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Wonk watch

The wonk groups think tanks are a rich source of odds and ends, so I'm going to be keeping a closer eye on them than before.

Here's a pearl from the ippr (note the trendy lower case name) which has been ruminating on ID cards:


“If the ID card system has any chance of working, then it will need to include the half a million people living in the shadows. It will be expensive and almost impossible to deport hundreds of thousands of people from the UK so the Government should give illegal workers the chance to come forward and be issued with an ID card. As well as improving the integrity of the ID card system, this would help tackle exploitation and protect the National Minimum Wage.”

I'm against ID cards on principle, and the arguments are not worth rehashing right now. The ippr is neck deep in links to the Labour party, so this can be be viewed as a kite flying exercise in part. So, what we have is the prospect of an amnesty for illegals because it is difficult and costly to uphold the law. Isn't that just going to be a massive disincentive to sneaking on board the eurostar etc etc?. Maybe Labour will embrace this 'it is just too difficult' "principle" and stop policing where there are lots of criminals, stop treating cancer patients etc etc etc.


Meanwhile over at the new economics foundation (they don't like capital letters either), they reckon "As the world bank meetings open in Singapore, new research from nef says that the time has come to look again at foreign debts forced wrongly on developing countries – so-called ‘odious debt’ – and shift the spotlight onto the ‘odious lenders’ – the bankers who made large loans to illegal regimes".

Soo, what constitutes an illegal regime? They don't deign to say, but I think it means ones they don't like. (although they look to have slipped up in fingering Nicaragua - or do they regard the post Sandinista elected government as illegal, or the Sandinistas themselves? Hmm) Also, what does it say about the finance ministers of various countries around the world that they are being viewed as idiots who did not check the small print and therefore fell into the clutches of 'pinstriped loan sharks'? I suspect that these wonks wouldn't know an S&P, Moody's etc rating if it came up and bit them - put simply, the dodgier the credit risk, the higher interest. Do any of my readers want their banks dishing out multibillion pound loans at sub-base rate levels to the likes of Sudan, bearing in mind that if the debt is welshed on, we then get caned with higher bank charges to help make good the short fall?

The nef has form, and I did a hatchet job on one of their papers a while back.
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