The cult of independence in government

The rise and rise of EU powers which has so damaged UK democracy has been accompanied by the doctrine that many things are better run by experts than by politicians taking professional advice. It has been the mood of the last 20 years that independent quangos staffed by experts will do a better and fairer job than elected Ministers.

It was with this in mind that both main parties in office have paid lip service to the idea of Bank of England independence. Gordon Brown claimed to have given independence to the Bank of England in a much spun change of policy in 1997. Instead he gave the Bank limited new powers to control interest rates in return for taking away from the Bank the main regulatory powers over commercial banks and giving them to the FSA. This meant that the Bank lacked crucial powers to deal with the emerging banking crisis and crash in 2008, and spent part of the pre crisis period in a turf war with its rival independent body. The elected official, the Chancellor, left these two warring institutions to get on with it, with disastrous results.

We have now suffered from 20 years of a so called independent Bank. During that time period we have seen two speculative bubbles, in 2000 and again in 2008, a banking crash in 2008-9, the Great recession which resulted from the crash, the adoption of more extreme monetary policies based on printing  extra cash and the  buying up of government bonds. Far from creating stability, the Bank has supervised market extremes, substantial economic volatility and two stock market crashes, including one  with a  banking crash.

The Bank has demonstrated it is not independent, whilst ¬†governments have continued to interfere behind the scenes. Gordon Brown changed the powers of the Bank, then changed¬† its inflation remit. Alastair Darling rightly ¬†overrode the Bank to get interest rates down in the middle of the banking crash. Governor Carney’s independent judgement¬†looked very similar to ¬†the Remain campaign in the referendum.

The same thing has happened with the Environment Agency. The Agency developed its own policy of allowing parts of the country to flood. It removed  pumps and failed to keep ditches clean and rivers dredged. It allowed substantial new development to be added without always making necessary provision for handling surface water and household  waste water. The whole system broke down in  the Somerset levels, prompting Ministerial intervention to demand pumps and dredging be resumed.

It is time we moved back to a system where Ministers set policy based on public needs, rather than relying on experts who can offer policies that are not wanted allied to  incompetence in delivery. In the end the public thinks the Chancellor is to blame for the economy and the Environment Secretary for flooding, however much power has in theory been delegated.


  1. Jack
    August 2, 2016

    Fiscal policy, under democratic control and not an elite group of “experts” like the BoE, should be the main tool for regulating the price level along with the economy as a whole.

    Meanwhile, the BoE should have its independence rescinded, since it was never actually independent, nor can it be when you understand how the consolidated government sector operates
    As for interest rates, the natural rate of interest in a floating exchange rate system is zero, and it should be left there forever. If the base interest rate set by the BoE is above 0%, then it is providing a subsidy to people who hold the currency but do nothing with it. And if the base interest rate is negative, then it is a tax on people holding the currency. Once you understand this, you realise that higher interest rates actually directly cause higher inflation, and lower rates cause lower inflation, ceteris paribus.

    As a result, rather than manipulating interest rates as the main policy tool, the size of the government’s deficit should be the “thermostat on the wall” instead.

  2. amelinixon
    August 2, 2016

    Honest as always. Appreciated. : )

  3. Mark B
    August 2, 2016

    Good morning.

    After reading this article I have very little to add, except my thanks.

    1. Deborah
      August 2, 2016

      Mine too. The experts do not necessarily have our best interests at heart.

  4. rainyday
    August 2, 2016

    All these things must feel like fighting impossible odds BUT vote leave won and shocked everyone. The majority of the people once they are allowed to know the facts are on side.

    1. eeyore
      August 2, 2016

      First the King did the work himself. Then, waxing rich and wanting to enjoy himself more, he employed servants to do it – politicians. Then the servants employed servants’ servants – civil servants. Now the servants’ servants have servants’ servants’ servants – quangos. No doubt quangos are busily employing servants’ servants’ servants’ servants, in the form of consultants. Procul este profani!

      The sad truth is that bureaucracies exist but to grow. Any other function is at best a distraction. Government is the mightiest bureaucracy of all. But there is a way to slim it down: starve it of money. Every Budget should contain a commitment on the maximum percentage of GDP that government intends to take, backed up by a statement of Tax Freedom Day so everyone knows exactly what to expect.

      1. Mitchel
        August 2, 2016

        Or,as Lenin said in 1917,”Russia was accustomed to being ruled by 150,000 landowners.Why can 240,000 bolsheviks not take over the task?”

        Robert Service in “Reflections on a Ravaged Century”(1999)wrote:”The Anarchist,Mikhail Bakunin,suggested at the time(1870s) that the Marxists real aim was a “pedantocracy”,that is to say a regime in which theoreticians-their own type of theoreticians-would be in charge:or,to put it another way,in which a political intelligentsia,unemployable in normal circumstances took positions of power.And,indeed,in many countries there is still a large overproduction of people educated to be lawyers and administrators.The intellectual have-nots can only take the power posts by removing the haves,so the incentive to revolution is obvious.”

        We have avoided the revolution todate by expanding the bureaucracy into the quangos,NGOs and politically funded charities,etc.I would suggest the scope to continue this is now strictly limited.What then?

        1. Mitchel
          August 2, 2016

          That should be Robert Conquest,not Robert Service;they both wrote on similar topics.

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    August 2, 2016

    oh…I thought it was the EU experts what did it? In any case it says much about our internal condition…poor! Good Luck to Mrs May

  6. Jerry
    August 2, 2016

    “the doctrine that many things are better run by experts than by politicians taking professional advice.”

    Indeed, ‘expert’ government special advisor’s have often caused problems.

    “It has been the mood of the last 20 years that independent quangos staffed by experts will do a better and fairer job than elected Ministers.”

    Indeed, but these “independent quangos staffed by experts” were a Whitehall response to the criticisms that government was being run by special advisor’s who were not always bating primarily for the needs of the general, and majority, of electorate.

    “[between 1997 & 2008] The elected official, the Chancellor, left these two warring institutions to get on with it, with disastrous results.

    When will right-wing politicos stop trying to blaming everyone else -and the water cooler too- rather than place blame at the feet of the traders and the companies they worked for, people who chose to act at least irresponsibly (and in some cases illegally) just so they could show a quick profit by way of the magic money tree and thus boost their bonuses or the paper value of the company.

