‘Industrial strategy’ must be added to this column’s collection of phrases which automatically lower the spirits. Others include ‘replacement bus service’, ‘all the toys’ and ‘smart casual’. There is literally no need for any government to have one — what industrial strategy built Silicon Valley? — and it is literally impossible to remember, when one has been announced, what it is. (If you doubt me, try reading Greg Clark’s ‘Our vision to make Britain fit for the future’ in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph.) Its sole raison d’être is presentational: it is (sadly) considered better to claim you have a plan than to explain why you don’t. So the highest true praise for any industrial strategy is that it will make no difference. On that basis, this latest one is quite good.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator Notes, which appears in this week’s magazine