Tuesday , November 13 2018
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Tony Yates: Long and Variable

Long and Variable is a blog about monetary policy and central banks. Authored by Professor Tony Yates (University of Birmingham), this blog is quite detailed and knowledgeable about global monetary policy.

If you can’t beat them, join them: Remainers try their hand at attacks on the civil service.

Anthony Adonis tweeted this yesterday:  Civil servants do not need this unsolicited advice, foghorned over Twitter.  The tweet comes out of nowhere, prompted by nothing in particular, and insinuates in a way full of foreboding by omitting reference to anything specific.  Presumably, if there were some specific allegation, it would have been made? It is the mirror image of the accusations by the Brexit Ultras that the civil service is run by ‘Remoaner Saboteurs’, of which the latest...

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Next time do QE with a Treasury twist, not central bank money-printing?

This post writes up tweets I sent last night.  The case is not overwhelming, and maybe not even decisive, but it’s worth rehearsing the arguments for.  I’ll write this as though it were for a UK audience only, but the basic idea applies, with some qualifications, for other central banks too. In the UK QE meant the BoE creating new money, electronic central bank reserves, and buying long-dated government bonds [government bonds that mean that you get your money back in a long time, like...

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Guest post by Will Bott: on the democratic legitimacy of a second referendum

Here’s a guest post by Will Bott, also to be found on Twitter. “If public opinion had shifted as much as many proponents of a second referendum claim, or certainly would like, there would be little question about the legitimacy of a second Brexit referendum. Faced with an overwhelming change of heart, few would claim that a previous vote should be considered forever binding on ourselves and future generations. Unfortunately, we probably do not find ourselves in such a situation....

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Brexit was not really a neoliberal project, whatever that is

Simon Wren Lewis argues in a recent post that Brexit was a ‘neoliberal project’.  That the driving force was a form of free-market utopianism. I have doubts about the project of diganosing Brexit as a neoliberal project. For starters, there are the Lexiters.  They see the EU as the neoliberal agent, strengthened by the agents of Europe’s companies ganging up on the workers.  They want to break free from the EU to intervene more, not less in markets. Then there are the nationalists and...

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Will Ireland back down over the border?

I discussed this briefly with ‘Oscar D Torson’ on Twitter. It must be the hope of the government and all Brexiters that this is what happens – Ireland backing down.  With no modification of the united EU and Ireland position, the government, and whoever succeeds it, has to concede to leaving the EU in name only, or to erecting a regulatory and customs border around Northern Ireland at the Irish Sea.  Or face the economic disruption of No Deal, which might be catastrophic, not only in...

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Will the Fed Trump the President or vice versa?

Donald Trump has been at it again, criticising the Fed over its policy of gradually normalising interest rates.  Commentators are wondering what exactly the Fed will do in response. Some worry that the Fed will cave in;  and indeed interpret a fall in the dollar coincident with Trump’s remarks as suggesting that this view is shared widely in the markets. Why would it cave in?  Perhaps to give itself an easy life in its interactions with Congress;  to reduce the likelihood of future...

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Did I just accidentally blog about the validity of a radical centrist party in the UK?

Simon Wren Lewis is sure that a centre party formed by frustrated right-wing Labour MPs is a terrible idea.  Why?  Because it would split the left of centre vote and make it  more likely that a Conservative government held onto power. I’m not so sure this is true, or, even if it was, that it justifies rebel MPs staying put come what may.  Why?  Simon’s forecast seems to rule out any explicit cooperation or participation by disaffected left-wing Tory MPs, and the Lib Dems.  A splinter...

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Je ne Bregret rien

Am I missing something, or are there very few or no prominent Brexiteers changing their minds about the benefits of Brexit? I find it extraordinary that there are not more. Opinion polls have shifted somewhat against.  But politicians and commentators have doubled down.  This in the face of very marked changes in the likely costs and benefits of leaving.  The chance of no deal at all in March 2019 has risen greatly;  also I’d conjecture that the chance of Brexit In Name Only, either in...

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Was poor post crisis macro performance all central banks’ fault?

Martin Sandbu’s column excoriates central banks for post financial crisis macroeconomic performance.  He is right about a lot of things, so I am sure – and hope – his broadside is taken seriously. But I don’t think he is right about this. Martin’s piece fills a vacuum left by central banks and their finance ministry sponsors. [What?  I hear you thinking.]  Central banks themselves ought to be routinely, even institutionally reviewed.  Stephen Williamson commented on Twitter [something...

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How big a deal is No Deal? We have no idea.

Exiting the EU without a deal having previously been inconceivable, some among the Brexit ultras are trying to present it as an alternative preferable to the negotiating position agreed at the Prime Minister’s Chequers meeting, or whatever the EU might actually offer as a response. The Government has been alternatively chastised for not attempting to figure out and take mitigating action, and for trying to conceal what they know or what actions they might have planned. But just how bad...

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