The reality is private business is built on the foundations of the state – and it’s time we admitted it

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Fascinating comment in the Guardian this morning:

Willie Walsh, the British Airways chief executive, will launch an excoriating attack on the government on Thursday for the absence of a coherent growth plan, accusing ministers of "warm words and cold action".

At the British Chambers of Commerce conference in London, he will say this government and the last Labour administration "produce a growth strategy every week, but none of them up add up to anything".

Let's unpack that for a minute. First, he's saying he wants the state to have a growth plan. Now that's an interesting admission.

Second, he says that it's been a failure of neoliberal  governments not to have one. Another interesting admission.

Third, he's implicitly saying as a result that without the state taking the lead then the private sector goes nowhere. That's true.

Fourth, in that case he admits the state needs the resources to deliver such a plan. That means paying tax is essential. And yet he argues business taxes must be cut. That's absurd: that makes him guilty of thinking much worse than any government.

Fifth, he implicitly says that the state has to do the things the market never can universally to make this work. That includes supplying the private sector with educated, housed, healthy workers who can afford to take the risk on working for the private sector because there's an adequate safety net to let them do so. The state's failed in that role for too long too.

What he's really calling for is a Courageous State.

But he's too frightened to say so.