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163 of Britain’s top economists support the Labour Manifesto: why is that not being plastered across the media? Diary of a Corbyn foot soldier, December 2019 December 6, 2019

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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A very useful guest post from Michael Curry.

(Extract from Michael Murray’s Diary of a Corbyn foot soldier, December 2019)
Michael Murray: murraymicha@gmail.com; FaceBook: Michael Murray London

Aditya Chakrabortty wrote recently that “Labour’s new manifesto puts the party squarely at the cutting edge of what is now mainstream leftwing. The world is watching,” he says, “A labour victory would resonate globally.” (Guardian, 27/11/2019).

Chakrabortty’s opinion of the Manifesto can’t just be dismissed as mere hyperbole from a Corbyn-supporting Guardian columnist. Certainly not when you read that 163 leading economists, went on the record, in the Financial Times, to say that Labour, on the strength of its Manifesto should form the next government.

A summary of the reasons they give for reaching this verdict is that after 10 years of near zero productivity growth, public services under intolerable strain, which a hard Brexit would make worse, Britain needs the serious injection of public investment the Manifesto promises. “It seems clear to us that the Labour Party has not only understood the deep problems we face, but has devised serious proposals for dealing with them.” (Financial Times , 25 November, 2019)

Top of the list of heavy hitters (it’s done alphabetically!) is David (“Danny”) Blanchflower, Professor at Dartmouth and Sterling universities, and a former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member. He was also an advisor to John McDonnell at an earlier stage of the development of what was then labelled “Corbynomics.” His spat with McDonnell back then over policy, or maybe, personality differences got more publicity at the time than this statement signed by him is getting now. Indeed, reading this here, how many (non-FT readers!) are aware that such a statement has been issued? And this is the period of “purdah” when media access and coverage is supposed to be a level playing field in the interests of informed democratic choice.

Talking about “level playing fields,” as this article goes to the print, news has it that Boris Johnson may escape his date with Andrew Neil, because the BBC didn’t nail down a definite date with Boris as they had done with Corbyn. Nice One, BBC.

In the list of the 163 economists above, there is not mention of Mariana Mazzucato, Professor and director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Purpose. Her take on the Labour manifesto, in the Observer, is worth reading, also..

She starts from where the UK economy and society are at: “Most of the financial sector (close to 80%) fuels finance, insurance and real estate rather than the productive capacity of the economy. And overall, the economy is not growing investment, but private debt-fuelled consumption, putting the ratio of private debt to disposable income back at the level it was before the crisis. And that, not public debt, caused it.” If her diagnosis of what needs mending is in line with Labour’s Manifesto so, broadly, is her prescription.

“Invest in people so they can all create value,” she says.“Invest in communities so they flourish, invest in innovation to stimulate productivity and give it all a green direction. This will bring back growth, opportunities, competitiveness and ….civilisation.” (Observer, 24/11/2019)

The Manifesto is available at labour.org.uk in two separate publications:, to read or download.

Labour Party Manifesto 2019: “It’s time for Real Change” (105 pp)

The companion “Grey Book” of policy itemised costings, “Funding Real Change.”(40 pp)

Comments»

1. CL - December 8, 2019

“Professional forecasters have ditched the habit of a lifetime and produced wildly different predictions for economic performance over the next few years depending on the result of the UK election this Thursday.
Instead of sticking to a consensus view, the outlook ranges from Capital Economics’ assessment that a Conservative majority would be “the best result for the economy” to Citigroup’s forecast that a win for the Tories would lead to “recession in 2021 and a shallow recovery thereafter”.
https://www.ft.com/content/ad01d336-1852-11ea-8d73-6303645ac406

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