The Governor, the state of the economy and the BBC

I was telephoned and Thursday and invited onto the Today programme for Saturday to discuss the successes and failures of the Govvernor of the Bank of England . I readily accepted and said I would adjust my Saturday morning to get to a studio.
On Friday evening they left a message to say I would no longer be requried.

So I listened this morning, to hear two others agreeing in a technical discussion about quantitative easing. Both said they thought printing money to buy government debt was a good idea. Both said they thought the Governor had made a mess of it, by his recent comments. The interviewer got frustrated that the interview was so technical, punctuated by “quantitative easing” “driving down long term interest rates” and “corporate and government bonds” instead of talking about the rates we have to pay to borrow from the banks, the absence of interest on our savings, printing money and the persistent inflation in the prices of food and other imports.

I guess the reason I was not invited on was they did not like my viewpoint. On the Thursday they wanted a long conversation to find out what I thought about the current position. So I will share it with you here, as it was kept off the airwaves.(This is a reconstruction rather than a transcript)

BBC Question: What do you think of the performance of this Governor and the Bank?
Answer: The Bank has failed in its two given tasks, to prevent the collapse of banks and to keep CPI price rises down to 2%. Never before has the Bank presided over the near collapse of five important banks, all rescued by large injections of public money. Inflation is still 60% above the target given, despite a severe downturn in activity and substantial unused plant, equipment and labour.

Not all of this should be placed on the shoulders of the Governor. As he has pointed out, the credit boom which led to too many price increases was partly created by the government’s decision to switch inflation targets to keep interest rates down prior to the 2005 election.

The Bank of England was stripped of its powers to supervise the banks day to day in 1997, which made it much more difficult for them to understand the degree of banking risk built up in the credit bubble and to take action to stop it.

BBC Question: Was the Governor right to intervene on fiscal policy as he did this week?
Answer. He was right about the substance of the issue. More spending and borrowing now would be wrong for the UK economy and could damage the government’s ability to raise money and lead to further weakening of the pound. It is a pity he has to do it in public, but it is a sign of how the system is not working well that he feels the need to. There are clearly tensions at the top, when these things should be sorted out in private.

It is clearly the BBC’s new tactic to waste my time telling them my thoughts only to discard them. Last week the BBC wanted me to make a film of my views on how to sort the banks out. I cleared my diary for the Friday afternoon, organised a local business who would help us set out the case in tele language, and laid on a windows and conservatory showroom as the film set with script based around breaking glass and difficult times in the building industry. They came, they filmed, they said it was great – and then they failed to show it!

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35 Comments

  1. APL
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Question: BBC?

    Answer: Abolish the BBC license tax and introduce voluntary subscription.

    • Graham Hamblin
      Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I absolutely agree. The only part of the BBC worth preserving is the BBC World Service and that’s paid for by the foreign office.

      • Alfred T Mahan
        Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        With digital TV, the technology is there to introduce a subscription service for those whom want premium advertisement free TV. If you don’t want to pay for it there are already dozens of free-to-air channels paid for by advertising. There is no excuse whatsoever for taxing the poor on pain of imprisonment so that Jonathan Ross can get £6M a year, Jeremy Clarkson £2M, etc., etc., etc.

  2. John Coles
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    So rude, let alone the evident political bias. You deserve better, Mr Redwood.
    HOWEVER, what on earth is the Conservative party going to do about this politically-biased, out-of-control behemoth that is permanently skewing the political debate?
    Surely you are not prepared to allow this state of affairs to continue? Why can the party not what an anachronism the BBC Licence fee is and undertake to reduce it (and the BBC’s scope) significantly?

  3. Donna W
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s not called the Biased Broadcasting Corporation for nothing. When the Tories win the next election, take the bull by the horns, cancel the licence tax and break up the cosy monolith which seems increasingly to act as broadcaster of Labour Party Propaganda.

    Cameron has announced he wants to freeze the licence tax. I hope, post election, he discovers a bit of spine and scraps it completely.

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    John, On 21 March I wrote to this blog:
    “Without being sycophantic I do think you are the only politician with clear views on this crisis and prepared to put them and answer questions or other points from anyone via this blog. However, this is not enough. Why don’t you make a video and show it on YouTube explaining in simple language what has gone wrong and what you think must be done forthwith to get us out of this mess. That way you would reach a wider audience and even the BBC might take more notice.”
    Since then we have all seen the power of Daniel Hannan’s European Parliament speech on YouTube. Following this I asked you again if you were going to do this but you said you hadn’t the necessary equipment. The BBC has its own agenda and will use you, or not, to satisfy that agenda. I genuinely think that you have an important viewpoint which needs to be widely heard. Can’t you obtain the film the BBC made and stick it on YouTube? If you can’t do that and don’t want to make your own
    video why not ask Ian Dale or one of the online newspapers if they can help you to do it?

