What is affordable?

I was disappointed to hear on the radio that it was a sign of the times and surprising that I was supporting the fiscal changes made by the government. The BBC saw me as   some kind of austerity hawk who had suddenly changed, showing the public the BBC think they have every right to comment on  my views without bothering to read  or understand them.

As readers of this blog will know I campaigned for Prosperity not austerity as the driver of policy before the last election as well as for this one. I see recent changes as  good progress in the direction I have wanted campaigning for more money for local schools and the NHS and for a boost to our economy from lower taxes.  

Indeed my opposition to the austerity framework of policy goes right back to my resignation from the government of John Major. I resigned over the Maastricht Treaty and possible membership of the Euro. As I made clear at the time I saw the Maastricht controls on the economy as likely to induce a bust. They had done so in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and could do so again if we joined the currency.  We did not join the Euro but we have always accepted the Maastricht debt and deficit controls, with unfortunate economic consequences. In the Hammond years they have overtightened our economy, cutting its growth rate.

The new fiscal framework is a bit looser but officials wedded to the 3% deficit ceiling and the 60% state debt to GDP target have ensured there are surrogates. Allowing 3% of GDP borrowing for capital spending with a balanced current budget is a bit looser than an overall 3% budget deficit ceiling with pressure to run a deficit considerably lower than 3% much of the time. The need to reduce state debt as a percentage of GDP is not entirely dropped but it now relates to a whole Parliament lifetime and not to each individual year, and only bites if debt interest exceeds 6% of tax revenue. This allows flexibility to take a bit more advantage of low interest rates,.

Because the  BBC will never explain the  origins of our current controls they do not  wish to expose this kind of detail. It means they misrepresent  the views of those of us who wish our country to be prudent but do not wish our economy to be short changed when inflation is under control and growth is weak.


  1. Wilfrid Whattam
    November 9, 2019

    The reality of macroeconomics for a nation using its fiat currency is that the government can never run out of money, and canfund its spending by creating the funds – without the need for borrowing, and absolutely heedless of taxation, which never funds spending. Of course, spending must not put so much money into the private sector that we end up with unacceptable inflation – i.e. too much money chasing too few resources.. Austerity was a bad political decision, probably in line with EU rules. MMT makes all this stuff perfectly clear. So, criticism of your stance is completely unfounded, and based on either deep ignorance and/or gutter politicking.

    1. Peter Wood
      November 9, 2019

      Weimar Republic..here we come….Hey-Ho!

    2. Hope
      November 9, 2019

      JR, BBC is awful. I stopped watching all news and current affairs years ago. Read Question Time reviews with Bruce they are awful. No need to watch uninformed junk. I stopped watching Country File and other programmes also long ago that keep selling its left wing junk agenda. In fact I cannot recall the last time I deliberately watched BBC. We have had endless discusiions on this site about it. The garbage they come out with is shocking for a state controlled monopoly. No meritocracy in presenters, now women who are not good enough for non league football commentating on premiere league, golf and all manner of sports they are not qualified or experienced in talking about. I do not watch it because their opinions/experience are of no value to the subject matter.

      Why has your govt not sorted it out?

    3. dixie
      November 9, 2019

      So why don’t we all stop working and let the government print all the money needed to buy us all the food, shelter, energy and goodies we want?

      Where exactly is your Magic Money Tree (MMT) and what are the real costs to all the business and sole traders in the country?

    4. Hope
      November 9, 2019

      What is affordable you ask. How about wee Sturgeon spouting her bile while the English taxpayer pays for her waste and hate politics. I am sick to death hearing from her when she should be humble saying thank you to the English taxpayer.

      When is the Tory party going to properly address the Lothian question and give parity to England to the rest of the nation? We pay the most and get the least. English taxpayers should have the Same free prescriptions as Scotland, same free university tuition fees as Scotland, why not?

      Johnson last week in parliament highlighting how Scotland is getting the biggest financial settlement ever! How about the English! Does the idiot think we do not notice!

      Scotland students get free education, as do EU students, while English students get a life time of debt! Young English people wake up the Tories are punishing you for being English. When you get full employment you will pay your student debt and pay to provide free university education to Scottish and EU students! You will also pay for Johnson’s multiple billion give away to leave the EU. This is our money from our taxes. Not some fictitious or inanimate money tree.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        November 10, 2019

        I totally agree Hope. The Scots are always moaning but they fail to realise they are better off than the English. Many of them loath us and I ended up wishing they would get their precious independence after 15 years of living amongst them.

    5. Edward2
      November 9, 2019

      Great ideas Wilf,
      Nice to know that we can look forward to a future of not having to pay any taxes whilst the Government creates loads of money for us all to be rich.
      Do we still have to do some work to get wages or will that not be needed too?
      Please send me details.
      I’m all in favour.

    6. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      “The government can never run out of money you say”. Well it can however quite easily and very rapidly render the money totally valueless – to the point where people have to use other methods of exchange other countries currencies, Gold, valuables, bartering etc. Which in essence is just the same as running out of it.

      Indeed printing it can cost more than its value so then they do run out.

      1. Dame Rita Webb QC
        November 9, 2019

        Or as Dr Gono of the Zimbabwean central bank found out, you simply run out of paper to print it on and you cannot import it either because no one overseas no one will accept your worthless currency in exchange

  2. Ian Wragg
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC will never admit that the fiscal rules are set by Brussels and will continue for the foreseeable future.
    Under the Boris WA nothing changes. I’m surprised Corbyn wants to remain part of the evil empire.

    1. Ian Wragg
      November 9, 2019

      I see the Tory supporting MSM are urging Nigel to stand his troops down.
      They are desperate for Boris to get a working majority so he can ram through his abysmal WA
      Farage is our only hope of getting out of the EU properly. Power to his elbow.

      1. Hope
        November 9, 2019

        JR, worryingly we read the IMF thinks the Eurozone is heading for serious financial trouble. Why has Johnson agreed UK to be guarantor 500 billion Euros for EIB liabilities while giving away billions of our cash assets, has he lost the plot?

        We also read in Con Woman that Mayhab in June 2017 and November 2018 signed the up the UK military to be subservient to a host of EU military schemes. Johnson’s agreement continues this. Why?

