Tag Archives: Simon Wren-Lewis

Brexit myths debunked: there has never been any need to threaten a ‘no deal’ Brexit

“Duper’s delight”: Boris Johnson helped undermine attempts to get a Brexit deal through Parliament. Now he is accusing Parliament of sabotaging attempts to get a deal. What hypocrisy! What duplicity! What a [insert description here]!

Having established that there will not be rioting in the streets if Brexit doesn’t happen on October 31, shall we consider the silly claim that the UK should threaten the EU with the possibility of a “no deal” departure?

Here’s Simon Wren-Lewis in Mainly Macro again:

The myth of the need to threaten No Deal as part of the negotiations soon became another piece of the entrenched narrative.

I am sure some Brexiters believed it, because they never bothered to understand how the Single Market worked. It was forced upon other Brexiters when the cavalry in the form of the German auto-manufacturers who were going to force the German government into concessions never turned up.

But it soon began to have a much more sinister purpose.

It was not long before many in the ERG realised the only form of Brexit they would be happy with was No Deal, and from then on their aim was to try and achieve No Deal by default.

What better ruse was there for this group than to spread the idea that we could not rule out No Deal for negotiation reasons.

So you see, “no deal” is the kind of Brexit that the swivel-eyed screamers of the far-right Conservative party-within-a-party, the European Research Group, want – not in the interests of the UK, but to serve their own selfishness.

This serves Boris Johnson very well as, if headlines are to be believed, he is in hock to a shadowy group of hedge fund bosses who have bet heavily on a “no deal” Brexit crashing the economy and causing misery to millions of us, and stand to make billions of pounds from it.

The reason a deal has not been done is because of the actions of our current Prime Minister, his predecessor, and those in the ERG who are pushing this narrative.

Parliament has failed to agree a deal because the ERG do not want a deal.

Also ludicrous is the idea that a No Deal Brexit fulfills the wishes of the 52% who voted in the referendum, when those campaigning to leave in the referendum said a deal was certain to be done.

This ties in with the false claim that we should leave on October 31 because Parliament has had three years to get a deal and has failed, of course.

A deal could have happened long ago, under Theresa May. It would not have been a good deal, but it had been agreed with the EU.

It failed because the ERG – led by Boris Johnson’s leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg and supported by Johnson himself – made it fail.

So we can see that Boris Johnson and his friends have deliberately sabotaged attempts to forge a Brexit deal – and are working to ruin the UK economy – apparently in order to cash in on the chaos afterwards.

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Mainly Macro: This is the most dangerous UK government we have seen in our lifetimes

Boris Johnson – giving his opinion of anyone who might try to stop him.

If you think the headline – by economist Professor Simon Wren-Lewis – is a bit strong, you haven’t been paying attention.

His thesis is simple:

Boris Johnson is dangerous because he will ignore the UK’s constitution whenever he feels like it. He will use its power for his own ends, knowing that by the time the courts overturn his decisions, he’ll already have had his way.

So, for example, his false prorogation of Parliament was overturned – but not until after MPs had lost 10 days of debating time.

He is merrily saying two different things about Brexit – that he’ll abide by the Benn Act and seek to delay the UK’s departure from the EU and that the UK will drop out on October 31 if no agreement is reached.

We may conclude that he intends not to send the letter calling for a delay, and to crash out with no deal, knowing that the damage will be done by the time the courts are able to prove his behaviour unlawful.

The lesson we cannot avoid drawing is that this government has become dangerously rogue, and the party from which it comes is no better. People are no longer safe with it in charge. In the past, at least the press would have held the government to account, but now it eggs it on. A BBC that also might have told inconvenient facts has been threatened into submission.

All Johnson’s actions and provocations have one aim. He aims to pretend at the forthcoming general election that he alone is fighting for the people against an establishment of parliament, the judges and the EU that are combining to block the people’s will.

This rings true. If he manages to arrange his “no deal” Brexit, he can say it was in the face of establishment opposition; if forced to delay, he can say it was because of the establishment.

(We must bear in mind that he is not referring to the Establishment as we understand it, of course – he simply means anybody who opposes his desires and is in a position of power, enough to stop him.)

The real threat lies in far right thugs and a government that wants to destroy our pluralist democracy. The only way we have to stop a Prime Minister whose over the top language is used in death threats to MPs, and who describes those who ask him to be careful as talking humbug, is to remove him from power.

