John Redwood's tome for the Conservatives continues to offer insane policy suggestions. Take this one:
[I]t would be useful to have an independent study of the costs and benefits of the anti-laundering regulations hurriedly imposed on banks in most countries after September 11, 2001. Initial impressions from industry specialists are that these have done much more harm than good. Economic growth can rarely happen without flows of funds. Where these regulations have blocked innocent financial transactions, they will undoubtedly be reducing the prospects for economic growth not just here, but worldwide.
Now, I'm far from saying the world's money laundering rules are working as they should. They don't. But this is insanity. Redwood clearly wants the free flow of capital without questions asked. The result? More capital flight from the developing world and a massive increase in tax evasion. All of that will, of course be shovelled into the London housing market and the London stock market. Which Redwood would then call growth.
But the cost to the people of the world, let alone it's developing nations, will be catastrophic.
And then there's the issue of these requirements being international commitments made by the UK which we do not have the right to abandon at will. But Redwood wouldn't worry about that.
And there is of course the issue of terrorist financing and the crime that is always associated with tax havens. But is Redwood worried about that either? No, of course he isn't.
But he will have kept his friends in the City and in the world's tax havens happy. Who worries about international obligations, the poor people of the world, crime, terrorism or tax evasion if you've managed to do that? Not Redwood, clearly.
PS I bought the Daily Telegraph today to try to find someone who liked what Redwood said. Even they can't raise any enthusiasm.