I blogged back in February predicting a freeze in ministers’ pay – (‘I would be amazed if the PM doesn’t repeat this trick to convey the message: “We feel your pain”‘) – an event which finally happened yesterday.
The Guardian picked up this morning on our blog on Baroness Hooper failing to mention her directorship at Barclays while defending tax havens in a Lord debate last week.
It’s taken a week to get hold of the baroness but we finally spoke at 11pm last night. Hooper explained why she had not mentioned that she was chair of the advisory committee for Barclays European Infrastructure Fund.
Vince-mania has reached shocking new levels. The economic saint moonlighting as the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman has parlayed his way into a new gig: the theatre.
For a ticket price of just £18.50, Vince-ettes can spend an evening with their hero at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre in Guildford. Apparently seats are selling out fast. A nice man at the box office told me the centre stalls have already gone. Never did I think there could be a profit making business out of charging people to listen to Lib Dems. Here’s the ad.
Ever wondered what the IMF would demand from Britain? Simon Johnson, the former IMF chief economist, offers a good guide to an organisation that “specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear”. His piece in the Atlantic runs through a typical IMF solution for the US, but most of the points apply to the UK too. Here’s the nub of his argument, which would be painful reading for Gordon Brown and “oligarchs” in the City.
Looking just at the financial crisis (and leaving aside some problems of the larger economy), we face at least two major, interrelated problems. The first is a desperately ill banking sector that threatens to choke off any incipient recovery that the fiscal stimulus might generate. The second is a political balance of power that gives the financial sector a veto over public policy, even as that sector loses popular support.