Category Archives: Views

Subsidise workers, not property speculators

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak seems to be trying to build for himself the image of a man who is not afraid to “tell it like it is” when the situation requires it. But his actions show that he is prepared to sacrifice long-term economic development for a short-term boost for his Conservative party.

Continue reading

Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday will deepen inequality

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many British people to look for the first time at their homes in a new light: as a place to live, rather than simply an investment.

The lockdown has served as a time of reflection on their home’s advantages and disadvantages and perhaps a reassessment of priorities.

Continue reading

Is it too late to stop Facebook from destroying democracy?

Facebook started out by inspiring admiration for its ability to connect people and help them trace down long-lost relatives, former school mates and old flames.

But as it has grown bigger and bigger, Facebook increasingly looks like a black hole that swallows up small businesses, livelihoods, and, in the end, democracy itself.

Continue reading

Covid-19 should stop the government’s house price subsidy

Before the new coronavirus pandemic, one of the main ways in which the UK’s Conservative Party boosted consumer confidence was pushing house prices up with the aid of various taxpayer-funded schemes such as Help to Buy.

But as the damage done by Covid-19 to the economy heaps pressure on the public purse, should the taxpayer still generously fund schemes that mainly serve to boost house prices and the fortunes of a few big companies and their already well-off clients?

Continue reading

Will the UK impose a wealth tax to pay for Covid-19?

The fact that chatter about a wealth tax is increasing to the point where it could become reality in the UK should not be a surprise. But it would be a very odd thing for a Conservative government to be the one to actually implement it.

Continue reading

Dominic Cummings makes the UK look bad in Brexit talks

Just like he “urged everyone to find closure” regarding Brexit following his victory in elections last year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week urged everyone to “move on” from the Dominic Cummings saga. But just like then, it is easier said than done.

Continue reading

Covid-19: Darkest or brightest hour for the European Union?

The reports of the death of the European Union have been greatly exaggerated – to quote Mark Twain — a few times already in the bloc’s tumultuous life.

This time, however, the European Central Bank (ECB) cannot be the only one to do “whatever it takes” to save the eurozone – and implicitly the wider EU — from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 crisis.

Continue reading

When panic selling is over, stocks could benefit more than bonds

The panic buying of essential items around the globe – from food to, fittingly, toilet paper – sparked by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has been mirrored by panic selling in capital markets. It’s almost as if investors were taking cash out of stocks and bonds to buy whatever food, hand sanitiser and toilet paper they could get their hands on.

Pessimism in global financial markets has reached heights not seen since the dark days of the great financial crisis of 2007-2009, which this current crisis threatens to overtake in depth and significance. But, as news about rapid tests for COVID-19 and resilience to deal with the virus begin to multiply, could investors hope for a bottom in the capital markets’ selloff?

Continue reading

A recession would threaten central banks’ independence

Central banks are again under the limelight. With Mark Carney’s departure as governor of the Bank of England next month, Boris Johnson could try to seize the opportunity to curtail the central bank’s independence.

This should not come as a surprise. Already, Johnson’s soulmate from across the ocean, Donald Trump, has been making noises about the Federal Reserve being too independent (or rather: insubordinate) for his liking.

So, if these two authoritarian populists go for central banks, what are their chances of bringing them under their rule?

Continue reading

Boris Johnson is about to reap what he sowed

By Michael Brett

So Boris, as he likes to be called, hopes he can reassemble a disjointed Britain.  Under his benign leadership families that were torn apart by violently differing views on EU membership can be restored to harmony and domestic bliss.

The 29 million-odd people WHO DID NOT VOTE TO LEAVE THE EU in the 2016 referendum are to be dragged out willy-nilly to satisfy the 17.4 million who voted to leave. This is widely hailed as democracy.

Brexit rules the waves (which, incidentally, can only be used in future to transport goods at the cost of a hell of a lot more paperwork, restriction and delay). We will be poorer in the future than we would have been as EU members. Even the would-be leavers are forced to concede this.

How on earth did we land in this situation?

Continue reading