Tag Archives: Mark Carney

Turing beats Thatcher (and others) to be the new face on the back of the £50 note

Yes! A victory for good sense at last!

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing will feature on the new design of the Bank of England’s £50 note.

He is celebrated for his code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.

The final decision was made by Bank of England governor Mark Carney. He said:

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today.

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Among the other suggestions was former prime minister and bete noir of recent UK history, Margaret Thatcher, who was included in a shortlist of scientists for her work helping devise a way to inject air into ice cream, to make it seem there’s more of it than there actually is.

As I wrote a few months ago, “she used science to create a commercial cheat that would induce people to pay more for less.”

What a relief that Mr Carney ignored the easy political choice and instead lionised a man who was treated appallingly by the nation he helped save.

Convicted of homosexuality (it was a crime in those days), Alan Turing was ordered to take drugs that dulled his mind. The mental torment thise generated drove him to commit suicide.

We will never know what advances the UK lost as a result of the unreasonable prejudice and hatred of those primitive times. But at least this gesture goes some way towards acknowledging the debt we owe this late genius.

Source: New face of the Bank of England’s £50 note is revealed – BBC News

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Are the Tories planning to bury us in debt when interest rates rise?

Don't look so smug, George - we know what you're trying to do.

Don’t look so smug, George – we know what you’re trying to do.

It is surprising that they don’t seem to think we can make the connections.

Two articles have leapt from the national media to trouble us this week. The first, in the Telegraph, states that the economic recovery that has made George Osborne so proud is built on mounting consumer debt and a housing bubble.

(This is something that has been known to us for several months, in fact. Osborne’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is the principle cause of the bubble, and it was recently revealed that there is no way to slow it down. Let’s not forget that the taxpayer is underwriting the scheme – so when the bubble bursts we will have to pay both as individuals and as a nation!)

The second article is on the BBC News website, which tells us that up to 1.4 million extra households could face “perilous” levels of debt when interest rates begin to rise – in addition to the 600,000 families already in that situation.

(It adds that mortgages are the largest source of household debt.)

Vox Political has long held the belief that the Conservatives have been trying to increase personal debt. Whether the plan was to decrease the national debt in this way is debatable as the deficit has plateaued at around £120 billion for the last few years.

When Mark Carney became governor of the Bank of England, he said he would not raise interest rates until unemployment falls below seven per cent – which might provide a bit of breathing-room for those having to deal with mounting debt.

However a few months ago, at the Conservative conference, we heard that George Osborne wants to falsify unemployment figures by putting the long-term unemployed on Workfare indefinitely.

If a person is put on Workfare, they are removed from unemployment statistics, even though they only receive social security payments for the work they do.

We already know that figures show a larger fall in unemployment than commentators had anticipated, so it now stands at 7.4 per cent, according to official statistics. Putting hundreds of thousands more people on Workfare should cut that figure below Mr Carney’s benchmark.

Meanwhile, household debt is due to rise to 160 per cent of income by 2018, partly because wages are dropping in comparison with inflation. The number of households using half their disposable income to repay debt could rise from 600,000 to 1.1 million if interest rates rise to three per cent (according to the Resolution Foundation, as quoted in the BBC piece) – and to two million if rates hit five per cent.

In the light of this information we must ask ourselves: Is this a Tory trap? Are they trying to create conditions in which more people on low or middle incomes become indebted to the rich, just by fiddling interest rates?

What do you think?

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