    Reply: No, it was their film.
    There is this blog if people want my views!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Why is my comment awaiting moderation at 11:47?
      With apologies to Iain Dale for misspelling his name.

      Reply: Comments only get delayed if there are personal attacks on people and institutions which may cause legal problems and need editing. Or because I make a mistake.

  5. adam
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    “in very simple terms” JH

    especially for the children who are my listeners. Dont ya jus love public service broadcasting

  6. Brigham
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I noticed Brown smirking when Hannam gave him a roasting. I have yet to see how he looked when Chile’s president gave him a lesson on housekeeping. It appears she was only saying what every sensible person has been saying to him for months, and which appears regularly in this column.

  7. Acorn
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    JR, interesting bit from Peter Oborne in the Mail (Saturday). If any of your mates close to the source can confirm, it would make a nice little question in parliament!

    “A sinister plot to protect the pension pot?” See down the page on the following.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/columnists/article-1165417/PETER-OBORNE-Disloyalty-Humiliation-The-week-Browns-grand-vision-brutally-shattered.html

    • Acorn
      Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Also, as my neighbour has just pointed out, should this not be investigated by the FSA as “insider trading”.

  8. guy de Moubray
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Might the BBC take you more seriously if you were to have appeared on Fox News as Daniel Hannan did recently? Incidentally, wouldn’t it be marvellous if the BBc gave air to somebody as outspoken as Neil Cavuto on Fox?

  9. Kit
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Question:BBC?

    Answer:YouTube – do a Hannan.

  10. Neil Craig
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    If you have the film, or rights to it, perhaps you should put it up on Youtube, preferably with an addendum giving, with a smile, the official reason why the BBC sat on it.

    The amazing response to Hannan’s speech in the EU Parliament shows that the MSM are no longer the gatekeeper of political debate. Since nobody had ever been interested in an EU speech before it also shows that public opinion is like a supersaturated chemical solution only requiring a small jolt for a phase change.

  11. D K McGREGOR
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    If the level of frustration you feel is as as great as mine on your behalf then you must be getting quite angry. I listened to the discussion you referred to on Today this morning and was shocked at the complacent and sycophanctic comments in favour of the government’s actions which both interviewees espoused. That the BBC peddles this pap is a disgrace but to purport that all sides of an issue are being aired when they are patently not is simply propaganda. Nevertheless , you must not give up , there are other media as Dan Hannan has demonstrated . Give us a You Tube and we can make it go viral.

  12. John Lunness
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The conservative party has so much ammunition with which to strengthen their position to win the next election. I find it difficult to understand why you and Ian Duncan Smith are not members of the shadow cabinet to put some spark into the fight. Whilst I realise that you are fighting behind the scenes, maybe a position in the SC would lead to more of your sensible utterances being transmitted by the BBC. But then
    pigs might fly.

    Best wishes

    John Lunness

  13. Ian Jones
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The knives are out for both King and Queen! Brown will now try to destroy Mr King’s reputation in order to push ahead with the massive give-away at the next election.

    Also notice Labour are after the Queen as well. Just when you think Brown can sink no lower they get the BBC to attack the Governor and threaten the Queen.

    The trouble for Labour is that the people are behind Mr King because they know him to be honourable unlike the man in No 10 and the Establishment has just turned on Brown. Should be interesting.

  14. Jim McCubbin
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Abolish the poll tax (TV licence fee) and put your faith in the internet. Daniel Hannan has surprised himself and his readership by finding that his thoughts, ignored by the BBC, are circling the world at unprecedented pace. The medium is available, uncensored, and it only awaits the input of rational thinking.
    Mr. Redwood, you are not liked by the ‘established’ media, BBC, etc., who sloppily typify you as being otherwordly alien. When you are allowed a hearing for your reasoning and analyses on “Question Time” you usually succeed in carrying the audience with you, much to the surprise of the Dimblebys of this world.
    I would never vote for socialism, whether hard or soft ( the only difference is time) and the lib-dems are not relevant, except in the mathematics of vote count, but I can not vote Tory. I have voted conservative up until recent years, but no longer. Dead ideas of the left have been allowed to rise unchallenged from the grave. I see no principle or coherence in the flaccid thinking of Cameron or Osborne which makes me believe that my children will stay in this country. Two have already left for Australia. The other two are thoroughly fed up with the goverment and the ‘useless tories’. Where is the Britain that yourself and others, under Margaret Thatcher, forged, resurrected, and had the following of so many worldwide?