    “We have now suffered from 20 years [1997-2016] of a so called independent Bank. During that time period we have seen two speculative bubbles”

    Compared to around three or four speculative bubbles in the previous 18 years (1979-1997). Strange how those who were around Downing Street in the 1980s seem to want us to forget the real ‘Great Recession’ when, “far from creating stability”, the then government policy was to allow so much of our manufacturing to go to the wall under the manta of the “Free Market (forces)”, only for us to now be reliant on countries such as China and India for everything from children’s toys, through steel products to nuclear reactors…

    “It is time we moved back to a system where Ministers set policy based on public needs, rather than relying on experts who can offer policies that are not wanted allied to incompetence in delivery.”

    Indeed it would be nice to get back to the sort of post war consensus politics not seen since at least the 1970s, ask yourself why Donald Trump is even on the ticket in the USA, regardless of if he gets elected or not.

    1. Roy Grainger
      August 2, 2016

      I lived through the 1970s. It is bizarre to suggest we had consensus politics then. Actually Cameron’s two terms represent consensus politics, a big majority of MPs across all parties supporting Remain for example, how much more consensus do you want ?

    2. Alan Hill
      August 2, 2016

      “……When will right-wing politicos stop trying to blaming everyone else -and the water cooler too- rather than place blame at the feet of the traders and the companies they worked for, people who chose to act at least irresponsibly (and in some cases illegally) just so they could show a quick profit by way of the magic money tree and thus boost their bonuses or the paper value of the company….

      It is because some banks and financial institutions have a tendency to act irresponsibly that regulation or supervision is required. Personally I prefer supervision because regulatins can be circumvented and consequently become more and more labarinthine, witness the UK tax code. As I understand it in the past the BoE had a supervisory role which meant that it controlled banks in line with broad principles and the banks had to comply. But when the hopeless Gordon Brown gave the BoE’s powers to a regulator then all hell broke loose because the banks found ways round the rules.

      Why are you blaming ‘right wing politicians’ for expressing a simple truth.

      1. Jerry
        August 2, 2016

        @Alan Hill; Regulation, supervision or law, call it what you like but immoral people will always find ways to abuse what ever rules are placed in their way. Also any thing that is added to piecemeal (like our tax code) gets unwieldy and eventually so complex that even those responsible for enforcing get confused and contradictory.

        1. Alan Hill
          August 2, 2016

          You clearly don’t get the distinction between regulation and supervision.

          1. Jerry
            August 3, 2016

            @Alan Hill; You seems to think that using different names for rules makes people act differently, it doesn’t, people who wish to break then will find ways to do so how ever they are monitored. Try being a little more cynical, rather than always taking what you are told by those with vestige interests on face value…

    3. NickC
      August 2, 2016

      When will left-wing politicos stop trying to blaming everyone else – and the water cooler too – rather than place blame at the feet of the politicians who set up the system and made the rules too?

      1. Jerry
        August 2, 2016

        @NickC,; The trouble with your argument is that few left-wing politicos made such changes, the true left-wing do not call the Blair/Brown lead party and government Tory-lite or pink-Tory for no reason!…

        But as I’ve said elsewhere, we only need regulations etc. because there are immoral people, and such people will always find weakness in such regulation that can never be 100% perfect.

    4. Edward2
      August 2, 2016

      One of your most eccentric posts Jerry
      Rewriting history and again claiming we have or have had a free market economy.

      1. Jerry
        August 3, 2016

        @Edward2; What ever! As usual you have repled to what you think or hoped I had said rather than what I actually wrote.

        1. Edward2
          August 3, 2016

          No, not at all.
          I carefully read your post twice.
          I still came to the same conclusion.

          1. Jerry
            August 3, 2016

            @Edward2; “I carefully read your post twice. I still came to the same conclusion.”

            That, and your inability it seem to understand anything I write, might say more about you than it does me, seeing that others can grasp my point even if they disagree and thus have a civil debate rather than always attempting to paint me as some sort of blithering ignorant eccentric?! Something only you and @libertarian ever do.

            It is not I who is trying to rewrite history if you are not going to accept that their were economic problems (recessions, mortgage and interest rate bubbles etc.) in the 1980s and early 1990s – perhaps you just don’t like being reminded.

  7. Ex-expat Colin
    August 2, 2016

    Dunno why there is such a kick off about Byron Burger. It demonstrates an obvious problem and it is country wide. Massive and continuing security hole!

  8. alan jutson
    August 2, 2016

    The problem with all of this John is to recognise who is actually an expert who will offer best advice, many Politicians/Ministers/Prime Ministers have failed this test in the past and would do in the future, hence they make a bigger mistake and ask their mates.

    The quality and breath of experience of our elected Mp’s and the Party system has a lot to answer for I am afraid.
    We do not need or want Party place men or women to stand for election, as that way we get group think, the very reason we often get into trouble in the first place.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 2, 2016

      They need to be both experts and honestly motivated to act in the interests of the public. These seems quite rare. Group think career seekers are more the norm. Waiting for there gongs perhaps.

  9. Lifelogic
    August 2, 2016

    Politician are the only people who are accountable to the public at elections albeit with an absurdly weak link. “Experts” have no real interests in serving the public, indeed they tend to have an interest in exaggerating any problem and failing to solve it. Thus creating a long terms & well paid job for themselves. Experts also often suffer from “group think”, as we see with the climate alarmism agenda, the “lets block & constrict the roads” agenda (as new roads create more traffic), lets join the fabulous ERM and EURO, let lie to the nation to keep them in the EU and destroy democracy …..

    1. Lifelogic
      August 2, 2016

      EU demands Britain pays the pensions of British Eurocrats! Or traitors as many see them.

      Why? Britain did not employ them the EU did they clearly should have made provision for their pensions as this is part of their remuneration package they agreed to.

      Then again do any actually deserve a pension at all, let alone the hugely generous EU ones. perhaps we need to implement a 100% EU pension tax to get rid of the problem.

  10. Lifelogic
    August 2, 2016

    A “group think” that is rather encouraged by Cameron’s outrageous list of 48 allies, aides and donors who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU.

    No 10, says Mrs May will not block this as it would set an unfortunate precedent.

    A precedent that the honours system should not be abused, soiled further and devalued in this pathetic manner and when it is it should clearly be blocked. Also showing that she at least is honourable in dealing with such matters.

    What is unfortunate in this?

