Light Cast on the Future

Every now and then, a single event can cast a bright and unexpected light on a complex issue of much wider significance. Just such an event was the government’s decision to award the contract to build a new ferry to a Bangladeshi firm rather than a New Zealand boatbuilder. At first sight, the main reason […]

A Dose of Reality

As the cheerleaders for economic recovery build up to a Christmas frenzy, it is worth injecting a dose of reality into the optimism. Let us recall that the so-called recovery comes off the back of five years in the doldrums – a period of policy failure that has cost us an immense amount of lost […]

Myths, Politicians and Money

My new book, Myths, Politicians and Money, was recently published in London by Palgrave Macmillan to coincide with the Labour Party conference in Brighton.  It has been very well received and reviewed, and has attracted a good deal of attention. It is a comprehensive account of what I think has gone wrong for Western democracies […]

Air New Zealand Shows the Way

In the ten years or so before my wife (English born and bred but now a proud Kiwi) and I returned to live in New Zealand, we flew back to New Zealand from Britain on many occasions. We always felt, as we boarded the Air New Zealand flight at Heathrow, that in doing so we […]

Tipping the Balance

In his first term as Prime Minister, John Key made a determined effort to be all things to all men – and women. In his second term, however, he hasn’t bothered; he has clearly calculated that he can still win an election while quite overtly tipping the balance of advantage further in favour of the […]

What Happened to the Money?

Larry Elliott is right to ask in Tuesday’s Guardian why 16.5 billion of quantitative easing made available by the Bank of England to the commercial banks through the funding for lending scheme has failed to show up in increased lending to the small and medium-sized businesses which desperately need a boost to their available funding. […]

History’s Judgment

As he finds himself sailing into increasingly choppy waters, it is perhaps not surprising that the Prime Minister’s thoughts might turn to the judgment that history might make of his term in office. There have been several occasions recently when John Key has speculated on that matter; and, amongst other predictions, he has confidently forecast […]

George Osborne’s Non-Event

George Osborne’s budget was driven by an obvious political imperative but was, in economic terms, largely a non-event. The major interest, such as it was, lay in the minor adjustments offered to long-suffering consumers in the forlorn hope that they would be cheered up by cheaper beer and marginal concessions on income tax, and might […]

George Osborne’s Deep Hole

Whatever George Osborne may say on Wednesday in his budget speech, he cannot extricate himself from the wreckage that now surrounds him. He may be just about the last person in Britain to believe that austerity offers a credible path to recovery from recession – and it may be doubted that even he remains a […]

A Litany of Errors

George Osborne may be just about the last person in Britain to believe that austerity offers a real path to recovery from recession and the resumption of growth – and it may be doubted that even he remains a true believer. The repeated fall back into recession, a government deficit that goes on rising, and […]