    • mikestallard
      Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Me – I’ve got four grown up children. Three are doing very well abroad. I am paying the fare for the last one to go out to Australia to see it for himself. Most of my friends have children who live abroad nowadays.

  15. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    JR,

    Can you get a copy and ‘Youtube’ it?

    It worked for Hannan

  16. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    This just proves what we know about the BBC. It has its own agenda and avoids having anyone on air that will rock its boat.

    with a bit of luck you may not hear from them again.

  17. Julian Parker
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Please keep at it. Your pieces are most enlightening and deserve wider coverage. Just because you may not feel that you’re being listened to doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

  18. alan jutson
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that the BBC has not shown or mentioned (to the best of my knowledge or viewing) anything about Hannan’s speech.

    Just goes to show how News can be filtered, I understand its well over 1,000,000 viwings on the web now.
    Interesting fact that when I passed the details of how to view this clip to a friend, when he clicked onto the link, his computer up came a warning which said possible virus, do not view.
    Is this further evidence of dirty tricks ?????

    Link given was the Telegraph News Link.

    Interesting that major newspapers also very slow to mention it, until it grew and grew, but it still lacked major coverage.

    Really does make you wonder, do we have a FREE PRESS or NOT.

    What else is being controlled.

    Me thinks YOU are now just finding out.

    • Atlas shrugged
      Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      To answer your two questions.

      We do not have a free press, and have not for around 90 odd years at least. The press and the broadcast media especially The BBC are not left or right wing they represent a common ideology which is a very nasty combination of the worst aspects of both. this usually gos by the name of (blank – but ed) corporate socialist may be a more descriptive one.

      Just about everything is either directly or indirectly controlled by the establishment, in ways that virtually no one fully understands. We are where we are not because of elections, or indeed the words and actions of our democratically elected politicians. We are where we are because of the secret and civil services, and the higher and lower education system, which are all very much controlled by the same small group of almost infinitely rich and highly influential virtually unknown individuals that collectively make up our establishment.

      John is not a fool, therefore I suspect he must know the above to be the case. He of course would be a fool if he admitted to knowing it to be so.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 30, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Aware that the press is controlled by the various owners personal and political thoughts.
        The BBC should however be above such problems, as it is being funded by the Taxpayer.
        Unfortunately the people controlling the Taxpayers money is the Government of the day, so it is possible that pressure can be exerted in many ways to make the BBC to do the Governments bidding (spin partner) for them.
        Clearly this is wrong, but whilst we have a Prime Minister and Government who like control over everything for the sake of Policical dogma, we will see that our freedom and democratic system (such as we have left) will erode still further unless people speak out.
        Fully aware that John is nobody’s fool, but we need to let him know that neither are we (he knows this already)
        But as some of the media probably read this blog as well, they need to know it too.
        Thus the Governments spin does not fool some of us either.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid that it’s not just the BBC. The other channels, and most national newspapers, are giving poor and misleading accounts of what is happening.

    For example, this insidious aside in a Guardian article a couple of days ago:

    “(quantitative easing, remember, involves buying government debt using newly created money to try to keep prices high and the cost of borrowing low)”.

    Eh, no, not unless you choose to take that particular route; and in fact out of the £150 million authorised £50 million is not to be spent on buying up gilts, but instead on buying up “private sector assets”.

    (But only “high-quality assets, broadly comparable to investment grade”, not the “toxic assets” that are the real problem.)

    Another, more direct, route for “injecting money into the economy”, which was tried in Japan, and is now being tried again in Taiwan, is to issue shopping vouchers:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7836458.stm

    Run off 40-odd million plastic cards, one for each registered voter, charged with £500 cash to be spent in the shops, any unspent money expiring in say three months – direct and speedy injection of over £20 billion.

    However, I don’t think that this worked in Japan – maybe because people just spent the vouchers, and saved the money that they would have otherwise spent, or maybe because it did nothing to sort out the banks.

  20. vervet
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Kit has the answer John – develop this site to include video-blogs – post them on youtube as well.

    Don’t waste any more of your time on the BBC – the future is here.

