John McDonnell was asked a question about me in the Commons yesterday. This was his response:
He is not the economic adviser and never has been, because we doubted his judgment, unfortunately. He is a tax accountant, not an adviser. He is actually excellent on tax evasion and tax avoidance, but he leaves a lot to be desired on macroeconomic policy.
He’s not actually a tax accountant either. He was a small business accountant specialising in the account books of luvvies.
It’s also true that I am not a tax expert. Nor even an economist (although I really am a global expert in one subject, scandium). But then I do continually insist that I am not an economist too.
And it’s well known there was discussion of an appointment, but I decided I would rather be professor of practice in international political economy at City University instead,
Actually, the grapvine gossip is that the City appointment was on the basis that Ritchie was chuntering along about how he was about to get a peerage a la Milliboy and Glasman. Any actual appointment of that sort, as an economic adviser etc, would of course have meant the loss of his apolitical (Hah!) grant cash. And a peerage would have made up for that of course, but the appointment without the peerage was not such a good deal.
Hey, we all maximise our utility, y’know?
I also argued against the fundamentally neoliberal concept of an independent central bank that takes control of key aspects of economic management out of democratic control and which was Ed Balls idea. But John bought into it.
Well, at the time McDonnell was right. An independent central bank is a requirement of being in the EU. And if you want Remain then you’ve got to take the rules as they are.
So if he’s doubting my judgement because he thinks I was too left wing for his comfort I am happy to accept that reasoning on his part: I think it’s true.
It’s not that you’re too left wing for McDonnell. It’s that your ideas are too much idiocy even for him.
The hon. Gentleman is hinting at what we hope will be a change of direction for the Government. For far too long, the Government have concentrated more on achieving a balanced budget than on managing the economy. They have not been creating demand. They should have been listening to the likes of Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Richard Murphy, all of whom have been giving the Government a map to follow for years. The fact that they have failed to follow it explains why we are in this situation today.
Dear Gawd, did you ever expect to see those three names in the same sentence together?