Miliband’s price fix
ED MILIBAND’S move against energy firms at this week’s Labour conference was the latest in a long line of political attacks on British businesses.
I LOVE this time of year. It’s a shame politicians have to ruin it. The weather is cool and crisp but mild enough not to be winter-miserable, the year is running towards its end but there’s enough time left to get stuff finished first.
THE ECONOMIC crisis has had a lasting effect on London. Much has been negative.
Lessons from Italy
[Re: Lessons from Italy: What happens when businesses are forced to move abroad, yesterday]
WELL, no one can say we don’t know what Ed Miliband stands for any more. Whacking business with higher taxes, strangling them with regulation, expropriating land from owners who don’t develop, and reversing benefit cuts.
THE 42 employees of Firem, an Italian heating systems maker, returned from their August holidays to find the plant where they worked had relocated to Poland. Firem is not the only recent Italian escape act.
TWO words have dropped from the political lexicon. In fact, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband appear to find them dangerous.
Energy price fix
[Re: Miliband’s lurch to left is a recipe for disaster, yesterday]
HAROLD Macmillan made his reputation – and became Prime Minister – after delivering on his pledge to build 300,000 houses a year in the early 1950s.
ARE GOVERNMENT bonds risky? The question arose this time last year, during a meeting with my bank. I wanted a low risk portfolio, but they noted that I did not want to hold UK government bonds.
ED MILIBAND made two big new pledges in his speech yesterday: lower business rates for small businesses, paid for by higher corporation tax on larger firms; and a freeze in energy prices for 20 months from the date of the next election.
[Re: Labour’ prepared to drop support for HS2, yesterday]
IN THE boom years at the start of the twenty-first century, the Royal Bank of Scotland management came up with a marketing slogan. They would – it promised customers and rivals – “Make It Happen”.
WHEN will you bring back socialism?” Ed Miliband was asked on Saturday. “That’s what we’re doing, sir…” Miliband replied. “…democratic socialism. And what is that about? That is about a country that works for all and not just for some.”
WITHOUT doubt, the German election is the critical political contest of the year.
[Re: What Germany’s shock election results mean for UK politics, yesterday]
TODAY’S speech by shadow chancellor Ed Balls is the most important event at this week’s Labour Conference. Ed Miliband will get all the attention, but Balls’ speech is the one that matters.
THE EUROPEAN debate has always had a tendency to stir emotional responses on both sides that miss – or ignore – the real facts.
I LEARNED long ago not to listen to what politicians say, but to watch what they do. All parties pay lip-service to doing what it takes to be globally competitive, to create jobs and wealth in a fast-changing, ever more challenging world.
THE US Federal Reserve’s surprise decision not to scale back its stimulus programme on Wednesday night should not perhaps have been so unexpected.
COMPUTER games are serious business. Grand Theft Auto V took $800m (£497m) in 24 hours this week, a record-breaking achievement that rivals the success of blockbuster films.
FOR A vote touted as decisive to the future of the Eurozone, the German election campaign – which reaches its climax on Sunday – has been lacklustre.
Clegg’s tax coup
[Re: Tories can match Clegg’s income tax coup without punishing middle classess, Wednesday]
NICK Clegg appears to have settled on a new strategy for the Lib Dems. Put unkindly, his aim seems to be to bore the electorate into submission.
IN THE whole of the twentieth century, only a few countries managed to transform themselves and join the club of rich economies. Japan is the most prominent example.
I DO not often cross paths with Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger or Sharon Osbourne. I am told we move in different circles.
[Re: Anti-globalisation campaigners got it wrong: Trade is defeating poverty, yesterday]
GLOBALISATION is likely to have cut the number of people in the world in poverty by three quarters by 2015. This remarkable trend was the reason I first became interested in economics.
THE SUCCESSFUL sale of 6 per cent of Lloyds to institutional shareholders was a crucial first step in returning the bank to full private ownership.
FORGET business secretary Vince Cable’s guttersnipe speech at this week’s Liberal Democrat conference – throwing childish insults at his coalition partners, to look clever in front of party activists.
[Re: We should replace Fed monetary superheroes with rules-based policy, yesterday]
IT IS painfully evident that the agreement reached over Syria’s chemical weapons by Washington and Moscow in Geneva is so much less than meets the eye. The accord imposes unbelievably quick deadlines for Bashar al-Assad’s regime to meet.
WHAT makes a popular policy that can capture the public imagination? Policy, like politics, is best when it provides a noble purpose. A fight against injustice. A sense of direction. Ideas brutally simple to understand.
LARRY Summers is out of the race to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chair. After months of debate, with politicians and media picking over Summers’s personality and background, the spotlight has returned to Janet Yellen, deputy Fed chairwoman.
House price bubble
THE ASTONISHING rise of firms like Twitter (founded just seven years ago, yet now expected to float for $10bn), is often seen as a grand romantic narrative – an exciting story, difficult to predict.
WHEN people talk about the “City”, they often do so solely in terms of its banks – and financial services.
ECONOMISTS should be humbled by Friedrich Hayek’s famous plea: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” If only government and central banks – and those who lobby