    Did Cameron not pretend to be an EU sceptic and yet 48 to nil it seems.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 2, 2016

      If Mrs May fail to intervene she surely soils herself, the honours system and her office, not a very to start, after her absurd workers and customers on company boards agenda to.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 2, 2016

        Not a very good start…

    2. Mitchel
      August 2, 2016

      The fact that Cameron wishes to honour Will Straw tells you all you ever need to know about how Conservative his government was.Not another word need be said or written about it.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 2, 2016

        Cameron was (when judged on his actions) essentially just another Clegg/Blair type, a pro EU, high tax borrow and waste, climate alarmism promoting, expensive energy job exporting, red tape producing, warmongering, open door immigration promoting LibDem.

        One assumes that he joined the Tories (rather than the Libdems) as it offered rather more promising career options to him and rather better chances odds of being elected. Especially if one was happy to pretend to be “a low tax Conservative at heart” and “Eurosceptic”.

    3. Tom William
      August 2, 2016

      For those who do not see the Daily Telegraph the cartoonist Matt today has two women leaving No 10 and saying ” When you have your hair done do you give the person who washes it an MBE, or just the stylist?”.

      The “honours system” has been soiled for well over 100 years.

    4. Bob
      August 2, 2016


      “If Mrs May fails to intervene she surely soils herself”

      Doesn’t HM The Queen have the final say?

      If so, she could bin Cameron’s list and give a well deserved Knighthood to the man that gave us our independence, Nigel Farage.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 2, 2016

        Nigel Farage certainly deserves a Dukedom, but has he given us “our independence” not yet alas. The remainiacs in the Commons, the Lords (and perhaps even number 10) have certainly not given in yet.

    5. Leslie Singleton
      August 2, 2016

      God knows I had, to say the least, very little faith in Cameron’s judgement and it does not appear I was far wrong. Honours in general and The House of Lords in particular have been ruined by such as this, not to mention the memory of the Empire.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        August 3, 2016

        Postscript–It is a sad reflection on the system that what should be national honours can be handed out for mere personal reasons and worse for personal reasons relating to the wife. I am sure she is a lovely wife but so what?

  11. Nig l
    August 2, 2016

    The Agencies are not independent, their budgets and objectives are set for them by the Minister presumably in line with government policy, in conjunction with the Treasury who then has the responsibility for their successes and failures.

    Most/all Ministers do not have the experience to manage a whelk stall let alone Departments the size they are, they are appointed often for political reasons, not necessarily competence, I am not convinced the Civil Service has the skills to drive/monitor performance and finally everything is short term, annualised accounting, budgets, people etc.

    As for incompetence in delivery, let’s look at the MOD over the years, umpteen computer projects, the NHS, arc and ask how much money has been wasted through political interference and poor procurement and project management.

    Theresa May is supposedly setting out an industrial strategy. The first item on the agenda should be efficient government and that starts, as it does with all businesses, with Management. All government ministers and their civil servants should be off to somewhere like INSEAD, in the recesses, to get some serious big ‘business’ management skills.

    Until they do, you can change governments delivery mechanisms all you like but the outcome will still be the same.

  12. Antisthenes
    August 2, 2016

    Get rid of quangos and the like yes even if it is only to add some accountability and rid the system of tin pot dictators, incompetent ones at that. In the absence of anything better then it is Ministers that should be taking the decisions without scapegoats to blame when things go wrong which is all too often.

    Of course decisions made are only as good as the politician who is given the job of a minister. Sometimes they are awful. It can be certain that they will be awful when Labour or any left wing government is in charge. Plenty of evidence to back up that charge. The Conservatives are not immune to placing the wrong ones in charge but thankfully not as constantly as the left.

    Thank goodness we are leaving the EU as that was one very big quango that spent our money with abandon and caused crisis after crisis which of course all quangos do. Except the EU is exceptionally large and capably of doing considerable more damage which it does.

  13. Richard1
    August 2, 2016

    One of the explanations of this trend has been the desire of politicians to limit or remove public debate over policy. Environmental policy is a typical example of this. One of the great benefits of democracy and of public debate of policy is ideas and policies are subject to rigorous public scrutiny, by policitians, journalists and the electorate. The referenda we have had have in the end been an excellent way of testing the arguments over the voting system, Scottish independence and Brexit. In general, in the free market of political ideas, the choice made by the wisdom of crowds beats the – no doubt well intentioned – decisions of a quango of experts.

    1. Mitchel
      August 2, 2016

      Absolutely right.The problem with representative democracy as opposed to true democracy can be expressed by Robert Michels “Iron Law of Oligarchy”:”Any representative system necessarily divides the members of an organisation into those who give orders and those who get given them,with the former tending to coalesce into a closed caste:there is and can be no alternative.”

  14. agricola
    August 2, 2016

    It hasn’t just damaged UK democracy, the effect is Europe wide and the seed for creating the very situation in Europe that the founding fathers were intent on avoiding. In our case it has been particularly damaging of politicians of all shades that they should throw away our sovereignty with such gay abandon. Was there a realisation among them that they were just not competent enough to run the country. Too hung up in political dogma to be able to make logical reasoned decisions. As an indicator the referendum demonstrated just how far they were out of touch with the electorate.

    Whether it be the countries finances or the environment, the minister of the appropriate department should take direct responsibility for decisions made and direction of travel. I have no objection to he or her taking professional advice from the best sources available. They would be remiss not to. However there is no excuse for them handing over responsibility to the unelected EU or the myriad of quangos that had been promised conflagration, but instead became further nurtured.

    PS What happened to all the contributions on slavery.

  15. Newmania
    August 2, 2016

    No surprise to see John Redwood having a go at Mark Carney. Good job he was there to act quickly to save the pound and keep recession at bay with his swift action on that .
    I think the suggestion( or vague implication) that the Bank of England was responsible for he 2008 crash is Trump-esque – … do be serious !
    Mr Redwood is cross with Mr Carney because he keeps not saying Brexit is fantastic and looks instead at the growing signs of calamity . He is backed by the OBR and Mr Hammond will base his plans on such advice . End of .
    Alternative sources of wisdom, such as blogs and internet tittle tattle are as yet insufficiently respected despite the efforts of Brexits Project Stupid and I for one prefer it that way .

    Reply Mr Carney did not cut rates or print more money under QE the first time the MPC met after Brexit vote, despite the briefings that he would. I agreed with his inaction which was At variance with his words

    1. Ginty
      August 2, 2016

      Growth across the EU is anaemic, up just 0.3 per cent in the last quarter. In France there was no expansion at all. The next economic crisis is likely to occur in the EU, triggered by another bailout shambles or banking collapse.

