Dictatorship is never a matter for irony

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I confess to not being Tim Harford’s greatest fan. But he reached new lows in the FT this weekend when saying:

The central banks got plenty right during the crisis and, given the sorry state of politics at the moment, technocracy has a certain appeal. If the UK appointed Mr Carney supreme dictator for life and bought him a nice dress uniform, he surely couldn’t do a worse job of running the country than the elected politicians currently attempting to interpret the “will of the people”.

He might dismiss this as irony.

I beg to differ. I never think suggesting dictatorship ironic.

At their best comments like this are the way in which the road to the end of democracy is paved.

At their worst they are much more cynical than that.

I am sure Tim Hartford will protest that he is a democrat to his core, and I will believe him. But in that case I will accuse him of reckless carelessness on an issue too important for that risk to be taken.