        1. Lifelogic
          November 9, 2019

          He (like the appalling traitor T May) simply does not want a real Brexit it seems.

      2. Dame Rita Webb
        November 9, 2019

        took this from leave.eu this morning

        If the Brexit Party win 0 seats, the Tories will need 326 seats to form a Government.

        Labour only need c.250 seats to form the next Government with the support of the Lib Dems, SNP and Plaid.

        The Tories are kicking off this match 76-0 behind

        It’s time to talk.

        1. Dame Rita Webb QC
          November 9, 2019

          What’s more alarming is Sinn Fein has a non aggression with their fellow remainers in the Alliance party to knock out the DUP. Boris is trying to show a level of incompetence last shown by people like him during the Crimean war

      3. old salt
        November 9, 2019

        Ian Wragg
        Your view is also shared in a considerable majority around here.

        1. steve
          November 9, 2019

          old salt / Ian Wragg

          Indeed so.

          However I doubt Boris will talk to Farage.

          In fact I do sometimes wonder if Boris is deliberately trying to throw the election.

          Shame really as I was looking forward to laughing at the humiliation of Ms Sturgeon and Mr Corbyn.

          So Boris won’t form pact with BXP….all the more reason to vote BXP, or not vote at all.

          One thing’s clear….if we don’t get brexit and the brexit we voted for, there’ll be skunks running for the hills as the majority in this country will be mightily displeased.

      4. Lifelogic
        November 9, 2019

        I tend to agree. Not that I want The Corbyn/SNP disaster. Boris has even allowed 10 people who voted for the appalling treachery of the Ben act back into the party. Why?

        Post the election if he gets a decent majority (he would with a BREXIT accommodation) and with no Benn Act destroying his negotiations then a vast improvement on the (Boris Handcuff) Treaty is must be obtained – if not we should clearly just leave.

        1. Dame Rita Webb QC
          November 9, 2019

          Have a look at the Conservative Woman website and see the sort of people Boris is forcing on Conservative associations. Boris is not serious on Brexit looking at his jeunesse doree replacements for Soubry and co.

        2. Simeon
          November 9, 2019

          With respect, your position seems to suffer from schizophrenia. On the one hand you recognise the only way to actually get Brexit done, and say many fine things on the subject, but in the next breath you’ll pin your hopes on the Conservatives getting a Brexit majority and BJ gaining a mandate to do this. This is a fantasy. BJ and the Tories have absolutely no intention of delivering a Brexit worthy of the name. They are all in on this ‘great’ deal BJ has ‘negotiated’. Their only interest is in winning this election and clinging on to power. So much of what you say indicates that you understand this. I believe when you truly accept that the Tories actually are what they appear to be you’ll feel a whole lot better!

      5. Chris
        November 9, 2019

        Absolutely right, Ian.

      6. Simeon
        November 9, 2019

        What do you make of Farage relaxing his position on the WA in an attempt to reach an accord with the Tories? Personally, I think the time has long since past to make a pact with the Tories. I think such a pact could even hurt the Brexit party as much of their support comes from voters hugely hostile to the Tories. The suggestion that Farage might compromise on Brexit is disturbing enough. That he might compromise on Brexit in desperation and so enable the Tories is nauseating.

  3. Mark B
    November 9, 2019

    Good morning.

    . . . BBC think they have every right to comment on my views . . .

    So, Auntie reads here does she ?

    Auntie is just digging for dirt. She cannot criticize the EU because she is in receipt of monies from it and, as everyone knows, when you take coin from the Devil you are expected to dance to its tune.

    Very few now believe what the BREXIT Bashing Corporation says these days. A fewer, especially the young, are tuning in. As the government will not do that which is necessary, it will have to be the market. 😉

    1. margaret howard
      November 9, 2019

      Mark B

      “She (BBC) cannot criticize the EU because she is in receipt of monies from it..”

      Not that old chestnut AGAIN!

      The EU contribute towards the EU Framework for Research and Development Projects throughout the union. It is used for such projects like ultra-high definition filming and 3D broadcasting.

      The BBC share was as follows:

      2013/14 £878.000
      2014/15 £779.000
      2015/16 £676.000

      Total contributions: £2.3m over 3 years.

      (But you knew about all that!)

      No doubt if there is anything left it will be used on replenishing their paper clips.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 9, 2019

        The real problem is they only employ pro EU, PC, green crap believers and daft lefties with arts degrees.

  4. Shirley
    November 9, 2019

    LibLabCon will always accede to the demands of the EU. They will huff and puff, but eventually they give in after being given a minor improvement that doesn’t really achieve anything worthwhile and can be ‘got around’ by the EU (such as a veto on EZ bail outs) but will be hailed as a big success (the latest versions being Boris’s ‘deal’ and Cameron’s ‘reforms’).

    It’s a waste of time and nothing but a big con trick on the electorate. LibLabCon will ALWAYS find an excuse to avoid leaving the constraints of the EU. If you think Boris is any different, then you have a hard lesson ahead. His actions to date are anything but reassuring.

    The only thing that will give us freedom to be a sovereign self governing nation is a WTO exit and that will be fought against by the main parties, including the Conservatives.

  5. Dame Rita Webb QC
    November 9, 2019

    You can dress it up as much as you like, but because of the Conservatives inability to deal with the root causes of the 2007/8 crisis, you have only achieved any growth in GDP through massive amounts of public and private borrowing (plus an open door immigration policy). Once this stops the British economy meets its nemesis. Trump could not be bothered to rectify this either so we will not be alone. And that is why Boris cannot offer the voters anything radical and so a Conservative win will just be another five years on the road to nowhere.

  6. Peter
    November 9, 2019

    It would be interesting to have the full details of the radio comments.

    It is not surprising to hear that the BBC has a bias though.

    The most recent one I recall was Nick Robinson’s interview with Douglas Murray where Robinson resurrected an old quote, out of context in an interview on a different subject. Murray believed it was ‘typical BBC gang up’ and misrepresentation of right wing people.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      He was quite right to think this.

  7. Derek Henry
    November 9, 2019

    Brilliant John !

    I would call myself a middle of the road kind of guy.

    I had the very same experience on the BBC. Which is why I keep saying we have to keep trying to break down these gold standard, fixed exchange rate ” self imposed ” constraints that no longer apply to our monetary system.

    The only way to make brexit a success is to keep challenging the IFS and OBR to replace the nonsensical ” household budget constraint” with an inflation constraint.

    Applying the ” household budget constraint ” to the monopoly issuer of the £ is quite frankly the definition of madness.

    They apply it in the Eurozone because the Euro is a foreign currency to those who use it. No control over either fiscal or monetary policy. To dampen down the demand of imports. Because they believe they can “all ” export their way to growth another definition of madness.

    Don’t give up John.

    I asked them to explain Japan’s debt to GDP ratio of 250%, very low unemployment and inflation rates and they couldn’t. So I explained all of it to them using the actual government accounts. No politics, no ideology and they couldn’t handle it.

    The force is strong within the BBC and it does not help that normally they have art degrees. Unless you are on newsnight and then you are dealing with the revolving door with the city of london. Of course higher deficits hurt banking profits.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      November 9, 2019

      Well, you can argue that, certainly.

      But at the same time you cannot make “magic money tree” attacks on Labour proposals – which, incidentally, are so radical that other Conservative parties – not even socialists – around the European Union are actually operating them right now, e.g. Mrs. Merkel’s.

      1. steve
        November 9, 2019


        Ah well you see Mrs Merkel (and Mr macron) does have a magic money tree….it’s called the UK.

        1. Martin in Cardiff
          November 10, 2019


  8. Fedupsoutherner
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC misrepresent everything. They are their own political entity financed by us. There is such a lot of drivel being spoken and reported lately we have given up watching it. Something has to be done.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Indeed, it is totally misguided left wing, pro EU, greencrap, alarmist, anti US, big state propaganda. Distorting the whole political debate using tax/licence fee money that is extracted by threat of imprisonment – to grossly mislead those very same tax payers.

    2. Chris
      November 9, 2019

      If the government under Cameron, May and Boris, thought that the BBC was damaging to its own agenda it would have done something. The fact that it didn’t do anything tells you all you need to know. In my view, the BBC is fulfilling a vital role for our pro EU government, and has apparently been given free rein to do so. (No, Boris is not the Leaver that some seem to think he is),

  9. Lifelogic
    November 9, 2019

    Exactly, you are (and always were right on this) and the BBC, (as almost always) is wrong. The EU has been a disaster in so very many areas. The ERM, fishing, CAP, the EURO, open door immigration, the smart meter fiasco, railways as some obvious examples.

    You are of course wrong (yesterday) on having the healthcare organised as a dire state run, free at the point of rationing and delay monopoly. Very many people die and suffer as a direct result of this. But perhaps this is a political necessity given the appalling propaganda from the BBC and indeed in schools that fools so many people into thinking the NHS is the envy of the world!

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Some BBC idiot yesterday (discussing the relaxing of immigration rules for doctors etc.) suggest to some Conservative that they should have made it clear at the time of the EU referendum how important EU medical staff were to the NHS. There is nothing about Brexit (not that it looks like we will get Brexit) that preventing the UK allowing in Doctors from the EU or indeed anywhere in the world if we choose to. We do not need the EU to allow this.

      1. Iain Moore
        November 9, 2019

        Saw some figures from the Commons Library saying 13% of the NHS staff were foreign born. Google foreign born population of the UK comes up with 13% . So far from foreign nationals keeping the NHS afloat, as the propaganda goes, it appears to be only covering the demand immigration is pacing on it.

      2. SecretPeople
        November 9, 2019

        If the BBC had been impartial, as they are supposed to be, there would have been someone on hand to make that very point.

      3. margaret howard
        November 9, 2019


        “There is nothing about Brexit that preventing the UK allowing in Doctors from the EU or indeed anywhere in the world if we choose to”

        Really? Unless of course they choose not to come to work in such an uncertain environment.

        “The number of nurses and midwives coming to work in Britain from Europe has plunged by 89% since the UK voted to leave the EU, figures have revealed.
        The sharp fall coincided with a sudden increase in qualified European medics leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register: from 2,435 in 2015-16 to 4,067 in the last year – a rise of 67%.

        The NMC data, released on Thursday, also shows a third worrying trend relating to the NHS’s already shortstaffed workforce – that the number of UK-trained nurses and midwives leaving the register rose by 11%, from 26,653 in 2015-16 to 29,019 last year.”

        Guardian 02/11/2017
        (Will no doubt be worse today)

        1. Edward2
          November 9, 2019

          One barrier to these nurses and midwives from the EU and elsewhere coming here is the recently introduced requirements that they must have a degree.

    2. agricola
      November 9, 2019

      I fear you misunderstand the NHS. There is the government involvement, the financial input and allocation plus of course the internal administration. These are subject to criticism because they do not always match the need. In fairness to those involved it is a war scenario where circumstances are frequently changing and they are constantly playing catchup.

      When it comes to the front line, they are suffering the lethargy of the above. Just like a new revolutionary fighter aircraft, surgeons and clinicians take time to produce. However for those at the sharp end of delivery there is no, in my personal experience, lack of dedication or compassion. Bare in mind that they are only human and their disposition is not improved when confronted with abusive drunken patients.

      By all means have a go at politicians but support the front line.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 10, 2019

        I know that there are many very dedicated people in the front line of the NHS often dealing with drunks, drug addicts and similar.

        Another reason we need to charge them or deduct from benefits – they might then have less to spend on drink and drugs next week.

  10. agricola
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC is in receipt of money from the EU. This is part of the EU policy to control the media. Any organisation or individual that does not tow the line is under threat. This is why you hear little criticism from those who have served in the EU and are now in receipt of a tax exempt pension. There are more of these organisations and individuals than we realise.

    I have been more than aware of the unprecedented attention the media has given in the recent few days to the SNP. The SNP represent at best 60% of 5 million people, an insinificant number in relation to the population of the UK. Why, is it because they are vehemently remain. They prefer subjugation to the EU to being an equal partner in the UK.

    I do not know how much support there is in the Westminster bubble for hiving off the BBC news and current affairs department to subscription or advertising revenue, but I suspect there is much support outside the bubble.

    I am not qualified to comment on the minutae of your budgetry ideas, but it is clear that they are not revolutionery. I can see however that those of the current Labour party are pure Disneyland fantasy,guaranreed to destroy the state and the individual. I also note that the BBC are not offering forensic disection of the Labour proposals, but as the aural arm of the Guardian it does not surprise me. I would remind our readers and the electorate at large that historic benign forms of Labour have without exception, when in power, managed to bancrupt the UK economy, even boasting about it in the note left on a Treasury desk at the end of the Gordon Brown era. What the current rabble of Marxists plan to do is an economic Hiroshima.

  11. gyges01
    November 9, 2019

    ” the BBC think they have every right to comment on my views without bothering to read or understand them.”

    You’ve just broadened my understanding of fake news. Prior to your note, I regarded fake news as the reporting of the misconstruction of what was said rather than reporting what was meant.

    If someone says or does something that can be misconstrued as (eg) racism or snobbery, the misconstruction will be reported as fact. In other words, the facts merge into the background as the meaning of the facts are pushed to the foreground. Of course, the meaning of the facts is not ascertained or judged by any measure of fairness or reasonableness (cf Danny Baker / Jacob Rees-Mogg).

    I suppose I’m just re-inventing a convoluted definition of Hunter S Thomson’s Gonzo journalism.

    1. dixie
      November 9, 2019

      The Kathy Newman interview of Jordan Peterson is a clear demonstration of the attitude and approach, it is not limited to the BBC

      1. Lifelogic
        November 9, 2019

        Indeed Channel 4 is appalling too. This interview showed just how very thick some people with first class degrees in English from Oxford can actually be. Total inability to think in real time.

        The BBC’s pathetic attempted hatchet job by Emily Maitlis on Rod Little is well worth watching too. The other Newsnight presenters are even worse than her.

        1. gyges01
          November 10, 2019

          ” very thick some people with first class degrees in English from Oxford can actually be” education is about subservience … check out Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Soceity, Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz, Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt the list is longer but finite since the point is obvious.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Indeed Mogg merely pointed out the truth. The words were then twisted to pretend he had suggested the victims were more stupid than himself – he said no such thing.

      It was blindingly obvious to me very early in the event from a cursory glance at the fire going up one side of the building on TV that evacuation asap was needed the stair would have been fairly smoke free at this point. But fire officials idiotically stuck to their stay put policy for many hours.

      Groups of ‘experts’ it seems can be educated and trained into such moronic stupidity. Not daring to challenge the safety of their misguided group think. Regardless of the blindingly obvious need so to do. Many junior firemen at the coal face saw the reality very quickly indeed. But not it seems the decision maker commanders.

  12. Alan Jutson
    November 9, 2019

    The problem is JR that the BBC in common with much of the media just want to air their views, and then seek to fit certain facts to support it, anything that supports a contrary view is just eliminated.
    The financial ignorance of many of our Mp’s, and selective facts for political argument and spin, means we never hear a factual and sensible debate.

    All governments of all colours have been and still are guilty of the above.

    Exactly the same with Climate change, where they think the answer is more taxation.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Indeed just look at our moronic energy policy agenda. It forces companies to buy “green” energy (when it is not green) and the recent fines for cheating this absurd system.

      Yet more back door taxation of bill payers and job exporting lunacy from a fake green crap pushing “Conservative” government.

  13. FK
    November 9, 2019

    Sounds like a complaint to the relevant regulator is in order.

    If Conservative ministers, MPs and PPCs made a formal complaint every time the BBC (and C4, and Sky News) misrepresents them, then maybe someone would eventually take notice. It would at least give even more ammunition to the DCMS next time the Royal Charter is up for renewal.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      November 9, 2019

      The Conservatives have had nine years to do something about the BBC but they never will. Cameron relied on it during the referendum campaign. While today it’s ‘climate emergency’, pro LGBT and open borders agenda complements government policy perfectly. Vote Conservative and keep on paying an additional £154.50 a year in tax even if you never use the BBCs services

  14. Walt
    November 9, 2019

    So why is our supposedly impartial public sector broadcaster, for which we are compelled to pay annual fees, repeatedly allowed to get away with misrepresentation?

    1. steve
      November 9, 2019


      “So why is our supposedly impartial public sector broadcaster, for which we are compelled to pay annual fees, repeatedly allowed to get away with misrepresentation?”

      …..Quite simply; the authorities that could haul them up are also of the civil service, and accordingly like minded left wing activists, courtesy of ‘you get your man in there’ Tony.

      The rot is deeper than you may think.

  15. oldtimer
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC is a biased broadcaster. It’s speciality is putting words in people’s mouths that they did not utter. We can hear it daily when an interviewer says “So what you are saying is ….” followed by a twisting or misrepresentation of what the person has just said. Savvy politicians are alert to this trick in live interviews, just as they avoid interviews which can be edited later. For you they have adopted a third category where they state what your opinion is without even providing you with the courtesy of an interview. Such is the world of the corrupt BBC.

  16. Mike Stallard
    November 9, 2019

    My wife listens to the BBC News every evening and then switches over to Strictly. More and more I go out and do the washing up. It seems to be a lot of middle aged women moaning!

    1. Chris
      November 9, 2019

      We have no BBC on in our house (except Death in Paradise, for a few weeks) and we are far better for it.

  17. Narrow Shoulders
    November 9, 2019

    Thank you for your clarification Sir John. I had wondered how you managed to swing from being right behind the 80 – 20 aim of the George Osborne presentation to your current stance on opening the taps.

    My concern, given the paucity of earnings opportunities and therefore low taxes likely to be raised, is how to turn the taps off when we inevitably crash again and the consequences of doing so.

    This is going to cost me isn’t it?

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      November 9, 2019

      I assume you believe that this “investment” will increase earnings opportunities and you are correct it will. But those who benefit will be the usual cabal not the masses and the USA is demonstrating at present that trickle down is a myth.

      Let us aim for a budget surplus and stop urinating taxes against the wall.

      1. Derek Henry
        November 9, 2019

        Let’s not.

        Unless we can start with your savings and pension first. Leave mine alone.

        A government budget surplus is A non government sector deficit. Non government being households and businesses. To the penny.

        Households and businesses can’t spend more than they earn we have tried that and it failed miserably. The more debt people are in the less they can spend on goods and services.

        Suppose the economy is populated by two people, one being government and the other deemed to be the private (non-government) sector. If the government runs a balanced budget (spends 100 and taxes 100) then private accumulation of fiat currency (savings) is zero in that period and the private budget is also balanced.

        Say the government spends 120 and taxes remain at 100, then private saving is 20 which can accumulate as financial assets. The corresponding 20 bank deposits have been created by the government to cover its additional expenses. The government may decide to issue an interest-bearing bond to encourage saving but operationally it does not have to do this to finance its deficit. The government deficit of 20 is exactly the private savings of 20. Now if government continued in this vein, accumulated private savings would equal the cumulative budget deficits.

        However, should government decide to run a surplus (say spend 80 and tax 100) then the private sector would owe the government a net tax payment of 20 and would need to sell something back to the government to get the needed funds. The result is the government generally buys back some bonds it had previously sold. The net funding needs of the non-government sector automatically elicit this correct response from government via interest rate signals.

        Either way accumulated private saving is reduced £-for-£ when there is a government surplus. The government surplus has two negative effects for the private sector:

        (a) the stock of financial assets (money or bonds) held by the private sector, which represents its wealth, falls; and

        (b) private disposable income also falls in line with the net taxation impost. Some may retort that government bond purchases provide the private wealth-holder with cash. That is true but the liquidation of wealth is driven by the shortage of cash in the private sector arising from tax demands exceeding income. The cash from the bond sales pays the Government’s net tax bill. The result is exactly the same when expanding this example by allowing for private income generation and a banking sector.

        From the example above, and further recognising that currency plus reserves (the monetary base) plus outstanding government securities constitutes net financial assets of the non-government sector, the fact that the non-government sector is dependent on the government to provide funds for both its desired net savings and payment of taxes to the government becomes a matter of accounting.

        If you are saying that at some point the interest payments as a % of GDP become so large and private sector spending is such that there is less non-inflationary room available for other discretionary spending then fine that is what taxation is for – to reduce private spending and/or the government can reduces its own spending somewhat. But before that happens the current account, tax revenue (from higher activity) and saving will be taking up a signifcant part of the adjustment.

        But this is just saying that prudent government net spending is limited by the available real resources in the economy left by non-government saving desires.

        So it would be good jettison all the macroeconomic theory that construes the government budget constraint as an ex ante financial constraint instead of seeing it as it is as an ex post accounting statement, with no operational relevance

        Reply Any such model needs to take into account the overseas balance and the corporate sector. With an open economy like the UK irresponsible levels of debt or money creation by the state will have external effects on the currency and ability to import and internal effects on the inflation rate.

        1. Derek Henry
          November 10, 2019

          Which we already do John.

          The ONS publish it

          ” Our sectoral balances “

        2. Edward2
          November 10, 2019

          Your odd theory seems to suggest that only the government can create wealth by spending inno the private sector.
          The more the state spends the wealthier we get.
          Sounds unlikely to me.

        3. Narrow Shoulders
          November 10, 2019

          You do keep beating that drum.

          Germany ran surpluses until recently. Its citizens have good savings and pensions.

          Theory, reality

  18. Nigel
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC is in full flow anti Boris election mode. Will the new Tory Government do something about this liberal left biased organisation that we are obliged to fund?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      The BBC are hugely partisan (and totally wrong) on almost every single issue they endlessly propagandise for. They want to kill Brexit (looks like they have done with the Boris Treaty), more green crap everywhere, higher taxes, expensive energy, more enforced “equality”, more nanny state, more open door immigration regardless of quality or need, ever more climate alarmism, more regulation of everything, more envy of no one NHS, more employment red tape, more nationalisation, continuation of the outrageous & anti-competitive BBC licence tax, more bonkers Greta Thunberg think.

      The BBC is stuffed with misguided lefty art graduates and daft luvvies.

      1. Simeon
        November 9, 2019

        For a moment there I thought you were describing the Conservative party manifesto.

  19. Martyn G
    November 9, 2019

    It is no surprise to me that you have found what you describe as biassed reporting with the intent of misleading the public. I gave up watching the BBC earlier this year, exasperated and disgusted at the endless bias and their Guardianista outlook on politics, the EU and life in general. The BBC seemingly can ignore its charter and I cannot understand why the authorities allows it to continue to do so – it is long past the time that it was brought to book.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019


    2. Bob
      November 9, 2019

      @Martyn G

      “The BBC seemingly can ignore its charter and I cannot understand why the authorities allows it to continue”

      Do you still fund the BBC?

      1. Martyn G
        November 9, 2019

        No, nor do I ever intend to do so in future!

    3. Chris
      November 9, 2019

      Martyn, the BBC is obviously pro EU, and the stark truth is that our government, even under Boris, is also pro EU. Boris does not want a true Brexit, in my view. You can bet that for as long as the BBC serves a useful purpose for the government, of whatever hue, it will be left alone. That tells you everything about why it has been given free rein for all these years, even under changing leaders, some of whom try to pass themselves off as eurosceptic. The establishment are all the same.

      Furthermore, I do not believe a single word that Boris says. He has broken promise after promise. I just switch off the videoclips of him campaigning as I regard it as meaningless drivel. (I was a Conservative supporter for many years, but the worm has turned and I just cannot stomach any more of them. Brexit Party for me).

  20. Martin in Cardiff
    November 9, 2019

    What is affordable?

    Well, it depends on your priorities, doesn’t it?

    Estimates are difficult and complex, but sensible ones suggest that this country spends about seven percent of GDP on dealing with crime and its effects, but it could be even far more. We spend about a billion a year just on clearing up litter and dog fouling, for instance. Nor does that tell us the extent to which crime is holding us back from potentially far greater prosperity.

    The pro-rata crime rate in the UK for imprisonable offences is roughly twice the pan-European Union average, but again there is great variability between the different classes of offence.

    Whatever, if it could be halved, then clearly that would save several times our overseas aid budget or European Union contributions.

    Now, why ever would that NOT be top priority?

    1. steve
      November 9, 2019


      A very interesting post, which I found quite informative.

      I have a feeling things are going to get a whole lot worse before they improve, regardless of who’s in government. Politics in this Island will have to change, brexit or no brexit, and I strongly suspect it’ll be a rough ride to get there.

      In terms of what is affordable….for the common man, I think people can do themselves great favour by pulling away from consumerism and all it’s traps. Rely more on the time proven skills of mend and make do, keep out of debt as much as possible, and restore community spirit as it used to be.

      You often hear people reflecting that years ago they had less, but were happy.

  21. Nig l
    November 9, 2019

    I hope you will complain and get an apology. Should the Tories win, there needs to be an inquiry into the alleged bias over Brexit to include whether they have abused their ‘most trusted’ position through weak and one eyed editorialising.

    Indeed with the growth of on line channels etc, the BBC with its tax funded income, unfair competition etc, again post election its whole future, raisin d’etre needs to be examined.

    I neither watch it nor listen to it, I have umpteen news, music, entertainment, sports (in which they almost don’t compete) available free on line or for a subscription of MY choice and I suspect I am not alone.

    1. David A Behrens
      November 9, 2019

      Dear Sir John,

      Plenty of things are “affordable”! If only the Tory Party had the balls and gumption
      Do not agree to The May Surender Treaty. Now Boris Treaty .Billions saved. Unquantifiable…. 5%VAT for starters.
      Cancel HS2 . Monies to be invested in improving existing train links . Cross Pennines, south west , south, east coast. Full internet (not from Chinese).
      Cut Foreign Aid Budget In half and spend monies to assist our influence. Pacific islands and half of Africa now beholden to Chinese.

      Build Houses… Macmillan did. Whether planning or tax breaks for small builders. Cancel the iniquitous tax on repair and refurbishment of Listed Buildings.
      Reconfigure failing high streets from A3 to A1.

      Cut Stamp Duty and Inheritance tax. Monies to the exchequer will increase.

      I apologise for my rant… as a member I am unable to contact Conservative Central Office and my Local MP , Greg Hands , when he did answer my letters it was with platitudes…

      PS if on East Sussex Coast find the Rye Harbour Fish Processing plant. Day boat landed . Sell direct . What’s in the boxes or on ice.. From mackerel to a turbot . The boats are restricted to 6 miles…. 12 miles is still for the French. 84% of cod and Dover Sole in the Channel and South Coast.

    2. tim
      November 9, 2019

      Nig1- but you/we all have to pay the British/Brussels Brainwashing corporation.

    3. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      It is patently obvious they have abused they their ‘most trusted’ position through weak and one eyed editorialising. They are a blatant propaganda unit and they do it every single day, no inquiry is needed!

  22. Kevin
    November 9, 2019

    Speaking of trying to understand someone’s views, no doubt you are aware of the apparent disagreement between Mr. Johnson and Stephen Barclay over the implications of Boris’ Deal for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. You recently said in Parliament that you were delighted that the P.M. has “reassured us that we will completely take back control of our fish”. Presumably, this does not take into account the Deal’s transition period. Even after that period, however, clause 72 of the Political Declaration reads: “the Parties should cooperate on the development of measures for the…regulation of fisheries, in a non-discriminatory manner.” It is argued that this clause would effectively keep us in the Common Fisheries Policy. Should voters be confident that Mr. Johnson’s understanding on this matter is the correct one?

    1. Bob
      November 9, 2019

      The WA is a sell out, UK fishing grounds will remain open to EU boats and cannot have independent policies for trade, employment, taxation, subsidies and many other things, where such divergence would impinge upon a so called “level playing field” with the EU. In other words UK is explicitly debarred from competing with the EU in any meaningful fashion.

      Under the WA the UK will not have control of its money or borders for at least another three years during an extendable transition period likely to last until December 2022, and there is no guarantee of regaining sovereignty after that.

      It is a classic bait-and-switch. The mainstream media and Lib/Lab/Con machine are working together to persuade Brexiteers to buy Boris’s Brexit-In-Name-Only treaty.

    2. Alan Jutson
      November 9, 2019


      “Should voters be confident that Mr Johnson’s understanding…….”

      Simple word.

      Simple Answer


    3. Everhopeful
      November 9, 2019

      I interpreted that remark re fish as holding the PM’s feet to the fire. Clever I thought.

    4. Andy
      November 9, 2019

      Why would you not want to cooperate on fishing? Fish don’t respect borders.

      1. dixie
        November 9, 2019

        You mean the same way the EU “cooperates” with West Africa over fishing?

        We must take back control of our EEZ and exercise proper control and stewardship. Reasonable cooperation is possibly realistic, submission to EU regulations and law inside our own territory and domain is not.

    5. Jon Reade
      November 9, 2019

      Boris seems to understand very little of the new treaty and is just doing what his EU masters dictate.

      1. steve
        November 9, 2019

        Jon Reade

        Don’t forget Varadkar of the former Irish state…Boris’s EU handler.

    6. steve
      November 9, 2019


      “the P.M. has “reassured us that we will completely take back control of our fish”

      Of course providing Macron allows Boris to do that.

      Remember Macron is on record as telling french fishermen that Britain must allow french access to it’s waters or face losing Northern Ireland.

    7. BillM
      November 9, 2019

      Oh dear, it seems Boris has been infected with the ‘May’ virus. He does not realise what his own ‘deal’ actually means. When are we going to get a competent PM?
      I believe there are true Tories in Parliament BUT they sit on the back benches because their faces do not fit.
      We should always remember that when we vote in a General Election, we are not just voting for a Party, we are voting for an entire Government.
      So be extra careful who you vote for. Do not select one who could never produce the very best for Britain’s citizens. Leave means LEAVE!

      1. Simeon
        November 9, 2019

        Where are these true Tories? All of them, with the exception of our kind host, indicated their support for Boris’s deal, including the self-styled ‘hard man’ of Brexit, Steve Baker (how pathetic does he look now). Supporting BJ and his deal is at the very least stupid, and possibly unprincipled as well. Even if some of these MP’s have their hearts in the right place, their brains are not. But then perhaps spinelessness and muddled thinking are the hallmarks of a true Tory these days.

  23. Dominic
    November 9, 2019

    Have the conviction to stand up and call for this organisation to be disbanded and rebuilt along apolitical lines

    The BBC should be privatised. OFCOM should be disbanded.

    Labour is once again in full control of the various agents of the State.

    Until the Tory party in government implements radical policies that lead to the complete dismantling of Labour’s client state this form of leftist propaganda activity will continue

  24. George Brooks
    November 9, 2019

    Your last paragraph is so right Sir John. Over the last decade the editorial directors and staff of the BBC’s News department have gradually changed from giving a well thought through balanced report to a left leaning propaganda machine.

    Ten years ago Radio 4’s Today programme was a ‘must listen to’ first thing in the morning and BBC Breakfast added the pictures after which one had a reasonably clear idea of national and international events. Now the only worthwhile sector of ‘Today’ is the first six to seven minutes of news and weather before it launches into Project Fear or something similar and BBC Breakfast has become a mixture of Casualty, Call the Midwife and Listen with Mother.

    News Watch used to be a worthwhile 15 minutes viewing which it is not anymore. When a section of the News department is criticised now a senior, self centred, smug member of staff is interviewed and never answers or examines the complaint but just states that their view is right and that is what you are going to get.

    The idea that the BBC gives a balanced view of events has gone clean out of the window and I hope that BJ gets a good majority and sorts the Corporation out from the top downwards

  25. Sydney Ashurst
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC poached Fisal Islam, so they keep wheeling him out with his pseudo Brexit economic disasters.
    There is always a pro-EU economic think tank that can produce bad forecasts to order.
    Chancellors have even had the Treasury doing it.

  26. Sue W
    November 9, 2019

    I shouldn’t worry too much about anything BBC says. Anyone still watching it and being taken in by it is probably already a lost cause. We cancelled our licence in April with the accompanying text by way of explanation to the BBC:
    I wish to cancel my TV.licence for a number of reasons as follows:

    1) your extreme and unrelenting political bias
    2)your lowest common denominator programmes
    3) the poor standard of your presenters
    4) your constant anti-democratic globalist propaganda
    5) excessive salaries of aforementioned poor quality presenters

    I do not wish to continue funding your subversive activities.

    I was sent a refund and am now getting the customary threatening letters sent to all non licence holders. This is what we have come to.

  27. Dave Andrews
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC have you pigeon-holed as a right wing politician, which in their liberal left-wing minds makes you far-right. You are therefore endowed with a suite of policies according to their presumption.
    They could take the trouble to investigate what your views really are, but that would oblige them to divert from lazy thinking and engage in unaccustomed thought. They’re not going to do that.

  28. David
    November 9, 2019

    We know that the BBC is not fit for purpose in most respects, it has been pointed out many times. But what if anything do the Conservatives intend doing about it?

    IMO, the BBC inflicts huge damage on this country, but it goes on and on, unchallenged.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      November 9, 2019

      Oh, was it the BBC who bust all those banks, costing the taxpayer about a trillion quid, then?

      Here’s me thinking that it was dodgy US ratings, along with financial deregulation and poor enforcement here.

      1. David
        November 9, 2019

        Silly response. Damage can take many forms.

  29. Dominic
    November 9, 2019

    Austerity is a myth propagated by politicians, public bodies and public sector entities to justify ever greater levels of taxpayer financed State spending

    The State today is a vested interest concerned with creating a culture in which people associate high levels of taxation with social concern. It is an act of the most appalling deception to extract more private sector funding (general taxation) to finance the public sector gravy-train, protecting their privileges, protecting their political leverage and protecting their budgets

    People want reform not higher taxes using the pretext of a lie namely austerity

  30. MikeP
    November 9, 2019

    I believe you’re referring to the EU’s Growth & Stability Pact, that applies to all 28 member states whether or not they are in the Eurozone. It speaks to the generally low level of understanding of these rules by the media that they themselves and Opposition politicians are allowed to repeatedly speak of “austerity” and “cuts” without challenge. And you’ll be as familiar as I am of BBC South Today’s relentless pursuit of “cuts” stories.
    It would be interesting to know when we fell below the 3% deficit to GDP cap and whether it was in the Osborne era or that of Philip Hammond. Either way you’re absolutely right that we could and should have started some targeted spending and investment years ago.

  31. Dominic
    November 9, 2019

    Politicians don’t deliver prosperity, the private sector deliver prosperity. All politicians who encourage further State intervention are a drain on people in the real world

    Politicians drain our income, our morals, our energy, our intelligence, warp our world, expose us to propaganda, expose us to lies and intervene in all aspects of our lives

    The Tories have been in power since 2010 and we have the rise of authoritarianism with oppressive legislation passed with the support of Marxist Labour

    All Tory MPs should be ashamed of how you have all betrayed true Tory voters and betrayed your own beliefs for political convenience

  32. Everhopeful
    November 9, 2019

    Are the BBC’s remarks what is called a “Strawman argument” designed to make a right winger defend himself/rise to the bait?
    There are ( maybe) only two things to say in response to such an attack.
    1.The EU caused all this.
    2.A Corbyn government would harm every single working person in the country ( and then explain how..not difficult for a politician I imagine.).
    Never try to reason with the left ….it is a HUGE mistake.
    And never BE reasonable with them….they see it as weakness and attack. ( As seen recently.).

  33. Oliver
    November 9, 2019

    One of the most nauseous things about politics is the way anyone who can count is branded as “right wing”, which now has become “far right”.

    If it irritates me, what it must be like being you I can barely imagine. But thanks for trying!

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Indeed when in fact Boris is, at best, in the middle ground politically and anyone to the left of him is clearly left wing or extreme left wing – on any rational basis.

      There is nothing right wing about leaving the EU. Alas we cannot ask Tony Benn, Peter Shaw, Michael Foot. Barbara Castle ….

  34. BCL
    November 9, 2019

    I’m not sure the BBC was ever impartial but if it was, its coverage of Brexit has proved it certainly isn’t now. How many times have we heard the BBC telling us that Calais will grind to a halt when the Chairman of the Port of Calais authority has said it won’t or that closure of the Honda plant was due to Brexit when the chairman of Honda says it’s unrelated to Brexit.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      What about its coverage of the Climate Alarmist religion? That if anything is even more biased and idiotic.

  35. Gareth Warren
    November 9, 2019

    I agree your spending priorities are logical and sensible, alas our media is not.

