The surreal nature of the debate on taxation continues. At a Resolution Foundation seminar on November 2, the panel of experts was asked whether the UK tax-take was about right (35% of GDP), or too high, or whether it ought to be lower. There is no correct answer to that question, the infantile nature of which reflected the incoherence of tax policy. As Sir Vince Cable, who was Business Secretary in the Cameron coalition government, observed: “People want US levels of taxation [very low] and Scandinavian levels of spending [very high]”.
Archive | UK Politics
The Route to Virtuous Growth
Britain now enters a period of severe political instability. People will pay a heavy price, if the politicians don’t sort themselves out quickly. The General Election in May promises to create deadlock, with neither the Tories nor Labour securing a popular mandate to govern. Horse-trading with the Scot Nats and/or Ukip is creating the uncertainty […]
Palace of Fools: who’s laughing?
By acting as fools, jesters in mediaeval courts deployed the power of laughter to get away with uttering uncomfortable truths in the presence of kings. Today, Britain’s Palace of Westminster is full of fools: but no-one is laughing. Take the case of the alarming rise in house prices, which is causing panic in David Cameron’s […]
Populism Strikes the Politicians
Across Europe, politicians are enduring the wrath of people who are being made to pay the price for the dereliction of duty by the elites. The only justification for their exercising power is their superior ability to manage the affairs of state. That doctrine has been exposed as vacuous. The test for their capacity to […]
The Politics of Time Wasting
In a crisis, when decision-makers don’t know what they are doing, time-wasting becomes an art form. In Europe, austerity has more to do with politics than economics. The same applies with the debt in the US: political gridlock is about disguising the fact that the politicians are frightened and don’t know what to do about […]
Lying with Moral Language
The people in power are beginning to panic. They conceal their eroding self-confidence by pretending that recovery of the economy is around the corner. But they continue to deceive with words that conceal their culpability, shifting guilt on to the people who played no part in the crushing of communities that is now proceeding apace […]
The World War has Begun
In a speech in Buenos Aires last May I warned that we were heading for a world war. Fanciful? Alarmist? According to Andrew Haldane, a top director at the Bank of England, world war had already begun. He told the BBC on December 3 that the British economy had endured a battering that was “as […]
The Blair Blag
Tony Blair is a man with a mission. He mixes his Catholic faith with his faith in his own talents as a politician to spread his brand of governance to countries around the world. The man who ignored my advice and drove the UK economy into depression is now a guru for governments like the […]
Who Runs the Asylum?
Four years into a depression and the politicians and their advisors are still running in circles. The Financial Times complains that there has been no satisfactory inquest into the way the West locked itself into the crisis from which governments are unable to escape. But now, in Britain at least, the knives are out… The […]
The Confessions of Liars
In our name, politicians lie. When questioned about dissention within the ranks of government, they unite to deny differences over policies. Then, after being thrown out by the electorate, they admit in their memoirs that the journalistic inquisitors were correct. They had to lie, they claim, for the sake of good governance. If we tolerate […]