Sunday, 25 April 2010

Another sudden conversion to the nanny state

Last night Sir Richard Branson was reported as demanding compensation from the British government or the EU for the losses his Virgin airline has experienced during the ban on flights. His justification for the claim is that the authorities were over cautious in banning all flights for five whole days.

Clearly these authorities are in the same position as social workers: damned if they do and damned if they don't. If flying had been permitted earlier and a plane had crashed there would have been outrage (and demands for compensation from the relatives of victims.) As an occasional air traveler I feel over-caution is absolutely appropriate.

The economic justification for profits is that entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard take risks.
When they are right they are amply rewarded. Sometimes things go wrong and there are losses. However unfortunate and unpredictable the cause, that's the name of the game.

As with bankers, airline owners cannot expect to reap the rewards of their enterprise in the good times and expect sudden conversions to the nanny state to be acceptable when things go wrong.


  1. I may be doing him an injustice but as I understand neither Branson nor the Virgin octopus pay adequate taxes in the UK, being off shored, there is an easy answer to him. Foxtrot Oscar.

  2. Thanks for your comment,Richard. If what you say is true it makes his demand for compensation even more outrageous.