Daily Archives: November 17, 2010

Here is a fine example of the dangers of politicians writing seemingly innocuous op-eds for newspapers.

Ahead of a trip to Dublin in 2006, George Osborne used an article in The Times to pay homage to the Irish boom. The opening paragraph about Ireland’s “shining example” to economic policymakers is a classic:

A generation ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable. The Irish Republic was seen as Britain’s poor and troubled country cousin, a rural backwater on the edge of Europe. Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn.

The conclusion is almost as cringeworthy:

The new global economy poses real long-term challenges to Britain, but also real opportunities for us to prosper and succeed.  In Ireland they understand this.

They have freed their markets, developed the skills of their workforce, encouraged enterprise and innovation and created a dynamic economy. They have much to teach us, if only we are willing to learn.

To be fair to Osborne, many of his arguments are still valid even after the crash.

A well educated workforce, top notch R&D investment, and competitive tax rates to encourage investment are all as important now as they were during the boom years.

But there is not a word of caution about potential imbalanaces in the economy. No mention of the racy property market, reckless lending, or his views on the dangers to Ireland from having joined the Euro. Read more

Here at the CBI’s climate change summit, most of the anger towards government has centred on the changes to the carbon reduction commitment (CRC), which has seen money originally earmarked for businesses with good environmental performances going to the Treasury instead. The BBC’s Roger Harrabin summed up the feeling in the room when he described it as the government “nicking your CRC dividend”.

So business leaders are relieved to hear Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, make some concessions today. Here’s what he said:

Today we have published a UK-wide consultation on delaying the start of Phase II of CRC. This means that participants won’t need to register for Phase II until 2013.

 Read more