      Italy’s banks are sitting on ¬£300billion of bad debts, the majority of them consisting of loans to insolvent borrowers. The EU has created this situation through its preference for federalist ideology above the genuine economic needs of the member states.

      The dogma of political integration is why Brussels has imposed the single currency and free movement, even though both policies have turned out to be destructive. Yet the only answer is more unity, more central control from Remainers.

      ‚ÄúOur only hope for the future is to invest in a sovereign, strong and united Europe,‚ÄĚ says EU vice president Frederica Mogherini, an Italian socialist – do you align with that, Newmania ? The EU is a basket case that will collapse in the long term.

      As members of the World Trade Organisation we already have full rights of access to the single market ‚Äď any tariffs are certain to be far smaller than the ¬£10billion net contribution we had to pay as the price of our EU membership.

      Brexit is what the people have voted for and Brexit is what they should have. Remaining in the EU looks suicidal, both culturally and economically.

    2. DaveM
      August 2, 2016

      Carney isn’t looking AT the signs of calamity, he’s looking FOR them.

      “Brexit’s Project Stupid”……

      Gosh, how annoying it must be to have lost to such a thing. Does that make Project Fear/Remain even more stupid? Perhaps if the Remain campaign had tried using internet tittle tattle to reach potential supporters rather than spending time coming up with inane insults it might have won.

      It must irritate you not to get the response you crave from your insulting posts. There are hundreds of places in Devon and Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Aberdeen and Dundee where fishermen spend their evenings. You should visit a few and try your rhetoric out. I’m sure you’d get far more of a reaction.

    3. Richard1
      August 2, 2016

      Newmainia your posts are as absurd as those which argue that its obvious the results of Brexit are marvellous. It’s far too early to say one way or the other, and it depends very much on the choices which the govt makes.

    4. Mark B
      August 2, 2016

      How could the vote to leave the EU affect the economy when nothing has changed ?

      We are still in the EU and the EEA.

      If the UK is doing badly, as some suggest, maybe it is ‘because’ of our membership of the EU.

      All that leaving the EU will mean, is that parliament regains total control.

    5. Anonymous
      August 2, 2016

      Never fear, Newmania. There is no way we’re leaving the EU.

    6. Anonymous
      August 3, 2016

      Turning areas of Britain into mini Albanias was bound to have consequences. Did the London elite not think this ? Thank god it’s only Brexit and not TrumpGB.

  16. Anthony Makara
    August 2, 2016

    Economists in general are held up to be dispassionate men of logic when in fact they are more ideological than any politician. Whether its the Marxist’s, Keynesian’s, or the Adam Smith Institute, economic analysis has become ideology, dogma, and a form of polemic that is useless in dealing with everyday problems of an economic nature. The followers of Milton Friedman in particular have dogged UK politics since the 1970s when Keith Joseph latched onto an economic orthodoxy that ultimately left UK manufacturing gutted. Millions of livelihoods sacrificed on the altar of Free Trade. These economic ideologues produced a militant wing within the Conservative party that no longer saw people buy only saw audits and money. Economic gurus are bad news. Economic ideologues are an anathema on politics and democracy. The BOE for its part has shown itself to be ideological at every turn. Lacking pragmatism and using its MPC to devole responsibility it is always out of touch with the needs of the day. The much heralded decision to grant the BOE its pseudo-independence must now be reviewed. Particularly in the light of Mark Carney’s ideological decision to openly back the Remain campaign during the EU refrerendum. A truly independent BOE might be a good idea in abstraction but in reality it only emboldens Economic Ideologues and makes practical politics impossible.

    reply All too many jobs were lost in manufacturing under Labour running large deficits in the 1970s Your take is wrong

    1. Anthony Makara
      August 2, 2016

      John, the problems in the 1970s were down to the industries being State Owned and then the Government having to deal with huge pay claims because of rampant inflation. We didn’t see the Govt/Union strive in the 1960s when prices and wages were relatively stable. Labour’s disasterous big-fix Devalution set us on a downward path which was only made worse by the decision to float Sterling a few years later. Neoliberal economics, as brought into UK politics by the likes of Keith Joseph, did great damage and made the Conservative party ideological for the first time in its history. Gone was the pragmatism needed to govern properly. Returning to the question of Nationalized sectors, my preference is to see these sectors privately owned but British owned and working to supply a UK Internal Market first and foremost. Neoliberal ideology took privatization away from British business and allowed it to fall into the hands of Foreign ownership. Now we have foreign energy companies imposing crushing costs on UK consumers. We are also now seeing sectors sold off to Communist China! Is this really the way to go?

    2. hefner
      August 2, 2016

      Oh, and how many jobs have been lost by UK companies being bought by foreign companies/investors with promises to maintain UK employment, then when the situation changed, usually for the worse, simply slipping away and letting the jobs go out of the country. You should start to take responsibility. As a privatisation hard-liner, you were around at the end of the ’80s and in Government in the ’90s and not everything was as hunky-dory as you keep saying. Labour government of the ’70s was bad, the Conservative ones of the ’80s and ’90s were not much better. When will you take responsibility, for example, for starting the telecoms mess? Or are we to believe, as with the NHS, that the UK telecoms are the best in the world?

    3. Richard1
      August 2, 2016

      The manufacturing jobs which were lost when the Conservative govt of 1979 decided to restore confidence in the UK economy were those which required public subsidy, protectionism, or both. Union militancy hastened their end. There is plenty of highly successful manufacturing in the UK today (although of course manufacturing in all advanced economies employs far fewer people than it once did). But the successful industrial sectors in the UK now are generally those which have not been touched by the dead hand of state ownership and interventionism, and which don’t suffer from militant unions. Milton Friedman, Keith Joseph, Margaret Thatcher et al were absolutely right.

      1. Anthony Makara
        August 3, 2016

        Richard, I think you are on the wrong side of history. Neoliberal economics is fast becoming discredited because it has led to Globalization at the expense of Western Industry and decent wages. It’s simply not enough for people to claim that consumers benefit because imported goods are cheaper. In effect Neoliberalism is a busted flush and the United States in particular is waking up to this. It is possible to believe in private enterprise without being Neoliberal. On the point of Union Militancy, I agree to a point, I remember Robinson and McGauchy only too well, but fear of the unions shouldn’t force us into abandoning the idea of a developing large manufacturing base.

