The Economic establishment’s errors

During my adult life so far I have witnessed three major UK recessions which did great damage to businesses and individuals, all from predictable policy errors. I have also lived through the false forecasts of a large rise in unemployment and fall in activity in the first two years after a Leave vote, where despite unhelpful policy the UK economy did not fall into a recession in those two years.

So we need to ask why has the UK economic establishment at the Treasury and Bank had such a bad time of it? 

One of the recessions occurred under a Conservative government and two under a Labour government. Clearly none of the Chancellors and PMs involved set a policy to have a recession, and in each case they relied on the professional advice at the time. They were told right up until the recession had started that there would be no recession. 

It is the case the Labour Ministers  made the 1975-6 crisis worse by insisting on very high levels of spending and borrowing, which led to the run on the pound and the visit to the IMF to force a change of economic policy.  In 2007-9 Labour Ministers seemed to be in lock step with official opinion, with both arguing for the wrong  approach to managing banks cash and capital at a time of overextended balance sheets. Conservative Ministers willingly implemented the European Exchange Rate Mechanism policy which led to the humiliation of sterling, basing their case on the official and business  advice in favour of membership. Ironically they called the ERM “the golden scenario”, stating it would bring low inflation and growth. Instead it brought an expensive spike in inflation and recession.

So we do need to ask if senior officials specialising in economies should be under any pressure to get their forecasts right and to correct their positions if they are going wrong?  I do not recall anyone in the Treasury or Bank  apart from Ministers losing their job as a result of the disasters which hit the UK economy, though many hundreds of thousands of other people lost their jobs as a result of bad policy. 

In each case the errors were mainly monetary. In the 1970s the UK lurched from too fast a build up of credit and bank lending to too hard a landing, leading to a property crash and a general recession. In the ERM again as I predicted the mechanism encouraged too rapid a build up of credit, triggering inflation, and then forced too rapid a correction, bringing the economy down. In the banking crash the same thing happened. Bank policy was too accommodating in the run up, as the Parliamentary opposition and various commentators warned. Then the authorities switched to too fast a correction, causing a great recession as I feared.

Tomorrow I will look at more recent Treasury and Bank thinking on the economy and ask if it is fit for purpose, and question why we have cut ourselves off from what Central Banks in the rest of the world are doing. Meanwhile we are looking at another Establishment error, as they watch and do nothing about the current problems.

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139 Comments

  1. DOMINIC
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    This isn’t an issue of faulty forecasts, incorrect policy recommendations or bad advice. This is about power and the use of it to impose a course of direction upon government that promotes the interests of those who seek to manipulate, Mandarins and bureaucrats. Well, if you’re going to simply do nothing about these people and then moan about it then what’s the point?

    Why is there a Treasury? It’s just another political power base for a vested interest not a source of professional advice to politicians. Abolish it and create a new entity. There was a PM called Blair who did exactly this. He simply created a new layer of government. Abracadabra. Unfortunately, we have a Tory party who are about as useful and strong willed as a choccy teapot.

    Dismantle the power bases of these State vested interests. Do it and do not apologise for doing it. Johnson won’t of course. Quangos allow politicians to offload difficult decisions onto these unaccountable entities. Diverting blame and responsibility away from elected politicians is the form of politics we now have in the UK

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      John claims that the forecasts of the effect of a Leave vote were wrong.

      However, they were contingent upon Cameron being as good as his word and activating Article Fifty the day after the vote.

      He simply did not do this.

      Most serious forecasts said that the effects would be a slow burn, cumulative, adverse impact following actual exit, which has not materially happened yet.

      • Hope
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        MaC,Utter Dross. You are now edging your bets.

        JR, is also wrong in his blog yesterday and today. He stood to be elected for three elections on the Tory manifesto to balance the structural deficit by a specific date and then to start reducing the debt. His party and govt failed/lied. We were repeatedly told it was the reason for going into coalition central economic plank etc. JR is now dismissing all of this. But what he does highlight is that the Tory Govt cannot be trusted anymore than Labour to run the economy.

        The same applied to other central promises ie immigration. Historic record high numbers when we had repeated promises to cut to tens of thousands for over a decade! Yesterday we read historic record numbers from Outside the EU! This was central to the Tory Govt growth in GDP. But this is far more than economics it is also about our quality of life.

        Tory govt now actively implementing left wing policies to get rid of the nuclear family, religion and laws that served us so well over centuries. One commentator described Johnsons govt as a mellon, green on the outside and red in the centre.

        Reply I stood for election on my own Manifesto as well as the Conservative Manifesto, which modified some parts of the Conservative Manifesto which I otherwise backed. In all 3 elections I argued the case for an economic policy based on the promotion of prosperity, not the reduction of state debt.

        • Mitchel
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          What is the smart money doing?Well this item from the FT may help:”Last year the UK bought $5.33bn worth of gold from Russia,93% of all the gold that Russia exported.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        The Project Fear campaign before and during the referendum talked of huge rises in taxes and unemployment .
        It said we would have deep recession.
        It said supplies of life saving drugs would run out and planes would not fly.
        This was if we voted to leave the EU.
        This was for the period immediately after the vote.
        You are desperate to re write history Martin.
        It won’t work.
        Even the eternally pessimistic remainer Treasury report which tried to forecast 15 years into the future had to admit that growth would continue.
        The worst they could come up with was that growth might be a tiny bit less than in might have been.
        And that was without inputting any real positive actions by the government to stimulate extra growth.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          Edward2

          Look up the EFTA court and their jure prudence and then let us talk about Iceland as sovereign independent nation?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 29, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            Still droning on about your bizarre notion that no nation is independent I see bill.

