It's not often that we agree with anything that Aditya Chakrabortty writes over in The Guardian. It's also not often that he writes anything conservative or free market. However:
Finally, learn one of the hardest lessons of Brexit: the reason the political geography of Britain is so divided is because its economic geography is so unequal. Treasury levers and Bank of England billions are barely any use here. Instead, what’s needed is an attentiveness to place.
In his Deep Place studies of local Welsh economies, the academic Mark Lang starts from what places like Pontypool already have, and what can be built on. He pulls together members of the community and asks them what they need. His new report on Pontypool shares a lot with the work on the foundational economy done by the Centre for Research on Economic and Social Change, which i’ve written about here before. It starts from a recognition that chasing multinationals and chain retailers pays only limited dividends in a place that’s had its purpose stripped out. It argues for focusing on what locals need: social care, good schools, broadband. This isn’t Westminster politics with its big announcements, or even Cardiff politics and its ribbon-cutters’ charter. It’s more modest, perhaps even pessimistic. To me, it rings more true.
This is conservative because it is just Burke's little platoons all over again. Central government, even regional government, doesn't have the answers. And it's free market because it's voluntary cooperation down among those little platoons that the solutions, whatever they are, will be found.
Which means that this is also the third, something we agree with Aditya about.
Who knows, we might be surprised, it could be that laddie Chakrabortty has the beginnings of a reasonable economic commentator in him.