Tear it all up and start again…

Keynes today, the subject of all our thoughts and the topic of a learned seminar in London yesterday. Tax cuts and more borrowing, yes. Keep your debt in your own currency. Be reconciled to the end of lending from China. And yes, print money and a little inflation is no bad thing.
This was from the round of recipes offered by a panel of economists at the Royal Society for the Arts, just one of the bouts of economic agonising that is turning the orthodoxies of the dismal science on their heads. Michael White of the Guardian attempted a little layman’s deconstruction of the arguments, while panellist Gayn Davies dared to commit himself in print on those former black heresies, printing money and inflation. RSA director Matthew Taylor, once Tony Blair’s chief strategist had a selfless solution he would never have proposed in No 10.

My own prescription, for what it is worth, is that whilst borrowing will inevitably increase, we should also re-profile existing spending. In particular, I would enact a time limited tax increase for higher rate tax payers (including me), passing the revenue over to increase unemployment benefit, which I am told is one of the best ways of ensuring that additional public spending translates directly into consumer spending.

Meanwhile over at the LSE, Her Majesty put the wisest question of all..
In the unlikely surroundings of the London School of Economics, she last week cut to the quick ( he meant “chase” I think) Describing the credit crunch as “awful”, she tapped a gilded economist on the proverbial shoulder and asked: “Why did nobody notice?”

While at the same venue last week, I heard former diplomat and Green policy mandarin Sir Crispin Tickell declaring we had to find an alternative to growth in order to save the planet. I dared to disagree: why not “grow” Green technology instead of subsidising Chryslers, Fords and Buicks?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London