      • James1
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        The way the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels are headed, even larger percentages of the 27 are going to be the best regulated unemployed people in the world. Best of luck to them, they’re going to need it.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 29, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          James1

          How many of the 27 EU nations have significant unemployment? when you give me the answer than lets talk

    • BOF
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Not only do they never take responsibility, but they then get a K or are enobled for failure.

      • Shirley
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        There is no hardship in failure at the ‘establishment’ level. This is why nothing will ever change. There is no responsibility taken and people (that includes politicians, civil servants and ‘experts’) can continue to fail at their jobs with impunity.

    • ian terry
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Take any contentious decisions made by our politicians albeit renewable energy, electric vehicles, airports, high speed trains, flood defences and climate change they have one thing in common. People may be responsible but nobody is ever accountable. Until politicians, public and civil servants are held to account all you are left with is a “situation normal society” mentality. Nothing changes.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Exactly. We are governed by fools or virtue signalling idiots. Group think dopes who get almost everything wrong. If one appoints dopes etc dd

    Even now we have absurd decisions being made on Climate Alarmism, the Paris Accord, the net zero carbon lunacy, the expensive and impractical electric car agenda, the expensive “renewable” lunacy, the attacks on the private rented sector, HS2, maintaining dire state virtual monopolies in healthcare and education, the attack on pensions, absurdly high and complex taxation, bank lending restriction, a lack of real competition in banking ……….

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The drive to net zero emissions will beggar the nation. It is driven by doubtful science as it relates to man made CO2 and ruthless propaganda that exploits fear and children.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        clearly bogus science even if you accept the C02 devil gas religion in full the renewables and electric car agendas clearly saves no significant C02 anyway. It just exports jobs and the C02 emissions with them and is irrelevant/insignificant to any climate change.

      • glen cullen
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        correct

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Remember science must confirm to socialism;that’s what was attempted in the Soviet Union anyway!

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic
      It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.
      And yet apart from one or two exceptions the majority of MPs seem to buy into the lunacies you have enumerated above without a moments doubt.

      As you say, group think dopes.

      The two party duopoly is not serving us well.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Two, essentially, tax to death socialist parties. One is far worse than the other but both essentially have the same misguided agenda.

      • turboterrier
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Bob and LL

        Just follow the money and it you will end up with the group leaders who in reality are the only ones actually doing the real thinking. Hidden secret agendas. Situation normal as already recognised.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Like the USA just pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and save Heathrow and all the other infastructure projects that will now go to courts

      • turboterrier
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        glen cullen

        Agree.

    • DavidJ
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, whatever title might be applied to them they are totally unfit for purpose unless, of course, that purpose is the destroy our culture, economy and anything else that gets in the way of their insane plans.

  3. agricola
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    It begs the question, how good is economics as a discipline and as a consequence how good are economists at reading the signs. They appear to be in the same position as 19th century meteorologists.

    Most households and small businesses can run by understanding that you cannot spend what you havn’t got, but your can invest in things that will give a return in excess of the cost of the investment. Government do not seem to realise this and all too often are the cause of the economic rough patches that impact too heavily on households and small businesses. Government drive a tank through cornfields because they have no interest in the principals by which households and small businesses operate.

    Take LHR as an example. The question of do we expand LHR or build a new airport in a more suitable location has gone on so long without decision that it has now fallen into the hands of the luddites and great unwashed. Basically a failure of government to understand the economics of the situation. Apparently 20% of our exports go via LHR. It is profitable whereas HS2 is most unlikely to show a profit. I rest my case.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Agricola,

      I was not aware that so much of UK exports go via LHR; this begs the question, perhaps there is a better location for a cargo oriented airport. Either a new airport or modify an existing. This would ease land transport in the south-east, improve capacity at LHR for pax, and no doubt reduce the cost of shipping by air.

      • BOF
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Unfortunately it is not either or as much cargo alsogoes on passenger flights.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        East Midlands airport is a major cargo hub and this could be expanded easily.
        It has excellent connections but of course it’s north of Watford so doesn’t count.
        Off topic. I see St Greta of Thunberg is spouting her nonsense in Bristol with the BBC giving wall to wall coverage. I would be more impressed if she was in Tiananmen square but Chinese CO2 is good.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Indeed this silly dope offer no workable solutions at all even if you accept the C02 devil gas lunacy she pushes. It is just harmless tree and plant food dear go and study some physics and energy engineering and get real! Sailing on a £1M+ racing yacht and flying your crew out will not even save any C02 will it?

          Let us hope they cancel COP26 – the coronavirus is an excellent excuse to do so. A good reason to cancel the absurd HS2 project too.

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            But LL, how will the Scottish economy and the airlines manage without the expected 30,000 delegates to COP26 who will probably be on expense accounts? It’s not exactly something they would want to cop out of.

        • graham1946
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          She is expected to draw 20,000 kids from all over to spout about something she knows little about and which is unlikely to happen. Meanwhile something that is a genuine threat, the Corona virus which is actually killing people is coming at us right now and she thinks it’s ok to have all those people, any of whom could be carrying, to mix together.

          • Mitchel
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            Turkey threatening to open its European borders to refugees over night.There’s apparently a party of pseudo-Syrians on the way to the Bulgarian border as I write.

      • David_Kent
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Unfortunately for your argument, while there is an important freight only air business, much freight goes in the holds of passenger aircraft and can’t be so simply separated out.

        • Peter Wood
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          Valid point, it might make little difference but surely worth a look. Perhaps the likes of DHL, Fedex, UPS and the cargo only aircraft of the major carriers could be better served, and serve better their manufacturing customers, from a turnkey lower cost location, as suggested from the Midlands.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      The trouble is government can spend what it has not got and then leave the bills or the debt with the tax payer. They do this in spades and invariably spend it appallingly inefficiently often on things that cause far more damage than good.

