ComRes’s monthly poll for the Daily Mail is out, topline voting intention figures are CON 40%, LAB 28%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5%. The poll also asked about military intervention in Syria. By 56% to 33% people supported British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and while the public are opposed to sending British group troops against ISIS, it’s less overwhelming than most of the polls I’ve seen in recent years that have broached the topic of sending British ground troops into conflicts – 49% are opposed, 41% would support. Tabs are here.

415 Responses to “ComRes/Mail – CON 40, LAB 28, LDEM 7, UKIP 10, GRN 5”

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    “As I have got older, now with children, it is more important to stand up for what I believe in.”
    “So suggesting that a person who softens their values over time is politically maturing, I politely suggest isn’t right.”

    We have very different political viws but I wholeheartedly agree with both those points.

  2. We so badly need PR.

    How can Corbyn pretend to be principled but not want to immediately campaign if leader for a fairer voting system?

    He trotted out the usual nonsense about maintaing the constitutency link. A complete red herring. Very disappointing.

  3. I think you need the constituency link otherwise you could never get rid off an MP if the Party wanted to keep them.

  4. @ Top Hat,

    Well said.

    @ Rob,

    I’m not suggesting there is no entryism, I’m saying it’s not the primary factor driving the Corbyn surge. There just aren’t enough entryists around to give him 50% of the vote.

    And Top Hat’s right. Someone who voted Green in May who signed up as a supporter to vote for Corbyn because they’d like to join Labour under his leadership may be annoying, but they are not an entryist. The right wing of the party would be over the moon if there was a flock of reluctant 2015 Tory voters signing up to vote for Kendall because they thought she’d give Labour the credibility to win their support once again.

    Also, I’m not sure why you think splitting would be at all helpful?

    @ Roland,

    The man who has got British politics pretty much running his way is George Osborne

    I dunno. In the last Parliament he implemented the Darling Plan and the Lib Dem tax threshold increase. He’s committed to spending an extra £8 billion on the NHS, he’s implemented the minimum wage increase that Ed Miliband wanted to suggest but didn’t dare because he thought it was too leftwing, and he’s cracking down on non-dons.

    Politically I agree this heir-to-Blair stuff is going well for him, but I doubt he joined the Conservative Party to follow the spending plans of a Labour chancellor and raise the minimum wage. I guess he’s probably happy about getting rid of inheritance tax? Still, if he’s got T’Other Howard backing Miliband’s predistribution strategy he must be doing something right…


    @”it would be a lot less risky to fund infrastructure through bonds.”

    That would require the creation of more Debt, with an obligation to repay it. JC is clearly not prepared to argue for this.

    Murphy really believes that the BoE Asset Purchase facility cancelled £375bn of State Debt . (1)& that it was used to “bailout the banks” (2) He says so on his website where he devised this mad “Peoples QE” idea.
    So he has persuaded Corbyn that this can be done to fund “infrastructure”.

    Hundreds of billions of pounds , newly created by BoE , unrelated to Tax Revenue, given to State institutions with no obligation to repay-gratis. to spend on “Infrastructure”.

    (1) He clearly doesn’t read the BoE’s periodic ” Market Notices” recording the maturity & repayment of their QE Gilts-the latest was £4.4 bn on January 8th last-ie Murphy doesn’t understand that QE is not cancelling Debt.

    (2) Bank Bailouts were funded by Treasury Borrowing-which went into loans & share purchases-ie Murphy has failed to understand that QE is a time limited Market Liquidity booster.


    @” I doubt he joined the Conservative Party to follow the spending plans of a Labour chancellor and raise the minimum wage.”

    Then I suggest that you have failed to understand him..

    He let deficit reduction timescale take the strain of tax revenue undershoots because he knew that cutting more-at that time-was not possible.

    He has raised the minimum wage because he believes the State should not be subsidising pay via Tax Credits.

    Keep thinking of GO as a ruthless laisser faire zealot -and you are in for some more surprises.

  7. Colin

    It looks as though Richard Murphy has got the wrong end of the stick on QE. Another reason to vote AB over JC.

    Funding infrastructure with a rate of return higher than the interest on the bond is called Capitalism.

  8. Spearmint

    On splitting:

    it might be necessary but it wont be ‘helpful’- and I never said nor implied it would be.

    Ive just watched people at the Corbyn rally tonight shouting for the expulsion of “the Blairites”: so perhaps social democrats like myself wont have to split off- we will be booted out ;-) !!

    On your Green post Corbyn new member:

    yep that easily comes within the wider definition of entryism i.e. a member/ supporter of another party joining the Labour party in order to either (a) influence it to adopt the policies of the party they have departed/ temporarily stopped supporting, or (b) actively try to sabotage Labours prospects.

    I think some honesty should abound here: if the Cableites/ social democratic Lib Dems had been joining in droves to support ABC candidates I’d be saying “yes; good; tough”.

    There is clearly a significant push by people on the far left to join Labour and vote for Corbyn on the basis of either (a) or (b) above.

    In the wider scheme of the broad UK electorate they are infinitesimal and will drag the party to policy positions that command between 20 and 25 per cent of support i.e. a losing platform time and time again (under FPTP).

    But they are enough of a minority within the particularly quirky electorate of the 2015 Labour leadership campaign to swing this election- when combined with Ed M supporters feeling angry after the ‘surprise’ defeat.