It is essential for those who want to protect our pluralist democracy to ensure they vote tactically to remove the Prime Minister who threatens that democracy.

Read more here: mainly macro: This is the most dangerous UK government we have seen in our lifetimes

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Boris Johnson is pushing for a ‘no deal’ Brexit that has no popular mandate at all

Thousands upon thousands of people have protested against Brexit since the 2016 EU referendum.

In what topsy turvy world is a public vote to confirm a previous public vote undemocratic? That is the question posed by former Oxford economics professor Simon Wren-Lewis in his latest Mainly Macro blog.

Answering his own question, he states: “It is a world where Brexiters have control of most of the media, and where Brexiters and some of the people who voted for Brexit are desperate for some democratic justification for what has become an assault on pluralist democracy and evidence based policy.”

Clearly, Prof Wren-Lewis is a supporter of Labour’s plan for a confirmatory vote on any form of Brexit – which includes the possibility of remaining in the EU after all. People in Brecon and Radnorshire who have the chance to base their vote on that issue should seriously consider voting Labour if they haven’t already done so.

Prof Wren-Lewis continues [all boldings mine]: “If no one contradicts you when you say we must leave with no deal because of a narrow referendum win where no one on the winning side talked about leaving with no deal, you can convince yourself to enact the biggest act of self-harm in modern UK history on an unwilling majority.”

And there is no reason to leave at all: “What many Leavers would like you to believe is that this referendum requires the UK to leave the EU in some way or another. This is false. The referendum did not say that we must Leave the EU whatever the circumstances and whatever the cost or whatever leaving meant. None of those words were on the ballot paper, and they were not implicit either.

“The question was whether to Leave or Remain. As a result, not surprisingly people voted on the basis of what they thought Leave or Remain meant. So to see what people voted for, you need to look at what was discussed. In particular, the Leave vote will have been influenced by what the Leave side said. And almost without exception, no one on the Leave side mentioned Leaving without any deal at all. (Of course some Brexiters are now pretending they talked about it all the time – lying is second nature for these people.)

“Normally when someone says that a government has a mandate for a policy, it is because that policy was in the manifesto presented at the election. The Leave side did not have a manifesto, and that was a fatal flaw in Cameron’s referendum. In the absence of a manifesto we have to base any assessment of what any mandate was on what the Leave side said Brexit would entail. And almost without exception the Leave side said it would involve a trade deal with the EU of some sort.”

Ah, but Parliament failed to agree on a deal. Prof Wren-Lewis says such an outcome was implicit in the 2016 result: “Because the referendum did not specify what type of Brexit should be attempted, we have no a priori reason to believe that any particular option would command a majority. Indeed with such a close victory the presumption must be otherwise, and the polls show this to be the case. Parliament’s failure to agree a deal simply reflects the fact that there is no majority for any particular deal.

“It is true that the Remain side talked about No Deal as an extreme case in the list of possible forms of leaving the EU. But when looking at mandates, we look at what the winning side said, not the losing side. The Leave side spent a great deal of time ridiculing Remain predictions as Project Fear, and that included ridiculing the idea that we would not get a deal with the EU. Some on the Leave side said it would be the easiest deal in history.

The reason why No Deal is the only Brexit option left standing is that militant Brexiters have done everything they can to get us there. They voted down alternative options their government proposed. It is militant Brexiters, not a majority of the public, that think No Deal is the only true form of Brexit. When Brexiters claim that voters were really voting for No Deal they should be laughed at.”

And he states: “The idea that we must go through with Brexit even though there is no majority for any form of Brexit is nonsensical. It is an illusion created by a flawed advisory referendum narrowly won which politicians foolishly said at the time that they would implement. Luckily no politician is bound by the foolish promises that other politicians made.”

Remember that, next time Boris Johnson tries to suggest otherwise.

Source: mainly macro: There is no mandate for No Deal

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Theresa May is economically illiterate – she should try reading books instead of lying about what they say

Theresa May: She should try reading books instead of just waving them around.

Theresa May is a terrible liar – due to lack of intelligence, it seems.

She appears unable to understand that people don’t have to accept her word on anything – we can all fact-check her claims immediately and call her out on her lies.