      Oh and 21st century meteorologists are little better despite their expensive super computers. Anything more than a few days or weeks is almost impossible to do with much accuracy anyway even if they were being honest.

      Clearly the influence of corona virus will have some effect on the weather too (was this prediced and in their weather models?). Perhaps they can tell us what volcanos they have allowed for over then next 100 years in their models.

      • agricola
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Be fair to the Met Office. We live in a temperate band with high pressure areas to the north and south. All are fluid and influence each other. There is also input from the Caribbean and the USA. If you want to know what is about to happen look at the Met Office charts on the internet. If you can understand them you will find them much more accurate than the pretty pictures the TV companies give us. They have successfully managed to dumb down the forecasting of weather to the point where you could deduce almost anything. Sad to say you are in for a rough time in the UK until at least Sunday.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      You should not expect anything better from the Johnson government. Despite his obvious journalistic and political talents his knowledge and understanding of business and industry seems limited – especially of the sectors that actually design, develop, manufacture and sell stuff around the world. In this he shares a fundamental lack of direct experience with most other MPs. If he wants to keep, let alone build upon, his so-called Red Wall of MPs in former Labour held constituencies he and his Ministers had better start learning fast.

      • Martin R
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        His knowledge and understanding of business and industry may seem limited, I’ll give you that. But his understanding of science or of technology is simply non-existent. Though to be honest about the only Tory MP in memory you couldn’t say that of was Peter Lilley.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          Well JR does very well for a history graduate too and one or two others.

  4. Christine
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    We see in the Civil Service a culture of rewarding incompetence. The previous Brexit negotiations is an example. We also have the ludicrous judicial system overruling Government decisions, making big infrastructure projects almost impossible. The Victorians ran half the world and build amazing infrastructure with only a few hundred civil servants. Maybe reducing the number of Civil Servants and quangos would be a start. The current set up doesn’t seem to be working.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      fully agree with your comments, but it needs a government with vision

  5. DOMINIC
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    These aren’t ‘errors, they are deliberate and they are politically strategic.

    If Soros and those astute currency traders could see what would happen following our entry into the ERM why couldn’t politicians and advisers in government? Maybe politicians are a bit, naive? Or maybe they couldn’t care less about the impact of their decision making on those who live in the real world? Or maybe they knew what they were doing and the damaging impact it would have but chose to do it anyway?

    Trade and politics don’t mix. One is concerned with profit and efficiencies while the latter is concerned with abusing profit for tax and increasing inefficiencies to expand budgets. Waste is part of the public sector planning process

    Reply As one of the few voices in government predicting the trouble the ERM would cause, I encountered the usual Establishment unshakeable belief in anything EU

    • David_Kent
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I believe you’ve hit the nail on its head, Sir JR. The ERM was a part of the EU project, a step on the way to a single currency, and therefore sacrosanct.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Indeed it was an entirely predicable disaster as Thatchers advisor Alan Walters, JR and others pointed out to her.

      People who bet on markets may get it wrong often, but on balance they are at least trying to get it right. Politicians & Bureaucrats often are not even trying to get it right it is not their money. They are motivated by politics, self interest, idiotic group think, promotion and similar. Few, if any, have much understand of logic, maths, economics, science, energy, climate or engineering.

      Reply I was her economic adviser after Alan and she agreed with me throughout my period that the ERM was a no go.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        So why did she appoint John Major and let him take us it!

        • Otto
          Posted March 1, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Er.. that’s a leading question – JR

      • Richard1
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I was a great supporter and admirer of Margaret Thatcher, and still consider her to be our greatest peacetime PM. However she was PM and if she really thought the ERM was the disaster it turned out to be she should either have stopped it or resigned.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 29, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Exactly and she made many other errors too. Closing many grammar schools, the poll tax, burying us further into EU treaties and failing to cut the state sector and taxes down to a sensible size.

          The main error was to appoint John Major as anything at all let alone Chancellor.

    • Hope
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Dominic,
      Businesses went bust, homes lost and not even an apology. Ken Clarke recently said it was a blip in history! Now mooted to go into the Lords after causing such devastation to people lives and a traitor to leaving the EU to defy the will of the public. But it did make people wake up that Tories cannot be trusted with the economy.

      it is difficult to comprehend why so many politicians are unfit to hold office are enabled and put in the Lords to give them a TAX FREE wage for life- also at record highs.

      Before the election we had the gossip about Lord reforms and after the election Johnson gives unlimited peerages to underserving people! Expect more of the same Dominic.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Agree trade & politics don’t mix

      So why is carbon pricing and climate change is included within the ‘The Future Relationship with the EU The UK’s Approach to Negotiations’ published yesterday

      • glen cullen
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Politics is only involved in trade to collect tariffs and taxes
        Now it appears that they also want to be involved in society, law and environmental issues when a company buys/sells products across borders

    • forthurst
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Who is JR going to blame for Maudling’s Dash for Growth, Barber ‘s Boom and Lawson’s Boom: each one extremely damaging to the UK economy as rip roaring inflation was inevitably followed by a bust.

      Gordon Brown had the opinion that letting foreign bankers loose in the City was the way to pave our streets with gold. He overlooked the fact that most of them were fraudsters. He also facilitated the takeover of British banks by Scottish banks, banks who had no history of doing anything but retail banking and we are still paying for that.

      Reply Lawson’s policy was based on the ERM! We were shadowing the DM! Maudling was wrong.

      • MWB
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Do you mean English banks ?
        Scottish banks are Britsish banks.
        Scotland is not a country any more than Bavaria is a country.
        When/if they vote for indepemdance, then they will be a country.

