I was privileged to attend what I’m told might be the last ever Hobart Lunch at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). These monthly munch-ins have been going on regularly for decades, attracting a mix of academics, politicians, students and policy thinkers. Indeed, my first introduction to the free-market policy world was attending one as a student, and sitting cheek by jowl with some of the leading liberal ideas people of the day.
Derek Scott, former economic adviser to Tony Blair, gave some remarks about the financial crisis and what to do about it. Sound money, of course, a less politicised civil service and a public expenditure bill heading more to 35% of GDP than its present 45% or more featured among his answers. The last word went to Esca Hayek, who congratulated the outgoing director, John Blundell on his long stewardship of the IEA in a way that her father-in-law, the great Nobel economist FA Hayek (who played a key role in its founding), would have heartily approved.