Monday, 28 September 2015

29 sep 2015 editorials

contributed by ashok sharma 

The Hindu: September 29, 2015 01:48 IST

Mr. Modi in Silicon Valley

Right through his whirlwind tour of the U.S. West Coast, the first by an Indian Prime Minister since 1982, it seemed Narendra Modi could hardly put a foot wrong. The meeting with all the Silicon Valley technology companies that matter set the stage nicely for him to play the charming salesman representing a resurgent India in a digital age. This may be a narrative that critics, many of them back home, don't want to buy. But whatever the political orientation, it would have been hard to miss the buzz generated when the elected head of the world's largest democracy met the who's who of new-age businesses, including Google's Sundar Pichai, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, and Apple's Tim Cook. Mr. Modi also participated in another highly anticipated event – a town hall meeting with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It's remarkable that the only other leader who had participated in a town hall with Mr. Zuckerberg is President Barack Obama. There is little doubt that Mr. Modi is a master at creating a larger-than-life feel around his events. Amplifying that feel was the fact that a large number of Indians call Silicon Valley, the hub of technology innovation in the world, their home. Indians came in huge numbers to cheer Mr. Modi wherever he went. The Prime Minister, a skilled orator and one who has more than a feel for the digital world and its mores, obliged them gladly.

But what does all this translate to? To equate Mr. Modi's efforts in Silicon Valley just to the initiatives promised by the big technology firms during this trip, as some have done, would be to miss the larger point. For the record, Google plans to enable Wi-Fi in 500 railway stations, Microsoft wants to make available low-cost broadband in five lakh villages, and chip manufacturer Qualcomm is launching a $150 million start-up fund in India. These efforts would involve tiny sums given their scale. But again, the point isn't that. The point is to hard-sell India as an attractive investment destination, a country with skilled manpower, and a nation on the move. Mr. Modi looked more than convincing with that marketing message. Of course, it helped tremendously that India has one of the highest growth rates today in the world amid a sea of troubled economies. Also, the success of India's diaspora is a selling point in itself. All this means that the big corporates of the world can ill afford to ignore India. But the question now is whether investors are seeing enough positive changes on the ground. Having successfully made the India pitch, Mr. Modi's challenge will be to don a different hat and deliver on those promises.

Þ    whirlwind
› A whirlwind event happens very fast, and often unexpectedly:
They married three months after they met - it was a real whirlwind romance.

Þ    resurgent
increasing again, or becoming popular again:
resurgent inflation

Þ    amplify
› to make something louder:
amplified music/guitar
› formal to increase the size or effect of something:
A funeral can amplify the feelings of regret and loss for the relatives.

Þ    mores
› the traditional customs and ways of behaving that are typical of a particular (part of) society:
middle-class mores


The Hindu: September 29, 2015 01:52 IST

 Wages for the parliamentarians

The idea of creating an Emoluments Commission to recommend salaries and allowances for Members of Parliament has not come a day too soon. The pay and reimbursements drawn by lawmakers may not be unusually high in India by global standards, but two points have been agitating the people in recent times: the power enjoyed by legislators to fix their own salaries and the loss suffered by the exchequer as day after day is lost to parliamentary logjam, resulting in MPs drawing daily allowances through whole sessions during which no business is transacted. In this backdrop, the proposal of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to establish an independent, three-member commission to fix the pay and allowances of parliamentarians is a sign that the government and the elected members themselves are sensitive to growing concern about the public expenditure incurred in their name. The proposal is on the agenda of the All-India Whips' Conference to be held in Visakhapatnam, and may form the basis for future legislation to de-link members of the legislature from the process of fixing their emoluments. Members of Parliament currently draw a monthly salary of Rs. 50,000, a constituency allowance of Rs. 45,000 and a sumptuary allowance of Rs. 15,000. They may also hire secretarial assistance for Rs. 30,000. They are entitled to daily allowances and travel concessions besides other perquisites. The present levels of pay and allowances, however, have not been revised since 2010.