      • miami.mode
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply Lawson must have the unique distinction of alienating just about everybody in the UK by participating in his disastrous shadowing of the DM and then chairing Vote Leave. Many of us sometimes alter our views on a subject but rarely in such a dramatic fashion. Is it any wonder that some politicians are seen in such a poor light?

      • forthurst
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply: Shadowing the Deutschmark and joining the ERM were linked in the mind of Lawson, true, but the first event caused rip roaring inflation and the second a deep recession. There was no need for Lawson to shadow the DM; he did it without authorisation to prove to himself that we would be able to operate with an almost fixed exchange rate with the EU and floating rates with the rest of the world.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Much talk on Question Time as usual about poorer people dying earlier than people who are richer. As usual the lefties confuse correlation and cause.

    Of course people who are not very fit or unwell in one way or another will tend to earn less and also tend to have shorter life expectancy. Best not to smoke, not to eat or drink too much, some gentle exercise and not take illegal drugs. Beyond that it is mainly luck of inheriting (or not) good genes. A healthy diet cost less than an unhealthy one too.

    Why on earth is Lord John Bird A. in the Lords and B. on Question Time. He has nothing sensible to say whatsoever. Then again this applies to about 90% of the guests on this BBC programme. The chair is insufferably BBC think too as always.

    Lots of drivel from Nadhim Zahawi about practical electric aircraft! A while off yet mate have you looked at the numbers! Batteries are very heavy, very expensive, bust into flames, store very little energy per KG, depreciate rapidly and take a long time to recharge.
    Also you still have to generate the electricity (from gas in the main) and about 75% is then wasted on route to the aircrafts electric motors. You would also need about three times the numbers of aircraft due to recharge times.

    Please go and look up some physics and engineering and think about it. He read Chem Eng. UCL so should know rather better.

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t staying in a hotel yesterday with the obligatory TV etc.
      Didn’t even bother to turn it on.

      I don’t know how you manage to watch that drivel.

      • hefner
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Hey, a 80-hour ‘work’ week.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid the Conservatives are coming out with as much drivel as the rest on climate hysteria these days. Inane commitments to ‘net zero’ with no clue as to how to do it or what the costs will be, absent some dramatic new technological breakthrough. ‘Climate change’ is of course an excuse for the results of years of incompetent decisions by govt and quangos, like building houses on flood plains and not dredging rivers.

      A ludicrous fawning today in the media over the teenage climate hysteric Greta, with a failure to inform children of the actual facts or to permit any debate. All Ms Thunbergs speeches are the same and none are questioned. A clever move by the green blob to find a child who won’t be challenged!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Richard yes and all the poor people in Shropshire who are having to put up with being flooded out for possibly the 3rd time in 2 weeks when dredging the rivers would have been far less costly than the damage the floods have caused. The emotional upheaval has been horrendous for people and our friends who have been badly affected are completely worn out with the worry. When is this government going to man up and do something useful? The Conservative government is a disgrace.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    What about the High Court decision on Heathrow and the Boris decision not to appeal this?

    Gatwick first then Heathrow and a fast shuttle to connect them into a five runway London hub please. The sooner the better. Cut all the climate alarmist virtue signalling lunacy now please.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      He’ll prob build a new runway when we have electric planes fully up and er…running or falling out of the sky.
      Or maybe balsa wood planes and a few huge elastic bands…like Royal Mail use as if they were going out of fashion…a bit bigger than those but you get the idea?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Range anxiety will be rather worse for planes than cars!

        • Martin R
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          A jumbo jet can carry as much as 188 tons of fuel for maximum range. Energy density of hydrocarbon fuel is more than 50 times greater than the best lithium batteries. So an electric jumbo would require batteries weighing 9,400 tons to give the same range. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be able to take off. Not just because it would be two heavy to take off, although that’s true. But because the wings would have fallen off the plane due to structural failure from the weight of the batteries. Alternatively if the batteries were the same weight as the existing max fuel load the electric jumbo would at least have a usable range of at least 156 miles. Wonderful!

          • Edward2
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Great post Martin R
            It reveals just how ridiculous it is to hear uninformed people saying planes or even big lorries could run on battery power.

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            MR, it always astounds me how a jumbo jet gets off the ground in the first place.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            Exactly. Perhaps they envisage a rather long extension lead from a fast boat containing batteries for transatlantic flights!

    • agricola
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      It raises a major question, who runs the UK, government or judiciary. A fundamental question that needs quantifying.

      Boris never was too keen on LHR expansion preferring a new airport in the Thames Estuary. I would support him were he to push it.

    • BJC
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      I have not followed the arguments for/against a third runway at Heathrow, but I do know that Parliament, overwhelmingly, approved it. I am, however, stunned that the government isn’t appealing the decision, not because it’s about Heathrow, per se, but the clever all-encompassing reason their decision was overturned.

      We’ve now reached the point where the politicised Courts are routinely exploited for what I would call “legalised anarchy”, where there’s no recognition of the authority of Parliament and the voice of the individual/protest groups with access to funding, takes precedence. It undermines our democracy and the social order and is destined to provide a very effective and damaging brake to our future progress. We can but hope that Ms Braverman is all over this like a rash.

    • BOF
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      LL, the judges are now the lawmakers. I agree with you re Gatwick and Heathrow. If Boris does not, through Parliament, get this overturned then I fear for the future. IMO, the Climate Change Act and the Human Rights Act, together, will one day be recognised as the beginning of the end for this country.

      • BOF
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        I should have added, out of control immigration.

  8. DOMINIC
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “The Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development” on future immigration policies

    The British people are being ‘played’ and softened up for changes that can never be reversed.

    The British political establishment is without a question a blight on this most precious nation of ours

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Pretty sure that was on internet pre 2015..before the “Migration Crisis” anyway. No one picked up on it though.
      And May signed us up to the Global Migration Compact.
      “Enshrined in law” I bet, like all their pet projects.

