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The Independent Online

Sir Alan Walters , the economics guru who advised Margaret Thatcher on the introduction of monetarism, gave a lecture at the London School of Economics this week, ostensibly about the Japanese economy.

Sir Alan Walters , the economics guru who advised Margaret Thatcher on the introduction of monetarism, gave a lecture at the London School of Economics this week, ostensibly about the Japanese economy.

However, Sir Alan could not resist getting all misty eyed about the high tide of Thatcherism, the March 1981 Budget. This slashed planned public spending and halved the budget deficit at a time when the conventional wisdom was that an economy deep in recession needed a massive injection of state cash.

Older readers might recall that the cream of the economic profession, 364 academics, wrote a public letter denouncing the tough Budget. Sir Alan had looked up the offending missive and found that two members of the Monetary Policy Committee, Mervyn King and Willem Buiter, had signed it.

"It's rather worrying. They're in charge now," he told the audience.

When he did finally get on to Japan, Sir Alan's advice was pithy. "The basic problem is they haven't got a Margaret Thatcher."

We could send them ours. I'm sure John Major would pay the air fare...

Moving on to the early Nineties, after all the recent revelations about backstabbing at the Treasury from ex-chancellors Norman Lamont and Mr Major, it seems somehow appropriate that the Estonian Economics Minister should be called H Mikhel Parnoja .

My spellchecker suggests "paranoia" and that is almost how the name is pronounced. But Mr Parnoja seems sunny enough. He's been forecasting that Estonia could be in shape to join the European Union as early as 2003 or 2004.

There was bad news for British Airways in one newspaper last week, under the headline: "Analysts predict £192m loss."

The gloomy story was prompted by analysts downgrading their forecasts after BA's weak September traffic figures. The headline comes from British Airways News, and if that's what the BA staff paper is saying, perhaps I really should unload my shares.

Forget Dublin. The trendiest place to import your Guinness from these days is Nigeria.

The Nigerian-made stout is stronger than the familiar Irish brew and made with Nigerian ingredients. It is imported by Kato Enterprises, an import company set up by Kayode Toyinbo , a Croydon resident, and his wife Lynn . Mr Toyinbo has been supported by Aspen Dene, a Croydon-based management consultancy, and a business start-up service provided by South London TEC and Business Link.

Kato Enterprises imports four containers of Guinness each month, with between 13,000 and 23,500 bottles in each container.

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