Last night's Channel 4 News carried an interview between John Snow and the TUC's Brendan Barber.

Commenting on the unemployment figures released earlier, Barber said, "We want to see the same focus and energy and determination that has been applied to the crisis in the banking sector applied to the real economy. We need a recovery plan for the real economy, and that's got to be about maintaining demand in the economy, not letting jobs go needlessly."

Good start.

"Its got to be about maintaining public expenditure programmes ..."

Uh, oh.

Snow asked, "You've been calling for a big recovery plan, what's yours?"

"Well, we certainly do need to see cuts in interest rates," Barber replied, "and I think that the BoE needs to get ahead of the curve. The problem that the economy is facing is not now inflationary pressures - all the economists agree inflation is going to start very sharply, I think, during the course of the next year."


"I think we need to see the government thinking radically about how they use public expenditure to help support the economy. I mean look across to the United States, they've followed our lead on the banking recovery and the best approach to that crisis, but we've seen the American government investing huge amounts of money in tax cuts to help maintain demand in the economy, to help protect the living standards of ordinary Americans. I think the government needs to think very radically."

Well, there you go. How does an idiot like this get to lead Britain's unions? (He's probably a Common Purpose graduate ...)

During the interview, it was mentioned that Tony McNulty, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, had offered to meet with Barber. If Barber had any balls at all, he would be visiting Mr McNulty with a "big recovery plan" along the lines of:

  • Cancel all derivatives debt - NOW! Then we can perhaps get our financial system back on an even keel.
  • Don't maintain government expenditure programmes ... EXPAND THEM! Invest at least as much in sponsoring high technology economic infrastructure projects as has been spent bailing out the banks. Use high technology infrastructure as the driver to kick start the economy back to life. Start off with pebble-bed nuclear reactorsmaglevCargo Cap. Invest in fusion technology. Take advantage of the present situation to drag our oligarchical elites kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

But sadly, Mr Barber is either too stupid or too scared to face up to the reality of the economic situation we face. He calls for focus, energy and determination. He should show some of that himself.

Can I suggest that anyone reading this that is a member of a union write to Mr Barber, as well as to the head of their own union, and point them at this article. I'd be interested in their comments.