  21. MartinW
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I listen to the World Service regularly, and am more appalled each time at the scandalously low standards of broadcasting, and the downright bias. It is now a dumbed-down mish-mash of multi-culti, anti-American, anti-West, left-liberal bias, seemingly often hosted ill-educated presenters. I wonder if those who praise it, have really listened much.
    The BBC (UK) certainly needs drastic reform, but it is even more important to reform the World Service, since it is listened to worldwide. I have little faith that the upcoming new controller will do what is necessary, since he is a promoted BBC apparatchik.

  22. mikestallard
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The BBC bias came out most strongly in Mark Mardell’s blog when he was too busy to go to the European Parliament to hear Gordon Brown and then too busy to repeat Daniel Hannan’s speech. Later in the day, when there had been over one million hits on u tube, it was reported on the evening news that “The far Right” politician had set up his speech on the internet. Bias or what?

    One of the best things is to speak the truth.
    Without doubt this is the very best place to read about the current economic crisis. Not only does it explain the past clearly and succinctly, but it also gives hints about what is likely to happen in the future. Our host has a real way with the internet which others (Derek Draper, John Prescott, Harriet Harman) just do not have.
    I am afraid, however, that it is also true that you need a certain type to be successful on TV. Tony Blair had it in spades. Obama has it too. Jeremy Paxman is so relaxed – and lethal – he has made an art of it. Vince Cable is also very telegenic. David Cameron, William Hague, George Osborne have it too. So do Derek Draper and Max Clifford.
    Despite the crass bias of the BBC, though, I am afraid that our host has not got the same elan on TV that he most certainly has as a blogger. In this he is at one with a lot of other extremely good and intelligent politicians. Plucking one of my favourites out of the air, I would like to mention Frank Field who, nowadays, quite unfairly, comes across as an old person in a wheelchair. The Chairman of the Party, Mr Pickles, too, was not that good on Question Time – but he is, by all accounts, quite excellent as both man and politician.
    The sad thing, in this time of soundbites and spin, is that very often the wrong sort of person shines.
    “See how the wicked walk on every side; and the worthless are highly esteemed by the children of men”.
    While the man with the answers is sidelined.
    Back to Macchiavelli!

  23. Mr Ecks
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Tell the BBC creeps that you are convert to crawling leftist tripe and will be happy to denounce who(whom?)ever they want denouncing and when you get on the air blast em with the truth. They really, REALLY can’t handle the truth.

  24. John
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    “I was telephoned and Thursday and invited onto the Today programme for Saturday to discuss the successes and failures of the Govvernor of the Bank of England . I readily accepted and said I would adjust my Saturday morning to get to a studio.
    On Friday evening they left a message to say I would no longer be requried. ”

    not only just bloody rude but even more evidence of the sheer deviousness and bias of the bbc’s intensely politicised approach to everything

  25. Simon
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be a good idea to to start publishing video here. People are interested in an alternative viewpoint and many that I meet nowadays simply don’t buy newspapers or watch TV news any more because it is so biased. They look to the internet for information. Those that do read the papers online always say that the (censored) comments from readers are more interesting than the main story.

  26. Atlas shrugged
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Come on John do a Hannon, and make a real name for yourself. The bastards are never going to let you any where near the cabinet anyway, so what do you have to lose?

    You could have done even better then Hannon and you know it, as you have done in the past. At least the likes of Mike White could not try to dismiss you as being still wet behind the ears. You also have more hair then Hannon, and a little more street cred.

    Go for it, you know it makes sense.

  27. Ed
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I have heard it said, especially of the US Presidential campaign, that it is essential to make your own recording or video of any such conversations/interviews, in order to set the record straight. It would also enable you to publish that which the BBC in its wisdom decides not to. It could go “Hannan”, but it would also serve as a great example of what is wrong with the BBC. The BBC badly needs to have a little dossier made of its antics.

  28. Michael Taylor
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Start making the videos and posting them here. The BBC will do everything in its power to undermine anything that challenges their leftist consensus. I consider this a massive and persistent threat to what’s left of Britain’s democracy, but see no sign at all that the Conservative party will deal with it. So the very least – the very least – that can be done is to provide a samizdat-style of communication with the public that can bypass the State Broadcaster. Start now, and keep beavering away, because it’ll be a long haul, and they (the BBC) will fight free political expression every inch of the way.

    Oh, and of course, it there’s ever even the slightest chance that the Conservatives are prepared to break up the BBC, please let us know. Might help keep up spirits in these dark dark times.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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