And that’s what happened on October 24, 2018, when she said this:

https://twitter.com/Corbynator2/status/1055128399616860164

She may have had the page marked but she seems never to have read it.

The book was Economics for the Many, edited by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and she was referring to a chapter by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, author of the Mainly Macro economics blog. He knows his stuff.

He also knows what he wrote – and what he didn’t.

He didn’t write that Labour’s sums didn’t add up. He wrote that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had claimed Labour’s sums didn’t add up – and then he wrote that it didn’t matter.

Worse still, the IFS didn’t claim Labour’s sums didn’t add up. The think tank had said that it was “hard to say” whether Labour’s pledge to reduce debt was compatible with their promises of a wave of nationalisations of water and energy, as the economic transformation would be so radical nobody could tell whether the manifesto costings would be accurate.

It gets worse.

When Professor Wren-Lewis tweeted a correction, the Conservative Party’s press office doubled down on Mrs May’s claim with an out-of-context quote that he swiftly dismissed. Then it seems CCHQ went all shy and decided to finish the conversation by private message:

The situation reminds me of the way I was accused of anti-Semitism by people who selected words I had written that could be misinterpreted, clipped them out of the articles in which I had written them, and presented them out-of-context as if that were proof of their claims.

I have taken great pleasure, over the summer, in winning multiple battles with national newspapers that quoted these claims – and I intend to demolish the Labour Party’s attempted use of those claims at a disciplinary hearing that will be held very soon.

For Mrs May, retribution has been much more swift:

Yes, indeed.

Because we can’t believe anything else Mrs May says, if we can’t believe her when she claims to be imparting information to MPs; lying to Parliament is an offence for which even the prime minister may be expelled (although corruption in the corridors of power is so deeply entrenched that it never comes to that).

What if her claim to have 95 per cent of a Brexit deal sorted turned out to be untrue?

See what I mean?

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The Corbyn Phenomenon – Mainly Macro

Jeremy Corbyn's detractors need to start accepting that they are on the wrong side of the argument; Labour's membership wants a party of conviction - not one that goes any way they wind blows.

Jeremy Corbyn’s detractors need to start accepting that they are on the wrong side of the argument; Labour’s membership wants a party of conviction – not one that goes any way they wind blows.

Detractors of Jeremy Corbyn are pushing hard to discredit him any way they can – see yesterday’s article on Alastair Campbell for an example. But the arguments put forward by these critics lack depth.

In his latest article, Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has been exploring whether the Corbyn phenomenon also lacks depth or if there is indeed something to it. It is perceptive in that it examines the issues rather than the personalities, and exposes weaknesses that we all knew existed in Labour policy – but that some of us choose not to acknowledge.

Well, it’s time to acknowledge them! This is only an excerpt from the article and you are heartily advised to visit Mainly Macro for the rest of it.

Whether Corbyn wins or loses, Labour MPs and associated politicos have to recognise that his popularity is not the result of entryism, or some strange flight of fancy by Labour’s quarter of a million plus members, but a consequence of the political strategy and style that lost the 2015 election. They should reflect that if they are so sure they know what will win elections, how come they failed to predict the Corbyn phenomenon. A large proportion of the membership believe that Labour will not win again by accepting the current political narrative on austerity or immigration or welfare or inequality and offering only marginal changes to current government policy. On economic policy in particular they need to offer reasons for voters to believe that there are alternatives to the current status quo of poor quality jobs, deteriorating public services and infrastructure, and growing poverty alongside gross inequality at the top. That means, whether he wins or loses, working with the Corbyn phenomenon rather than dismissing it.

It is nonsense to suggest that the Labour party membership has suddenly become markedly more left wing than it used to be. Corbyn’s popularity has much more to do with how the party in parliament has responded to both election defeats.

The reaction of most of the parliamentary party to the 2015 defeat seems to be that the pre-2015 strategy was right in principle but had just not focused enough in placating the marginal English voter, which they believe means more appeasement and shifting further to the right. The party membership seems to have reacted very differently to the 2015 defeat. The membership appears to believe that the pre-2015 strategy has clearly failed, and it is time to start talking with conviction about the issues you believe in. This is exactly what Jeremy Corbyn does: he is a conviction politician, who is not prepared to try and be someone else to win votes.

