Monday 16 December 2019

Can we focus on the economy now, please?

Thanks to Brexit, the madness of Corbynism, climate change and the emergence of 'woke' identity politics, I can't remember a time when the economy was less important in terms of the national debate than now.

This blog started in 2006, the economy and its impact on politics was a cornerstone of the UK debate, even in the aftermath of the Iraq War. Into 2007 and the beginnings of the financial crisis and it became the all-consuming topic and this lasted into the faux-austerity years right up until the Brexit referendum in 2016.

So the really interesting point is that it is now 3 years with little practical focus on what is going on. In the main this is good news, the economy has ticked along in its new slow growth post-Quantitative easing way. Employment is very high by historical standards and jobs still low paying but improving at the margins.

There has been no major faffing with the tax system since George Osborne changed the stamp duty rates which flattened the housing market in 2015. This year we have changes to IR35 which will cause some dislocation, but a yet to be determined amount and anyway - there are plenty of jobs that need doing so it is likely that this will cause a shift in labour and how it works more than any lasting impact on the economy as a whole.

Of course, we did see a lot of high level macro-economic nonsense in the recent election campaign - stuff about nationalising rail and, er, broadband. All for the birds as it turns out and surely even a crazed Labour party is not going to run on such an extreme position in the future.

So now, with a return to a more normal environment for political discourse, what will we see, after all there are some big challenges to be had:

1 - Climate change is a big issue now, there is scope to change the tax base more radically to address this in the tax system...whilst...

2 - Somehow finding more money for the NHS and Social care, neither of which are going to be funded properly with a greying population. Clearly an extension to the pension system and better tax free private provision will be needed to get more money allocated to this sector

3 - Not forgetting Brexit, where trade negotiations (which lets face it are marginal in the overall scheme of things) will determine whether the Government is brave enough to significantly reduce tariffs to enable a low import cost base and juice the economy that way.

Plenty more to discuss, I look forward to it rather than having silly conversations about tens of billions for magical thinking theories on communism! Happy days ahead.


Matt said...

The economy has always important to those in the productive part of society (so not the political/media bubble and those workers on the state teat) who don't obsess about trans rights or engage in the cult of Greta.

CityUnslicker said...

Matt +1

andrew said...

1 Pick a subject that no-one seems to care about
2 Publicise it for a few years, make it important to a key (cross party) group
3 Generate support and opposition
4 Pick a side (know you can win the argument)
5 Stand for election on a one topic platform
6 Get Elected!

About Stage 3 on Social Care...

Elby the Beserk said...

Fair enough, Nick but can we also allow us another couple of days to sit back and gorge ourselves on Labour's complete refusal to accept that Corbyn is poison? Most fun since the actual referendum and Trump.

The world turned upside down. Hallelujah.