Geoffrey howe

The costly legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s monetarism

Post-war British economic history is littered with failed policy panaceas. Keynesian demand management would solve the unemployment problem; the Exchange Rate Mechanism would provide an anchor for stability and end sterling’s perennial weakness; the Barber and Kwarteng budgets – separated by 50 years – would throw off the shackles of Treasury orthodoxy and put the country on a path to higher growth. On the face of it, monetarism – the theory that if you control the money supply, you control inflation – fits squarely into this paradigm. As soon as government sought to control the money supply, the historic relationship between money and inflation broke down. But partly because inflation

One of the lucky ones: Hella Pick escapes Nazi Germany

Hella Pick is one of that vanishing generation of Jewish refugees who arrived in Britain on the eve of the second world war, courtesy of the Kindertransport. An only child of separated parents, born and brought up in Vienna, she was luckier than most: her mother got out soon afterwards. Her grandmother, who remained, died in Theresienstadt. Early life in the UK was not easy for refugees from Nazism. Visas were only granted to those who had an offer of work, and just about the only work permitted to them was domestic service, which must have been particularly galling for people like Hella’s mother who had once been prosperous. Young

Why great speeches are made for stage and screen

Curious thing, writer’s block. If you believe it exists. Terry Pratchett didn’t. ‘There’s no such thing,’ he said. ‘It was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.’ He had a point. Writers write, period. But there is a syndrome in my house known as Not Starting Anything New Through Fear Of It Being Not Very Good. Less catchy than ‘writer’s block’, but arguably a more accurate description of the condition. My Covid-induced version of the above involved endlessly ‘honing’ an already completed play about my mother to devastatingly little effect and musing on the oldest creative question of all: is there a formula for writing success, and if so