  9. steadyeddie
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing and ‘economic forecasting’ is an oxymoron. As you said yesterday, these things are a matter of judgement. The Labour decisions of the 70’s and 2008 were greatly effected by external events- oil price rise and the US housing crisis. The worst recession, in my experience, was in the early 80’s under Mrs Thatcher but that is often forgotten because it led to a long period of economic growth and was probably necessary to a degree. It is unfortunate that the decision to leave the EU is going to negatively impact our economy and not helped by the unforeseen coronavirus. This is an interesting debate but there are no easy solutions, that is the failure of populism.

    Reply The early 1980s recession was the direct result of Labour excess in the 1970s

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      After a period of adjustment we will very probably be better of economically out of the EU (especially as we have avoided Corbyn/SNP). This as we will be government by people elected by UK voters who have the interest of the UK at heart. EU bureaucrat did not even have the interest of the EU voters at heart let alone those of the EU citizens.

      I see that the (SNP ed) of Scotland wants taxpayers to pay even more tax to provided free sanitary products to everyone. An idiotic and hugely inefficient policy just as one would expect of the SNP and Sturgeon – but is it any worse than HS2 – at least it is rather cheaper and they are useful I understand. Will it later be extended to free loo roles and shaving products and the likes I wonder.

      • James1
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Some people can’t afford Mars Bars. Why doesn’t the SNP give people free Mars Bars.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Great plan tax everyone an extra £2 week, waste about half of it in admin costs, waste even more in distribution costs then give everyone a free Mars Bar every week (even those allergic to chocolate or already obese). Loads will be stolen and sold on too.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply,

      UK National debt in 1970 was about 64% of gdp, it then decreased to below 55% by 1976, when the UK went to the IMF. Now, how much more borrowing do you want?
      Interest rates will change according to confidence in the currency, bank base rates in 1976 were @ 10%+. Suppose there is a loss of confidence this year, can we afford that?

      Are you feeling lucky……

    • Hope
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      No JR this is not correct. Some causes maybe but her change in economic direction was a factor as well.

    • jerry
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; No it wasn’t, it was build out of political choice, hence why you always try and gloss over that period.

      Other countries also suffered from the world-wide economic problems of that decade (the ‘Nixon shock’, the 1974 & 1979 oil shocks etc), but other countries chose to support their troubled industries and economies, not throw them to the wolves – for example, by 1980, the French car industry was a basket case, far worse than BL, compare them now….

  10. jerry
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “During my adult life so far I have witnessed three major UK recessions which did great damage to businesses and individuals”

    I note our host forgets to mention the 19890 and one of the biggest economic upheavals in modern time, I wonder why… The recessions of 1980-1986-on, did far more damage to businesses and individuals than any time since the Great depression, indeed it could be argued that it was worse than the Great Depression because whilst the 1930s did see massive unemployment it did not see whole industries effectively wiped out here in the UK, never to return, removing our ability to earn needed ‘export dollars’ for the UK.

    • hefner
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Jerry, do you really ask why our beloved Cassandra seems to have forgotten these bouts of recession? Too close to home, maybe?
      The very good thing is that (most of) the documents pertaining to that period are becoming available from the National Archives in Kew. I am looking forward to them.

  11. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It’s become very clear that the Treasury and most civil servants seem to imagine that it is they that make the real decisions, for example with Brexit and economics. In fact it has been said they actively worked against our best interests on many occasions.
    With responsibility for providing ministers and Parliament with briefing papers, they always take the establishment view point and hammer it home – The problems with BREXIT, in particular highlight this fact that the establishment / civil servants do not always work for our best interests…!
    WHY THEN, is their advice and briefings on other subjects, like Climate Change, accepted so literally and without question by the government?

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      You mean like in the past when the BBC would always interview two opposing ‘experts’ in a balanced news report and allow you to draw your own conclusions. Now they only interview the one climate change ‘expert’ promoting one view which is deemed gospel ….the same can be said for the government approach to climate change.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        @glen cullen

        VERY similar, indeed..

        The establishment ensures that only the agreed position is propagated…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      One of the main problems with advice and briefings from “experts” and government officials on any subject (Economics, the EU, Climate Change, the tax systems, science, the benefit systems, the size of government) is that the experts have vested interest and also they tend to say what they already know the politicians want to hear. Thus the group (usually wrong) thinks continues on its merry way. We see this very clearly indeed on the totally insane “renewables”, smart meters, electric cars, zero carbon agenda, ban gas boilers agenda. There is no logic in the agenda at all. It is doing vast and entirely pointless damage. Rather like Major’s ERM did.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        No genuine, independent and honest expert with any understanding on trains, engineering and economics could possibly think HS2 is remotely a good idea! It only take a few minutes and the back of an envelope to see that.

        • Martin R
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          But, but, the private sector would have jumped at the chance to to finance it if they had been given the chance because it would have made such good sense!

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that the advice normally comes from experts who rely on a given subject, like climate change, for their high wage, so they are unlikely to deny it is a problem.

        Government needs to get better at seeking out different real perspectives

        • Bob
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          “Government needs to get better at seeking out different real perspectives”

          Agreed. I challenge the govt to hold a Public Inquiry into the AGW hypothesis and let both sides of the argument put the case for and against with full public transparency.
          Do you think the Bliderbergers would allow it?

          • Bryan Harris
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Probably not Bob

          • DaveK
            Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            There have been attempts to create red-blue discussions on climate change in the US, however they have been rebuffed as it suggests “that climate science is broken and needs to be fixed”. This is unacceptable to the believers. The same applies to the BBC whose policy is to no platform any scepticism.

