Officials are briefing thousands of job cuts in the civil service as part of Monday’s pre-budget report. *
No one has yet picked up on the idea that wages could also be squeezed. If public sector pay awards were restricted to 2 per cent when inflation was heading for 5 per cent, where will they be as RPI heads for zero?
Perhaps it is no co-incidence that the Prime Minister has now warned of the potential for deflation – as indicated by Bank of England forecasts – several times in recent days. Is he softening up police, teachers and nurses for falling salaries?
If inflation falls to, say, -1 per cent, will the government maintain its policy of “below-inflation pay rises”? Read more
There are suggestions today that the prime minister apologised (in the Vine interview) for his hubris over Labour’s termination of the “boom and bust” cycle.
As if. According to my notes Mr Brown said that yes, he had mistakes. But he was careful not to link this quasi-apology to Labour’s economic record. Instead, the only specific apology he referred to in today’s interview was the 10p fiasco.
Gordon Brown was his usual frustrating mix of statistics, grandiose claims and non-sequiturs on BBC Radio 2′s Jeremy Vine show today.
It was all about the economy, of course. And the prime minister’s record on tackling the crisis.
Yet again Brown blamed the US for the credit crunch. As we’ve pointed out here – time and time again – this is only part of the problem.
“The credit crunch started in America and has been a problem…I’m angry about what I saw happen in America – really angry – because these were risks that people were taking that we knew nothing about and they have affected everybody across the world.” Read more
Poor George. Never has a US president looked so forlorn on the world stage. What does Gordon Brown do as his friend Bush walks past, all lonely, looking for a bit of love? He stares at something in the distance, clocks George, half nods, quickly turns away and throws prime ministerial hand into warm homie-grip with Lula. Et tu Gordon?
[youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Y_ncOVlDw[/youtube] Read more
The US National Intelligence Council has a distinctly unflattering forecast of Europe’s future in its Global Trends 2025 report.
The finest US intelligence analysts conclude that, according to current trends, the European Union is in danger of being left behind as “a hobbled giant distracted by internal bickering and competing national agendas”. The title of the section says it all: “Europe: Losing Clout in 2025″. Read more