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Housing and the economy

Housing and the economy

“Why you cant afford a home” is the title of a very informative book by Josh Ryan Collins. (Polity, Cambridge, 2019). In the 1950s and 1960s, people bought a property with a mortgage from a building society. Banks at that time did not provide mortgages. In this same period, the state built homes for sale and rent in very substantial numbers. Large council estates were built as well as homes for sale. Lending for mortgages and lending to business were…

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Revoke Article 50

Revoke Article 50

The law of this country says that there are two types of referendum – an advisory referendum and a confirmatory. MPs allowed Cameron to say that the 2016 referendum would be “binding”. There is no such thing. You always get trouble when people are allowed to exceed their legal authority. We now know that the Leave campaign spent more than the legally allowed amount. We know that slightly dodgy marketing techniques were used. We know that the whole issue of…

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What is Brexit

What is Brexit

I went to the event at LSE entitled “Inequality, Brexit and the End of Empire”.  I went because I no longer understand what Brexit is really about. The Government’s own economic forecasts show that Brexit will cause economic damage, so it no longer makes any sense to me. Professor Dorling started off his talk by commenting that when the UK joined the EU in 1972 it was one of the most equal countries in the EU. It is now one…

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Where are we going Theresa?

Where are we going Theresa?

That was apparently the question that Emmanuel Macron put to Theresa May at the summit on Thursday. We are told there was no answer. This has now become farcical. The woman has a hive of highly paid advisers. She has also has a cabinet of some 20 if not 30 ministers. And yet when asked what her plans and strategy are for the next few weeks, she could not answer. We are now told that she might not even subject…

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It does not pay to work

It does not pay to work

Over the past 3 or 4 decades, the share of national income going to “labour” has declined by 9%. This trend is not confined to the UK. It seems to be global. 40% of national income goes to the top 10% of the population. So the bottom 90% of the population are fighting over the remaining 60% of income. The result of these long term trends is that inequality has risen. I feel strongly that the powers that be have…

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NIESR’s Prospects for the Economy

NIESR’s Prospects for the Economy

NIESR publish a quarterly review of the economy. I have to admit that I did not even know that this august body existed until a few months ago. I had a quick read of their report for February 2019. They assume that there will be a soft Brexit. They say that taxes will need to rise in coming decades. They say that interest rates should rise every 6 months until they get to 1.5%. That is a view that I…

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Bercow Bombshell should not have been a surprise

Bercow Bombshell should not have been a surprise

19 March 2019 The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London SW1 0AA. Dear Prime Minister Re: Brexit Academics such as Professor Anand, say that Withdrawal Agreement is a very fine document. There is no reason why it cannot be accepted. The issue of whether not the UK could get a deal with the EU should have been resolved months ago. I hoped that MPs would approve your deal but they have refused to do so. It is the most fervently…

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Brexit – delayed or stopped?

Brexit – delayed or stopped?

A government is not allowed to keep bringing the same matter before the House of Commons. The Speaker has now said that May cannot bring the Withdrawal Agreement back before the House of Commons. There is no deal. The House of Commons has said that we should not have a no deal Brexit. We are now seeking an extension from the EU. MPs cannot keep bringing forward the same amendments (People’s vote for example) either. Brexit has been a spectacularly…

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Divided Labour

Divided Labour

I have always believed that the Corbynites would ultimately be left playing among themselves. I don’t know exactly when this will happen, but it will happen. I don’t know how many Labour MPs can be described as Corbynite but I believe it is a minority of Labour MPs. Some of the most Blairite Labour MPs have now left the party. There are plenty of others who are equally unhappy. Most have resolved to stay and fight. Tom Watson is now…

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flawed higher education system

flawed higher education system

25% of the population have a professional/graduate level jobs. 50% of the population are meant to go to university – up from 10 in the 1970s, 1980s. I would suggest that is very obviously creating an over-supply of graduates. The situation will get worse post Brexit when even jobs that only need A levels are opened up to global competition. I also question whether university generate a meaningful return for the vast sums pumped into them. They get a quarter…

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