For the second time in two years a Conservative Prime Minister has sought party advantage by gambling with the country’s future and losing. Theresa May now joins David Cameron, Sir Anthony Eden and Lord North, who lost America, in the rogues’ gallery of Tory political disasters.

The country now has to live with the consequences of their failed gamble. In a sensible, modern, democracy like –say- Germany, the two main political parties would sit down together, right now, to provide reassurance to the public after a General Election that had produced a ‘hung parliament’. …


As someone who has travelled from economics to politics and, now, back again I am aware of the risks of cross-contamination. Economics as a profession has been infected by public scepticism as a result of politicians’ misunderstanding or misusing forecasting models usually by failing to spell out the assumptions and qualifications behind them.

Economists in the Treasury, Bank of England, IMF and OECD are now among the reviled and ridiculed ‘experts’ who ‘got it wrong’ and failed to understand how the optimism and willpower of the British public would triumph over the nay-sayers and Remoaners lurking behind those unpatriotic econometric…


1

Many thanks for inviting me to give this public lecture. For one thing, it is both flattering and fascinating to be asked to follow in the footsteps of Governor Carney. Or, indeed, in the footsteps of your Chancellor, Lord Leveson, who grilled me for an uncomfortably long time during his Enquiry dealing with the Murdoch takeover of Sky.

For another, you decided to take onto your staff my impressive former press officer, Jo Robotham, which suggests good judgement on your part. And, not least, I have positive recollections of an official visit I paid here two years ago, looking in…


Night-schools and the rediscovery of Adult Learning

I was invited by Ruth Spelman to give this lecture immediately after a presentation at the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) which had been conducting a project on the future of continuing, lifelong, learning. I shared a platform with David Blunkett who, along with people like John Prescott and Alan Johnson, personally embodies the tradition of working class self-improvement, achieved with the help of adult education delivered through the WEA, trades unions or municipal adult education colleges. …


I don’t like or agree with Brexit but I get the basic logic behind most of what Theresa May is trying to achieve in her ‘clean Brexit’.

If immigration control is a key strategic objective then this difficult to reconcile with Single Market status (though ‘having cake and eating it’, as Boris Johnson puts it, wasn’t explored very far). If escape from the European Court of Justice was an overriding concern (though why?) then we have to leave the common commercial arrangements over which the Court presides. If we are to have a national trade policy then we have to…


Introduction

It is an honour to be asked to give this lecture. I asked myself: ‘why’? My only encounter with Brian Leveson was from the witness stand of his eponymous inquiry: one of the more gruelling experiences in a gruelling five years as Secretary of State for BIS. I am not sure if that encounter, or what led to it, was the reason. But it gives me an opportunity to talk about what has been called the ‘elephant in the room’ in the debate about media regulation: the interconnected issues of ownership and plurality.

Media plurality merited only 6 out…


The few days since the election of Trump to the US Presidency have already produced a deluge of comment. In truth we are no nearer to understanding whether Trump is a cynical populist who will try to distance himself in office from the commitments he made to get there or someone who wants to use the Presidency to pursue the ugly prejudices which he articulated; whether he will listen to necessary but unwelcome advice or simply indulge his massive ego; whether he is primarily interested in making deals with potential adversaries or picking fights with overseas governments which cross him.


Image Source: www.your.heathrow.com

The debate about Heathrow expansion can easily be caricatured as between economic rationality (the Airport Commission) and business (the CBI and other lobby groups) on the one hand and London Nimby’s -all million of them- and greenies (worried about NOX and carbon) on the other.

There are of course very important and genuine concerns over the environment and over aircraft noise and this is what energises the protestors including the politicians in London who are mobilising against the expansion.

But as an economist and a former Business Secretary I am not willing to concede that there is an overwhelming economic…


Introduction

The Cadbury tradition is being celebrated here and I vividly recall that on my last outing with the Lunar Society Sir Adrian was on the front row. I would like to pay tribute to his work and his considerable legacy.

My own appreciation of that tradition started rather earlier with Bournville cocoa and Cadbury Milk Tray though I confess to divided loyalties. One of my earliest recollections is of the deliciously sweet smell of chocolate manufactured in Terry’s 200 yards from my first childhood home. My mother worked on the production line when she left school at 15; my…


With the financial turmoil, the vote share of social democratic parties has fallen across western Europe. The new challenge for the centre left is to build an outward-looking economy.

If the centre left faces acute crisis. The Labour Party is being destroyed by infighting. If a general election were held any time soon Labour, under its present leadership, could expect a mauling. The Liberal Democrats are recovering from near-annihilation, at least in terms of the number of MPs we lost in 2015, yet morale is high on the back of our successful local government campaigns. However, we are yet to…

vincentcable

British politician and economist, former MP for Twickenham and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2010–2015 under coalition government

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