A treasured double audio cassette sits on the shelf here: Great Parliamentary Speeches. An anorak's possession for so popular is it that Amazon (nor anyone else so far as I can tell) does not even have a photo image or stock [Update: wait, here are some].

In it is a devastating, mocking, anti-monetarist speech made in 1980 by Michael Foot, then the UK's Labour opposition leader, against the prevailing government economic dogma - which at the time looked to be seriously failing on the growth, employment and inflation fronts. The economy was, in hindsight, undergoing very painful and profound structural reform: Margaret Thatcher - you may have heard of her.

Mr Foot told a story from his youth of seeing a magician performing at the Palace Theatre in Plymouth where he grew up. The conjurer asks and gets a superb gold watch from a prominent city Alderman which he wraps carefully in a red handkerchief. He then produces an immense mallet and, to gasps, uses it to smash "to smithereens" the contents of the hanky. There is then a sickening pause from the magician and in Mr Foot's words:

"...on his countenance would come exactly the puzzled look of the Right Honourable Gentlemen*...and he would step forward right to the front of the stage and he'd say 'I'm very sorry - I've forgotten the rest of the trick.' "
Now, it is not charitable; nor was it a superb gold watch Alderman Greenspan handed to Mr Bernanke. But the latest text from the FOMC meeting concluded today contains sufficient somewhat at-odds statements:

"...some indicators of inflation expectations have risen in recent months. The Committee expects inflation to moderate"
and conditional hope:

"The substantial easing of monetary policy...should help promote moderate growth...and to mitigate risks to economic activity."
as to recall the cadence and punchline of Mr Foot's great speech - and the gales of laughter it brought from British MPs - 28 years ago.

*The then Secretary of State for Industry, Sir Keith Joseph

Bookmark and Share

0 comments

Related Posts with Thumbnails