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Tag Archives: Labour

Some thoughts on Labour’s campaign

The importance of this election cannot be overstated. Voters have a choice between re-electing a government that since 2010 has done untold damage to this country and which will be led by someone totally unsuited to be Prime Minister, or giving a minority Labour government a chance to do better for a few years. The fact that the polls suggest the public want more of the same illustrates how close we are to becoming an authoritarian, populist (in the Jan-Werner Müller sense) right wing state...

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In defence of the IFS, and why it cannot tell the whole story

Our own fiscal council, the OBR, is very restricted in what it is allowed to say by the party that created it. As a consequence, it is absolutely essential that we have widely respected bodies, principally the IFS but I would also include the Resolution Foundation and the National Institute (NIESR), that are able to provide good quality economic advice at all times, but particularly before General Elections. A good example is the Conservative manifesto published last Sunday. Without the IFS,...

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Is Labour’s economic plan credible?

Labour have a huge set of spending proposals, many of which are unequivocally good like extra spending on the NHS, some are open to debate like abolishing student loans, and only one that I think is foolish (keeping the state pension age at 66). It would be good if all the debate was about these spending pledges. However the standard excuse for why you cannot have these things has always been about paying for them. There are actually two issues here. The first concerns current spending,...

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Corbyn and Antisemitism

There is no doubt that the Labour party has an antisemitism problem. But the figures (see below) suggest it involves a tiny minority. Claims that the party is “riddled with antisemitism” are a deliberate lie. What makes antisemitism claims against Labour powerful is that they are associated with Jeremy Corbyn. In particular many have suggested that Corbyn himself is antisemitic. And if you present the evidence is a certain way the claim looks like a strong one. I am no Corbyn fan, and...

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The differences between Labour and the Conservatives on fiscal policy

The Conservatives have learnt the lesson of 2017, and have ditched austerity in order to offer higher spending to the electorate.They hope voters decide that there isn't much difference between the two parties on this score. But voters would be wrong to do so. In Labour's case the extra spending is sustainable, whereas for the Tories it will not be. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the Tories are not proposing large tax increases, while Labour almost certainly will - in the...

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Different kinds of fiscal stimulus

Newspaper day. In the Guardian I have a piecethat looks at how we should regard any tax cuts that Boris Johnson may announce as part of the forthcoming election. And make no mistake tax cuts are coming (we already know they intend to cut the tax on petrol), because the spending review signalled that the governments rule will change, as Chris Giles discussesin a good article in today’s FT in which I among other economists are quoted.In the Guardian piece I argue that tax cuts are a bad idea...

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Will Labour’s new Brexit policy win back voters?

Labour has finally agreedto back a People’s Vote unequivocally on any Brexit deal. That includes any deal it might itself negotiate after winning a General Election. It will campaign for Remain against No Deal or any Tory deal. Whether it will try and negotiate its own deal after it wins a snap General Election will be decided quickly as soon as that General Election is called. This differs slightly from the proposal put forward by five biggest affiliated trade unions, which proposed that...

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Is Brexit a culture war or a class war?

The dynamic of today’s service based economy means that social liberalism is in part generated by class. Imagine someone with a piece of thin card. They draw a circle with a compass and cut out the circle. Two people arrive and pick up the card. One says look, someone has cut out a circle. The other says there is no circle, its just a thin bit of card. The debate over Brexit within the Labour party is in danger of following a similar structure. For most Labour voters and members its...

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Once the Nasty party, now the Brexit party

Brexit could be a gift to Labour that will keep on giving, if the Labour leader is able to grasp it One of the sentences you are sure to hear nowadays is: “Brexit is not going to go away anytime soon”. It is true because Conservative party members will not let it go away. A recent pollshowed a majority of those who will elect our next Prime Minister would prefer achieving Brexit to Scotland saying in the UK, Northern Ireland staying in the UK, or even the survival of their own party. They...

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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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