Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It was quite right for New Labour to create public-sector jobs after the diet Thatcher put public services on. What is insincere is to hush that up, claim the improvement in the job market is due to mobility, make out Britain has a hot free-market economy when in fact Blair & Brown have been running a Keynesian spending policy.

It's particularly infuriating when B&B and their surrogates (see this Ashley Seager article for example) keep on feeding the meme of a stark divide between UK and French economies, one successful, the other "failing". This narrative constantly paints a picture of a stodgy public-sector France compared to a flexible private-sector Britain. The implication is always that the UK has defeated unemployment through private-sector job creation. In fact, it's the other way round : over a decade, France has created more private-sector jobs than Britain, while Britain has been strong in public-sector job creation.

BTW, when you read in the press (hard to avoid this one since the Economist fed it into the mainstream a couple of weeks ago) that three-quarters (or two-thirds, accounts differ) of young French people want to become civil servants, you should remember that  teachers and health workers are included in the French fonction publique. In Britain they are public-sector employees, but not civil servants. Just another small example of the (more or less wilful) inaccuracy of British journalists in presenting France and its economy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 02:20:56 AM EST
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