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?

20 thoughts on “Tee Hee”

  1. “For far too long, the Government have concentrated more on achieving a balanced budget than on managing the economy.”

    That’s because they at least have some knowledge of how to manage the former, and none whatsoever of the latter.

  2. That’s very funny. I think we’ve seen peak Murphy and I have to say I strongly suspect you are to be credited for having exposed his base stupidity and incoherence so often and for so long Timothy. Well done that man.

  3. Anyone who proves himself day after day, blog after blog, tweet after tweet, to be too stupid, too arrogant, too fond of the limelight, too extreme and too fvcking selfish and self-centred for the current Labour leadership is a VERY special person who deserves VERY special treatment indeed, probably at Her Majesty’s indefinite pleasure under the Mental Health Act.

    Do doctors not have a requirement under the Hippocratic oath to protect such individuals who lack normal capacity from themselves, in which case why has Mrs Murphy not intervened?

  4. He’s not actually a tax accountant either.” But surely there is no other sort? Accountants keep the books, and dodge the tax. That’s what they are for, isn’t it?

    “we all maximise our utility”: you do understand, do you, that a tautology is devoid of empirical content?

  5. @dearieme – No, most accountants are not tax accountants.

    Nor do accountants keep books. That’s what bookkeepers do.

    Accountants prepare accounts from books that bookkeepers keep or they audit accounts that others (possibly accountants) have prepared.

    For sure, some one-man-band or very small firms of accountants are forced to try their hand at tax but tax is rather a big field, so to be a specialist in tax you need to be doing pretty much nothing else.

    Many tax specialists (such as myself) aren’t accountants at all – I’m ex-HMRC and have virtually no accountancy training at all – and those who are trained as accountants and then go on to specialise in tax quickly and cheerfully forget most of their accountancy knowledge.

    Murphy demonstrates time and again that whilst he has lots of opinions on tax it is clear he has never been in a position where he has done much real tax planning.in the real business world. He just doesn’t know that much.

  6. The Meissen Bison

    …and those who are trained as accountants and then go on to specialise in tax quickly and cheerfully forget most of their accountancy knowledge.

    How much accountancy knowledge could Richard Murphy cheerfully lose in order to qualify as something other than what he is?

  7. @TMB – In my view Murphy has learnt little, forgotten plenty and replaced it with his own opinions, bereft of any link with the real world.

  8. The Sage of Ely, he say:

    The paradox of living is that to function well we have to assume we will live forever whilst knowing we won’t

    Not true. Why, to function well, does anyone have to assume they will never die while knowing they will? The brevity and transience of human life is what motivates many people to achieve as much as they can. Eternal life (as we are) would be very boring. Indeed, Janacek wrote an opera on this theme:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Makropulos_Affair_(opera)

  9. Theophrastus said:
    The Sage of Ely, he say:
    “The paradox of living is that to function well we have to assume we will live forever whilst knowing we won’t”

    My God, Murphy’s now giving philosophical advice on how to live life? Not bad for a small-firm accountant.

    I wouldn’t take his advice on how to tie my shoelaces, but I suppose it’s no more unlikely than Cherie Blair listening to Carole Caplin.

  10. Christ, AndrewC, you mean that accountants don’t even keep books, and aren’t usually competent at dodging tax? Then what the devil do they do? Are you really saying that a spot of auditing is enough to let them pass themselves off as a profession? Dear God, the tedium it must involve.

  11. Dear Gawd, did you ever expect to see those three names in the same sentence together?

    Actually, yes.

    Expected: Top three idiots of year . . .
    Hoped for: Motorway accident claims the lives of . . .

  12. If you accept that you will age and die, you will make provision for your old age by saving when young. Which is something that Keynesians like Murph don’t want you to do, because (lol) it’s bad for the economy, because it reduces consumption.

    To make matters worse, Murph is also a puritan moralist who hates consumption (luxury corrupts the soul) hence bizarre theories about printing money to increase consumption while then taxing it all away to decrease consumption, and his inability to even be consistent with himself, let alone external reality.

  13. IanB: you’ve hit the nail on the head. I forever feel that I’m doing something wrong by acknowledging that in the future people will be less likely to pay me to work, while being alive will still cost me money, so consequently I have to put something aside today to pay to stay alive tomorrow. This building up of assets to fund future expenses is increasingly seen as some sort of moral evil.

  14. He is not a tax expert. He forgot about the biggest capital gains tax exemption (sse) available to companies when analysing the guardians tax rate. How he shakes off the embarrassment of these incidents I will never know

  15. “To make matters worse, Murph is also a puritan moralist who hates consumption (luxury corrupts the soul) hence bizarre theories about printing money to increase consumption while then taxing it all away to decrease consumption, and his inability to even be consistent with himself, let alone external reality.”

    Chuck in the overwhelming sense of self-importance and you have a very good character summary there.

  16. Dennis the Peasant

    Did I expect to see those three names together?

    Actually, I kinda did. They all operate at the same level of political sophistication.

  17. @deariemie
    It’s not that they can’t do bookkeeping, just that like anyone they will offload the boring less value added parts of the job.
    Actually I’ve met a few ‘bookkeepers’ who specialised int turning a box full of receipts into useful accounting information, worked from home and made reasonable money.
    I wonder if Murphy has managed to pass off his various conferences as CPD so he can keep his designation and practicing status as he has alluded that he still has some clients on a few occasions.

  18. “It’s not that you’re too left wing for McDonnell. It’s that your ideas are too much idiocy even for him.”

    How are those two things contradictory?

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