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Monday 18 February 2008
King's austerity. With echoes of Sir Stafford Cripps, he of the regular cold baths, Marxist beliefs and puritanical tendencies, the Governor of the Bank of England has announced to the nation that tough times lie ahead. He's right. As the credit crunch takes hold, and as inflation continues to edge higher, it's time to face the funereal music. No longer can we continue enjoying ourselves. Having built up a mountain of debt over recent years, we've now got to pay some of it off. That means hard work, more saving, less fun. And should the Chancellor of the Exchequer think about providing some fiscal solace in this newly austere world, Mervyn King will simply have to say, "not now, Darling".
Monday 11 February 2008
I never thought I'd associate the economics profession with sadism, but I'm beginning to wonder. In recent weeks, I've read an increasing number of articles suggesting that a recession would do the world economy a power of good. The protagonists' arguments follow in the best traditions of John Major's approach to economic policy. It was the mild-mannered Mr Major, after all, who once said "If it isn't hurting, it isn't working". But who, though, deserves to be hurt? Shock therapy sometimes works, but policymakers shouldn't bank on this approach all the time.
Monday 04 February 2008
Are we staring into a recessionary abyss? Or are we facing an inflationary blow off? Returning from Norway last week, I grabbed a copy of the European edition of the Financial Times. The main headline made for disturbing reading: "Eurozone inflation soars to 14-year high". Now, call me old-fashioned, but I think of soaring inflation as something rather unpleasant. In my childhood, UK inflation was, for a while, running at over 20 per cent per year. Could the eurozone be suffering a similar fate?
Friday 01 February 2008
Monday 28 January 2008
When the dust settles on the financial market mayhem of the last few months – mayhem which degenerated into an extraordinary convulsive fit last week – one consequence will, I suspect, stand out from all others. We will say goodbye to unfettered free-market capitalism and the minimal state.
Monday 21 January 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York with my family. In between the various shopping expeditions (de rigueur for British holidaymakers in cheap-dollar Manhattan), I took my children to the Lower East Side to visit the Tenement Museum. Located on Orchard Street, the museum is, as you might expect, no more than a small building containing an assortment of tiny apartments. Each has been designed to reflect the lives of families who lived there in various years between the tenements' construction in the 1860s and their later closure – reflecting tougher (more humane?) building regulations – in the 1930s.
Sunday 20 January 2008
Even before he was hit by a truck in 1999, being bedridden had frequently been one of the primal fears powering Stephen King's fiction. King has got much creative mileage out of incapacitated characters, from Paul Sheldon hobbled and trapped in bed by obsessive fan Annie Wilkes in 1987's Misery, Jessie Burlingame left handcuffed to the head board in a solitary cabin in Maine, after her husband suffers a fatal heart attack during an S&M session in 1992's Gerald's Game, to the horrors witnessed by Louis Creed while working for the University of Maine's campus health service in 1983's Pet Sematary. Since his accident, King has relived his personal horror story in a number of novels and television programmes, including Dreamcatcher (2001), Kingdom Hospital (2004) and The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004).
Sunday 11 June 2006
Sunday 18 September 2005
Tuesday 09 August 2005
Monday 07 February 2005
Monday 20 October 2003
Saturday 01 March 2003
Tuesday 07 December 1999
Wednesday 10 November 1999
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