If Labour is to have any hope in 2020 it has to start attacking Osborne’s unnecessary and obsessive austerity, as well as getting the past history straight. There are also reasons for thinking that the power of deficit fetishism for voters will steadily decline. In that sense, on this issue and perhaps others, Corbyn seems to have an advantage.

Source: mainly macro: The Corbyn Phenomenon

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Deficit fetishism and political bulls**t – the reason you don’t hear the facts on the news?

This is not a new phenomenon: Noam Chomsky discussed it with Andrew Marr in 1996.

This is not a new phenomenon: Noam Chomsky discussed it with Andrew Marr in 1996.

If you are easily offended, then look away now because there is a new buzz-phrase in economic circles: “political bullshit”.

This will play havoc with Vox Political‘s anti-profanity standards!

The gist is that “political bullshit” tells false stories that have nothing to do with the truth but appeal to what Tyler Cowen calls “common sense morality”. According to Mainly Macro‘s Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, the term was coined by Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt.

Prof Wren-Lewis continues:

The implication… is that because bullshit does not reside in the “court of truth”, trying to combat it with facts, knowledge or expertise may have limited effectiveness. But what makes their discussion even more interesting for me is that they use what they call ‘deficit fetishism’, and in particular the stories that the UK government told before the last election, as their subject matter.
In the case of fiscal policy, deficit fetishism as bullshit involves appeals to ‘common sense’ by invoking simple analogies with households, often coupled with an element of morality – it is responsible to pay down debts. The point in calling it bullshit … is that attempts to counter it by appeals to facts or knowledge (e.g. the government is not like a household, as every economist knows) may have limited effectiveness.
Instead it might be better to fight bullshit with bullshit, by talking about the need to borrow to invest, or even that it is best to ‘grow your way out of debt’. (If you think the latter is nonsense, you are still in the wrong court: the court of truth rather than bullshit. As long as the phrase contains what I have sometimes called a ‘half-truth’, it has the potential to be effective bullshit.)
At first sight deficit fetishism seems to be innate, because it appeals to the basic intuition of the household and the morality of good housekeeping. However households also borrow to invest (such as in a house), and most people understand that this is what firms also do. The reason why the bullshit involving paying back borrowing may have been particularly powerful over the last five years is that this is exactly what many households have also been doing.
However that process now appears to have come to an end. As individuals start to borrow again (or at least stop running down their debt), perhaps they will become more tolerant of governments doing the same.
To this we could add an obvious external factor. In 2010 and the following two years, deficit fetishism seemed to be validated by a superficial view of external events. The difficulties that some countries were getting into because their governments had ‘borrowed too much’ was top of the news night after night. In that context, is it any wonder that most people believed the bullshit?

The agenda of the news media was the subject of a comment on This Blog yesterday. Ian wrote: “There’s an interview of Noam Chomsky … by Andrew Marr … and the subject of reporting comes up in which Chomsky points out how truth often doesn’t see the light of day and how journalists are chosen for employment, i.e. ones that upset the applecart and speak truth to power never make it in the mainstream.

“Chomsky elaborated, ‘If you didn’t believe what you believe, you wouldn’t be where you are.’ That is, if Marr was in any way radical … he wouldn’t have a nice job at the BBC.”

He continued: “When one former Sun editor claimed Rupert Murdoch doesn’t decide on any particular editorial line, he doesn’t need to, the editor knows what line to take or he wouldn’t be in the job.”

And he concluded: “Imagine if [you] worked for BBC News and knew about the privatisation of the NHS and all the benefit ‘reforms’ related deaths? You try to broadcast that these days and you’d be sent to cover the quarter finals of the Penrith Cumberland wrestling championships on a rainy Wednesday night for BBC Radio Cumbria.”

So, “political bullshit” gains credibility with strong support from complicit news media. What chance do the facts have, in the face of that?

Source: mainly macro: Is deficit fetishism innate or contextual?

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mainly macro: An interview that will never happen

Here’s a good send-up of George Osborne’s policy positions by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis. I’ve quoted just part of it so please visit Mainly Macro for the rest.

Interviewer. Going back to the proposed legislation to outlaw deficits, you have also made election commitments to cut some taxes, and intend to legislate to outlaw raising others. That means that public spending will have to be cut to achieve these surpluses. Some people have suggested these laws are just a backdoor means to achieve an ideological objective of a smaller state.

