Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Death and Rebirth of Sound Money

Guido has had a call round the centre-right think-tanks and found that traditional support for sound money policies is now non-existent.  Even the Institute of Economic Affairs’  shadow MPC unanimously supports quantitative easing.

The IEA is London’s spiritual home of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and it was the IEA which in the middle of the 1976 global monetary crisis produced a pamphlet by Hayek; Denationalisation of Money.   Guido has an original edition, it was in this groundbreaking work that Hayek argued that the government monopoly of money must be abolished to stop recurring bouts of inflation and deflation.  How he must be turning in his grave to see the IEA advocate what he spent his life opposing.

Hayek MoneySound money was the traditional cry of conservatives the world over, Cameron even used the phrase in his speech to the Conservative Party conference as recently as last year.  It is clear however that Osborne and Cameron have, in the face of a wider intellectual retreat, given up on sound money and are going along with quantitative easing – a mistake as momentous as their acceptance of Gordon’s spending levels.  In all of Westminster’s Wonkland surveyed by Guido, only Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute is opposed to QE (also known as printing money).  Policy Exchange’s newly hired chief economist, Andrew Lilico, told Guido there was no other choice.  Lilico also told Guido that if QE was successful inflation and interest rates would be as low as 10% each in a couple of years – some success.

So Guido is looking forward to James Tyler’s speech tonight at Policy Exchange.  Little known outside the City’s money markets – in which he is one of the largest and most invisible players – he is going to sound the cry for sound money in terms that Hayek would approve. All is not lost – Russian and Chinese economic policy makers have read their Hayek – and are said to be preparing to propose a new, more Hayekian monetary order after this credit crisis has abated.  Sometimes it takes a crisis to precipitate a solution…

Storm in a Breakfast Tea-Cup

Nicky CampbellJust for the record, since the Guardian is trying to make something of it. Guido is satisfied that  BBC Radio 5’s Nicky Campbell meant nothing malicious and it was a bit of early morning banter that went a bit too far. Campbell apologised on air there and then and later in person.  His apology is accepted.

It is indicative of the BBC mindset that it is often the case that Guido is pigeon-holed by way of  introduction, in contrast when say Will Hutton is on the BBC, he is not introduced as “the left-wing commentator”.  This is not the first time this has happened.  When Michael Crick referred to Guido as “the right-wing blogger” the immediate retort was to refer to “Michael Crick, the left-wing broadcaster”See how you like them apples…

Who Got Nicked at the Pickles Bash?

Following a party thrown by Eric Pickles a drunken fracas took place – inquiring minds want to know who got nicked and had to sober up in the cells?  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt…

UPDATE : Paul Waugh has the full story.

Bank of England Pension Fund Surges Betting on Inflation

Bank of England Pension FundGuido is one of the small number of British market commentators who does not buy into the deflation scenario – Liam Halligan is another – it is just too convenient an excuse for politicians to print money.

The Bank of England pension fund is managed on behalf of a very select and savvy group of people with access to a lot of market insight – the employees of the central bank.  With great market timing the fund sold out of equities entirely at the end of 2006 cutting a 21.6% holding down to 0.1%, thus avoiding a 35%  drop in UK equities since that time.  Awesome market timing, the fund was consequently up 12% last year when all around markets crashed.

The fund’s holding of Index Linked Gilts has shot up from 25.6% of assets to a 70.7% proportion of assets during the same period.  That is a big bet of the pension pot owned by everyone who works at the Bank of England.  Index Linked Gilts are linked to RPI – the inflation rate – you buy them if you are worried about inflation.  They are a hedge against inflation.

Hold on, if deflation is (as the political elite and their client media commentators claim) the big threat, why is the Bank of England’s pension fund betting 3/5 of the £2.2 billion pot on hedging against inflation?  This is their personal pension fund.  Money talks.

Source : Bank of England Pension Report [pdf]

Hat-tip : Peter Oborne

Monday, March 30, 2009

+++ BBC to Break Sale of MP’s Receipts Story +++

Of course if they didn’t keep it secret from us – the people who pay the bills – there wouldn’t be anything to sell.  So release the receipts now…

UPDATE : Newsnight just flashed a trailer for a claim that the receipts are being offered to newspapers for £300,000 – uncensored.

LibDems Claim Highest Expenses

The averages:

  • LibDems claim £140,217

  • Labour MPs claim £136,116

  • Tory MPs claim £131,275

Half of MPs Claim Within 10% of the Maximum

Fiddlers

This breakdown of the second home allowance graphically shows how MP’s milk the system. Over half of them claim within 10% of the maximum £23,083 allowed…funny that…

UPDATE : Jacqui Smith claimed £135 under the maximum £23,083.  Tsk, tsk.

+++ MP’s Expense Totals Released for 2008 +++

Download them here [pdf]. See your how much your MP has fiddled..

UPDATE : Guido has now uploaded the expenses as a webpage.

Lunchtime with Jamie Oliveoil

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has gone viral to promote their new report out today showing that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy costs each household in Britain £400 a year.  Jamie Oliver is actually cooking for the G20 Summit.  Unfortunately this recipe for protectionist EU fudge sticks in the gullet…

GMTV Can’t Get Dale to Appear, So They Have to Make Do

twitterdaleGuido laughed when he saw the crack on Tory Bear about the shock of Iain Dale turning down a TV appearance.   Guido laughed even more when he saw that GMTV had found a substitute politician to take his placeA nice younger politician called, errm, David Cameron…


Seen Elsewhere

Tory MP Tells Leftie Jon Snow to Retire | Guardian
Russell Brand’s New Book “Sub-Undergraduate Dross” | Telegraph
Tory MP Barrister Represents Monaco Billionaire | Scrapbook
MOBO Singers Slam UKIP | ITV
Could UKIP Keep Britain in the EU? | Iain Martin
Why Piketty is Wrong | ConHome
Guido Whips Politicians Into Shape | Guardian
Milburn Levelling Down | Kathy Gyngell
Crosby and Carswell Make Friends at Guido’s Dinner | Mail
Mrs Danczuk Beats Mensch to Win Guido | Telegaph
PM Congratulates Blogger Who Destroyed Minister | Mail


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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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