Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 560


21 October 2011 / Issue 560

Can anything jump-start the housing market?


  • The one British bank you should buy now
  • Three stocks that will beat the market
  • Building an empire from the ashes of Enron


My radical demand

Brendan O’Neill had a good sneer at the Occupy Wall Street protestors in his blog for The Daily Telegraph this week. O’Neill notes that any protest movement that has garnered the sympathies of the US government, a supportive editorial in the Financial Times, and a fashion spread in The New York Times, probably isn’t that radical.

O’Neill is no doubt indulging in a bit of ‘it weren’t like that in my day’ nostalgia. But if he wants to see a ‘proper’ campaign movement, he should look to another finance-related group: ‘Save our Savers’. Judging by the middle-aged outfits and neat placards at their protest outside the Bank of England this month, they won’t be troubling the fashion pages any time soon. And they certainly won’t get any support from your average mainstream economist – because their demands are truly radical: they want to see the Bank doing something to tackle inflation.

Yet this shouldn’t be a radical demand at all. It’s the Bank’s job to keep inflation at, or around, 2%. You can fiddle with the time horizon involved, but it’s been above that target for nearly two years now. So you’d think the fact that consumer price inflation (CPI) hit 5.2% last month, and that retail prices inflation (RPI) is now at a 20-year high of 5.6%, should have the Bank showing at least some sign of concern. After all, the last time RPI was at that level, interest rates were at 11.5%.

• Read the full editor’s letter here: My radical demand.