Obituary: Dr. Brian Hindley

Dr Brian Hindley, co-Director of the Centre’s Trade Policy Unit between 1992-5, has died, aged 76.

Professor Deepak Lal and Dr Brian Hindley established the Unit at the suggestion of Keith Joseph. They did so in the belief that the world was in danger of forgetting a central economic truth: that free trade was a necessary condition of economic growth. This was combined with a fear that membership of the European Union would result in trade protectionism, consequently reducing growth and limiting individual liberty. Subsequent events would suggest that their fears were well-founded.

Under Brian’s leadership the Unit produced a series of rigorous and well-argued papers and quarterly reviews, all of which displayed his rare clarity of thought and expression.

When Sir James Goldsmith, a long-time supporter of CPS, decided that in modern conditions open trade was no longer in British – or indeed European – interests, he produced a book entitled The Trap to back up his contentions.  Brian replied in a lucid and powerfully argued pamphlet The Goldsmith Fallacy: Why Open Trade and the GATT are best.  Goldsmith was so concerned that readers would be won over by Hindley’s rejoinder that he asked the CPS for a list of those who had read the pamphlet so that he could write to each in order to put his case.  But as The Daily Telegraph pointed out at the time, Brian had taken each of Goldsmith’s arguments in turn and elegantly knocked them down.

Brian’s love of argument was pursed without a hint of personal acrimony, which meant that he was able to retain the respect and even the affection of those with whom he strongly disagreed.

Although an admirer of both the CPS founders, his dislike of deference and class distinctions – undergraduates and tea ladies were invariably treated with the same respect as front bench politicians – meant that he was not a natural conservative, and indeed he viewed the Conservative Party with some suspicion.

However, in matters where his instincts and convictions coincided with those of Tory Party, he proved to be a powerful ally.  As a friend, he was loyal, generous and stimulating company. I shall miss him greatly.

Gerald Frost

Director of CPS 1992-95

CPS Research staff 1974-80; board member 1976-80

Date Added: Friday 8th June 2012