The suggestion that Labour’s new economic advisory committee will be “unchallengeable” might turn out to be wishful thinking – and several of them may object to the Graun‘s claim that they are “leftwing”.
The right-wing press, with support from the Conservative Government, will do its best to undermine the team’s advice – and it will be up to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to ensure that any media war against them fails.
He’s certainly in a good starting position, though. Simply saying the names of some of the committee’s members should be enough to quiet many critics.
John McDonnell’s team of economic advisers is to meet for the first time as the shadow chancellor prepares his response to the autumn statement, increasingly confident that an intellectual and political tide can be turned against George Osborne’s call for an overall budget surplus by the end of the parliament.
McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn set up a team of high-profile leftwing advisers in part to give some depth to the new leadership and counter their relative inexperience. Although the group was announced in September, it has not yet met and some critics have suggested it will be little more than academic window dressing for long established anti-austerity politics.
McDonnell said: “I am proud today to convene the preliminary meeting of Labour’s economic advisory committee to advise us on the development and implementation of our economic strategy. We will draw on the unchallengeable expertise of some of the world’s leading economic thinkers.
“Every policy we propose and every economic instrument we consider for use will be rigorously examined before we introduce it in government. The foundations of our economic policy are prosperity and social justice endorsed by world leading economic thinkers.”
The economic team includes the Nobel prize-winning Joseph Stiglitz, and Thomas Piketty, the bestselling author of Capital in the 21st Century. But McDonnell may come to rely more on the British-based economists in the group: David Blanchflower, former member of the Bank of England monetary committee; Simon Wren Lewis, an Oxford University economist and author of the Mainly Macro blog; Ann Pettifor, former adviser to Ken Livingstone and defender of the Keynesian tradition; Anastasia Nesvetailova, an economics professor at City University; and Mariana Mazzucato, professor in the economics of innovation at the science policy research unit at the University of Sussex.
The meeting on Thursday is expected to agree a work programme, look ahead to the spending review and examine innovation.
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