Time to hit the ground running

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Morning all, We’re now a week into a seismic political shift in UK politics, with Labour returning to office for the first time in 14 years. This is a Parliament that’s more new than old – 335 of the 650 MPs sworn in this week have never been one before. It’s also more representative than … Continued

Have you been paying attention? How Brits have engaged with the general election campaign

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Morning all, Has anyone else noticed the difference between this election campaign and the parliament that preceded it? When they write the history books, I am confident they will describe the 2019–2024 parliament as ­nuts. We left the European Union, suffered the biggest pandemic in a century, saw the biggest war on European soil since … Continued

Busting dance moves and wishing back bad weather

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Morning all, Let’s face it, there’s been some pretty disappointing performances during the election campaign. But the weather at least has finally stepped up to the plate to provide an appropriate backdrop to the SUMMER election. Still, it always pays to have a brolly at hand. While the sun is still out the summer vibes … Continued

The economic battle lines in the manifestos

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Afternoon all, And breathe. The manifestos are out; the serious wonk business can begin. If you have digested the fine detail of the parties’ manifestos – good for you. If you haven’t, then I am shocked and appalled by this dereliction of your democratic duty. Luckily for you, we have. So today’s TOTC special on the … Continued

Taxes rise and fall, while wages flatline for 100 years

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Morning all, They say a week is a long time in politics. Let me tell you – it can be a long time in think-tanks too. TOTC readers will be familiar with Torsten’s tirades against anti-politics over the years, and those sentiments have followed their logical conclusion as he seeks elected office. We wish him … Continued

The economic arguments for the General Election 2024

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Afternoon all, Well that all happened rather fast…our thoughts are with any journalists who had holidays planned for the next few weeks, civil servants thinking August would be a nice quiet month, and retiring MPs counting on five more pay cheques. Democracy in Britain doesn’t lend itself to umbrellas well-laid plans. And that includes book … Continued

The end of the inflation shock

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Afternoon all, Big news coming on the economic front next week: unless something goes awry inflation should fall to within touching distance of the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target when April’s consumer prices data comes out on Wednesday (the Bank’s own forecast is 2.1 per cent). It’s a big landmark after a long … Continued

Chillaxing across Latin America and Leicestershire

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Afternoon all, Feeling pretty perky today. There’s the exiting the recession thing, which is good. But better, the weather recovery is at last underway, as we exit 2024’s never ending winter. This week has been genuinely pleasant, so the voters weather gods better not take us back to square one. Especially as I’ve missed most of the fun … Continued

The damage done by phones, polls and parochial careers advice

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Afternoon all, I for one am shocked that the party that is 20 points ahead in the polls has done well, and the one that is 20 points behind has taken a kicking. No-one could have seen this coming, so it’s lucky thousands of words are now going to get written to help us understand … Continued

Miserable teens, powerful wind and the benefits of in-bred monarchs

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Afternoon all, Glad to be back. And dried out from Devon. It might not have been Dubai level sogginess but it wasn’t far off. I’m feeling better disposed towards Hampshire and Sussex which delivered three days of walking/camping along the South Downs Way last weekend without a single drop of rain – luckily, because I … Continued

Happy new tax year!

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Morning all, Happy Easter to those of you celebrating consuming chocolate. You know what’s even more exciting than milk chocolate bunnies? Celebrating the start of the new year fiscally speaking. This is what living your best life is really about people. In fact, make that ‘new years’ plural, because next week you get to enjoy the arrival … Continued

Dissent at the Bank, empty arrivals in Hartlepool and unsexy beards in Hackney

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Afternoon all, To make us feel better about our own political culture, France spent the week arguing about Emmanuel Macron’s biceps in now infamous boxing photos. Which is ridiculous. Because it’s his ginormous, belong-in-Bridgerton side-burns that should really be sparking outrage. British politics might have some gammons, but I’m relieved that it is largely chop … Continued

Time to hit the roof over housing?

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Morning all, Despite what this morning’s papers and Labour say, it’s not ‘news’ that there’s no May election. If you’re running the country you don’t call an early one after those kind of by-elections results, no matter how many squillions of pounds a racist might have given you for a campaign. The Kate photograph fandango is also … Continued

Budget watch

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Morning all, Happy Budget week. Well, happy for the National Insurance payers among you. Commiserations to the pensioners, the landlords and the pensioner landlords. Your time will come had already come over the last few decades. So, two real stories from this Budget. The micro – winners and losers – story, which is getting harder … Continued

Fake news, phony data and falling debt

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Afternoon all, There are questions to which George Galloway – a painfully powerful speaker in our orator free era – is the answer. They just aren’t ones we should be asking – like how do we stoke divisions. The result last night is pretty staggering. The Labour, Tory and Lib Dem vote share in Rochdale … Continued

Fact fudging and future funding

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Afternoon all, Another classic week for Britain in the world. Making an unspeakable tragedy in the Middle East about ourselves takes some doing, but we have managed it. And we’ve exported Liz Truss to the US. Apparently “it was the deep state that won it for the lettuce”. And where better to make the case … Continued

Recession watch

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Afternoon all, Happy recession day. To help you mark the occasion, TOTCs is 24 hours early this week. And we’ve got a recession special from myself and James Smith (who runs our macroeconomic work), unpacking today’s gloomy GDP stats with everything you need to know. It’s not pretty, but if you think this is grim, just be … Continued

The societal wrecking balls of social media and hot parents

Afternoon all, Over-egging your policies is normal pre-election behaviour. And we’re definitely in the, so long it makes you want to end it all, pre-election phase. But this week had a different theme: those policies getting watered down. Jeremy Hunt’s reining in expectations for the scale of tax cuts to come in the March Budget, telling … Continued

Fraying safety nets, social circles and fertility rates

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Afternoon all, It’s nice when there is something to bring the country together. Like the worst. Coup. Ever. The Prime Minister’s opponents and supporters all agree that Simon Clarke’s was the least successful heading over the top since Blackadder’s reluctant effort. That’s the risk with cunning plans. We say we want our politicians to represent the … Continued

Britain isn’t post-work

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Morning all, Apology in straight away. This was going to be a normal TOTCs, but I got sufficiently annoyed about a BBC headline this week that you’ve got a TOTCs special on… the idea that we’re about to be, or should be, post-work. “AI to hit 40% of jobs and worsen inequality, IMF says” it … Continued

Things aren’t as bad as you thought.

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Afternoon all, And a belated happy New Year. 2024 is going to be better than 2023. Why am I confident? Because reversion to the mean is a powerful thing. As we covered a fortnight back, it’ll be messy but at least there’ll be winners, as well as the losers we’re all used to being over the past few … Continued

Resilient rust belts, cash conspiracies and dumping on the Dutch

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Afternoon all, A classic week on the economics/politics front – another numpty MP means another by-election’s on the way and the economy managed to actually shrink in October. The latter’s got the over-excited saying we’re recession bound – I’ve no idea if that’s right (note today’s PMI survey shows firms perking up a little, consistent … Continued

An Ending Stagnation special

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Afternoon all, Did I mention we’ve been conducting an Inquiry into the UK economy – the Economy 2030 Inquiry? Thought not. Well we have, and this week we published its Final Report. Ending Stagnation: A New Economic Strategy for Britain is out, single handily solving all your hardest “what to get your mum/brother/lover/small child for Christmas” … Continued

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