Magazine article Public Finance


Magazine article Public Finance


Article excerpt

Analysis turned into apologia

Reading your recent cover line 'Busy doing nothing?' on the Tories' alternative economic strategy, I was rather looking forward to what I thought would be a forensic analysis from Policy Exchange of the shadow Cabinet's response to the economic downturn (PF, January 30 -February 5).

What I got was not what was advertised on the tin. It turned out not to be a critique (as opposed to criticism, which is not what 1 wanted either), but an apologia.

Nor was it forensic. It moved from a description of Conservative policy to criticism of government policy and back again.

It ended in an appeal for fiscal prudence and saving, without considering the major risks of fiscal prudence and saving in a downturn.

Another omission was a balanced analysis of the VAT reduction, which I didn't particularly agree with, but it has its rationale with shadow business secretary Ken Clarke as one of its advocates. Neither was there any justification for the virtual absence of a demand-side policy from the Conservatives, again apart from Clarke, who is demanding a greater public subsidy for the car industry - no doubt paid for by the borrowing his party is against.

So, there are two conclusions. First, can we dispense with cover lines that relate only loosely to the content of the feature they are advertising? …

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