Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon

Twelve years ago, the iconoclastic American left commentator Thomas Frank published The Wrecking Crew, one of those books that irritates because it points out a structure of reality that suddenly feels obvious but was obscured by the very reality it had created.

Frank identified the failure of good government in the George W Bush era of the US, and across numerous republican state governments -- as exemplified in the triple whammy of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 crash -- not as a failure to govern effectively due to a political theory being wrong, but as the deliberate effort of a political movement that sought to govern badly.

The aim was not -- as in the Thatcher and Reagan periods -- to (allegedly) run a smaller government, show that it worked better than post-war social democracy, and thus deter a return to the latter by the electorate.