Robert Skidelsky
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House of Lords Debate: Queen’s Speech
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard column 321-322 | Wednesday, June 02, 2010

 
My Lords, I congratulate the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, on her appointment to her important new responsibilities. I regret only having to turn my head to the left rather than the right to get the full flavour of the masterful performances of the noble Lord, Lord Myners, that I have come to expect and which, indeed, we got today.
 
 In the Crimean War, it is said that Lord Raglan, a veteran of the Peninsular War, announced his plan of campaign to the assembled commanders by pointing to the map and saying, "We attack the French here", at which point an aide whispered to him, "Sir, the French are our allies". I trust that members of the coalition will not be afflicted by a similar cognitive dissonance.
 
The Government have

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House of Lords Debate: Fiscal Responsibility Bill - Second Reading
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard column: 748-750 | Wednesday, February 10, 2010

 
My Lords, as this is a money Bill, this House cannot amend it, but I shall discuss the motives and principles underlying it. My speech will not give satisfaction to the two opposing parties, but I hope that, for that reason, it may gain in coherence. As the noble Lord said, we shall see.
 
The Government are in a bind. The markets are clamouring for retrenchment. On the other hand, the Government know that retrenchment now would be fatal for recovery. This rather feeble measure is the result. It reminds me of nothing so much as the optimistic promises that I used to make to my bank manager when he called me to ask what I intended to do about my overdraft. This, of course, was in the days when I knew who my bank manager was. He was called

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House of Lords Debate: Queen’s Speech (5th Day)
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard column: 389-391 | Wednesday, November 25, 2009

 
My Lords, it is a strange convention that the topic of most interest to the British people should be relegated to the fourth day of the debate on the Address. I know that it has always been the convention but I hope that it might be amended at some point.
 
I enjoyed the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt; it was very gung ho. I kept waiting for the economic analysis-it never came. As your Lordships know, we have been living through the worst economic downturn since the great depression. The most important thing the great depression taught us is that if economies suffer a great dislocation or shock they do not automatically recover; they can stay depressed for a long time. John Maynard Keynes was the inventor of the theory of the

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House of Lords Debate: Financial Regulation EUC Report
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard: column 760-2 | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

 
My Lords, as a recently retired member of the Select Committee on Economic Affairs, I give a warm welcome to its report on banking supervision and regulation. I recognise in its clarity of language and cogency of argument and in the balanced nature of its recommendations the hand of the skilled drafter and expert adviser, as well as the assembled knowledge and wisdom of the committee.
 
This report, like others that the committee has produced, serves an important educational function: it should be required reading for all those who want to understand the origins of the banking crisis and the steps that might be taken to prevent such events in the future. However, its remit allows it to cover only part of what went wrong and what needs to

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House of Lords Debate: Government Statistics
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard: column 84-6 | Monday, June 01, 2009

 
My Lords, I should like to take the opportunity provided by the question of the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, to raise two topics, one general and one relating to the particular issue of inflation statistics.
 
My general comment is that I am appalled by the degree of statistical illiteracy abroad. Almost every time I read a newspaper I am aware that the journalists writing it have no knowledge of statistics. They simply pluck out things to create stories, as the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, said, and therefore there is constant statistical abuse. Of course, it is very hard to be against more information but sometimes I think we would be better off with less. A good example of that kind of statistical abuse is the debate on climate change.
 
I

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