I was happy to agree to be on an advisory panel for Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP. There are only two reasons why I would say no to any major political party who asked me to give them their advice. The first is if this restricted what I would otherwise write on this blog or elsewhere. No such request has been made, although if you are hoping that I will reveal in posts accounts of what happens at panel meetings you will also be disappointed.
The second reason why I might have said no is if I thought the advisory panel was for presentation only, and all advice would be ignored. I have no reason for believing that in this case, and some grounds for thinking the opposite, which I discuss today in the Independent. In particular their position on fiscal policy is similar to the one I suggested here, although getting the message clear probably requires some work.
One rather sad comment on the formation of this group is that those joining it will be forever tainted by associating themselves with a "hard left dinasours". Or to put it another way, its members should have said no to the Labour party leadership because they now have pariah status. As I pointed out in the Independent article, the current leadership will have to come to some kind of accommodation with the rest of the parliamentary party, and so Labour policies are unlikely to be the kind of far-left platform that many in the media seem happy to imagine. As Labour are the main opposition to the current government, and I think their macro policies are pretty awful, it would have been bizzare indeed if I had said no to this invitation.
Robert Peston has a short blog post on this new panel. He asks a very good question, which is why previous party leaderships have not done anything similar. I would quibble about one phrase in his post though, and that is this group is designed "to establish an economic ideology outside the mainstream". As I have often said, my own macro is pretty mainstream. What has happened since 2010 is that macro policy has departed from that mainstream.