If an independent body is created for the purpose, India will be following the example of the United Kingdom, where an Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has been created by law to oversee and regulate 'business costs' or the expenditure incurred by lawmakers in their parliamentary functions, and fix their pay and pension. Such a mechanism may help put an end to criticism, and sometimes public outcry, over legislators rewarding themselves with pay hikes and additional allowances from time to time. In a country where public life is associated in the popular imagination with unbridled greed, and parliamentary representation is seen as a means to amass wealth, it will be tempting to wonder why lawmakers need a salary at all, or, looking at legislative work often coming to a standstill, to question the present pay structure or the need for regular revision. However, payment for legislative work is an important element in attracting public-spirited citizens to participative democracy. As a general principle, pay ought not to be the primary attraction for elective office, nor the privileges and perquisites that come with it. At the same time, it cannot be so low as to be a disincentive to the public for entering the legislature. An independent pay panel for parliamentarians is surely a welcome proposal.

Þ    emolument
› a payment in money or some other form that is made for work that has been done

Þ    logjam
> a situation in which neither group involved in an argument can win or gain an advantage and no action can be taken:
This is the latest attempt to break the logjam in the peace process.
› a mass of floating logs that block a river

Þ    sumptuous
luxurious and showing that you are rich:
The celebrity guests turned up dressed in sumptuous evening gowns.

Þ    unbridled
› not controlled or limited:
unbridled ambition/enthusiasm/lust

Þ    amass
› to get a large amount of something, especially money or information, by collecting it over a long period:
She has amassed a huge fortune from her novels.
Some of his colleagues envy the enormous wealth that he has amassed.

Þ    standstill
› a condition in which all movement or activity has stopped:
The runaway bus eventually came to a standstill when it rolled into a muddy field.

Þ    disincentive
› something that makes people not want to do something or not work hard:
High taxes are a disincentive to business.


Business Standard

Deregulation in limbo


Bihar polls may have spooked oil price reforms
The deregulation of petroleum product prices by the Narendra Modi government, even as global oil prices have gone down, has been a boon to Indian oil and gas companies, engaged in both refining crude oil and marketing petroleum products. Since the changeover, the consumer has been happy with declining prices, along with occasional rises, in keeping with the global trend. In fact, as all three relevant elements - composition of the Indian crude oil basket, the global prices of its elements and the rupee-dollar exchange rate - are available in the public domain, it has been possible to predict how factory gate prices will change as every fortnightly revision date approaches. By this ready reckoner, as reported in this newspaper, prices of diesel and petrol for the Indian consumer should have gone up marginally in the middle of this month. But surprisingly, this did not happen and they remain where they were after the previous change. This has been freely interpreted as the Union government's attempt to create a favourable climate for the BJP and its allies in the impending Bihar assembly elections. A price rise would have presumably given a handle to the grand alliance led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to criticise the ruling dispensation at the Centre for its inability to hold prices.

On being asked, a top executive of an oil company has defended the action or non-action on the price front by arguing that decontrol means being able to change prices at a time of one's own choosing. While this can pass muster in a college debate, it is important to recognise the underlying political reality. Political dispensations in India change with the promise of change and some overt change does come about but at the end of the day, in substance, nothing seems to have changed. It seems despite the promise and deliverance of oil price deregulation, the reality is that when it comes to the crunch, the present government will not hesitate to dictate a commercial action or non-action on political grounds if it feels the stakes to be high. This is bound to create a dent in the solid support that Mr Modi commanded in the last general elections among supporters of reform. Leaders of India Inc. were prominent among them. There has indeed been a sense of disillusionment in business circles as the Modi government approaches its one-and-a- half-year mark that it is going rather slow in delivering along promised lines.

It is important to reiterate that consumption of fossil fuels should not be subsidised as much as renewable energy should be. Simultaneously, there is a need to raise the energy consumption level of the poorest (currently appallingly low) as that importantly impacts their level of well-being. In particular, urgent action needs to be taken so that poor women, mostly in rural areas, do not continue to cook with whatever will burn and consequently be afflicted by severe respiratory ailments from the smoke they have to per force inhale. This calls for targeting of subsidies, not their blanket distribution. In particular, the manufacture and sale of newly developed efficient cooking stoves using virtually any kind of biomass which have proved their mettle need to be facilitated as that will create enormous gains in terms of both equity and public health.

Þ    limbo noun (UNCERTAINTY)
› an uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which there is no progress or improvement:
Until we have official permission to go ahead with the plans we're in limbo.

Þ    reckon verb (THINK)
>to think or believe:
I reckon it's going to rain.
[+ (that)] How much do you reckon (that) it's going to cost?
"Can you fix my car today?" "I reckon not/so (= probably not/probably).

Þ    impending
› used to refer to an event, usually something unpleasant or unwanted, that is going to happen soon:
impending disaster/doom
The player announced his impending retirement from international football.

Þ    muster verb (PRODUCE)
› to produce or encourage something such as an emotion or support:
She managed to muster the courage to ask him to the cinema.
The team will need all the strength they can muster to win this game.
Opponents are unlikely to be able to muster enough votes to override the veto.

Þ    overt
› done or shown publicly or in an obvious way and not secret:
overt criticism

Þ    crunch
› to crush hard food loudly between the teeth, or to make a sound as if something is being crushed or broken:
She was crunching noisily on an apple.

Þ    appalling
> very bad:
appalling weather
The drive home was appalling.
> shocking and very bad:
appalling injuries

Þ    afflict
› If a problem or illness afflicts a person or thing, they suffer from it:
It is an illness that afflicts women more than men.
a country afflicted by civil war

Þ    mettle
ability and determination when competing or doing something difficult:
The team showed/proved its mettle in the final round.
The real test of her political mettle came in the May elections.

Þ    on your mettle
ready to do something as well as you can in a difficult situation:
Both players were on their mettle in the final round.
Cooking for such important people really puts you on your mettle.


indian Express

Two in one

Merger of Sebi and FMC will hopefully lead the way to a unified regulator for the financial market.
The formal merger of the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with Sebi on Monday is significant. India's regulatory architecture has so far been fragmented, with multiple oversight agencies sprouting after each reform announcement. Such fragmentation has given rise to turf battles between sectoral regulators. Policymakers have for long recognised the case for convergence between the securities and commodity derivatives markets. As finance minister, P. Chidambaram had proposed this in the 2004-05 budget, only for the move to be scuttled. But the Rs 5,600 crore National Spot Exchange scam, coupled with the FSLRC's recommendation, provided the government the opportunity to finally go ahead with the merger.
Most countries, barring the US and Japan, have a unified securities and commodity market regulator. There are good reasons to justify this design in India. For long, the FMC was forced to function like a subordinate office of the ministry of consumer affairs, without statutory powers. It was handicapped in terms of the regulatory and manpower resources required to police this growing segment. A merged regulator would not only enhance the integrity of financial markets, but also boost liquidity and improve the price- discovery process. A unified regulator may also have a salutary impact on the spot commodities market, while strengthening it with the transparent systems in place in the securities market. It helps that Sebi has evolved as a credible regulator in the last two decades.
But the merger will also pose challenges for Sebi. Among these are the jurisdictional powers of the state government over agricultural marketing and the political sensitivities involved with farm commodities. Price volatility in these cannot be compared to that in stocks or bonds. The growth of the commodity derivatives market has also been hobbled because of the lack of institutional players to impart greater liquidity in trading. But now, with an empowered regulator for the commodities market, there is a strong case for allowing these organised funds. Next, the government should look at merging the insurance and pension regulators, which can then be the precursor to a unified regulator for the financial market as a whole.

Þ    sprout
> to produce leaves, hair, or other new developing parts, or (of leaves, hair, and other developing parts) to begin to grow:
It takes about three days for the seeds to sprout.
Your hair is sticking up - it looks like you're sprouting horns!
› [I] (also sprout up) informal If a large number of things sprout (up), they suddenly appear or begin to exist:
New factories have sprouted up everywhere.

Þ    turf war
› a fight or an argument to decide who controls an area or an activity

Þ    scuttle verb (RUN)
› to move quickly, with small, short steps, especially in order to escape:
A crab scuttled away under a rock as we passed.
The children scuttled off as soon as the headteacher appeared.
Þ    scuttle verb (SINK)
› to intentionally sink a ship, especially your own, in order to prevent it from being taken by an enemy
Þ    scuttle verb (STOP)
› to stop something happening, or to cause a plan to fail

Þ    salutary
causing improvement of behaviour or character:
a salutary experience

Þ    hobble verb (WALK)
› to walk in an awkward way, usually because the feet or legs are injured:
The last time I saw Rachel she was hobbling around with a stick.
Some of the runners could only manage to hobble over the finishing line.
hobble verb (LIMIT)
› to limit something or control the freedom of someone:
A long list of amendments have hobbled the new legislation.

Þ    impart
› to communicate information to someone:
to impart the bad news
I was rather quiet as I didn't feel I had much wisdom to impart on the subject.
› to give something a particular feeling, quality, or taste:
Preservatives can impart colour and flavour to a product.

Þ    precursor
› something that happened or existed before another thing, especially if it either developed into it or had an influence on it:
Sulphur dioxide is the main precursor of acid rain.
Biological research has often been a precursor to medical breakthroughs.


The Dawn

Pak-India challenge at UN

WITH Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York this week for the 70th UN General Assembly session, there is an opportunity for some serious diplomacy to be undertaken. Unhappily, the one meeting that the world at large would have been hoping for — between Mr Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi — has not been scheduled, leaving perhaps only room for a scripted handshake.

Instead, the Pakistani prime minister is expected to use the occasion of his address to the UNGA to bring the global community's attention to tensions along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and the broader Kashmir dispute.

He will have his work cut out for him.

While the outside world has been concerned by the persistent tensions along the LoC and Working Boundary, it is also keen to do a great deal of business with India, be it in terms of trade, investment or military contracts.

Moreover, the US-India Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism, following the first ever US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, indicated just what a tough sell Pakistan faces: while the two countries specifically called on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice, Kashmir was only mentioned in the context of the militant attack in Udhampur on Aug 5.

Mr Sharif's task will be further complicated by the memory of Ufa. The joint statement following the July prime ministerial meeting proved to be a foreign policy debacle and a public relations disaster for the PML-N government.

However, Ufa is not dead and the recent meeting of the directors general of the Pakistan Rangers and the Indian BSF proved that the two sides can in fact get work done.

How then does Mr Sharif balance the need to put the Kashmir dispute front and centre again – as demanded by the hawks domestically and supported by the security establishment – while also keeping the door open to dialogue with a reluctant Mr Modi?

Thus far the Pakistani prime minister has not given much reason for confidence that he can pull off such a delicate balancing act. What is also disappointing is that there have been few ideas emanating from the political government on how to move the relationship forward.

Where there has been movement, it has seemingly been done in an ad hoc manner and with a view to doing whatever it takes to bring the Indian government around to talking. Ufa epitomised that careless thinking.

If there is to be no forward movement in the bilateral relationship in New York, what next? Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has already outlined the substance of Prime Minister Sharif's speech at the UNGA on Wednesday: reiterating Pakistan's commitment to regional peace and briefing the world community on the situation along the LoC and Working Boundary.

That though does not suggest there is much thought being given to, for example, resurrecting the cancelled NSA talks or working on the other steps in the Ufa road map. Unless the political leadership shows some initiative, Pak-India ties could be set to drift for a while.

Þ    perpetrator
› someone who has committed a crime or a violent or harmful act:
The perpetrators of the massacre must be brought to justice as war criminals.

Þ    debacle
› a complete failure, especially because of bad planning and organization:
The collapse of the company was described as the greatest financial debacle in US history.

Þ    hawk noun [C] (PERSON)
› a person who strongly supports the use of force in political relationships rather than discussion or other more peaceful solutions

Þ    reluctant
> not willing to do something and therefore slow to do it:
[+ to infinitive] I was having such a good time I was reluctant to leave.
Many parents feel reluctant to talk openly with their children.
She persuaded her reluctant husband to take a trip to Florida with her.

Þ    emanate
› to express a quality or feeling through the way that you look and behave:
Her face emanated sadness.

Þ    epitomize
› to be a perfect example of a quality or type of thing:
With little equipment and unsuitable footwear, she epitomizes the inexperienced and unprepared mountain walker.

Þ    resurrect
› to bring someone back to life:
Almost all Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

Ø  drift
to move slowly, especially as a result of outside forces, with no control over direction:
No one noticed that the boat had begun to drift out to sea.
A mist drifted in from the marshes.


Sep 29 2015 : The Economic Times (Bangalore)

If Speech Sufficed to Fuel Digital India...

Since it doesn't, the government must walk the talk
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered an inspired and inspiring speech on Digital India in Silicon Valley , which was much appreciated by the heads of informa tion technology (IT) giants. Some have come forward to help India achieve universal broadband access. This is welcome. However, the main action for Digital India has to be here in India, by Indians, enabled by informed policy and regulation. Where does domestic policy action stand on achieving Digital India? The answer is considerably less uplifting than the Prime Minister's speech.
Much of rural India still makes do with patchy availability of power, thanks to culture of political patronage of power theft and giveaways, resulting in 30% of all power produced not being paid for and state electricity boards being too broke to purchase power from plants standing by to generate. Without fixing this, there can be no Digital India or Make in India. Then there is the peculiar reluctance of the government to rationalise the use of spec trum. Large swathes of spectrum re main unassigned, underutilised and broken up into discrete segments that prevent commercial use calling for contiguous bands being made availa ble to operators. Even as the spectrum available with operators is as limited as it is, the norms for trading spectrum are overly restrictive and are more accurately described as spectrum sale norms. If the spectrum is costly , the right of way for telecom companies to lay fibre-optic cables from tower to tower or across circles is prohibitive. The scarcity and cost of spectrum that inhibit Digital India are derived from policy .

Then there is India's refusal to embrace the World Trade Organization's expanded Information Technology Agreement, which extends the zero-duty regime for IT products agreed on in 1996 to 201 more products. Now, we have a situation in which mobile phones can be imported sans duty but mobile phone components like GPS kit will bear duty . How will this encourage domestic manufacture? Brave talk abroad is fine but the point is to walk the talk at home.

Þ    suffice
› to be enough:
I'm taking $400 - I think that should suffice.

Þ    peculiar adjective (STRANGE)
> unusual and strange, sometimes in an unpleasant way:
She has the most peculiar ideas.

swathe noun (AREA)
› a long strip or large area especially of land:
Huge swathes of rainforest are being cleared for farming and mining.
› literary a large part of something that includes several different things:
These people represent a broad/wide swathe of public opinion.
swathe noun (CLOTH)
› a long strip of cloth:
His head was wrapped in swathes of bandages.

Þ    discrete
› having a clear independent shape or form:
Þ    These small companies now have their own discrete identity.

Þ    talk the talk ... walk the walk
› If you say that someone talks the talk but does not walk the walk, you mean that they do not act in a way that agrees with the things they say:
When it comes to recycling he talks the talk but he doesn't walk the walk.

Sep 29 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)

Start Up India

PM wows Silicon Valley with tech talk, it's now time to walk the talk
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been doing what he does best in Silicon Valley . His successful pitch as India's salesman no 1at public meetings and town hall gatherings in the West Coast, where he talked the tech talk and laid out a red carpet to India, have won him much applause from the digital world's bigwigs. Several companies such as Google (Wi-Fi at 500 railway stations), Microsoft (broadband in 5 lakh villages) and Qualcomm ($150 million startup fund) have already announced plans to invest in Digital India.
The PM is right to claim that the 21st century can be India's. And if it happens, the growth of Digital India will be central to this vision.After all, India in the 18th century contributed 22.6% of the world's GDP. India can and must regain its historical share in the global economy , befitting its size and population. But that will need more than sloganeering.

Modi has talked of 3 Ds ­ demograp hic dividend, democracy and demand ­ and then added a fourth, deregulation.

We may have 800 million people below the age of 35, but this demographic dividend can turn into a demographic disaster if they are not skilled or educa ted enough. Indian kids came second last in an OECD Programme for Interna tional Student Assessment (PISA) the last time they took part. Surveys have repeatedly shown that less than half of Class V students can read a paragraph or do a simple arithmetic sum from a Class II text.

The first D then hinges on quality of education which needs a radical overhaul. This includes urgent deregulation and allowing the best education providers and universities of the world to come in.The second D, democracy , is vital and intimately linked to our growth prospects. Openness and embracing diversity is central to Silicon Valley's DNA. If India has to build the next Google or Facebook, it needs an enabling environment. A culture of bans and restrictions ­ such as is being deafeningly promoted and enforced by Hindutva votaries since NDA came to power ­ is not conducive to building such an ecosystem. The fourth D (deregulation) requires major work as well. India is currently ranked 142nd in the World Bank's ease of doing business ranking. The PM says his government will improve this. However, the state also needs to change its mai-baap mindset and permit a genuinely open ecosystem of ideas.

Þ    bigwig
› a person who has an important or powerful position:
We were invited to a lunch with local bigwigs.

Þ    befit
› to be suitable or right for someone or something:
She was buried in the cathedral, as befits someone of her position.

Þ    hinge
› a piece of metal that fastens the edge of a door, window, lid, etc. to something else and allows it to open or close:
We had to take the front door off its hinges to get our new sofa into the house.

Þ    radical adjective (SUPPORTING CHANGE)
>believing or expressing the belief that there should be great or extreme social or political change:
He was known as a radical reformer/thinker/politician.
These people have very radical views.

Þ    overhaul
› to repair or improve something so that every part of it works as it should:
I got the engine overhauled.
The government has recently overhauled the healthcare system.

Þ    deafening
extremely loud:
The music was deafening


The Guardian

view on Labour's economic policy: careful words, bold intent

The many enemies of Jeremy Corbyn dismiss his appeal as hopeless nostalgia or futile rage. But the chief emotion behind his extraordinary ascent has been frustration – the frustration of Labour party members at lazy assumptions, cosy elites and bad policies going unchallenged. In the economic debate, most obviously, George Osborne has appeared free to write the entire script – quite irrespective of stagnant wages, stubborn deficits and the dismal productivity that can lead to the sort of catastrophe that has hit steelmaking in Redcar. On Monday, Mr Corbyn's controversial pick as shadow chancellor declared that "another world is possible". Although he chose his words with uncharacteristic care, John McDonnell opened up hostilities on every flank of the Osborne record. All quiet on the economic front no more.
The dangers that previously induced Labour caution have not gone away. It is, after all, only five months since Britain proved so wary about entrusting Ed Miliband with its taxes that it preferred to reward David Cameron for five years of sinking living standards. The new shadow chancellor confronted head-on the "deficit denier" charge, countering that he would rebalance the books – but by fostering growth. Experience is on his side: a humming economy normally eases the deficit. Sceptical voters, however, will want more detail than they got on Monday about how exactly Mr McDonnell can enlarge GDP. They need persuading, too, that there is more than just an ambition to pursue tax-dodging businesses for billions that nobody else has got them to pay. And those electors who take their cue from business will not ignore hostile noises about a shadow chancellor who shows no interest in cultivating corporate friends.But if Mr McDonnell still faces formidable obstacles, his conference speech revealed a cannier player than some had expected – and, indeed, a more conventional politician. There was evidence that the speech had been written with not just the hall but the country in mind. Some controversial planks of Corbynomics – printing money for investment, "Robin Hood" taxes – went unmentioned; other ideas, such as calling time on Bank of England independence, were formally renounced. It also emerged that an artful pre-conference signal that Labour would be voting in favour of Mr Osborne's ludicrous fiscal responsibility law, which generated headlines about the prudence of Mr McDonnell, had not been all it seemed. When his big day arrived, the shadow chancellor dismissed Mr Osborne's plan as "a political stunt … a trap for us to fall into", but it was indicated that Labour MPs would indeed go through the lobby for perpetual surpluses; the implication was that in office Mr McDonnell would write new fiscal rules.

Despite his protestations to "be boring", Mr McDonnell is determined to break with orthodoxies that have reigned unchallenged for decades. He would ditch austerity in favour of allowing the government to invest and – he hopes – grow. He would do away with the presumption that business voices carry special authority, and instead approach them as vested interests. And he would rewrite a Bank of England mandate, set in the pre-crisis years when securing stable inflation was fondly imagined to be the only problem worth bothering with, to include growth, unemployment and wages. Compare the relative success of the US Federal Reserve, which has latitude to attend to such things, with the dismal performance of a European Central Bank fixated more narrowly on price stability, and the case for change is plain.Labour's recent instinct has been to put macroeconomics in the "too difficult" box. Eds Balls and Miliband wanted to borrow to invest, but they preferred not to share that with the voters, because their focus groups told them that all voters would hear was "Labour borrowing". So they kept stumm, inserting a "fiscal lock" into their manifesto, while it fell to the Institute for Fiscal Studies to explain just how different from the Conservatives they were planning on being. The result was a clumsy economic pitch, and confusion. Mr McDonnell's recruitment of progressive economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty indicates an advance on the intellectual elegance point. His gamble is that the voters will take more kindly to his boldness than they did to Mr Miliband's barely audible murmur of dissent. Success is anything but assured. But with an impressive speech, Mr McDonnell has shown the world why Mr Corbyn was so determined to have him, and earned a chance to give it a go.

Þ    nostalgia
>a feeling of pleasure and also slight sadness when you think about things that happened in the past:
Some people feel nostalgia for their schooldays.

Þ    futile
› (of actions) having no effect or achieving nothing:
Attempts to get supplies to the region are futile because troops will not allow the aid convoy to enter the city.

Þ    wary
> not completely trusting or certain about something or someone:
I'm a little wary of/about giving people my address when I don't know them very well.

Þ    rage noun (ANGER)
>(a period of) extreme or violent anger:
Her sudden towering rages were terrifying.
I was frightened because I had never seen him in such a rage before.

Þ    foster verb (TAKE CARE OF)
› to take care of a child, usually for a limited time, without being the child's legal parent:
Would you consider fostering (a child)?

Þ    hum
› to make a continuous low sound:
The computers were humming in the background.
What's that strange humming sound?
› to sing without opening your mouth:
She hummed to herself as she walked to school.
I've forgotten how that tune goes - could you hum it for me?
› informal to be busy and full of activity, excitement, sounds, or voices:
The bar was really humming last night.

Þ    sceptical
> doubting that something is true or useful:
Many experts remain sceptical about/of his claim

Þ    tax dodge
› an illegal method used to reduce the amount of tax that a person or company has to pay:
Stakeholder pensions have unintentionally provided the wealthy with a useful tax dodge

Þ    formidable
>causing you to have fear or respect for something or someone because that thing or person is large, powerful, or difficult:
a formidable obstacle/task

Þ    plank noun [C] (PRINCIPLE)
› literary an important principle on which the activities of a group, especially a political group, are based:
Educational reform was one of the main planks of their election campaign.

Þ    ludicrous
stupid or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at:
a ludicrous idea/suggestion

Þ    protestation
› an act of saying something forcefully or complaining about something:
Ignoring my protestations, they went ahead and chopped the tree down.

Þ    orthodoxy
> the generally accepted beliefs of society at a particular time:
The current economic orthodoxy is of a free market and unregulated trade.

Þ    reign
> to be the king or queen of a country:
Queen Victoria reigned over Britain from 1837 to 1901.

Þ    clumsy
awkward in movement or manner:
The first mobile phones were heavy and clumsy to use, but nowadays they are much easier to handle.

Þ    elegant
> graceful and attractive in appearance or behaviour:
an elegant woman

Þ    stumm adjective

(slang) silent; dumb (esp in the phrase keep shtoom)