Exclusive -- David Blanchflower: "This MPC is not fit for purpose"

"After the election we are going to have to reconsider who sets monetary policy"

In his economics column for the New Statesman this week, Professor David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), says "the MPC's days are numbered, certainly in terms of its remit and probably its membership. After the election we are going to have to reconsider who sets monetary policy."

He adds: "The MPC missed the recession entirely . . . The recession was much deeper because of their failure to act. The MPC was asleep at the wheel. Its inability to communicate adequately what quantitative easing is supposed to do suggests it has learned little."

Blanchflower concludes: "This MPC is not fit for purpose and should be disbanded."

Professor Blanchflower also criticises his former colleague on the MPC Andrew Sentance, who has warned in recent days that rake hikes might be imminent: "The first rule, for an MPC member, should be to do no harm. He was the one who throughout 2008 denied there was going to be a recession."

And he dismisses the decision by the Conservative shadow chancellor, George Osborne, to cut public spending within 50 days of any election, saying: "He seems hell-bent on creating the Osborne Dip."

We've published the column online this evening (two days ahead of the magazine hitting the newstands), so go read it now.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.