We believed that since jobs (in a free society) did not depend on government but upon satisfying customers, there was no point in setting targets for ‘full’ employment. Instead, government should create the right framework of sound money, low taxes, light regulation and flexible markets (including labor markets) to allow prosperity and employment to grow.

—Margaret Thatcher. The Path to Power, 1995.

Good government is about creating a framework, not achieving a result. Results are for the private sector to achieve. In this regard the government is like a movie theater. The theater provides the venue, but it is not responsible for ensuring that the audience enjoys the movie. Certainly by fiddling with the focus or the volume the theater owner can ruin the movie, but it cannot make it more enjoyable. The theater is discharged from any obligation beyond providing the framework for enjoyment of the movie.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove