Categories
Business and Society Money and Banking

Varley versus Volcker

There was an intriguing juxtaposition last week, as the chief executive of Barclays, John Varley, penned an article on banking reform in the Financial Times the day before Paul Volcker, 82 year-old former Federal Reserve chairman and now chair of the US Economic Recovery Advisory Board, made a speech to the Federal Reserve Bank of […]

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Politics

Voting for AV

This post appeared on the Labour List website on 30th August 2010. There can be only one rational reason to vote against AV in next May’s referendum, and that is to undermine democratic government in Britain. This explains why ludicrous right-wingers such as Matthew Elliot and Lord Leach are in charge of the campaign for […]

Categories
Business and Society Economics Money and Banking

Joe Stiglitz in the RBS tent

The 2001 winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, was in Edinburgh last week to give two talks as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He is a pioneer of the economics of information, showing how markets can produce unexpected outcomes because information is […]

Categories
Economics Politics

Labour’s Future

In May 1998 I attended an academic seminar in Downing Street organized to discuss the meaning of Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’. The event was hosted by David Miliband, then the head of the No 10 Policy Unit. Before the meeting I sent Miliband a document I entitled ‘Two Lanes on the Third Way’ pdf(95.5kB), in […]

Categories
Business and Society Economics Politics

Coalition calculations

Well, they went for it anyway – the Lib-Dems that is. I guess they hope that an AV referendum plus a House of Lords elected by PR will pave the way for more substantive electoral reform for the Commons. (It might also lead to some interesting legitimacy issues too – that has always been the […]

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Politics

Electoral Arithmetic

Interesting times in politics indeed! As anyone reading my No 10 Seminar Paper of 1998 (apparently seen by David Miliband himself – hope he read it!) would know, I am a keen supporter of electoral reform leading to genuine proportional representation. But I find myself torn on the political and possibly the moral implications of […]

Categories
Economics

Counteracting ‘Deficit Phobia’

There’s more nonsense about the UK fiscal position around – most of it emanating from the Conservatives and their manifesto. The latter document is appallingly selective with the statistics – they are really setting themselves up for a fall. Here’s an excellent dose of common sense from Kansas City.

Categories
Politics

Welcome to Cameronia!

The Conservative Party leader David Cameron has today published in the Guardian the text of a speech in which he outlines a programme of constitutional reform. What he says is interesting, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We mustn’t forget that David Cameron is no political thinker. He is and has always been a political […]

Categories
Politics

A New Politics?

The Daily Telegraph and their informant have certainly opened a veritable can of worms! Their publication day after day of new revelations of MPs’ expense claims has certainly boosted their sales, despite the widespread reporting of every detail in other outlets. But if they also have a political agenda, this must be a dangerous game, […]