    One thing that is not mentioned is where the money in post brexit Britain is spent, inside this country or outside this country.

    Here we get no benefit from the net £12 billion sent out each year and poor value for that the EU chooses to spend in this country – I certainly would not support sending Mr Heseltine £90000 a year of our taxes.

    Instead we can look forward to a lot more money flowing around Britain post a real brexit.

  36. Denis Cooper
    November 9, 2019

    Off topic:


    “Half of UK citizens think the country will not exist in a decade”

    Partly thanks to our government’s reluctance to rebut the utter nonsense that the Irish government and our own euro federalists have promulgated about the border:


    “… if the UK government had swept aside the molehill on the Irish border from which federalists had created the illusion of a mountain …”

    Why have both Theresa May and Boris Johnson played along with it?

  37. ian
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC must be doing something right for the gov to be giving them 600 million next year and nice to hear that you all watch and listen to the BBC and keep there rating up while people under 45 don’t bother, the best laugh so far has BJ walking out of chequers and calling Mrs May deal a turd and then said that the EU Mrs May and cabinet were polishing the turd for public consumption and now BJ has gone on to be the best TURD POLISHER this country has ever known, I hope you enjoy your bedtime stories from your politicians and you draw comfort from them up and till election day, I will be posting anymore after the election is over, I do wish to influence your decision on how you vote, when people are making mistakes it best to let get on with it and I see the TORYS are already 100 seats to the good.

    Here we go round the mulberry bush.
    The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush.
    Here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning.

  38. ian
    November 9, 2019

    I bid you a adieu, it’s will be biblical.

  39. ukretired123
    November 9, 2019

    BBC are a propaganda machine daily pumping out worn, threadbare news.

    In order to create interest like all MSM they need to liven things up with a bit of controversy just like Tom Watson’s Nick and the BBC ‘s very own Jimmy Saville history cover up.

    It’s a pity SJR can’t sue them. They would soon meet the end of the road.

    I prefer to switch channels now and avoid BBC news propaganda and only check the weather forecast which is supplied to them by the meteorological subcontractors who are more trusted. This gives me free time to devote to more rewarding stress free viewing.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Richard Littlejohn had Tom Watson spot on yesterday in the Mail. He is not impressed to say the least.

  40. BillM
    November 9, 2019

    What else can we expect from the Biased British Corporation? Anything or anyone who goes against their own principles is automatically shouted down They criticise their critics regardless of the validity of the complaint and I do hope that with a new Government, the BBC will be brought to heel.
    They are funded by Public Money and therefore must show a responsibility to the public that pay them. Why are they allowed to get away with it?
    It is puzzling, why have they never been formally challenged over their disgraceful biased reporting and anti-democracy programme content?

  41. Lynn Atkinson
    November 9, 2019

    The BBC don’t want to reveal that Austerity emanates from the EU – ask the Greeks! Both the BBC and the EU really must be removed from living of the British taxpayer.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 9, 2019

      Correct, but they will not be reformed verymuch under Boris‘s ”Conservatives” with his expensive handcuffs & the ”oven ready” treaty. Boris is clearly essentially May but a bit more humanity not not quite as appallingly dim, dishonest, socialist & robotic as she was.

      But his deal is still not Brexit by a long measure.

      At the Berlin Wall anniversary: Merkel warns that democracy is not ‘self-evident’

      Well not only is it not ‘self-evident’ but the EU itself is profoundly anti-democratic at every single turn Angela. It is in essence the makings of a new anti-democratic socialist disaster rather like the old USSR.

    2. Pragmatist
      November 10, 2019

      I may stand corrected but I heard once that “Austerity” as a term was first applied by German economists and meant in their context, carefully planned economics, perhaps prudent.Though UK Opposition parties have run with the term, twisted it to mean an attack on human beings. They had to do this for something to say remotely intelligent and worthwhile. Everyone knows you have to cut your cloth (Austerity)

  42. Hugh Rose
    November 9, 2019

    Your comments about the BBC shortcomings are well made and accurate. Is it not time to for the Government to do something about it?

    Perhaps you could address how the BBC’s lack of impartiality, cost and poor performance might be improved in a future piece? It certainly needs root and branch renewal.

  43. Ian @Barkham
    November 9, 2019

    Sir John

    As others have pointed out the BBC like the rest of the MSM, is concerned with ratings not truth, reality or informing.

    A tenuous soundbite is perceived as being an attractive way to grab attention, it then to be used to sell a totally different proposition.

    While some recognize it is marketing, the feeling nowadays, there is a large majority feel that it is the informed voice of some great messiah.

    The BBC’s biggest downfall is that it clearly is no longer impartial, no longer imparts the facts of a situation and is no longer verifying or carrying out due diligence of what is aired. They have a focus on being populist. Those are just some of the reasons why they should no longer be funded by the taxpayer ( a compulsory fee just to have a TV is tax). If they want to play the main stream media game let them, let them stand or fall on the same commercial basis.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    November 9, 2019

    Your argument fails to take into account the fact that our very low interest rates are bad for the economy because they ensure the survival of the fattest, not the fittest. Capital tied up in the government sector and in big, sleepy corporations is capital not available to SMEs and other innovators.

    If we phase out ultra low interest rates, what would happen to debt interest as a % of public expenditure? It is currently 6% and would rise. It may provide a good income to lenders but to taxpayers it is money straight down the toilet.

  45. steve
    November 9, 2019


    I fully sympathise with your views of the BBC. It seems to me they’ve been in breach of their charter for many a year, certainly since Blair infiltrated it.

    It’s a left wing staffed, and left swing biased propaganda outfit. I should know, I used to work there.

    My suggestion is that all parliamentarians should come to an agreement with each other that when being interviewed, soon as the interviewer attempts any funny business or shows any political bias whatsoever…..just unclip the mike, toss it on the table and simply walk off. Don’t say anything except “taxi”

    Quite frankly what comes out of the mouths of some of these journalists doesn’t really deserve the dignity of a response.

    Their bias is actually quite offensive to most licence victims, and the majority of people expect no bias from them either way.

    Indeed, on the very rare occasion I’ve seen a BBC interview biased against a Labour interviewee I’ve been equally appalled. It shouldn’t happen, they’re supposed to represent the highest standards of professional journalism.

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