Thursday, April 19, 2007

Labour's favorite Chancellor

It's amazing what you find on the Internet. I came across this article from the Independent on November the 26th, 1996, entitled Ken Clarke's Secret Fan Club.

Here are some great quotes:
Among his more open Opposition supporters is a distinguished array of eminent Labour economists. Meghnad Desai, professor at the London School in Economics, once economic adviser to John Smith and a former spokesman for the party in the House of Lords, is an outspoken cheerleader for Chancellor Ken: "We've had the best three years of economic growth almost ever, due to a combination of common sense and boldness on the part of Kenneth Clarke. He's been quite brilliant."

John Wells, lecturer in economics at Cambridge and a former Labour adviser, is another unabashed enthusiast: "The man has a degree of self-confidence that Gordon Brown lacks. Brown is probably terribly insecure about his grasp of economics, while Clarke is prepared to follow his intuitions and isn't afraid to stand up to people. He's also a bit more of a Keynesian, too."

Austin Mitchell is one of the few Labour MPs devoted (or just plain reckless) enough to admit it. "Oh yes, I am a fan," he cheerily confirms. "Ken's got panache, and a greater ability to take risks and get away with them than any previous Chancellor, Labour or Tory."

"Gordon Brown is so orthodox that I think he's going to be awful. And Ken's more left-wing than Gordon, of course."

Such closet treachery is not confined to the powerless back-benches, either. Take the following blunt response, from a frontbench spokesman when asked if he expects the Shadow Chancellor's handling of the economy to match Clarke's: "No. Gordon doesn't have the economic grasp that Clarke has." Or even this, from a Shadow Cabinet member. "I think I'd rather have Clarke as my Chancellor any day, but if you say I said that, I'll sue."

It makes interesting and amusing reading!

So when Labour claim to be the sole authors of economic success they are of course wrong, but what is more worrying is that key indicators such as inflation and public sector debt are seriously going the wrong way.

Hat tip to Witan on for the link to the article.


Elliott said...

Superb! And it was, of course, Ken C who started the policy of inflation targeting in this country (the "Ken and Eddie Show"), which Brown merely cemented by making the BoE independent ..

Benedict White said...

Elliot many thanks! If Ken was Chancellor there would be no need for Bank of England independece, though Lawson tried to get it in the 80's!