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    A Radical of the 1840s ( thread running from Reformation, Levellers, Chartists etc etc right up to the present) may well have been very pleased with socialist “ progress” made. He would have loved our “Welfare” State.
    We have universal suffrage, Government totally under the thumb of the Commons, elected local authorities cunningly tied to govt aprons strings and free, COMPULSORY education.
    OK we kept The Lords, Monarchy and Church as mere sops but many radical-pleasing steps have been made.
    Except for one…the big fail. Where’s the economic security? In what way are we ( the labouring poor!) protected from the vagaries of commerce?
    The radical view would no doubt be that the existing system had failed and needs to be changed.
    Appeasing the Left has been a waste of time…they STILL ain’t happy! And we are all in one Hell of a mess!!

  13. Will Jones
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You still haven’t answered when you think we should run a surplus and pay off debt, if not now when the sun is shining. Of course credit is cheap now – the sun is out! But if we don’t fix the roof now then we won’t be able to do it next time it’s raining.

    Reply The sun is not shining! Run a surplus when growth is strong and there is an inflation threat. (e.g 2005-7 when I was arguing for less debt)

  14. DOMINIC
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I actually feel like I and indeed others are part of a thinly concealed social and political experiment being driven by forces beyond our control and the British State is deeply involved in it.

    It is appalling, disgusting and vile.

    All is race, gender and sexuality. Minority rights faux victimhood is a political pretext being used to control opposition, to demonise the majority, control of language and perceptions

    It is genuinely worrying and no one is confronting it especially Tory MPs

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Strange. I am a straight, middle-aged, white man – and I am not controlled by anyone.

      Perhaps the ‘problem’ you identify is actually not real?

      • Bob
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        ” I am not controlled by anyone.”

        You are Andy, you just don’t know it.

    • jerry
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      @Dominic; “I actually feel like I and indeed others are part of a thinly concealed social and political experiment”

      You are still living in the 1980s?! With your unwavering belief in Thatcherism and Monetarist theory perhaps you are…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed they even fired Roger Scruton!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      It is called “repressive toleration”.
      Tolerate all from the Left…show total, draconian intolerance to everything on the Right.
      Part of the “Long March”.
      And I can only imagine that those who might want to do something about it have left it too late.
      The Left has undermined our legal system…increasingly we are no longer presumed innocent until proven guilty! Dangerous times indeed.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        See also the process known as Szalamitaktika(salami slicing) developed by the Hungarian Bolshevik,Matyas Rakosi.

        You gradually slice off all the opposition until all that is left is you with your fellow travellers providing a faux opposition.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes!!!
          Exactly!
          To slightly misquote Mr Punch…” That’s the way they do it!”.
          I reckon we have witnessed that?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Dominic – you are not alone in your belief. The majority have become the ignored and the minorities have been told everything they want is perfectly ok – – and that the rest of us will be criminalised if we complain. Immigrants come here illegally claiming they want a “better life” – -then as soon as they are here – start demanding that WE have to change things to suit THEM??? If their home was so bad they had to leave – -why do they want here to become what they left? We all know that answer, so the govt must do as well, but the govt clearly wants to go along with the destruction of this country along with its culture and the inevitable extermination of us.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Destroy the nation state to aid globalism/isation?
        Demoralise us into the bargain so we become inert and less likely to fight for our rights?
        Newcomers are much less susceptible than we are …they have TWO homes.

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I repeat comment from yesterdays article

      “The govt are over taxing and borrowing money to give away.
      The cost of debt interest is higher than the education budget.
      This is all being dictated at supra national level in pursuit of UN Agenda 21 and global government under the auspices of the Bilderbergers.”

  15. Kevin
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “question why we have cut ourselves off from what Central Banks in the rest of the world are doing”

    There is no inherent merit in doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Can you demonstrate what benefits the rest of the world are supposed to be experiencing (universally, you seem to imply) from the different policies of their central banks?

    Also, can you broaden the scope of your survey of the economic landscape, past and present? For example, I still cannot reconcile the current direction of your comments with the following, which you wrote less than five years ago (under a Conservative government):
    “The advocates of QE are now able to claim that there has been no great general inflation so far as a result of their money printing…. There has been, however, a major inflation in the prices of assets, led by bonds but including London home prices. This brings with it social and financial consequences.”
    (Source: “Who is rich? The distorting problems caused by very high London home prices”, 29/11/2015)

    How do you expect other people to listen to you (you write: “as I predicted”, “as I feared”), when you appear not to listen to yourself?

    Reply The USA has had a more supportive Central Bank and has enjoyed a faster growth rate, though there are other factors at work as well. Of course I listen to myself. I recommended an alternative to QE. If you are interested in my views rather than just wanting to contradict selective items because you dislike me, then try reading more of what I have written about better economic policy.

  16. Dave
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    As further proof of the sheer incompetence and failure of government we see no planning for the imminent economic crash caused by corona virus. If the situation in China is replicated even to a small degree in many other countries (and so far it is looking very much like it will be) the economy is in line for a disaster worse than any in modern history.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Hysteria news reporting of coronavirus

      30-40 years ago this wouldn’t have even been reported as only a small number of deaths are elderly or with pre existing medical conditions and associated with flu symptoms

      There where 31 confirmed death of influenza flu in the UK in 2019

      There are 0 deaths of coronavirus in UK

      There are 2800 deaths of coronavirus worldwide

      We need to put things in perspective

      • graham1946
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        It appear relatively small in deaths, but it has enormous financial implications.

        Already the slowdown of exports from China means that there is now a world shortage of containers because they are in the wrong places. When we don’t get containers coming in, there are none to load out. We are only at the beginning of something very big indeed and the deaths will surely follow. The totals you state are mainly from China and can anyone trust them, when they shut up a doctor who spilled the virus beans, then conveniently died of the illness he reported.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        typically 600 people die in the UK from flu.
        In 2008/9 it was approx 10,000.

