Tuesday 26 October 2010
I'm not biased but...
On the BBC's radio 5 program this morning was Stephen Haseler, professor of government at the London metropolitan university.
He was asked for his views on the economy and said " All the evidence from around the world is we are about to enter another recession and the much trumpeted recovery is petering out." Asked if he supported the spending reviews cuts he said. .. "No. Not any cuts really. The coalition government..has a fundamental flaw in their argument. They are not going to get the private sector to grow. They say that cuts to the public sector will allow the private sector to grow. this won't happen. The recession is global, we won't be able to export out of it and the banks won't lend to support it. .. Its just not going to happen."
Interesting so far. It is all a bit dependent on private sector growth, and that could be being stifled by Vat rise, PS cuts, lack of confidence etc. He may be right. So what does the good professor propose as a solution?
"The only way to grow the economy and get more tax receipts through the treasury is to expand the public sector. Just keep borrowing and keep spending..spending on anything. When you grow the economy your tax receipts increases and therefore your deficit decreases. The coalition plans mean a deficit increase program. It completely ignores all the lessons of previous recessions. The public sector grows you out of trouble."
Then he was asked to put some ideas to labour .. "New Labour are still in this mindset of free market liberalism that has led us into this mess. You must keep printing money until the economy is running well again. that's how it was dealt with in the 1930's."
Hmmm.. two small issues.
1} He has avoided any mention of the world war, inflation, no strong Asian economies or what public spending on uncompetitive industries did to this country.
2} The 1980 recession to deal with inflation cut spending, which, eventually, led to massive growth.. too much and eventual overheating..but ..still worked, after a fashion.
The profs wiki is that of a full blown left wing academic. GLC, Stood for a Labour seat, Founder SDP member, European Republic supporter and so on.
Why do they insist on having these people on? Stephen Haseler has a long list of published titles, the reviews of which are clear. A very clever man who has a very entrenched view that gets in the way of objectivity. A Social Democratic view of a 100% committed European Unionist. He gave these same views at the Lib Dem conference, on a platform with blogger Guido Fawkes. Was it just his forthcoming book that got him on the show?
We here could all collectively come up with a theory that fits the opposite narrative. We could say if the public sector was cut 70% then there would be little government spending and no debt at all... All employment benefit could be insured or limited to 300 days. Schools could be faith or private, and as there are few taxes, everyone would have money to pay. And charities sort out those that can't . Home defence only army, Police on a volunteer basis .. Abandon the EU immediately, and Nato.
Would this nonsense get any airtime? Its not that far removed from the spend until you're out of debt approach advocated by the eminent professor. Yet we aren't likely to get an invite to spout it on the breakfast show any time soon.
I'm not criticising the prof for his beliefs. He is qualified to hold them. He is a regular guest all over the media because he holds those views. And the USA may still yet decide to try them out and then we'll see if he's right.
But the whole thing smelt of 'lets have another no to Tory cuts' story....Squeeze another one in before the anticipated poor GDP figures come out.
Even Nick Robinson mentioned this theme on the 10 o'clock news. 'Labour and parts of the media are driving this 'cuts strategy will lead to a double -dip' message.'
Yes, Nick. Parts of the media indeed...