Blogger Profile: Chris Dillow/ Stumbling and Mumbling
As part of our on-going top political blogger interview series, Total Politics speaks to Chris Dillow about new Labour’s faults, writing economics and George Osborne’s arrogance.
Could you briefly describe who you are?
I'm an economics writer at the Investors Chronicle . Before that, I worked as an economist in the City for almost 10 years. I think of myself as an economist rather than a writer. Many would say, however, that the only evidence for this lies in my writing style.
When did you start blogging?
Why did you start blogging?
There were lots of things I wanted to say that I couldn't say in my day job, but which weren't being said in the mainstream media. This remains the case.
Could you describe your blog?
The politics is left-libertarian/Marxist. I suspect, though, that this is evident in only around half the posts. There's also a hefty dose of behavioural economics in it, and a fair chunk of macro-economics — though I try to leave a lot of that for my day job.
How much do you think your interest in philosophy dictates your posts?
I don't think many of my posts are explicitly philosophical. It's more the case that any serious thinking about politics will very quickly run into questions of philosophy — about the nature of justice or about the limits of knowledge, for example. One reason why I take a dim view of mainstream politics is that such questions are so often ignored.
Is there any one thing you would like to change in politics right now?
Just one thing? Pretty much everything, more like. My top policy priority would be a citizens' basic income.
You’ve also published political non-fiction. Your recent book is critical of new Labour, why is this?
The reasons are best explained in the book! Essentially, I think new Labour bought into a managerialist ideology which believes that society can be managed from the top down. This is not only grotesquely inegalitarian — it was a big factor behind New Labour's cringing deference towards the boss class — it also displays an arrogant ignorance of the limits of what can be known about the economy and society.
Who are you supporting for Labour leadership?
Whichever candidate stops thinking that immigration is to blame for Labour's defeat.
Though I don't share his stated politics, I knew David Miliband well when he was at Oxford, and I have some fondness for him. Among Conservatives, I respect David Willetts.
Least Favourite politician?
George Osborne seems to have that combination of arrogance and ignorance that confirms my class prejudices.
Paul Sagar at Bad Conscience.
If you don't like a blogger, just ignore him. I make a point of ignoring Iain Dale.