Wednesday, 23 February 2011

No depoliticisation strategy

Yesterday I went to the inaugural lecture of Professor Peter Burnham at Birmingham University. He is one of the main exponents of the depoliticisation thesis: in summary, the argument that governments place difficult decisions at one remove to avoid turning an economic crisis into a political crisis.

Sometimes they do this by adopting an external decision rule that can take the strain and the blame: examples include the Gold Standard, the Bretton Woods system and British membership of the ERM. Another option is a domestic rule of some kind such as the Thatcher Government's Medium Term Financial Strategy or possibly Gordon Brown's fiscal rules.

Pete Burnham's observation about the Coalition Government was that they have neither of these stratgies, domestic or external.