Senior Lib Dems suspected the involvement of Conservative HQ in the recent letter to the FT, signed by 20 leading economists, calling for a drop in the 50p top rate of tax. However, it was little noticed that several of the signatories—including Bob Rowthorn, Paul Ormerod and Nick Bosanquet—are leftists. Bosanquet is a Lib Dem, and Paul Ormerod—who, like Rowthorn, is a longstanding Prospect contributor—still uses left-wing language, although he now sees the public-sector middle class as the main enemy of the working class. Meanwhile Bob Rowthorn, a Communist party member for many years and now emeritus economics professor at Cambridge, subsequently clarified that he was not against using tax to reduce inequality, but thinks a permanent property or wealth tax would be more effective.
This article appeared in the Diary in the October 2011 issue of Prospect