David Smith's picture
Affiliation: 
Sunday Times
Credentials: 
Economics editor

Voting history

A “new” UK industrial strategy ?

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Question 2: Do you agree that the UK needs a new regional policy?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The UK has a history of regional policy failures, so a degree of scepticism is appropriate. Enterprise zones have a role to play but will not create the kind of shift in regional economic power the government has in mind. Reversing decades of relative decline for some of Britain's regions will itself take decades.

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Question 1: Do you agree that the UK needs a new industrial policy?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
That an industrial strategy is needed to build on the current, piecemeal, sector-buy-sector approach, should not be in doubt. These days an industrial strategy has to mean the service sector as well as industry. It also has to be more than a set of aims and ambitions.

The Future of Central Bank Independence

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Question 2: Do you agree that the traditional argument that less central bank independence leads to higher inflation will (still) be relevant over the next 48 months in Western economies?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Rising inflation is in prospect and the fear will be that central banks are more constrained in their ability to control it than in the past.

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Question 1: Do you agree that central bank independence in the Eurozone and the UK will decline over the next 48 months?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The high watermark of central bank independence is behind us, and we can expect to see the political pressures on them increase, It is now customary for politicians to criticise them.

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

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Question 7: Voters did not know that there was near-unanimity among economists.

Do you agree that this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
The overwhelming majority of voters had no idea that the consensus was so clearly in favour of staying in the EU. This was partly the fault of the broadcasters - and some newspapers - as noted. But it was also the nature of the campaign. People like Steve Hilton, David Cameron's former adviser, could get away with ridiculously claiming that the economic argument had been won by the Leave side. Anything went, from £350m a week, to claims like that, in this campaign.

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