Osborne. That is nonsense. I just think it is important not to place any further burden on this country’s hard working families. These families also know that you cannot go on borrowing forever.
Interviewer. Many people borrow for years to buy a house, and many successful companies continue to borrow to grow. These companies also know that it is best to borrow when interest rates are low, and interest rates on UK government debt are currently very low.
Osborne. And I will never stop trying to take credit for that. But as a prudent Chancellor, I need to ensure we have room to run deficits safely in abnormal times.
Interviewer. Is that to enable the government to undertake fiscal stimulus to support the economy during a major recession?
Osborne. No, that would not be appropriate, as I said in 2009. But as I have also said many times, it is important to allow the automatic stabilisers to operate.
Interviewer. The automatic stabilisers operate even during mild economic downturns, because low growth reduces tax revenues for example. So does your definition of abnormal simply mean when growth would be below average?
Osborne. No, I am talking about more serious events than that, but I will leave the experts at the OBR to decide precisely what is abnormal.
Interviewer. I am sure they would welcome your guidance. But if abnormal does not include mild downturns, and you want to make it a legal requirement to run surpluses during those times as well, that will require either switching the automatic stabilisers off during these mild downturns, or running pretty large surpluses when the economy is on track so as to avoid going into deficit if a negative shock of the normal kind hits.
Osborne. As I said, I think it is important to allow the automatic stabilisers to operate.

Source: mainly macro: An interview that will never happen

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Why SHOULD the government suck money OUT of the economy?

George Osborne: Mouth open, mind shut.

George Osborne: Mouth open, mind shut.

Economists are probably lining up right now to demonstrate that George Osborne is a fool.

The Chancellor is trying to persuade us that aiming for an immediate budget surplus is good policy. Experts disagree.

Very quick off the mark is Professor Simon Wren-Lewis in his Mainly Macro blog. He has already pointed out that fiscal tightening is a terrible idea when interest rates are at their zero lower bound (ZLB), as they are at the moment – if economic growth falters, then monetary policy cannot come to the rescue because interest rates are already as low as they can be.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reckons that there’s no reason for the government to reduce debt from its current level of 80 per cent of GDP, as long as the market is happy to keep buying it up. This Writer has issues with that, because it is not advisable for the UK or any other country to become a debt-servicing economy. However, the principle that there is no need for drastic action is sound.

Professor Wren-Lewis also examined a few of the current arguments in support of Osborne and rubbished them in his usual amiable way:

Osborne’s plan may provide scope for dealing with further ‘Great Recessions’ without running out of what the IMF calls “fiscal space” (the amount of extra debt into which the UK could fall before there was any need for serious concern) – but this would demand that ‘Great Recessions’ take place much more often in the future than the past.

The claim that we should reduce the debt burden for future generations is dismissed as perverse, as it means “the costs of reducing debt would largely fall on the same generation that suffered as a result of the Great Recession”.

Leading on from this, he points out that any claim that an individual would want to pay their debts down quickly is not accurate, for the very good reason that nations are not like individuals; they are more like corporations. Firms live with permanent debt because that debt has paid for the capital purchases they have made: “The state has plenty of productive capital…. If we paid back most government debt within a generation, we would be giving that capital to later generations without them making any contribution towards it.”

From here it is fairly easy to see that selling off national assets (like the Royal Mail or Eurostar – or any of the profit-making utility firms, back in the 1980s) is a bad idea, because the national corporation (the UK) then fails to benefit from the proceeds of all its investment. The railways are an even worse case, because the country is subsidising them with more money than when they were a nationalised industry, but receives none of the profits.

Narrow down your definition of what is happening even further and we see that George Osborne is making the poor pay – with squeezes on benefits – in order to allow the rich to benefit; they will own the assets that the government is selling off while paying nothing towards the capital costs discussed above.

So – unless you are one of the very few people rich enough to profit from Osborne’s policy, do you really want to support him now?

This blog would be particularly interested in hearing from working people who voted Conservative last month:

Did you realise that Osborne would be penalising you and your descendants?

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Economists agree: Austerity is bad for you

150401badforeconomy

You may have seen the infographic above on the social media yesterday. Today, this blog received confirmation of its claims from the Centre For Macroeconomics.

The CFM’s survey asked: Do you agree that the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP) in the UK?”

