Inside Politics

The Economic Outlook

Before the Budget, there was widespread agreement around what to expect. It was to be a tight plan for difficult times with not much room for manoeuvre, let alone the opportunity of fiscal stimuli. This forecast was pretty accurate, but hardly anyone seemed to notice. [...]

On a tight Budget

The Budget comes at a time when there are dark clouds on the economic horizon – a contrast to the sunny days when Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, would eulogise over his part in producing unprecedented periods of continuous economic growth. [...]

The rock that became a millstone

The formal nationalisation of Northern Rock is only the logical conclusion to the Government’s months-long involvement with the failed mortgage lender. Since it was bailed out after last year’s run on its deposits, the people ultimately in charge of it have been Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, and it will be them who will pick up the political bill for any mistakes. [...]

Transport: The wrong kind of time-travelling

This has not been a good week for transport in Britain, and it is not only because a British Airways jet crashed at Heathrow. Not a day goes by without our roads, rails and airports being stretched beyond their intended capacity. [...]

Lack of trust, not lack of cash

There is no economic law that says that share prices should never fall. It would be wiser if central bankers stepped back and let the markets clear up the mess that was first and foremost caused by loose monetary policies. [...]

Taking the biscuit

Take a biscuit, put a layer of marshmallow on top and cover the whole thing in chocolate – what do you call that? The answer: this is not just a biscuit, this is an M&S biscuit. At least that was what HM Treasury thought. To Marks & Spencer, however, these chocolaty creations were something very different. The retailer insisted that they were in fact teacakes. [...]

She’ll be right, mate.

What do you do with a government that has created two million new jobs? That has halved inflation? Under which real wages went up 20 per cent? Which cut the national tax burden? Under which exports doubled? Kick it out. So said the Australian electorate last weekend. [...]

The Gracious Speech: Housing

Once again, the government has announced grand plans for faster planning and more affordable housing. But given its record, it is doubtful whether grand plans will finally become grand designs. [...]

Emperor Brown has no Clothes

There are questions about Gordon Brown’s alleged record of sound economic management if the economy is thrown into a state of panic just because house prices remain by-and-large stable for the first time in a decade. The emperor of prudence has finally lost his clothes. [...]

The End of the Party?

While the boom lasted, economists calling for a return to such policies have often been treated like party-poopers. Now the party is over, will politicians start listening to their advice again? [...]