  17. rose
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Talking of Establishment error, we had more lies from the Today Programme this morning. Martha Kearney brazenly told us HMG wasn’t coming on the programme because it didn’t want to talk to the listeners.

    The point of not going on the programme is this:

    There is no discussion, no debate. Instead, a moronic list of false allegations is read out which the guest is not allowed to answer. So there is no point in going on and no point in the listeners listening. It is counterproductive from the point of view of the BBC too, because the aggressive and unreasonable behaviour of the presenters engenders sympathy for the very people they are inciting us to hate.

    Since HMG has been avoiding the worst offenders, Today, Newsnight, and Channel 4, it is interesting to note that the experts who are appearing on the programmes instead are being treated with respect and allowed to speak.

  18. Richard1
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic I do not find it acceptable that the decision as to whether or not to build a new runway at Heathrow has been taken by a judge, convenient as the result might be for Boris. The judges have decided that the decision doesn’t take enough account of the Paris climate change treaty. What next – perhaps they will overturn the budget, on the grounds it doesn’t consider enough the possible CO2 emissions, and say we need more tax on this or more spending on that?

    If this is the way we are going judges need to be elected, or at the very least subject to rigorous and public parliamentary hearings to check what their political views are.

    The same is true of unelected quangos. Far too much power is in the hands of people we do not elect and cannot remove.

    • rose
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      They might overturn all manner of projects, including HS2, but one project you can be sure they will not overturn because of its impact on the environment, and that is out of control, mass immigration.

    • villaking
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      @Richard1: your ignorance on the Heathrow judgement is breathtaking but sadly typical of so many who wish to bash the judiciary. You should read the judgement. It specifically states several times that it is only concerned with the legal question and makes no judgement at all on the merits of a third runway which is none of the court’s business. The ANPS was not produced as the law required and as parliament had expressly provided. Our democratically elected parliament made a law and the law was not followed.
      https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Heathrow-summary-of-judgments-26-February-2020-online-version.pdf

      • Richard1
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        If course it wasn’t phrased as a judgement on the merits of Heathrow. The point is a judge has decided that parliament was wrong to approve Heathrow. I want these decisions made by people we elect. Why should a judge not overturn the budget on the same grounds?

        • rose
          Posted February 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          I want judges who know when to say, “This is not for me. Don’t bother the court with this.”

  19. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    The part that is missed most of the time, is that the normal human instinct of protecting ones self kicks in once someone is elected. Once elected, it is not how do I serve the nation, but how do I get elected next time around. That is the reason successive Chancellors and PM’s have made so many mistakes – they want, need the adulation today and will worry about tomorrow another day.

    It is if the HoC needs to be incentivized. Any rewards, pensions etc should be paid on the basis of the countries performance at least one term after they have left office. Then maybe the focus will become more long term and purposed for the long term wealth of the nation.

    On the HoL, the best you can say is the taxpayer is handing out more money for no return. There is no accountability. It is as if Governments indulge the movement as they see it as there next ego trip and income. It has no place in a democratic society. The revising chamber should be made up of no more that 150 elected representatives.

    On advisors, thinking the ONS here. Their regular reports on the state of the nation for which the nation relies on for its forward planning, are consistently and repeatedly wrong even by their own reckoning. 25-30% wrong is common. I don’t know of any commercial organization that would employ advisors, staff and so on that were that far out so often. Yes I know the ONS caveats in the small print that there maybe reason to adjust their figures at a later date, and that generally happens after the advent, prediction or forecast has happened. But, that is not the point of forward planning. At the moment it is a clear waste to the taxpayer – but who in Government cares?

    Lets never forget, we pay extremely high taxes with no serious return on our investment for elements that have no function. Governments are good at chucking other peoples money down the drain they talk reform but seek protection.

  20. ian terry
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Take any contentious decisions made by our politicians albeit renewable energy, electric vehicles, airports, high speed trains, flood defences and climate change they have one thing in common. People may be responsible but nobody is ever accountable. Until politicians, public and civil servants are held to account all you are left with is a “situation normal society” mentality. Nothing changes.

  21. William Long
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    A consistent thread that runs through this post is that while none of the accountable politicians wanted to set a policy that resulted in recession, all of them were happy to accept the advice of their officials and run with it. Something that I have observed time after time, is that however much a future Chancellor may express sensible and independent views before he actually gets the job, within a very short time he, and so far it has always been he, ‘Goes native’ and succumbs to the established Treasury view. Mr Javid is a prime illustration of this, but the same was true of Mr Osborne; Hammond had probably held the Treasury view for life and Gordon Browne arguably did a lot to formulate it. But as you have said, the trend holds good for a long time before that.
    The only hope is to find an economically literate Chancellor with the character to be his own man, of for Mr Cummings to get his way and fire the Treasury establishment team.
    Presumably Boris knew what he was doing and reach some sort of accord with the new Chancellor before he gave him the job?
    Let’s hope!

  22. formula57
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    “Meanwhile we are looking at another Establishment error,”! So Boris and Rishi are messing it all up then?

    I note the infamous G. Miller is petitioning against Mr. Bailey’s appointment as Governor on the grounds his time at the FCA saw many outrages. Why this is not a matter for the Court of Session I do not know, but she might have a point, especially if Mr. Bailey is prone to error too.

  23. rose
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    St Greta came to our city today and performed a great miracle: in less than an hour there wasn’t a single blade of grass left on College Green in front of the Cathedral, not one. Instead, a churned up mess of mud which got walked all up Park St. It was indeed a vision of a world without Co2.

