no way that Starmer can do anything without raising taxes and public expenditure. Of course around 50% are delighted with that idea as they don’t pay income tax. We have become a nation of grifters.

While France is forecast to expand by 0.7% this year, we are behind at 0.5% , just as the US steams ahead at 2.7%. Why can’t we be like the anti-union, pr- profit US where the average worker makes $66,000 while our average is around $35,000? Can’t the average Brit sees it’s in their financial interest of themselves and their family to be like America not like Europe. Are we stupid? What holds us back?

But what is most concerning to me is that when the state becomes involved over here things seems to be worse. More bureaucratic, less efficient and in the end just not very good.

Take the health service of France which, let’s face is much better. They combine social insurance with health provision. In the boulevards there is much anger that GP waiting times have soared from four days to ten, but that’s better than the 19 days we have to wait. If you can see a doctor at all.

It’s true you have to pay to use their motorways but at least they are pristine. A motorway here without an old tyre hanging round is always a surprise. What is most impressive is that France has only once in 20 years- and that was during Covid- failed to add 300,000 homes.

Give the French their credit, they have invested heavily in nuclear (they have 56 operating N-power plants) means they are now Europe’s largest net exporter of electricity, with the UK being one of their biggest customers. We have nine.

I’m a big fan of train travel and I salute the new TVG line extending the route from Paris to Bordeaux down to Toulouse for just 14billion Euros. We’re so skint HS2 can’t even make it to Manchester.

Our recent bets into state involvement have been pretty much a disaster. The failed battery manufacturer Britishvolt went pop and One Web (our answer to Elon Musk’s Starlink) disappeared into France’s Eutelsat.

We have had our successes and France has had it’s failures, but the state across the Channel has been on a better run this last couple of decades. My fear is that WFH (and we are Europe’s leaders) will mean we will become lazier and less efficient.

As Boris said, that piece of cheese in the fridge becomes more attractive the closer you are to the fridge.

I am so fearful of a future under Labour. I can see that they will be attracted to increasing state involvement, but will have learned nothing from history; Our state workforce is not very good. Unions do not approve of productivity, because it means either a) Less union members or b) working harder.

Neither are attractive to Lefties, even if means higher pay.

So my advice to GB News subscribers is move to America. There’s a new Norwegian airline called Norse flying out of Gatwick where you can get a one -way flight to the USA for under £500. I’m there on business in a couple of weeks. I’ll report back.

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