        1. Edward2
          August 3, 2016

          We have never had neo liberal economics.
          What we have had is crony capitalism and an expanding State sector
          Multi nationals in bed with Governments and EU and UN
          The price being paid by the average earner

  17. The Meissen Bison
    August 2, 2016

    Another consequence of the doctrine that many things are better run by experts than by politicians taking professional advice is that the politicians have been able to slough off responsibility to executive agencies from which nobody ever resigns.Whenever things go wrong, ministers shrug their shoulders and say “Not me, gov” which renders the minister redundant but unashamed to draw a salary.

  18. Brexit
    August 2, 2016

    “The Bank has demonstrated it is not independent” Hmm, never more so than with the current Governor in charge. It’s extraordinary that he still hasn’t been castigated officially for his role in talking the economy down, starting during the purdah period and continuing through to the present day. He really must go, due to his obvious political bias and ambitions.

    To your wider point, dependency culture has poisoned society in many ways, getting worse in recent history since Lady Thatcher’s time. Where it comes to co-dependency in politics, the Referendum showed just what great common sense the mass of the British people have on many issues. The majority of the public refused to believe all the ‘experts’ whom the Government has come to rely on in some faux self-deprecating style of ‘independence/objectivity signalling’. Thank goodness they did.

    This issue is closely tied to another which many of your readers have commented on – that of the professional lifetime politician.

    If Westminster is serious about regaining the trust of the electorate, perhaps it might consider a qualification criterion for future Parliamentary candidates. How about a 5-year period of work outside any sphere connected with politics – which would obviously exclude journalism, PR, academia, local government, the voluntary sector, etc? In other words, candidates would have to have worked in the ‘real world’ before standing for Parliament.

    With best wishes, the Team
    P.S. Excellent idea of yours a couple of days ago to re-post CfB’s Brexit Budget. People may take issue with some of it but it shows that these things were worked through prior to the vote. Shame that Vote Leave didn’t promote it more widely.

  19. forthurst
    August 2, 2016

    Insofar as the Environmental Agency has been prioritising the interests of aquatic life and the ‘natural’ environment, it has simply been following the diktats of the Brussels regime, and it is noteworthy that Owen Paterson who had the temerity to put the interests of mere humans above the needs to recreate a landscape that had not existed since before the Bronze Age, has not been offered a position in the new government, thus establishing that we have a Remain government, with a token acknowledgement of the popular will, rather than one based on all the best talents of the Tory Party.

    The Environmental Agency should be detached from Brussels now so that not only can it be required to put the interests of humans above these of the pond life it most resembles, but that nonsensical rules e.g. with regard to the disposal of spoil can be wiped. Whilst we are negotiating to leave the EU, we should nevertheless stop accepting the consequences arising from one bunch of unaccountables dictating the actions of another bunch of unaccountables in our own back yard.

    With regard to the hiving off of bank supervision under the ‘independent’ BoE, that surely was simply another example of the Brussels regime doing their very best to destabilise the financial systems of their empire which appears to be a major priority for them, together with flooding it with millions of young single cultural incompatibles; in other word, the Brussels regime is bent on creating as much mayhem and misery as conceivable; is it doing all this of its own volition or are there other forces actively pulling the strings?

    1. ian wragg
      August 2, 2016

      Good post. Nothing will happen though as 75% of the great and the good support Brussels and our subjugation.

  20. majorfrustration
    August 2, 2016

    Agree – what in effect has happened as well is that Ministers/MPs salaries have risen whilst their responsibility and accountability has declined via the use Quangos. Seems like a job for life and when things go wrong its “not me Guv”

  21. margaret
    August 2, 2016

    The key thing in business and life. Beware who you give power to.

    PS . I think you live somewhere near Reading and it was cited yesterday as a holiday spot ??

  22. Shieldsman
    August 2, 2016

    Quango’s appear to be run by people who have no qualifications for the position, so who are the experts? Generally the appointment of Chairman and committees are sinecures for retired politicians, civil servants and Academics.

    Anyone with real technical qualifications of which there are millions never get a look in.

    You cite the case of the Environment Agency, a disaster area if ever there was one. Owen Paterson acted and then got fired, only to be replaced by a numbers qualifier – Liz Truss. The Environment Agency (the experts) spent millions on the Carlisle scheme which had hardly been completed before being overwhelmed. The excuse – unforeseen meteorological conditions.

  23. Edward.
    August 2, 2016

    Nothing in life is guaranteed, Governments should not pretend otherwise.

    I am pretty sure that, whatever the reasons are for having a central bank are not made.

    We have the Exchequer, the treasury should deal with fiscal policy, the monetary policy, effect and control of the economy is a dysfunctional, fragmented total mess and whoever conjured the idea of, ‘Fractional Reserve Banking’?

    Banks should be allowed to go bust, the problem was UK retail/commercial banks grew far too big and when their investment arms got hold to the keys of the vault, what happened next was an economic calamity.
    Brown, er should I say the BoE should have allowed Northern Rock to go to the wall, once Brown panicked, he stepped in, mutualising debt, not only was the taxpayer not served by a car crash of a banking system, he [the taxpayer] was now on the hook and liable to keep in employment the likes of workers in such as Lloyd’s/ HBOS, RBS, as he called it, prudence of the manse had he told us saved the world.
    Not at all fazed, commercial Banks have repaired themselves inadequately and have since 2008/9 carried on regardless, seemingly immune from reality and hardship.

    WE know, the banks know it, for they know how important they are and of course, are “too big to fail”! The UK zombie economy marches slowly on; a property bubble is all we have to show for ¬£375 billion spondulicks, funny money, QE whatever they call it these days, and with margins on investments squeezed to trace increases unlike Joe public, the super rich able to switch about their holdings, investments and stocks their wealth grows and grows and the corporate cartels go from strength to strength -but that’s another story.
    Financial genius, where SME’s are starved of cash for much; expansion, new machinery and start ups……. because banks will only lend to “surefire” investors.
    Surefire, thus has, the ‘buy-to-let’ market ballooned. Though, there’s nowhere for savers money to go, because of virtually zero interest rates – there is little reason to hold your money in institutions paying little or no interest. Government policy, lax monetary practices, a flat economy it’s a self defeating mechanism, Abenomics here we come.

    Only supply side reforms, tax breaks, less government control ie fiscal policy alterations can do the heavy lifting in the UK economy. Whereas, what the BoE does is just pushing more debt and financial confectionery.

