Montgomerie is on about Donald Trump and, in the main his little article is pretty much spot on. Except for this bit:
Conservative Brits may look on in amazement — but it’s worth remembering that Trump does have a point. It wasn’t Karl Marx who accused leading business people of being ‘all for themselves, and nothing for other people’. It wasn’t Friedrich Engels who condemned the ‘mean rapacity’ and ‘sneaking arts’ of many merchants and manufacturers. It was Adam Smith. The father of modern economics wasn’t an uncritical defender of free enterprise. He knew that markets could lead to extraordinary selfishness.
Or rather the last bit. Markets, where they are allowed to operate freely, are not selfish because they depend on the mutual benefit to buyer and seller. Nor was Adam Smith against free markets or even critical of free markets. What Adam Smith hated was mercantilism and the cartel, the core economic position of what I call 'business conservatives'. Sometimes this gets called 'crony capitalism' (a term widely used to illustrate what goes on in the US system and in the EU but was first coined to describe the rapacious kleptocracies of Marcos in the Philippines and Suharto in Indonesia).
We should be now have learned the lesson Tony Blair taught conservatives - that the old adage of the business conservative, "what's good for business is good for the nation", doesn't apply. It is what is good for consumers - for the people - that matters and we know that, in economic terms, 'good for the people' almost always equates to free enterprise and free trade. What Smith railed against was that businesses clubbed together to fix markets, that they pressured governments to introduce protectionism, and that they supported regulations that prevented new competition from developing. For Smith free trade and free enterprise were the solution not the problem.