Green on yellow sniping

Yesterday’s Telegraph carried a piece about the rise of the Green Party, largely at the expense of the Liberal Democrats. It opens: Nick Clegg has “betrayed” his voters and traditional sandal-wearing Lib Dems are switching to the Green party across the country, the party’s leader has said. Natalie […]

Podcasts caught during 2014

I was listening to the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast last night while everyone else was watching the Christmas Dr Who. The first item discussed whether, with the rise of Serial in particular, podcasting was one of the tech and social media highlights of 2014. The conclusion was that […]

Debtornation

Recent economic news is unlikely to fill many with Christmas cheer. Estimates of recent growth have been revised downwards. The current account has deteriorated sharply. The deficit is now in “worst since records began” territory. And it is consumer spending, rather than investment, that is sustaining the growth that […]

Playing catch up on contracting

The Public Accounts Committee report on government contracting, published earlier this week, secured substantial press coverage. The focus was on the report’s finding that G4S and Serco continued to be awarded additional work from government while they were under investigation for overcharging. And this fact rather contradicts previous […]

Economics in the bubble

My plan was to write something following up last week’s Autumn Statement. But what with having to do other things – work and that – I’ve not had the chance. In the interim there has been bucketloads of analysis. So I’m not sure there is more to say […]

Visible liberalism goes AWOL again

Back in 2011 Nick Clegg famously said: you shouldn’t trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government – full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information It’s a position embodying impeccable liberal principles. It demonstrates a clear understanding of […]

The Universal Credit fiasco

When the history of this Coalition government is written a substantial chapter will no doubt be devoted to contrasting the vaulting ambitions of IDS’s welfare reform agenda with the incompetence and inhumanity of its implementation. Like some sort of inverted alchemist IDS has the ability to turn golden […]

Fiscal foolishness

I’ve had an unusual and vaguely discomfiting experience. I found myself largely in agreement with a leader in the Economist. I may need a lie down. I can console myself with the thought that what the Economist is saying – that the Conservatives’ fiscal plans for the next […]

Wise words

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“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
(JK Galbraith, 1908-2006)

“No section of the people has ever been excluded from political power without suffering legislative injustice”
(Millicent Garrett Fawcett, 1847-1929)

“Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult”
(Samuel Johnson, 1709-94)