    You will probably have guessed it was a Jon Snow crowd and the only people from other continents were the ones picking up the litter.

    • Norman
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      My sympathies Rose. Very disturbing. Thinking back over history, I suppose if it was not this, it would be something else. May decency, common sense, and sound political judgement and prevail.

      • rose
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        And as if this miracle were not enough, she even managed to pull off a power cut straight afterwards. So we glimpsed a world without CO2 and a world without energy!

      • Fred H
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Norman – – find the oxymoron in your statement —
        “May”decency, common sense, and sound political judgement and prevail.’

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Why do you think the litter pickers were from ‘other continents’?
      I suspect they mostly work for Bristol Council – and I doubt many commute in from much further away than Somerset. Perhaps Wales.

      • rose
        Posted March 1, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        If you take the trouble to talk to people, Andy, you can find out where they are from and whom they work for. You can also find out, as I did, what they think of St Greta’s followers and the people behind them.

  24. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    You correctly identify a build up of credit before each recession.

    Total consumer debt in the UK is £1,675,000,000,000
    Total government debt – according to your site yesterday – is £1,820,000,000,000

    Isn’t that enough? And you want us all to borrow more! I don’t want to borrow any money. I don’t want a new car. I don’t want a mortgage. I want to live within my means. I pay off my credit card in full each month. I am doing my bit to prevent a recession. Yet you, Mr. Redwood, keep insisting on more and cheaper credit – which causes a recession!

    Reply I am not asking you to borrow more. I am asking for their to get sensibly priced credit for young people to buy homes and for people to buy cars who need them and for businesses to expand.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted February 29, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      House prices are pushed up by ‘sensibly priced’ or some would say cheap credit so no free lunch there.

      Why can’t we go back to the days when people saved up to buy a new car. Who actually needs a new car anyway. The millions of new cars on PCP’s with balloon payments that may or may not be affordable are a disaster waiting to happen.

      Despite all the cheap credit and money printing the Uk economy has failed to grow. I don’t know how calling for more of the same medicine is going to help!

      What I’d like to see from John Redwood is an outline of a proper industrial strategy that protects key manufacturing capabilities and builds real wealth creating jobs. The policy of ‘welcoming investment’ has too often meant the selling of assets that has left us poorer and less secure.

  25. Martin R
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Like all of us, politicians strive every day to improve on their previous efforts. They are naturally unhappy about those three recessions and are hoping to do better in the future. Consequently we now have Zero Carbon, the Tory Party’s triumphant flagship policy which be a great improvement on what they have done in the past. At an estimated cost of £3 trillion it will outdo any recession conceivable in the past and hence usher in a wondrous new age to the rapturous approval of all. And it’s only £107,000 for every household in the land, cheap at the price. Admittedly £3 trillion is now reckoned to be a wee bit of an underestimate from what I hear, and it won’t make one zillionth of a degree to the temperature of the planet. But, hey what’s not to like, a recession to beat all recessions!

    https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2020/02/ThreeTrillion-1.pdf

    • Martin R
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, I got it wrong. Apologies. I didn’t notice that for an 80% reduction in CO2 the GWPF estimated a cost of £4 trillion, or £135,000 per property. Admittedly that isn’t the full zero carbon job so for that £5 trillion (£178,000 per property) is more realistic. So an even more successful recession than anything that went before!

      Er, can anyone in this government add two and two and make four, or is it a bit to much to ask if politicians can do primary school arithmetic? Still as we know in the modern age virtue signalling reigns supreme, so onward and upward. Or at least, downward.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        They probably could do sums at primary school and GCSE but Oxford PPE, Geography, Law and the likes seems to magically remove this ability from them later. Many even confuse “repaying the debt” with “increasing the government debt less quickly than they did last year!”

  26. JoolsB
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    John,
    RBS is now paying their shareholders dividends again. This when they still owe the taxpayer billions. If it wasn’t for the taxpayer they wouldn’t have any shares at all nor their gold plated pensions seeing as their pension fund was running a huge deficit when the taxpayer took over. I know you will say we are receiving dividends as well but it’s not good enough. When is this Government going to have the ba-ls to demand our money back before any more dividends are paid. The money could be better used for our dire social care instead of wealthy bankers.

    They are taking the taxpayer for mugs. And your Government is allowing it.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      The most short sighted decision ever by Brown to bail out the failing banks. It sent the wrong message, failure can be a success using taxpayers money.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, it is going to be sold off at a loss to the public purse soon enough. It’s the usual thing, bail out the bank, nationalise the loss and when it starts making money sell it off cheap to the City. Anyway, we are not going to benefit.

  27. DavidJ
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Let’s hope that you can exert some influence and instill some common sense in the new Chancellor Sir John.

  28. Lester Beedell
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    So much common sense being displayed in most of the posts above, it’s such a shame that the majority of politicians are unable to take it in, I didn’t realise that I was voting for the Green Party at the General Election, it’s not a Tory Government as I know it, George Useless pushing the Green agenda which will return the country back to the Stone Age
    A truly enormous disappointment!

    • Martin R
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      But a big surprise? Sadly, I don’t think so.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Leste. Exactly what we all think. How can politicians get it so wrong? Are they really blinkered or just stupid? Do they really want the uk to be successful? I have to ask because it’s not that evident?

  29. John S
    Posted February 29, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I just wonder the degree to which Treasury officials are under pressure to make forecasts which are in agreement with the Chancellor’s position. I also wonder that if the Treasury had produced an optimistic forecast post Brexit, would it would have seen the light of day? Would the civil servants have been asked to revisit their forecasts? An analogy is the second dodgy dossier preceding the invasion of Iraq, where the word “has” instead of “might”, concerning weapons of mass destruction, was inserted.

  • 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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