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If in doubt, the Old Left would nationalise or regulate. If in doubt the New Right would privatise or deregulate. And if in doubt, the soupy left-right blend that now unites us has its own default option: quantify and publish.

Today The Guardian reports that the government is preparing to publish the death rates of patients undergoing major surgery at NHS hospitals in England. Boris Johnson won the London mayoralty with a promise to publish New York-style ‘crime maps’, detailing the areas of London that suffer from the worst crime.

The practice of tabulating and comparing ‘outputs’ has been growing…

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