Saturday , June 15 2019
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The author Simon Wren-lewis
Simon Wren-lewis
Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, and a fellow of Merton College. This blog is written for both economists and non-economists.

Simon Wren-Lewis

Is Labour’s fiscal policy rule neoliberal?

That is the charge some on the left, particularly followers a movement called MMT, have laid against Labour's Fiscal Credibility Rule (FCR). MMT stands for nothing very informative, but it is a non-mainstream left-wing macroeconomic school of thought. Bill Mitchell, one of the leading lights of MMT, has run a relentless campaignagainst the FCR through his blog. As my own workwith Jonathan Portes helped provide the intellectual foundation for the FCR, I will try and explain why I find the...

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After the Peterborough victory, has Labour’s Brexit policy been redeemed?

In the 2016 EU referendum, Leave got about61% of the Peterborough vote and Remain 39%. In 2017 Peterborough became a classic Labour Tory marginal where other parties were nowhere to be seen. It was exactly the kind of marginal that Labour’s policy of supporting Brexit is designed to keep. If you ask those who support Labour’s current Brexit policy, nearly all their marginals are like Peterborough. The only thing that might confuse people is that Peterborough is not really part of the ‘North’,...

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Labour’s position on Brexit is not a compromise, but is taking the wrong side

The elections for the European parliament showed us the implications of a basic imbalance in politics today. Brexit is the dominant issue, yet both of the major parties support one side, the Brexit side. The Labour leadership tells itself that it is trying to bring the two sides together. It tells itself, by aiming for a softer Brexit than May wanted, it is trying to compromise. But as someone once said, Brexit is Brexit, and those voting in the European elections agreed. To see why Labour’s...

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The response to the European elections will define politics for some time

When I woke up on Monday morning and saw the European election results, I wrote this tweet“Woke up to a triumph for Remain. On latest vote count from BBC, UK clear Remain 40.3%, clear No Deal 34.9%, Lab 14.1% Con 9,1%. Clear Remain even just beat No Deal Brexit in England. If that is not the headline you are seeing, it is another example of Brexit bias I'm afraid.” For the next two days I got hundreds of messages telling me I was delusional (or worse), and often including a funny picture...

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Now is not the time to try to lessen the anger of Farage and Trump devotees

The EU Referendum is a strong sign that the so-called ‘culture wars’ of the US have arrived in Great Britain in earnest. The big event for me personally this week is not Theresa May finally giving up or explicit Remain parties easily beating explicit No Deal parties in the European election. It was the belated launchof my bookto nearly 500 people at Kings College London in an event superbly organised by the Progressive Economic Forum. But don’t worry. This article is not going to be an...

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On the use, or not, of expertise by government

I will write some thoughts, next week when I have had a chance to collect them, following an excellent PEF booklaunch two days ago, with great discussion from Ann Pettifor, Aeron Davis and Maya Goodfellow and a packed audience. In the meantime, as spring turns to summer, I wanted to write about something else. In a recent post I ask why we were governed by incompetents, and I related that to ideology, which in recent times means neoliberalism. But I think it is a little more than working in a...

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The political consequences of Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, as leader of UKIP, was critical in making Cameron commit to an EU referendum. As a key player on the Leave side in the referendum he helped gain a narrow victory. Conservative Brexiters then turned a vote for a negotiated deal with the EU into a headbanging demand to leave without any deal at all. When that failed to be agreed by parliament Nigel Farage re-enters the picture talking about humiliation and national betrayal and demanding a No Deal exit. The political consequences...

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Is Brexit still possible?

My last postwas about how Labour should move from supporting Brexit to supporting Remain, because there is no chance that their kind of Brexit deal either being approved by parliament or attracting majority support from voters. This holds before and after any elections. You may think Labour should support Remain simply because it is the right thing to do. I have written many posts saying exactly this. But many within Labour, including crucially Corbyn himself, do not agree. This is why we...

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Labour’s Brexit policy is long past its sell-by date

Labour cannot bring the country together with any kind of deal because a large majority will always hate the deal they have done. Most people think about Brexit as a binary divide. While true in terms of Remaining or Leaving, this framework is misleading when thinking about any Brexit deal. A better model is to think about three different groups. The first comprise Remainers who see no value in compromising over Brexit. The second is made up of people who will be satisfied with nothing less...

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Lecture on The Lies We Were Told

Too busy to write a post today, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to publicise my forthcoming lecture and discussion on my book. Its at Bush House, 44-46 Aldwych, London at 6pm on 23rd May. I’m lucky to have Rachel Shabi, contributor at the Guardian and Professor Aeron Davis, Deputy Head of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London to lead the discussion. The lecture is organsed by The Progressive Forum, and further details are here. In the lecture I...

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