This will be, is being in fact, painted as a disastrous u-turn, career ending damage, the beginning of an omnishambles, (cont. page 94.) and yet we here thoroughly approve of the reverse that has happened in this short period since the Budget over national insurance contributions for the self-employed.
Not because of any insistence we have over the policy itself nor of the personalities involved. The collective view veers one way and the other on those two but none of us think that they're hugely important. But reversing a mistake, now that is welcome.
For mistakes do always happen, there is never going to be a system containing human beings and human decisions that doesn't contain more than the occasional oopsie. As here:
Philip Hammond has abandoned plans to raise national insurance for self-employed workers in this Parliament after admitting that it breached the "spirit" of the manifesto.
The Chancellor provoked a furious reaction from Tory back-benchers after using his Budget to announce plans to raise NI contributions for the self-employed by 2 per cent.
Mr Hammond has written to Tory MPs saying that while the changes are justified the Government has chosen not to go forward with the rise in "class 4" national insurance contributions.
Oopsies will happen, just as most business ideas will fail, there's always going to be a business cycle, bad luck will dog some people and so on. What matters is what we do when that mistake is made, that bankruptcy is obvious, that recession arrives, that disaster is visited upon the unfortunate.
One reason we so like the market system is that the mistake of a bad business idea becomes rapidly obvious and people stop making that mistake. They run out of money and that's that. Politics tends not to work that way because all the playing is done with other peoples' money and as St. Maggie pointed out it takes a long time to run out of all of that. Until it does happen the practice is run upon reputation, careers, ego - and it's easy enough to spend an awful lot of other peoples' money on protecting those. Yet here we've had only a week to reverse what is said to be a mistake, something we find encouraging.
We're note really sure whether it was a mistake or not, whether the reversal is one or not. But normally political mistakes run on and are stoutly defended to the death of the last kulak. That politics might correct such errors rather earlier, more like a market system would, we think to be a Good Thing.