3 years on: We’re still at square one on the economy

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

As anticipated in my first Uncut piece, the deficit has defined the politics of this parliament. The political premium on being able to say where the money will come from has remained high, while the interest on government debt has stayed low.



The Economics of Tony Blair

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

Tony Blair, according to his economics advisor as prime minister, isn’t much of an economist. In contrast – the only leader to take Labour to three general election victories – Blair is a politician par excellence. While others are better on economics, what Blair says and doesn’t say on the economy is politically insightful.



Economic rebalancing: Labour must be “more interesting”

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

The Labour front bench might not welcome advice from retirees, no matter how dignified. But they’ve got some. “Be a little bit more interesting”, said Peter Mandelson, in response to a question at a recent Progress event. National recovery from the major economic crisis of recent years requires big, bold ideas. He wants Labour to rise to this challenge.



Small man, big world

I wrote this for Labour Uncut today.

The financial crisis was unprecedented and complex. But the left’s interpretation of it tended to be straight-forward. Banks and bankers were bad. Government and politicians were good. Government saved the banks from themselves and would stimulate economies. This enlarged role for government made a “progressive moment” inevitable. Yet government is now being scaled back and the left is out of power across Europe.



Collaborative consumption – what it is and why it matters to Labour

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

There is a piece of land registered on Landshare in every postcode in the UK. If you stacked every film shipped weekly by Netflix in a single pile, it would be taller than Mount Everest. The value of goods traded annually on ebay is more than the GDP of 125 countries. Bike sharing is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the world.



A centrist critique of David Marquand’s annual compass lecture

I had this on Labour Uncut yesterday.

The chair of last Thursday’s annual Compass lecture, Neal Lawson, closed proceedings by asking the speaker, David Marquand, to return in 10 years time, when Marquand will be 86 years old, to reflect upon developments in the intervening period. He also expressed the hope that at this time the respondents to Marquand’s address would be the most powerful people in the land: Ed Miliband as prime minister; Caroline Lucas as chancellor; Francesca Klug as home secretary; and Evan Harris as health secretary.



Ed needs to answer the question Cameron can’t: why does he want to be PM

I had this on Labour Uncut before Christmas.

The front page of the Spectator Christmas special depicts Nick Clegg crushed between David Cameron’s foot and ice. This captures the conventional wisdom. Cameron is doing well out of the deal that created his government. Clegg isn’t; and Ed Miliband isn’t in sight. The Tories hover around 40 per cent. The Lib Dems have shrunk beneath 10 per cent. Labour leads these polls, but we are told that Miliband is insufficiently visible.



Who the new Lib Dem president really is. And why.

I wrote this in Labour Uncut recently:

For all Nick Clegg’s slightly vague talk of “giving the party with the biggest mandate the chance to govern” it wasn’t hard, given opinion polls, to see a Tory/Lib Dem government as a potential outcome throughout the general election. I warned Westmorland and Lonsdale that they might vote Liberal Democrat and end up with such a government. They didn’t listen. I was less surprised by the government we ended up with than the extent to which the motivations of my Liberal Democrat opponent, Tim Farron, recently elected president of his party, seemed so close to those of Labourites.



Let’s not bet the house on what might be the wrong future

I wrote this on Labour Uncut recently:

Labour has to be the party of optimism. Which should include being optimistic about the ingenuity of business, especially when combined with extraordinarily lax monetary conditions and a low pound. George Osborne anticipates Labour pessimism on this and we should deny him.



Liverpool FC and Man Utd: the fans’ next step

Earlier this week I wrote with Alison McGovern for Labour Uncut on next steps in the governance of football.

Blood, sweat and tears have spilt recently in Liverpool. Too much by supporters anguished at the financial plight of a great institution and the grim reality of listless defeat at Goodison Park; more by millionaires who gained control of this institution than by the millionaires responsible for this loss.



The Economist agrees with me on Osborne’s Plan B

On 11 September 2010 I made this comment on Labour Uncut:

“George Osborne won’t say this but the only “plan B” that he seems to have is to look to the Bank of England for more monetary easing, which will have to come in the form of quantitative easing (QE) given how low interest rates are. We live in very uncertain times and it is hard to say where any of this is going. But further quantitative easing on the scale which may become necessary due to Osborne’s early and deep cuts would make it more likely that the “ketchup in a bottle” theory of inflation becomes a reality: all the money that has been printed suddenly catches up with us in the form of inflation. If we were to have double dipped, this would leave us with negative growth and inflation. That’s right, stagflation. Osborne might think his macroeconomics takes us back to Thatcher’s 1980s but stagflation is, of course, the curse of the 1970s.”



Kill Red Ed. Introduce Real Ed

I wrote for Labour Uncut on Tuesday to urge the killing of Red Ed and the introduction of Real Ed.

This afternoon Ed Miliband will introduce himself and reintroduce our party to a country unfamiliar with him and wary of us. The country needs to get to know Real Ed before Red Ed compounds the hostility towards us. This introduction and reintroduction should be made with the narrative which he intends to articulate at the next general election in mind. The first steps he takes as party leader could determine whether or not this journey ends in Downing Street.


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