Thursday, 12 July 2012

The shape of things to come

I watched Comrade Nuttall on Tuesday's Daily Politics debating the EU referendum which I think will come sooner rather than later. I am no fan of Nuttall but the way he was set up is how the referendum campaign will be handled by the BBC.

There were three pro EU contributors. Norman Lamont, George Eustice for the Tories and the the coalition plus Lord Monk for Labour and the TUC. They did most of the talking. Nuttall found it very difficult to get a word in and ended up with less than15% of the talk time. In these adverse circumstances Nuttall did OK imo but this is how the 'referendum debate' will be set up, the same way it was rigged in 1975. Euro realists will be outnumbered and out talked by the Europhiles and the debate will of course be chaired by a Europhile.

I am not hopeful and feel the tactics of David Davies demanding a departmental cost benefit EU audit may be more productive. I remember mooting an Common Market cost benefit analysis in a meeting in 1972 only to see it dismissed by the FCO as 'unnecessary '. To this day there never has been any cost benefit analysis of our membership of the EU.

My more recent past is coming back to haunt me with the appearance of my old boss Tucker squirming before the Treasury Select Committee. When I was preparing MPC material I never used Libor rates. I felt they were too easily manipulated. I used and popularised the use of Overnight Index Swaps in the BoE to generate interest rate expectations. These swaps were market traded rates from the very biggest banks and measured in billions not millions. It was nice to see Tucker acknowledge this was still the method of choice.

No comments: