All posts by Dan Lewis

My first published letter – in the Wall Street Journal in May 2001

So it was titled – The Case for Keeping the Pound

What a different world it was then – I forgot I did this and found it again recently. I think it stands up pretty well, except of course Rover isn’t with us anymore, the Bank of England doesn’t quite have the halo it used to and the Wall Street Journal actually used to support Britain joining the Euro. All credit to the WSJE of course for publishing a letter that disagreed with their editorial.  And the value of sterling in Deutsche Marks now would be about 2.35 marks to the pound – so even Rover probably could have done alright on that.

Here’s the letter online.

I have also appended it below – don’t think they’ll mind too much.

Letters to the Editor
From The Wall Street Journal Europe

The Case for Keeping the Pound

So, The Wall Street Journal Europe thinks Britain should adopt the euro (“Answering Thatcher,” May 25). Well sterlingphiles like me disagree. So far, too much attention has been focused on the failure of the euro to achieve stability on the foreign-exchange markets.

It is more relevant to look at the performance of the British pound.

Over the last century, Britain has taken almost every wrong direction in monetary policy. Broadly speaking, this involved fixed or targeted exchange rates, and the prioritizing of growth and employment over low inflation.

However, since sterling was thrown out of the EU’s exchange-rate mechanism in 1992, there has emerged a consensus that inflation can be controlled with short-term interest rates, and that low inflation is a prerequisite for growth and employment. Since then, the economy has blossomed magnificently. No one could dispute that over the last 10 years, British growth, employment and monetary stability have easily outperformed Britain’s European counterparts. Moreover, the Bank of England has a level of professionalism, insight and transparency that puts the European Central Bank in the shade.

Britain needs a currency that is neither wholly European nor American. Some 85% of the U.K. economy is not dependent on exports to the EU. And for the 15% that is, one can safely assume that the Euroland countries would not agree to Britain joining where most British exporters like Rover would like it, at 2.5 marks to the pound. The reality is probably closer to 3.4 marks. That sterling has appreciated against a weak euro and stagnant European economy, but depreciated over the last year against the mighty dollar, suggests that we have the right balance through monetary independence.

Our future will never be with one continent, but with the world. Only a floating exchange rate and an interest rate set to preserve monetary stability in Britain can safely steer the U.K. through the uncertainties of the global economy. It’s time for The Wall Street Journal Europe to reconsider its view on Britain and the euro.

Dan Lewis
London

 

New platform launched yesterday – www.eutariffs.com

Ok so I started on this back in late May 2016, frustrated because in the Brexit debate, no one was talking about the import tariffs of the Customs Union and what we might do with them if the country did vote to leave. Well the vote happened and the project mushroomed.

Go take a look www.eutariffs.com – and as always don’t hesitate to give me feedback.

Speaking on energy storage

danlewis_29012015I enjoyed speaking at the  the 6th Smart Energy UK & Europe Summit as well as chatting with some of the delegates afterwards. I was asked to speak on Energy Storage – the big picture and they took this photo which I thought was pretty good, so I uploaded it here.

 

It was a busy day, straight after this I was asked to be on a panel for the Mondo Visione Seminar, entitled Bringing Insight to the UK Power Market in the City which was equally enjoyable. Both times I came away thinking that too many energy policy wonks don’t get enough exposure to the technical experts on the frontline of innovation in the energy sector.

It is anything but a static, linear world.

Latest paper – based on a talk in Berlin last September 2012

I really enjoyed being in Berlin (or rather Potsdam) last September and presenting this paper to a conference organised by the excellent Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung Fuer die Freiheit – the think tank of the of German Liberal Democrat Party. And full marks to them for having an excellent url www.freiheit.org – i.e. freedom.org !

It’s not fashionable to be optimistic about our energy future but I am and this paper outlines some of the reasons why. There were a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience which I always savour as well. Although I speak German and nothing like as well as I used to, one had to admire that the whole conference was in English as were the questions. Sometimes a speech doesn’t “translate” well to the written word but this one reads well  – if I may immodestly say so. 

Anyway, here is the paper.

