Thursday, September 04, 2008

Daring Darling: an update

It's nice when people agree with you. Apparently former BBC economics commentator Evan Davis agrees with my opinion that it was right for the Chancellor to tell the truth, from his blog:

Anyway, since when has it been the government's job to encourage investors to invest, or to entice consumers back into the shops? I would rather ministers gave us unbiased guidance on these matters, rather than advice it thinks is wrong on the grounds there is some bigger social purpose from so-doing.

And why do free market newspapers now find that an important government role is to talk up the pound? (The currency probably needs to drop to soften the downturn, as the falling dollar has done in the US. Who knows what the "right" level of the pound is at the moment?)

David Davis

Yes! This is exactly what I was trying to say! He goes on:

In the face of all the evidence to the contrary, I think it would have been a mistake for Mr Darling to have stuck to his previous line that we are uniquely well-placed to weather the storm. It seems unlikely he had special powers to move us all with his words of encouragement and positive thinking .. if only he hadn't blown it.

If political spin could move the economy so far, let's improve the quality of our schools by demanding that education ministers tell us inner city schools are better than suburban ones. And maybe the foreign secretary could get Russia out of Georgia by telling us they are not there at all.

No, if we could make the economy strong by lying about it, I would be out there for lying all the time. But it didn't work in the Soviet Union, and it won't work in a country with a free press either. Better that Mr Darling tells us what he thinks, than he tells us what we'd like to hear.

Now though, it seems, the former Conservative shadow Home Secretary David Davis is criticising Evan Davis for being biased in favour of the government:

"It is completely wrong for a BBC presenter to start defending Government actions when they have made mistakes. Why is a Labour Chancellor being helped out by a presenter of the BBC’s flagship political programme?"

Evan Davis (no relation [I think...])

A couple of points:

  1. Evan Davis is entitled to his own political opinions and is equally entitled to present them on a personal blog, even if that personal blog is hosted by the BBC and he is a BBC presenter.
  2. Evan Davis was not claiming to speak for the BBC.
  3. The BBC may or may not be institutionally biased in favour of the government. Who cares? Other news outlets are institutionally biased against the government or against the Conservative party. This blog is biased in favour of smart, honest, selfless, and hard-working politicians. So what?

I still believe that Darling made the right decision.

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