    1. Edward2
      August 3, 2016

      Excellent post

  24. brian
    August 2, 2016

    Politicians generally find it difficult to think long term. They are often thinking about how to get elected at the next election. They will often delegate responsibility to an outside body so that they can blame them if something goes wrong. It should be possible to have bodies of people who can think long term and advise politicians frankly.

  25. Denis Cooper
    August 2, 2016

    On-topic, the Bank of England Act 1998 provides that the Treasury can exercise reserve powers and suspend the independence of the Bank:

    “19 Reserve powers.

    (1) The Treasury, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, may by order give the Bank directions with respect to monetary policy if they are satisfied that the directions are required in the public interest and by extreme economic circumstances.”

    But that never done even when economic circumstances were extreme; rather than using that section in an open and transparent way, and with MPs getting involved:

    “(4) Unless an order under this section is approved by resolution of each House of Parliament before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which it is made, it shall cease to have effect at the end of that period.”

    the Chancellor preferred to interfere with the Bank’s policy behind the scenes.

  26. David
    August 2, 2016

    Surely the problem with the independent bank, is that it has too narrow a remit.
    It does not look at asset inflation, just CPI.
    Nor does it look to see if banks have risky lending or not.
    It is not its fault that Gordon Brown did not give it the correct job to do.

  27. Denis Cooper
    August 2, 2016

    Off-topic, EUObserver is a little late with this:

    “UK’s House of Lords could delay Brexit”

    but I was particularly struck by this:

    “Speaking to the Times, Tory peer baroness Wheatcroft said she hoped delays could lead to a second referendum or a general election to gain a mandate from the people to trigger article 50.”

    It’s almost as if there was no general election last year with a Tory manifesto commitment to hold a referendum, and no referendum in which a majority voted to leave the EU.

    I’m getting a bit fed up with the House of Lords as presently composed, a collection of unelected and in some cases completely undeserving legislators-for-life, too many of whom were packed in there to defend the interests of the EU rather than the UK; but as there is still no agreement on how it should be reformed I think the best course of action would be greatly reduce its power to delay Bills until such time as it has been reformed on a more democratic basis.

    I suggest the government should immediately draft a short Bill to amend the Parliament Acts so that the Lords can only hold up any Bill for one month, which is the case now for Money Bills while for other Bills it is about thirteen months. Of course it is certain that the Lords would resist this curtailment of their unmerited powers; so it would probably be necessary to invoke the present Parliament Acts to get them amended, as in 1949 when the permitted period of delay was reduced from two years to one. The sooner this is started the better, so introduce the Bill into the Commons in September.

    1. DaveM
      August 2, 2016

      By holding up the Brexit bill in any way the Lords will surely condemn itself to the scrapheap? Particularly if Cameron’s new cohort of remainiacs have a large influence.

      IMO the interference of the Lords in recent years means that it should be altered to allow it nothing but an advisory role. Never thought I’d say that but it’s constantly overstepping the mark these days thanks to unelected LibLab peers.

    2. ian wragg
      August 2, 2016

      What annoys me Denis is the Tories have a majority of 12 which is 2% of MP’s. This is sufficient to let them form a government but when there is a larger Brexit majority, this is somehow invalid.
      There seems to be a major inconsistency somewhere.

    3. rose
      August 3, 2016

      “and in some cases completely undeserving legislators-for-life, ”

      They don’t even know how government works. In their Brexit Debate, life peers were complaining, for all the world like chatterers on Womans Hour, or The Pledge, that the Brexiteers had run away leaving chaos behind them. They didn’t seem to realize that, quaint as it may seem, we only have one executive at a time, and that it isn’t self-appointed. Someone did resign and that was the PM. So did the Commissioner who was in charge of Financial Services and should therefore have stayed in his post. And so did the Labour front bench, twice. All these were Remainiacs. The only Brexiteer to resign was Nigel Farage as leader of UKIP who deserved a break after a thanklesss 25 years of being abused and attacked. He didn’t resign as MEP and he said he was willing to help with Brexit in any way he could.

    August 2, 2016

    To give some perspective I feel it is usually best to think of our modern times as the Middle Ages. In fact it is, a thousand years hence.

    Looking back on 2016 you can see a Faith. Despite 150 million dead in previous wars, famine, displacement of persons, and provisions misapplied and misused in those endeavours, the ruling elites somehow managed to stay in power though weaving different flags.

    The Faith was that anyone to enter the elites by marriage, Chance, political connivance, business success, successful theft and trickery, choice of sexual partners, was automatically in their own terms and by the generally accepted belief of the elites fully entitled to be in the elites and right,- leaving behind the pettinesses and ignorances from whence they sprang. Self-made experts. Expert for being expert; famous for being famous. With massively flawed electoral systems maintaining and giving rise to “rock solid Party electoral “heartlands” thwarting any possibility whatsoever of genuine Change.
    So, the wars and famines continued unabated up to and including 2016. But the elites continued the ancient practice of handing out medals and honours one to another like spit-swapping in a young love bond. And being in their personal acceptances expressing boringly and nauseatingly for everyone around them even ones with similar mock honours: “I’m humbled”

  29. acorn
    August 2, 2016

    Westminster politicians have increasingly arranged things, so that they always have somebody else to blame when things go wrong. The voter must never be left with the impression that it was the fault of a particular, amateur Minister, who had no more idea how to do the job than Larry the Cat.

    Now, if we elected a PM separately and outside of Westminster; and, he appointed his own Executive Directors (cabinet), from people who actually new what they were doing … but that’s another story.

    There is no independent central bank in a fiat currency economy, they are one and the same with the Treasury. The Whole of Government Accounts, consolidate them as one entity. The WGA are prepared using the same international rules as Tesco and BP and similar large corporations. This is made obvious, but possibly not on this site, by the fact that government, this year, will spend on gross debt interest £47 billion and net £34 billion. The Treasury is paying £11.6 billion of interest to itself via the APF holdings of QE Gilts, held by its own bank, the BoE.

    As said above, the natural rate of interest in a fiat currency economy is zero. We could set it to zero; shut down “monetary policy” the last seven years have proved it doesn’t work. Put the BoE back under the Treasury and merge it with the DMO for the time being. There are “Ways and Means” to do away with the DMO.

    Then Ministers can take back responsibility for fiscal policy on a daily basis, not once or twice a year budgets. Who knows, we may even get a Chancellor that understands, that his Treasury is the currency issuer, that never ever runs out of its own currency. And; that the governments so called national debt, is the non-government sectors national savings. Pound Sterling for Pound Sterling.

