Here's the latest Tory idiocy. Dominic Raab says the "talented and hard-working have nothing to fear" from a scrapping of "excessive protections" for workers.
Let's ignore the fact that the UK has some of the weakest job protection laws in the world. Let's also ignore the fact that there's no evidence that scrapping employment protection would create new jobs. And let's also ignore the fact that employment protection is of only marginal concern to small businesses, and that even a former director-general of the CBI has mocked the idea of abolishing the few protections workers have.
Is Raab right that the best workers have nothing to fear?
No.It's easy to think of many ways in which talented and hard-working people might reasonably fear the sack. A middle-manager ordered to cut costs might prefer to sack better-paid workers. A soft-hearted one might prefer to sack the talented in the belief that they can more easily find work elsewhere. Or he might simply not be able to recognize talent, if it's outside his field; engineers can be bad at spotting financial ability, and vice versa. Or he might simply regard a good worker as a threat to his own position - possibly reasonably so, given that talented people have market power and so are hard to make profits from.
Now, you might reply that if Raab is taking too optimistic a view of managers' decency and ability, I'm taking too pessimistic a one. But the point of laws is to protect us from the minority of wrong-doers. The vast majority of people are not thieves or murders - but this fact doesn't negate the need for laws against theft and murder. As James Madison said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." But some are not angels.
I'm pretty sure, then, that Raab is talking rot. What I'm not so sure about is why. One possibility is that he's so blinded by free market ideology and by romantic ideas about entrepreneurs and managers that he just cannot see that some free market reforms are of negligible benefit and that some bosses are less than heroic.
But you'd have thought that the experience of the crisis - which has seen bankers get multi-million bonuses whilst good workers lose their jobs - would have disabused anyone of the just world theory that capitalism rewards talent and effort. There's comes a point when a cognitive bias shades into a psychiatric disorder.
This leaves another possibility. It's that Raab is simply taking sides in a class war. He wants to further empower bosses to bully workers, even if this has no macroeconomic benefit.