The BBC has been quick to publish a favourable write-up of a recent think tank report from the Progressive Economy Forum. The report was presented as a neutral analysis, with the authors presented simply as a “group of economists”. A little digging shows they are not simply economists, they’re also ardent lefties…
Their observations, quoted by the BBC without challenge, include “a consensus among economists” that austerity is damaging, “as the experience of the last decade in Britain has shown” – and that government policy is based on “very shaky foundations”. It doesn’t take a genius to work out which side of the tax-spend debate they sit on…
The Progressive Economy Forum website shows their council members, including the likes of Faiza Shaheen, James Meadway and Danny Dorling, who wouldn’t be out of place at a Momentum rally. As for the authors quoted directly in the article, Rob Calvert Jump publicly endorsed Corbyn’s 2017 election manifesto, whilst Jo Churchill has a history of pro-Corbyn tweets.
As co-conspirators know, Guido welcomes the BBC providing a platform for all viewpoints. However, presenting activists as objective, impartial authorities is hardly in keeping with the BBC charter. The Corporation would never treat the IEA like that.
UPDATE: The BBC has updated the article to reflect the political persuasions of the report and has also included a right-of-centre perspective. The new version also has the welcome addition of the phrase “experts disputed the findings”. For posterity, co-conspirators can view the old version here. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Hardline centrist pundits who consider themselves to be homme sérieux have wasted no time in rushing to judgement on Liz Truss’s character and prospects:
“No vision, no charisma, no real plan: Labour has nothing to fear from Liz Truss” is the headline on Polly Toynbee’s article that will no doubt set the tone for many Guardian stories to come.
As Allister Heath pointed out this morning:
“It is astonishing that pundits with no understanding of economics dismiss the Prime Minister’s ability in this area: she actually worked as an economist for Shell (ideal in the current climate) and as an economic director for Cable and Wireless. The first accountant ever in No 10 – she holds the qualification from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – she is more financially literate and comfortable with complex policy matters than almost all of those who patronise her. The fact that she is reflexively written off as lightweight, a dilettante even, is more a reflection of the bizarrely misogynistic and classist minds of some of her more extreme critics than of any objective reality.”
Britain faces challenging economic times, in Liz Truss we have someone far better qualified to address the nation’s troubles than are her opponents. Her enemies are likely to find out, not for the first time, they underestimated her.
Over the weekend, Will Hutton used his Observer column to rubbish Truss’s economic plans and peddle the typical Remainer refrain that Brexit has killed UK exports:
“As British exports stagnate, there is not a nod to the role of trade as a propellant of growth. The UK, as the second largest exporter of services in the world […] is locked out of the country’s largest markets in Europe. It is a growth plan built on sand.”
This is a myth that frequently appears in Guardian and Observer column inches, despite all the inconvenient evidence to the contrary. As Guido reported in January, a report by the City of London Corporation found that London is still the top overall destination for financial services worldwide – including as the leading foreign exchange trading centre – thanks to an “unmatched international financial reach” across 95 metrics. The Global Financial Centres Index 2021 also put London second behind only New York as the top financial hub in the world.
And for all the EU’s incessant sabre-rattling, the London Stock Exchange’s London Clearing House unit is still clearing 90% of euro interest rate derivatives, with the EU in February even extending permission for Britain’s clearing houses to continue serving European customers until at least 2025. The City is still a financial powerhouse, despite what Remainers pretend to believe…
As Tim Worstall blogged for the Adam Smith Institute yesterday:
“It’s not about trade barriers nor being inside them. In fact, London has often benefitted from being well outside regulatory systems – the Eurobond market is proof of that.”
As for British exports “stagnating“, last month British exports to the EU hit their highest level ever according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Hardly “locked out” of the markets then…
There’s been an outbreak of jingoistic fervour among media luvvies following yesterday’s announcement that Japan’s Nikkei bought the FT for £844 million.
First there was a glorious moment on Newsnight last night when Kirsty Wark felt the need to assure Will Hutton “I’m not suggesting you’re a racist at all” as she questioned his line that foreign owners of British media might not have the correct “purpose“.
Wark: What you seem to be suggesting is, that there should be some kind of imperial protectionism here
Hutton: I’m not suggesting that at all, what I’m saying is…
Wark: I’m not suggesting you’re a racist at all
This morning we have the odd declaration on the Guardian‘s front page that it is “British based” and “British owned“. Complete with a Union Jack Flag..
Odd when you consider that the Guardian wins its prized Pulitzers in the US and keeps its assets untaxed in the Cayman Islands…