Joining the dots? Labour’s State of the Economy conference

Yesterday in London, the Labour Party held its State of the Economy conference, in which more than 700 Labour members came together for debate on the Party’s economic policy for the next election and beyond. It’s remarkable that this event should have happened at all.  Economic policy has long been untouchable, forged by the professional […]

Leanne Wood, UKIP and that Progressive Alliance

The last time Neil Hamilton was national political news was in 1997 when he lost his Tatton Parliamentary seat to Martin Bell, following the “cash for questions” affair.  Nineteen years on, he is headline news again; elected to the Welsh Assembly for UKIP, rapidly gaining the UKIP leadership in Wales and – if reports are […]

Notes on the new economics: John McDonnell’s tour comes to Bristol

Last night in Bristol saw the latest instalment of John McDonnell’s new economics tour, with prominent macroeconomists Ann Pettifor and Simon Wren-Lewis – both members of Labour’s economic advisory board – speaking to a packed audience.  It was in many respects a remarkable occasion – not just for the content, but for the fact that […]

After IDS: some questions for Labour’s Parliamentarians

With the Tory Party apparently in meltdown following Ian Duncan Smith’s resignation, it’s easy to miss how the events of the past few days affect Labour too.  I’ve already blogged about how the terms of Duncan Smith’s resignation letter expose the cuts and austerity agenda as a matter of political choice, not economic necessity; the […]

The Duncan Smith resignation: fundamentally shifting the economic debate

With the departure of Ian Duncan Smith from the Cabinet, commentators are spending much time and effort analysing how the balance of politics within the Conservative Party has changed.  However, the text of Duncan Smith’s resignation letter raises some absolutely fundamental economic questions – and these have big implications for Labour too. The key paragraphs […]

The productivity conundrum that isn’t

Following George Osborne’s budget, there has been much talk of the productivity “conundrum” – the question of why the United Kingdom’s productivity levels are so low. Is it really a conundrum?  The reasons seem obvious to me: A sustained failure to invest -the UK’s investment figures are among the lowest in the industrialised world, and […]

Rachel Reeves’ alternative budget: taking the politics out of economics?

Rachel Reeves, former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, has published her own “alternative Budget”.  It sets out a set of six proposals which, she argues, George Osborne should follow later this month. As proposals, they’re all excellent.  There’s nothing there one would seriously want to challenge.  Some are extremely important. But, equally, they don’t make […]