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October 13, 2003


David Duff

For a more detailed discussion on the philosophical pros and cons of Oliver's belief that "Keynes's central economic insight was that modern economies, being cyclically unstable, required automatic stabilisers,..",
I urge you to try
and read John Mauldin's thought-provoking essay on the nature of economic imbalances and the differing approaches of what he calls the "Ought to" Austrian school and the Keynsians.

I would welcome Oliver's thoughts on that essay - but not if it interferes with his efforts to drive a stake through what passes for the intellectual heart of Stephen Marks over on Beatniksalad!.
David Duff

Mark T

We can of course adapt the "statement against linkage" to apply to the Liberal Democrats - or any other party, to wit (my CAPS and brackets):

It is time to raise our voices and call a spade a spade. The POLITICAL PARTY'S (WTO's) design must reflect the principle of mutual-gain; it cannot be allowed to become the institution that becomes a prisoner of every (developed-country) lobby or group that seeks to advance its agenda at the expense of SOCIETY AS A WHOLE (the developing countries). The game of lobbies in WESTMINSTER (the developed countries) seeking to advance their own interests through successive enlargement of the issues at PARLIAMENT (the WTO) by simply claiming, without any underlying and coherent rationale, that the issue is ABOUT BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES/CONSUMER SAFETY/THE ENVIRONMENT ("trade-related"), has gone too far already. It is time for us to say forcefully: Enough is enough.

If we are to look on the positive side we might hope that Vincent Cable use his position to influence both his own party and the debate in general. A party which has a spokesman making clear, consistent and common sense remarks and exposing the existing short term "lobby fodder" would, in my view, begin to attract some deserved attention from the wider public. Common sense economics appeals to those of us left in the real world not dependent on central governmnet for our living. But maybe I'm kidding myself?

john b

David: while Mr Mauldin may have interesting things to say, I'm entirely reluctant to read anything by a man who insists on spamming you with his newsletter before he lets you view his website.

I am, however, looking forward to Oliver's demolition of the Austrian School. Literally would be ideal, although verbally would suffice.

David Duff

John b,
Whilst I'm happy to bluff my way on various topics I suspect that economic philosophy is best avoided to save my blushes - particularly on this site!

So go ahead and tell us why the Austrian school is such an abomination.
David Duff

Jackie D

Nice photo -- I can smell the patchouli from here.


100%-David Laws and Vicent Cable? Well, you can add me for a start!! Seriously though Oliver, I am glad that you think that these appointments are a step in the right direction. There is one way that you can guarantee that Vince cable will win out, and not Jenny tonge or Tony Greaves...join the party!!

Peter Cuthbertson

Oooh the suspense, Simon.

I think this reshuffle is a signal that Kennedy knows he did make a strategic error in Brent East. Appealing to the loony left and Islamofascists might win you Ken Livingstone's old seat, but it isn't going to be much good in the rest of the country. So Kennedy has shifted his frontbench rightwards to counteract this impression. It will be interesting to see if it makes much difference.


Actually the Lib Dems picked up Brent East(where London's inner-suburbs start), due to the very, very low turnout in the poorer areas of the seat, and the decent turnout in the affluent parts of the seat.


The thing I don't understand about this 'Lib Dems made a strategic error in the way in which they won Brent East' is to whom? I live[d] in the constituency that bordered Brent East, I followed the by-election reasonably closely, and yet I had NO idea what policies the Lib Dems were proposing in their Brent East literature. Thus why would someone in Surrey, or Hampshire or wherevere else the Libs want to take Tory seats have any idea?

Phil Rodgers

A.E, I don't think you can attribute the result to differential turnout in affluent areas - after all, shouldn't that have helped the Tories, who had nearly twice the Lib Dem vote in Brent East in 2001? Rather, ISTM the main factor was widespread disaffection with both the government and the local council, ruthlessly exploited by the terrifyingly efficient Chris Rennard by-election machine.

If there was a differential turnout in less affluent areas, it was presumably due to residents of HMOs being unable to leave their homes on polling day due to the snowdrifts of literature of their doormats.

Phil Rodgers [Lib Dem, Cambridge]

Jimmy Doyle

I simply can't imagine why you thought that the picture of Lord Greaves might be relevant to the issue of whether his utterances are to be taken seriously.

john b

Jimmy - I'm sure it's nothing to do with the use of the ad-hominem fallacy that Oliver is so quick (and entirely correct) to point out in others.

Jimmy Doyle

(Actually, I was kidding. I thought that linking to the photo was a rhetorical masterstroke. I mean, could anyone look more like a beardie Lib Dem peer?)

Oliver Kamm

John b - Naturally I do not mean to imply that Lord Greaves's personal appearance is in any way relevant to the content of his argument, After all, how could it be? I meant only to add human interest to my story, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to make this clear.


Peter Cuthbertson...strategic error? Don't make me laugh!! Ooops, too late.


Most discontent with the present Government, is amoung the middle classes.
So if turnout is significantly higher in the posh parts of a very mixed seat, like Brent East, then it will naturally cause the government to lose the seat.

The result is actually only bad, bad for the Tories, as they failed to pick up a seat, with said demographic and turnout factors, that they came within 4% of winning in 1987.


Peter? Are you there Peter? Peter? No....

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