It seems the way to virtue signal that you are a Tory-hating lefty in 2018 is to jump on the outrage bus about Toby Young’s appointment to the Office for Students board. Some of the abuse and whinging from Corbynistas upset that someone with right-of-centre views has got the job is just unhinged. Paul Mason for example is claiming Toby “despises working class kids”. Not a great attack line given he has helped set up four state schools educating 2,000 children, with more than a third at his secondary school eligible for the pupil premium. What has Paul Mason done to help working class kids?
The next moan is that Toby isn’t qualified for the job and that he is unsuitable because he is of the right. Danny Blanchflower, the economist who always gets everything wrong, has even suggested universities should refuse to have anything to do with the Office for Students until he is fired. Guido supposes he is entirely unqualified apart from having worked at Harvard and Cambridge, being a visiting fellow of the University of Buckingham, a Fulbright Commissioner, co-founder of four free schools and director of the New Schools Network.
And as for being political, lefty tweeters don’t seem to have a problem with the chair of the Office for Students Michael Barber being a former adviser to the last Labour government. Quangos are stuffed with lefties and Labour supporters across the board, it is just hypocritical for them to oppose a mainstream centre-right educationalist taking a position. Philip Blond makes a sensible point:
Most systems should not be regulated by those wholly immersed in them – we need hybrid regulators who are half in and half out of the sector – otherwise the self-interested status quo prevails – hence I think appointing @toadmeister is a good thing https://t.co/W97X3Hrred
— Phillip Blond (@Phillip_Blond) January 2, 2018
Almost as if it’s all faux outrage just so Owen Jones, Paul Mason et al can get some retweets…
“If I was still an adviser I would have told him it’s a totally idiotic unworkable idea.”
Guido readers will know derpy Danny Blanchflower as the economist whose predictions are reliably wrong. Well, for the first time Guido can remember, Blanchflower may have a point. He is currently advising John McDonnell on Labour’s economic policy, and has written a scathing attack on Corbyn and his team in the New Statesman:
“These are early days and the new Labour Party still doesn’t have many economic policies to speak of. The problem is that opposition to austerity on its own is not enough. It is time to start thinking about how Labour can become a credible opposition – and that requires getting real about the economy.
The new Labour leaders are not economists and are going to have to learn fast. They will have to accept the realities of capitalism and modern markets, like it or not. No more silly stuff about companies not being able to pay dividends if they don’t do X or Y. If companies are not allowed to pay dividends, share prices will potentially rise instead. If you raise corporate taxes too high, companies may move to Ireland or elsewhere, where they are lower.”
This is a direct attack on Corbyn’s new policy to ban businesses from distributing dividends unless they agree to certain rules on pay. And an attack on McDonnell’s desire to hike corporation tax. If Labour’s top team are too out there for Danny…
Guido readers will be greatly tickled to learn that David Blanchflower (above right), he of the hapless economic forecasts, has been appointed to Corbyn’s new team of economic advisers. Yet derpy David hasn’t always been a fan of Jezza…
Earlier this month, Blanchflower successfully secured an apology from the BBC for saying he supported Corbyn, insisting: “I made clear I wasn’t backing Corbynomics“.
Fed up with people accusing him of backing Jezza, Blanchflower spelled it out in City AM: “I am not a Corbyn supporter and don’t share many of his views“.
He said he was opposed to Corbyn’s flagship economic policy of ‘People’s QE’.
And he even described claims he supports Corbyn as “ridiculous“.
“How much clearer can I be”, moaned Blanchflower when he was accused of being “pro-Corbyn“.
Weeks later Jeremy Corbyn announces his new economics adviser: David Blanchflower. Guido knows David has had trouble predicting the future before, though surely he should have seen this one coming?
Guido has in the past reflected with some scepticism on Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting.
There’s been an election and we have a new government, so it’s only fair to offer him fresh start and a chance to prove us wrong.
Last month derpy Danny wrote in the Indy that, despite wage rises in the previous two months, “Chances are next month we will see a big drop again. I will keep you posted”.
This month’s figures out today show that “Comparing February to April 2015 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 2.7% both including and excluding bonuses”. Here is the continuing rise in wages in graph form from the ONS:
Keep us posted, Danny…
Guido has in the past reflected on the accuracy of Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting. How have his more recent forecasts of doom and gloom fared?
“Pay is going nowhere,” said the sage of Dartmouth last month, warning “we won’t see real wage growth until 2016 at the earliest”. Dopey Danny was following up on his June prediction that there is “little likelihood of real wage growth rising in the months ahead”. He also made the same warning in May: “I wish the MPC good luck with their forecast that real wages are set to rise in the second half of 2014”.
Lo and behold, today’s ONS data shows that “average earnings are now definitely rising”. He really should throw away his crystal ball…