A fatuous obsession: The Coalition's absurd energy policy is damaging industry and adding hundreds of pounds to every family's fuel bills.
Last weekend, some 52 (for the most part little known) economists signed a letter to the Observer newspaper calling on the Government to retreat from its commendably firm determination to reduce substantially, during the lifetime of this Parliament, the appalling budget deficit it inherited.
I am reminded of my own time as a Treasury Minister when, in March 1981, no fewer than 364 (rather better known) economists signed a letter to the Times claiming that ‘present policies will deepen the recession, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability’ and should be abandoned forthwith.
In fact, from that moment, the economy embarked on eight years of uninterrupted growth.
I have no doubt that Chancellor George Osborne will, rightly, ignore the bad advice of the 52, just as we did of the 364. And indeed the International Monetary Fund has sensibly encouraged him to stand firm.
The economy is already recovering, slowly but incontrovertibly, from the recession.
However, there is a threat to that recovery — and the bitter irony is that this is of the Government’s own making.
It is not the very necessary reduction and eventual elimination of the budget deficit. It is the Government’s so-called climate-change policy of ‘decarbonising’ the British economy — the replacement of carbon-based energy with substantially more expensive non-carbon energy, in particular wind power.