  30. Atlas
    August 2, 2016

    I always thought that this delegation was just a way of certain politicians to hid behind others – cf the way Ministers ‘react’ to EU decisions which they have often been complicit in…

  31. Bert Young
    August 2, 2016

    Ministers – from the evidence of the past few years , are no better qualified or placed than other outside remunerated bodies ; they do , however , have the backing of a manifesto that the public voted for . Critics of the Bank of England are justified singling out Carney’s bias and the statements he made prior to Brexit ; he was foolish to go along with Osborne and his cohorts and he should now be replaced .

    A regulatory body is essential in the City of Londons’ affairs ; it must have teeth and prove to the investment world that controls are there and they do work . Every day that goes by exposes some individual who has abused his/her position ; effective policing is difficult but very necessary .

    1. brian
      August 2, 2016

      There was no bias in Carey’s statements before the Referendum. The paranoia of Brexiters has no bounds, even after winning.

  32. James Munroe
    August 2, 2016

    To his credit, the dreadful Gordon Brown admitted his ‘Big Mistake over the Banking Crisis’ of 2008.

    As reported by the BBC in 2011:-

  33. Kenneth
    August 2, 2016

    These quangos are inevitably infiltrated and hijacked by the socialist or neo-Marxist forces that have so damaged the legal profession, Met Police, BBC etc etc.

    Far from being free from politics, we have a much worse situation where they are hamstring by the politics of the unelected and unelectable.

    Their extreme performance reflects their extreme politics.

    August 2, 2016

    Experts can be wrong. Though I do not see for example a “Northern Powerhouse” run by a rubberstamped Labour majority being a desirable alternative. That would be to supplant questionable expertise with definite corruptness and irresponsibility. Osborne the Dafty.

  35. James Munroe
    August 2, 2016

    To his credit…Gordon Brown did actually admit his “Big Mistake over the 2008 Financial crisis” .

    This was reported on the BBC website in 2011.

    ‘Gordon Brown admits big mistake over banking crisis’ … for the full details.

  36. acorn
    August 2, 2016

    “Brexit and the Failure of Leadership The Brexit referendum result demonstrates a collective failure of understanding, vision and statesmanship on the part of the leaders of Britain and Europe.” Definitely worth a Google for Eurosceptics that are thinking the dream is evaporating.

  37. Iain Gill
    August 2, 2016

    yea and the fact I cannot register with a decent GP ( as defined by the NHS’s own surveys) and cannot register with a decent school (as defined by ofsted) is the governments fault. command control centralised decision making is never going to fix these things. it is only empowered consumers able to really take their business elsewhere that can change things. the government would do better than delegating power to mandarins to instead delegating decision making to individual citizens.

  38. Spinflight
    August 2, 2016

    And the previous entry regarding the Army..

    Just wondering whether things have changed significantly in the last 5 years? The Royal Navy appears to be having problems manning some of it’s fleet, is this partly down to a bloated officer corps?

    August 2, 2016

    Claims for PPI refunds have a deadline of 2019, it has been announced. There does seem a democracy-deficit and an expert-deficit is this country.
    8th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal. No start date was written. Nor expiry date. Had Moses been into plastic instead of stone, things could have been so different. The English Church would not have failed so lamentably to change the 6th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill to :Thou shalt not murder. Also the principled idea of not stealing could after an Anglican Synod mysteriously relocated to a idyllic and exclusive Pacific island beach be re-termed Thou shalt not steal outside what is permitted in the “culture” of any Bank or Local Authority.

  40. stred
    August 2, 2016

    When institutions or companies, which are financed as a monopoly through tax and charges, are created they rapidly funnel money into high salaries and profits. Do we really need to pay Mark Carney £16k a week. He seems to change his predictions according to which way the wind blows.

    An example of monopoly rip- offs is affecting my family at present. In our area many houses have communal drains which run through the back gardens and often have been built over. Most houses have drains that run under the floor. We adapted an existing drain which runs under our house and connects to 3 others and in early 2011 built a new conservatory on the existing slab. It was permitted development and the LA made no objection. We even added a rodding point so that the existing manhole could be rodded from the garden.

    However, during inspections of the first floor extension being built during 2011 and being finished off to present, the LA engineer raised objections and demanded the beam over the 1970s extension should be replaced as it did not meet today’s standards. He also wanted 4 steel beams instead of timber, although our calculations showed these were designed for loads 5x actual. These and other wrong statements were overcome after a long series of letters and new consultants, saving about ¬£20k extra needless costs.

    However, when we asked for a final certificate and approval of calculations, having heard nothing since their last objection 4 years before, we were told that we must make a new application and pay a new fee of £1500 to cover their previous costs for wrong objections and reading our long letters. My partner always gives way and paid, resubmitting the same drawings and calculations.

    The next problem came with a letter from the water company. The LA had informed them as is now routine and they wanted an application for approval of the drain with a fee of £400. We refused, having read that they took over the drains in late 2011 after the conservatory was finished and because no-one objected at the time. They then claimed that they still owned the drain before 2011 because it is mapped by OS. They sent the OS map showing the drain, which also is incorrect in part. However, they say that if a sewer is within 3m of a foundation, then they need an application if the work is new and they normally refuse any manhole inside a building. To divert the sewer would be very expensive but the house owners must pay. There are other new extensions all over our area completed in the last few years. We are carrying on refusing to co-operate.

    The water company was owned by a foreign energy company and has been sold to a foreign investment bank. We hand monopolies to such organisations at our peril.

  41. fedupsoutherner
    August 2, 2016

    One of the biggest mistakes has been to employ or even listen to the so called experts who have guided our energy policy to disaster. And I mean disaster in so many way. Economically and on an engineering basis. The new system simply will not work. We have had ‘charitable’ groups telling ministers that what we need are renewables and to get rid of anything run by fossil fuels. On the other hand we have had engineers and people whose job it was to run the grid telling them that renewables will simply not do the job. Who do they listen to??? I think we all know the answer to that. What we really need are people put in charge of these projects that understand the nature of the job in the first place and are then willing to look at advise from others that know the ins and outs of a rabbits backside to carry it through. We have spent billions on a system not fit for purpose. Never mind, it’s only you and I paying for it and paying for the exorbitant fees these ‘experts’ demand. Let’s get back to sensible politics. We have a whole load of people coming out of school/college/uni who have all been brainwashed by unproven science thinking they know best. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 2, 2016

      Indeed sensible politics & real engineering, economics and physics. The problem (especially in energy field) is that so many politicians actually seem to think they can change the laws of physics and the economics or engineering.

