Duncan’s Economic Blog

The FT isn’t impressed with the Tories

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on July 21, 2009

Things aren’t going to well for George Osborne. The FT (following yesterday’s post on their Alphaville blog) have savaged his proposals:

Under the Tory plans, however, an unchecked and unchallenged Bank may fall into groupthink about financial stability – as it did during the decade before the crisis. The Conservatives propose recruiting a handful of outsiders to sit on a financial policy committee to inject intellectual competition into the monetary authority. But it is unrealistic to expect these few people to spot and counter biases across the Bank’s domain.

All in all – and taking into account the disruption they will cause – these plans are unwise.

Meanwhile, on the comment pages of today’s edition Philip Stevens  turns back to Cameron’s speech of last week on Quangos. 

Mr Cameron’s mistake was to single out Ofcom as a candidate for radical surgery. The communications regulator no doubt could tighten its belt. But it so happens that Ofcom does a vital job rather well.

Unless Mr Cameron tears up the rules of independent regulation – or breaks up the organisation into the several quangos from which it was originally created – Ofcom will indeed survive in something much like its present form. It is curious that someone who once worked in broadcasting could miss this point.


As has been said before in this column, Britain has a governing party brought down by the hubris and exhaustion that come with being too long in office. What the country lacks is a credible government-in-waiting seriously preparing itself for the day when it expects to be making the decisions.

As one of the regulars in the comments section of this blog, Will M, has been arguing for a while, what is really terrifying about the Tories at the moment is not that they are ‘do nothing party’ but they are a ‘do the wrong thing party’. Whenever we get a concrete policy announcement it invariably suggests doing the wrong thing.


5 Responses

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  1. Will M said, on July 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Well, ish. Its more that at least half the time they don’t seem to grasp either that there are policy questions or that they are the party who should (want to) be answering them.

  2. Tom said, on July 21, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Indeed – the mark of true leadership is not the ability to make bold decisions but the ability to avoid making the wrong ones. That’s why the best leaders tend to have a bit of relevant experience under their belts they can draw on to help avoid chasing expensively off down the wrong path.

    In the current world even the private sector isn’t too great at weeding out leaders who make serial wrong decisions let alone the political system, probably because of all the idiots whanging on about ‘strong leaders’, ‘passion’, ‘vision’ and all the other claptrap.

  3. charliemarks said, on July 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    As I said in the last post, big changes in the structure of the regulatory system would damage its ability to operate – FSA staff will be feeling pretty pissed off for the next few months, and this will impact upon the functioning of the organisation. This will harm the rest of the economy – so it’s not surprising the FT is underwhelmed.

    Duncan’s totally right – rather than the do nothing party they are the drive-us-into-depression party.

  4. dannyboy said, on July 22, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Hi Duncan, thanks for your blog which is now on my radar.

    I agree with Will – the tories are really starting to scare me now. Its hard to see how anyone who understands economics can deny the paradox of thrift.

  5. […] out that such moves are actually a welcome reality check, and while tinkering ineffectually, and even counterproductively, with the financial regulation system which failed the poor in the first […]

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