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The paradox of foresight. Vince Cable and the crash

“The Storm – the world economic crisis and what it means”  By Vince Cable.     We’ve heard of the paradox of thrift, but there is also the paradox of foresight.  People who see things coming are very rarely rewarded for their presience,  in fact they’re usually dismissed as a bit looney, much as Vince Cable was … Continue reading

Whatever happened to the moral compass

 You know things are really bad when Blairite ministers start attacking Brown for not being left-wing enough.  This week we had the extraordinary spectacle of one of the apostles of New Labour, the former Transport Secretary, Stephen Byers, calling on Gordon Brown to scrap identity cards and shelve the Trident missile system – in so … Continue reading

MPs must wake up to the age of thirft

That YouTube video of Gordon Brown trying to explain his policy on MPs’ pay looks like going down as his comic epitaph. Rather like James Callaghan at Guadeloupe saying “crisis, what crisis?” in 1978, or Thatcher elbowing John Sergeant aside at the Paris Summit in 1990, it’s the one that will run and run. No … Continue reading

The age of thrift or the age of inflation?

 David Cameron was right to warn about the debt crisis last year,  when everyone else was talking about fiscal stimulus and the need to boost spending.  You can’t stimulate a corpse.  But note how cagey Cameron is now about how the Tories would hack back the debt mountain .  Apart from scrapping identity cards and … Continue reading

Just how bad are Britain’s debts?

 A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon we’re talking serious money Britain is now one of the most indebted countries in the world. We have personal debts of £1.5 trillion; national debt rising to £1.4 trillion; unfunded public sector pension liabilities of another £1trillion; and all this on top of a £1.3trillion bank … Continue reading

Class war, what class war?

  The red flag was hoist over the Treasury last week according to hyperventilating sections of the British press.  “Return of Class War”! screamed the Daily Telegraph.  “New Labour RIP”, growled the Spectator. Even the more sober commentators in the financial pages talked of the chancellor’s “vindictive and destructive”  war on wealth which would provoke a … Continue reading

Scrappage is garbage

This was supposed to be a white collar recession in which the middle classes in the financial sector would be feeling the pain first. Hasn’t happened. The biggest increases in people claiming jobseekers allowance have been in old industrial areas like Glasgow, where the number of people unemployed and claiming benefit has increased by nearly … Continue reading

What Darling should do

 So is the worst behind us? Have we bottomed out? Are we on the long slow haul to economic recovery? Well, that’s what the Chancellor, Alistair Darling will be telling us this week, as he reveals how he intends to get us to pay for the record public sector deficits in the coming years. Is … Continue reading

What really happened in South Queensferry last week

   The capo di tutti capi,  the mafioso boss known only as The Gordfather, slowly sipped a flaming sambucca as he gazed knowingly around the highly polished antique mahogany table in his lavish home in swanky North Queensferry.  The assembled bosses of the warring Scottish families shifted uneasily. They’d come to pay their respects to … Continue reading

Green Shoot Index goes up/down

The green shoot index went through the roof last week as economists forecast a v-shaped, trampoline recovery. They based their findings on figures from the OECD that suggested the economies of developed nations – excluding America and Britain – were showing signs of life. Or rather that they were showing signs of dying a little … Continue reading

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