I blogged earlier about Labour’s decision to sign up to George Osborne’s “fiscal compact” and whether or not that was a good idea. I’ve just been reminded of a bit from Thursday’s Question Time when a member of the audience talked about being “really simple” with the government’s budget being just like his own. I wonder if this kind of thinking is was prompted John McDonnell’s move yesterday. As you can see in the video, economist Yanis Varoufakis quite succinctly set the audience member right, prompting applause from the rest of the audience. It shows that this kind of “common sense thinking” can be countered quite easily if the will is there. I suppose the question is whether the bloke who asked the question changed his mind after the exchange, or still thinks he is right:
Here is a nice video of Greece’s new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis being interviewed in Italy late last year before Syriza came to power. He talks about his ideas for resolving the Eurozone crises (plural) within the confines of the current rules of the EU. These, he first set out in a paper entitled “A Modest Proposal for Resolving the Eurozone Crisis” (since updated). Notice how scathing he is of the President of the European Commission in particular. In his new role, he needs to be a little more diplomatic perhaps, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with the leaders of the Eurozone as they try to prevent Syriza from pursuing the policies it has a mandate to deliver.
Varoufakis was in Downing Street for a meeting with George Osborne today. It’s interesting to compare and contrast the two men. Varoufakis is a serious economist who has interesting ideas and talks in specifics, while Osborne speaks mainly in platitudes with no background knowledge of the economy whatsoever. Here’s the vid. The interviewer is Italian, but the interview is in English.