The response was clear: Only 15 per cent agreed, 18 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed, and 66 per cent disagreed. According to the CFM: “Ignoring those who sat on the fence, 19 per cent agree and 81 per cent disagree with the proposition. This ratio is unaffected by confidence weighting.”

This evidence is conclusive disproof of the claims in the ‘business leaders’ letter to the Daily Telegraph that was published earlier this week. But then, it seems that letter was written by Conservative Campaign Headquarters and its 100+ signatories were inflated by the addition of Samantha Cameron’s friends.

In its summary of responses, the CFM notes that Professor Simon Wren-Lewis (Oxford) asked: “This is a joke, right? The only interesting question is how much GDP has been lost as a result of austerity.”

On his own blog, Mainly Macro, Prof Wren-Lewis adds: “I myself participated in Radio 4’s World at One (about 11 minutes in) as a direct result of the survey. Robert Peston went as far as to ask: “Who to trust – business leaders or economists?” I liked the way he introduced his post:

“’Neither business leaders nor economists have a monopoly of wisdom on what’s good for Britain or are free from political bias. But it is perhaps therefore all the more important to remember that those paid to think about how best an economy should be run don’t necessarily agree with those paid to run companies.’

“He might have also added that, probably without exception, we are paid a lot less than business leaders, so the danger that our opinions might be influenced by Labour policies like reintroducing the 50p income tax rate or introducing a mansion tax is perhaps also smaller!”

On the second question – whether the election’s outcome would have non-trivial consequences for aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP) – if those who neither agreed nor disagreed are excluded, the majority rises to 93 per cent.

They’re saying a future Conservative-led government will harm the UK economy.

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Cameron’s insult to the Greek people

Alexis Tsipras is smiling because he can tell that David Cameron is a monstrously incompetent economic illiterate [Image: Reuters].

Alexis Tsipras is smiling because he can tell that David Cameron is a monstrously incompetent economic illiterate [Image: Reuters].

It is rare for Professor Simon Wren-Lewis to make an overtly critical statement of our politicians – usually he sticks to their policies.

We may therefore conclude that he has taken extreme exception to David Cameron’s comments about the Greeks, made in Brussels a few days ago.

Cameron said: “When I first came here as prime minister five years ago, Britain and Greece were virtually in the same boat, we had similar sized budget deficits. The reason we are in a different position is we took long-term difficult decisions and we had all of the hard work and effort of the British people. I am determined we do not go backwards.”

Here’s Prof Wren-Lewis’s response: “In other words if only those lazy Greeks had taken the difficult decisions that the UK took, they too could be like the UK today. This is such as travesty of the truth, as well as a huge insult to the Greek people, that it is difficult to know where to begin.

According to OECD data, the 2010 government deficit in Greece was 11%, and in the UK 9.5%. The Prime Minister is normally well briefed enough not to tell outright lies. But look at this chart you can see why the statement ‘virtually in the same boat’ is complete nonsense.

150323UKGreekfinancialbalances

“The real travesty however is in the implication that somehow Greece failed to take the ‘difficult decisions’ that the UK took. ‘Difficult decisions’ is code for austerity. A good measure of austerity is the underlying primary balance. According to the OECD, the UK underlying primary balance was -7% in 2009, and it fell to -3.5% in 2014: a fiscal contraction worth 3.5% of GDP. In Greece it was -12.1% in 2009, and was turned into a surplus of 7.6% by 2014: a fiscal contraction worth 19.7% of GDP! So Greece had far more austerity, which is of course why Greek GDP has fallen by 25% over the same period [all boldings mine]. A far more accurate statement would be that the UK started taking the same ‘difficult decisions’ as Greece took, albeit in a much milder form, but realised the folly of this and stopped. Greece did not get that choice.

“And I have not even mentioned the small matter of being in or out of a currency union.”

Did you take note of the comment that austerity hinders productivity?

This is very important to a United Kingdom that is struggling to increase its productivity – and therefore its competitive edge in the world marketplace. We will never succeed under the stranglehold of Tory austerity.

Prof Wren-Lewis goes on to explain why Janan Ganesh’s recent claim that George Osborne is surrounded by “monstrously incompetent adversaries” is a reversal of the facts; we have a monstrously incompetent chancellor instead.

Visit Mainly Macro to find out why.