I have been elevated to a project all of my own by Hopi Sen, a position of some responsibility, and one that if anything increases the pressure to opinionize on every thing that ever happens, economics-wise. Hence (again from Hopi) my views on a new letter calling for more fiscal stimulus.
They are the same as Hopi’s; the time has passed, just for dirty political realism reasons. There need to be other ways of stimulating the economy. When the deficit is at 13% – and G Brown can be blamed for some of that – then you just don’t have wiggle room. My favourite method is in the Anatole Kaletsky column today – order the Bank to target growth. I explain why in Credit Where It’s Due. To put it simply: by having this target, the Bank can far more easily promise that rates will be easy for much longer. That sort of promise is what investors in particular need to actually make stimulative investments. They don’t want to be caught trousers-down in another liquidity crunch a year later.
And as Hopi points out the stimulus the letter writers are after seems awfully long term. Not hitting the sore spot we may be about to go through.
It is not comfortable being on the same side as Iain Dale now. If the government had held its nerve last April they might have done more – but they lost their bottle, partly because of negative comments from Mervyn King in March 2009 – which now seems particularly ill-judged.
In other news: more people seem to agree with my stance on Total Politics interviewing the BNP than I expected – including Sundar. I don’t get how sending them to Coventry is either good tactics – it makes them martyrs – or brave. And boycotting top blog awards just hurts your ability to become, um, top blogs.
And on the subject of politically incorrect views about stuff, this column in the FT bravely takes on those who think it is axiomatic that the Iraq war was evil:
As proof of the Iraq invasion’s wickedness, critics invoke the civilian death toll, soberly reckoned at 100,000-150,000. But Europe’s liberation from Nazi domination cost the lives of 70,000 French civilians and 500,000 German ones through bombing; and, whereas this was the direct responsibility of the British and Americans, most Iraqi civilians were killed by foreign or native insurgents. Yes, the occupying powers were obliged to maintain law and order, and failed initially. But the insurgents were obliged not to send suicide bombers into crowded market places, and they have failed persistently …
Finally I have no doubt that the Spectator has misrepresented Clegg with a blue flower in his mouth. I know him well enough to say that his values are very far apart from those of Thatcher. But nothing will induce me to buy the Spectator, still by far the best advert for the Anything But the Tories Party (c) I have ever seen. I will have to wait till LibCon publishes its analysis of the actual interview.