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 […]

Myths, Politicians and Money

In 1989, the American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama published a famous essay which he called “The End of History”. In celebrating what he believed to be the more or less permanent triumph of liberal democracy, he saw the “free market” and democracy as not only compatible but as mutually supportive. The market was in his […]

Our Politicians Are Not Up To It

The revelation that Growth in a Time of Debt, the influential 2010 paper by leading economists Reinhart and Rogoff, was vitiated by basic errors has removed one of the last credible underpinnings of the contention that austerity – and reducing the deficit at all costs – is the proper response to recession. But it is […]

When A Minister’s Luck Runs Out

It is said that Napoleon, on being told of the impressive attributes of a new general, asked, “But is he lucky?” Napoleon, it seems, understood that in war, as in politics, luck – and timing – are everything. Most politicians will ride their luck while they can but will come unstuck when their luck runs […]

What the Hekia Doing?

John Key enjoyed his first term as Prime Minister. It all seemed so easy. But now, in his second term, it’s not so much fun. The rot began to set in even before the last election, with the ill-fated storm in the John Banks teacup, and the Epsom MP has continued to give him nightmares […]

John Banks – Guilty Twice Over

Politicians rapidly become accustomed to being pilloried as a matter of course by sizeable numbers of the population. Their customary ranking in the trustworthiness stakes alongside second-hand car salesmen and real estate agents is the penalty they must pay for putting themselves out there and having their thoughts, words and actions publicly judged on a […]

The Dangers of Dominance

In 1980, I brought my young family for the first time to New Zealand to visit my homeland for a holiday. At the time, I had recently lost my marginal seat in the House of Commons and was working in current affairs television. One of my clearest memories of that enjoyable holiday was the shock […]

Governments As Banks

The G20 summit seems certain to demonstrate that for most world leaders the conversion to Keynesian economics is no more than skin-deep. The global crisis may have compelled some re-assessment of the “free” market doctrines previously thought to be unchallengeable, but many of those attending the summit are reluctant to accept the responsibilities that a […]

Who Is To Blame?

As the true scale and nature of the global crisis becomes apparent, the blame game is under way with a vengeance. Not surprisingly, those who find that it is their jobs and homes that are now at risk are keen to identify those who can be held responsible. It isn’t just those – like Bernard […]