      They think “Tidal Lagoon” and “Renewables” sound so much nicer politically than the alternatives, but they have never done the numbers nor understood the intermittent nature and cost of these things.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 2, 2016

        Are there any greens who actually have a clue what they are talking about in terms of engineering and costs? I have never seen any.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          August 3, 2016

          Lifelogic. In a word – NO

  42. Jumeirah
    August 2, 2016

    WOT? INSEAD – Business School of the World? Send our Politicians & Civil Servants to be “‘Programmed”‘ by Academics? Nah- we have had enough trouble with √ęxperts”. Senior Politicians have sufficient knowledge of how business works and what Business needs and have direct access to Business Leaders for more detailed input if they (Politicians) want it and certainly they have access to our very, very experienced Civil Servants (Trade/Business) here and around the world to support them with information to make decisions after “checks & balances”. What we don’t need is √ęxperts”‘ – we’ve had more than enough of them now. Politicians supported by Civil Servants deal with the REAL world and Govern the Country – the rest are “Cling-Ons”‘

  43. Jack
    August 2, 2016

    Off topic:-

    Has anyone on the Leave side proposed maybe the UK setting up a European Commonwealth, as suggested by the late Tony Benn? It could have links to the EU, and could provide the means for European nations to co-operate and harmonise regulations etc, but still be totally sovereign with democratic control over all affairs.

    I think this could help preserve the European identity that a portion of the 48% feel, as well as providing an alternative to the ever-closer union of the EU (i.e. United States of Europe) for European countries that do not wish to take part in it.

    Just a thought though.

  44. lojolondon
    August 2, 2016

    You are totally correct, John, the buck stops at the top. Unfortunately our MSM is part of the system, sucking up to ministers who follow the agenda. So the British public’s rage at, for example the EA, never translates into a firing or revamp, EA just gets constantly ‘refreshed’ without moving forward or learning lessons.

  45. Ken Moore
    August 2, 2016

    So a CBE for that wide eyed big baby Will Straw for his hopeless Remain campaign – outrageous even by CMD’s own sub zero standards of decency…but no recognition for Mr Redwood’s 40 years of service. With the this rotten anti democratic self serving system in which the wrong people get rewarded for doing the wrong incompetence and failure will persist.

  46. BobE
    August 2, 2016

    The main task of a consultant is to create more work for consultants.

  47. Iain Gill
    August 2, 2016

    So I need to provide a passport photo, and present my passport, to be able to register with a GP now? since when? what about the large numbers of people who dont have passports? what about those folk where cost of a passport photo will be significant?

    For what? The immigration doors are wide open hassling ordinary Brits is not going to fix that…

    1. alan jutson
      August 2, 2016


      The immigrants (legal or illegal) who are not registered with a GP and do not want to wait and see one, just seem to turn up at A&E show nothing and still get treated free of charge.

      Perhaps what your GP practice is trying to do is qualify all those who are trying to register as bona-fideregistered citizens, which is a good idea if everyone and everywhere including hospitals did the same.

      Unfortunately we have some medical staff who happy not to bother, and then complain that the money has run out.

      1. Iain Gill
        August 3, 2016

        You dont need to be a citizen to qualify for treatment. You just need to be legally resident here.

        Seems to me the current system is trying to introduce ID cards by the backdoor and make passports that ID card.

        Well guess what its not going to work.

        As for the public sector and their take it or leave it please beg us for third world service its got to change hasnt it? No sensible government would just throw more money at failure would it? Would it?

  48. rose
    August 2, 2016

    A very well written article. Thank you. If only you were Chancellor.

  49. turboterrier
    August 2, 2016

    It would appear that Mother Teresa has learnt nothing from the policy of putting totally unqualified people in charge of departments that have no recognisable qualification in the area of expertise that will be required to motivate their staff and more importantly give confidence to the electorate.

    The announcement of the appointment of Jesse Norman who obviously went to the right school begs belief.

    The renewable energy disciples will still be running the country as they have yet to face a qualified engineer or candidate with experience of working within the energy distribution network. On who can actually understand the whole process and not fall for the easy sell and challenge them in the areas of efficiency and the capability of providing a base load to keep the lights on which renewable’s are unable to provide without conventional power station back up.

    I cannot see the subsidies stopping and the country will carry on suffering as the number of people in fuel debt and poverty in both the domestic and industrial markets increase as the high energy jobs market decreases.

    Why on earth people like you, David TC Davies, Peter Lilly or Chris Heaton Harris are not considered and placed in post, your efforts are very well documented in this area of national importance.

    This Minister of Energy role has been allowed to stagnate over the last fifteen years with people of the wrong calibre being allowed to ride roughshod over the country’s energy needs by their total fixation with the religion of renewable energy.

  50. HarveyDachs
    August 2, 2016

    The issue of money should be taken away from the banks and put in the hands of the Treasury as was previously done on the 7th August 1914. In order to avoid a run on the banks, the Treasury issued Treasury Notes signed by John Bradbury. This was a form of national credit backed by the credit of the nation. Issuing such interest-free money, based upon the wealth, integrity and potential of our country, would completely remove the hold the banks have over the nation and would kickstart a productive economy.
    A similar approach was taken by Abraham Lincoln with the issue of the ‘Greenback’ dollar during the American civil war but, following his assassination, the bankers took back control and unfortunately, by 1913, the Federal Reserve had been created.

  51. Johan
    August 2, 2016

    Good grief. Do you really trust politicians to play with exchange rates and not manipulate them for electoral advantage? Memory failure, John, and healthy dose of grumpy extremism trumping common sense. Would you really trust the Labour party or the SNP with interest rates. Really?

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    August 3, 2016

    The ‘independent’ Bank of England first attempted to control money supply by targetting the wrong inflation target. Now it appears to have abandoned inflation targetting.

    What should happening is that the Exchequer is in charge of controlling money supply and targets the right inflation target, one that takes into account what rich and middle class people spend their money on, not just the CPI items. The index used should:
    – Include CPI items
    – Include house prices (NOT mortgage payments)
    – Include art, fine wine, gold etc
    – Exclude VAT and duties, which are taxes, not part of underlying prices

    Having chosen the right inflation index to target, we should then steadily reduce targetted inflation per annum – 2.5%, then 2.0% etc.

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