Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Wisdom of the ages.....

I don't know how long I have been reading William Keegan in the Observer and the Guardian: all my life, it seems, and he never fails to hit the mark. Keegan is an economist who understands that economics is nothing without social, historical and political context, a thinker who views events from a wide perspective. He also has a phenomenal memory for precedent and example. When you read Keegan you don't just get the dry statistics of GDP and GNP and OECD, or judgement of current situations in isolation. You get a lesson in economic history, political precedent and personal anecdote. All of it highly relevant.

Today he has an article in the Observer which revisits the economics of 1952, revives the ancient ghost of "Butskellism", and makes acute comparisons between the situation then and the current policies of George Osborne. In doing so it highlights the eternal and important differences between Labour and the Tories which too many people dismiss and deflect.

Listing Gaitskells' criticisms of the then Tory Party's economic policy, he notes;
"1. Breach of [electoral] promise. 2. Pandering to vested interests. 3. Reactionary social policy. 4. Gross incompetence and muddle."

As Keegan comments "plus ca change..." The list is the same as Ed Balls has been levelling at the Cameron government and its Lib Dem poodles.

I won't plagerise any more of Keegan's article. It stands for itself and you should read it here...

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