Space Tourism

I’ve got a number of policy/personal interests; energy, crime data, tennis and space – and a couple of new platforms that I will be revealing soon. Following my paper for the IoD on Space: Britain’s New Infrastructure Frontier back in May, here’s a link to a video which I only just discovered on the BBC website interviewing me about the potential for Space Tourism back in July or rather (as I argued) the potential for research. I’ve since addressed a number of feedback points about the report in this post – Yes, the UK will need a spaceport. For most people though, this won’t become real until XCOR and Virgin Galactic first launch their suborbital vehicles some time in 2013/14. In the meantime, the regulatory framework is still to be determined – I have this year sat on two UK Space Agency workshops on future Space Plane regulation.

Anyway re: the photo and video above – did they really have to put in a moving space backdrop of planets in the background?

I must admit, it is quite funny !

Have just updated papers section

I’m slowly bringing this website up to date – see authored and co-authored papers section here. Let me know if anything doesn’t look right !

Next, I need to update articles etc. will take a while – a lot of content was not uploaded by yours truly when I had the site redesigned a few years ago.

 

Debating shale gas again . . . on the Daily Politics

Amazing. You wouldn’t know that in the whole country, all we have are just 4 exploration wells, only one of which has been partially fracked and all of them have been suspended from activity for over 18 months because of 2 tiny tremors that didn’t break a single teacup. Compare that to the USA where roughly, around 35,000 shale gas wells were drilled in the last 10 years and around 105,000 fracks were made.  So let’s not get ahead of ourselves – we wouldn’t need to do anything like that much.

People seem to be focussed on the making of a shale gas well which can be noisy and disruptive for a few weeks and completely ignorant of the total silence thereafter for up to 40 years while it is producing gas straight to the national gas network. Personally, I’d much rather live next to a shale gas well than a wind turbine !

Nevertheless, nearly everyone is very taken with the potential and the safety issues. And having looked at them closely in this paper for the IoD, I was more than convinced that shale gas is not only safe but an economic, environmental and energy security gain too.

Not everyone’s convinced though (and not just Gazprom and President Putin!) – here is a shot from me debating with Caroline Lucas MP of the Green Party on the Daily Politics yesterday on a freezing December afternoon – still on iplayer here about 45 minutes in.

 

 

The case for using UK Shale Gas is overwhelming

I know, I know, I haven’t updated this site for a long time but here’s a video of me speaking on Sky TV making the case for UK Shale Gas.  This comes from a report I recently co-authored for the Institute of Directors where I am an Energy Policy Adviser – all details here and freely downloadable – read it first and decide for yourself.

There really is quite staggering ignorance about the huge scale, environmental and economic benefits of shale gas in the UK – were we to go ahead and use it.

Latest radio interview on ACR and website update coming

Dear all, forgive me for being a bit remiss in updating this website – I have been concentrating my efforts on www.economicpolicycentre.com, www.future-es.com and www.ukcrimestats.com

Anyway, there are some changes coming shortly to www.danlewis.org because looking at it now, I realise quite a lot of it is out of date and I’m missing a large number of articles that I have written in the recent and distant past.

In the meantime, here is an interview I did at 3 in the morning a few days ago on American Conservative Radio with John Terry – about 40 minutes and despite the early hours, I really enjoyed it.  Both my hosts were very easy to talk to – real pros – and we covered the Euro crisis, shale gas, energy security and renewable costs.

It’s a shame we don’t really have talk radio in Britain – over here it’s all about soundbites, quick questions and answers and then it’s over in 3-4 minutes. So it was doubly nice not to be interrupted, be given time to make a point and think of something else on the hoof to say !

Thanks again to American Conservative Nation for inviting me on to their show.

www.ukcrimestats.com launches today

At last – after many months of difficult development, the Economic Policy Centre , the think tank which I am proud to be Chief Executive of,  is launching today a new ground-breaking platform – www.ukcrimestats.com

UKCrimeStats is the UK’s only crime ranking platform for neighbourhoods, Police Forces and Streets with maps, analysis and reports – starting with this one here – Decoding the Crime Data Dec 10 to Feb 11.

I don’t know why crime isn’t researched by economists more – it’s so expensive. The last Home Office report in 2000 priced it at £60 billion a year and it’s a safe bet that it’s gone up since then.  At the very least, government should start measuring that cost. How can you start to deal with a problem without knowing the true cost of it?