We can’t borrow our way back to growth

This week’s manifesto launches have made the poor state of the public finances clear – simply put, there’s very little money for any party to play with. One reason for this is that lockdown continues to exert an anaconda-like grip on our spending capacity. The policy of paying people to do nothing has proved to be […]

We’re still paying for lockdown, so why is no one talking about it?

To borrow a famous phrase from Karl Marx, a spectre is haunting the election campaign.  Despite the frantic efforts by the Conservatives to portray Keir Starmer as a puppet of the left, it is not, as it was for Marx, the spectre of communism. It is the spectre of lockdown. More specifically, the costs of […]

Economic performance under Labour and Conservative governments: a reckoning

The election campaign has kicked off and already the air is thick with promises and counter-promises. Despite all the efforts of politicians to grab the attention of voters, a notable feature of this election seems to be that many people are not enthused by either of the main parties. Common refrains are “they are all the same” […]

Does Manchester City prove you can buy success?

So Manchester City won the Premiership yet again. Four in a row has been widely trumpeted, and it is also six out of the last seven. But this is just the most obvious aspect of the increasing concentration of success in football amongst a handful of clubs. In the past seven seasons, the top two […]

Starmer’s labour market reforms will put people out of work

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is frequently criticised for the lack of detail around most of its policy pronouncements. One area where this is far less justified is the labour market, where a whole raft of proposals has been put forward. The initial set included ending the two year period before full employment rights kick in, […]

The history of rail suggests renationalisation will make little difference

Getting the railways to function properly has been a problem ever since they were first invented.   The opening ceremony of the Liverpool and Manchester railway in 1830 was a major event in world history. For the first time ever, two cities were connected by a form of transport which could go considerably faster than a […]

Have we passed peak electric car?

This week I got rid of my electric car. As a car, it was a pleasure to drive. I also enjoyed the fact that it disconcerted at least some of my liberal friends who would not naturally associate me with such a ‘progressive’ consumer choice. But the downsides, as increasing numbers of people are realising, began to […]

Beneath the jargon, Bernanke delivers devastating critique of the Bank of England

Last week, Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank and Nobel Laureate in economics, published his review into the process of forecasting and policymaking at the Bank of England. You really need to be a linguist to have a full appreciation of the report. It is a matter of translating the formal, […]

Scotland’s risible hate crime law is an incentive for the police to fail

The Scottish hate crime law has been a prominent feature in the media ever since it came into force just over a week ago on 1 April. This is not merely in its native land, but across the UK as whole. The content of the legislation is highly contentious, and many words have already been penned […]

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