  9. Some discussion of the period after the ascendency of Corbyn

  10. @ Colin,

    It’s a hypothesis I’m basing on the fact that the Conservative Party, when Osborne first became active in it, opposed the minimum wage. Maybe he was arguing internally against Tory policy the whole time, like Blair and Brown were with Labour in the 1980s? I don’t know enough about his early history to say. It’s true he was happy to back Labour spending plans in 2007, so he may be more of a tax-and-spend guy than he lets on.

    Anyway, I’m pleased Miliband, Owen Jones et al. have convinced him of the case for predistribution. Likewise with his conversion to the Darling Plan- I thought it was too austerian when Darling proposed it and I thought the same when Osborne adopted it, but I certainly didn’t want him to stick to his original schedule and tank the economy further!

    The next best thing to a Labour Chancellor is a Tory Chancellor who enacts Labour policy, and since Labour seem unlikely to get in any time soon…

  11. @ Rob,

    Why on Earth would a split be necessary if it’s not helpful? I doubt Corbyn will back expulsions; it’s not his style. And we all know the most vocal “Burn the Red Tories!” people are going to flounce out in three months over some perceived betrayal, so they won’t be around to hold show trials.

    I think some honesty should abound here: if the Cableites/ social democratic Lib Dems had been joining in droves to support ABC candidates I’d be saying “yes; good; tough”.

    So… stop complaining about entryism and go sign some up? Honestly! The leadership election system is functioning exactly as intended. The Labour right are just throwing a tantrum because they allowed all their grassroots and institutional support to wither and now they can’t mobolise anyone. I agree it’s unfortunate, but this is the party New Labour built for themselves.

    Democracy is the theory that the party activists know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

  12. @Zack Polanski: The thing is, dropping PR could do a great favour for a Corbyn-led Labour party. It would enable the left-wing and Blairite halves of the party go their separate ways without punishing them at the polls. First-past-post is the only reason the left-wing uprising in Britain is coming from Labour itself, and not a new party like Syriza or Podemos.

  13. Good evening all. Had a lovely couple of days down in the Lake District and I highly recommend the Cumbria Grand Hotel at Grange-over-Sands. First class hospitality.
    Also climbed England’s tallest mountain Scafell Pike.

    Okay so back to the Labour leadership contest. You have to laugh when the other leadership hopefuls say if Corbyn wins then it will split the Labour party so by that rational I’m guessing if he doesn’t win then the party will still be split?

    I don’t agree with a lot of his ideas but then again I’m not a Labour supporter but looking from the outside I can see he wants to turn the current shambles of a poor reflection of what’s perceived to be labour party back into a Labour party for the working man.

    For the sake of politics in England I hope he wins because they really do need an alternative voice in England otherwise England will have to large parties fighting for the middle and the left will drift to UKIP and other undesirables.

  14. While you could say that Labour’s choice of a leader is none of my business – I have long been a Conservative supporter – I do think that it is a matter of some concern that a major party could be led by someone whose grasp of economics is so wooly that he chooses an adviser who seems to have no clue at all. It is quite unforgivable to conflate the bank bailout with QE. Unlike some of my gleeful Tory friends, I hope Labour comes to its senses and we return to sensible politics. The hard left, like the hard right, can cause no end of trouble if given a platform.

  15. On the prospect of a Blairite split:

    1) Who would split?

    Not names. We know who they are – Hunt, Umunna, Kendall, etc. But that’s the question in the minds of the voters. When the SDP went, they were led by (despite TOH’s views of him) one of the most popular former home secretaries and chancellors ever. Alongside him was Shirley Williams, probably the most popular female politician in the country (admittedly from a small field, but among them Barbara Castle and Margaret Thatcher). David Owen had been talked about as potential prime minister material.

    Who among the potential splitters now has that sort of weight? Blair’s long gone and widely reviled – and not just among the left. That was his problem – the only political heirs he managed to raise were Lib Dem and Conservative leaders. Only Umunna has been raised as a possibility – but he’s way too junior and there are suspicions about why he stood down so soon. Kendall is already polling fourth.

    2) Why would they split?

    We know the argument around Corbyn would get up their noses, of that there’s no doubt. But thanks in part to point #1, a new centre party would have little traction – and there’s no chance Tim Farron would buddy up with a bunch of Blairites so that space is already taken.

    They would be throwing away any chance of power – in a reformed Labour Party, as they believe is necessary – so they could sulk on the backbenches until they got booted out. It would look pathetic, and engender no sympathy.

    3) How would they split?

    In the current climate, thanks in large part to Carswell and Reckless, any defector would be expected to hold a by-election. Can you imagine the farce of Tristram Hunt trying to fight Stoke-on-Trent Central on an SDP ticket? Would the voters of Beaumont Leys vote to have Blair back with Liz Kendall? Chuka Umunna could possibly hold on in Streatham, but you’d better believe Labour would throw everything at getting him out.

    A mass defection by Blairites, given the seats they hold, could look like the scene with the Suicide Squad from The Life of Brian. It would be hilarious and absurd, but would achieve absolutely nothing for them.

  16. There’s been some discussion about PR and breaking the constituency link. Surely there are forms of PR that preserve the link?

  17. I agree with Mr Nameless. I think it’s actually more plausible you’d see a split if Corbyn loses rather than if he wins, although neither is particularly likely. Corbyn’s voters are largely about abstract principles, if they don’t get those, they leave. Much of the rest of the Labour membership is about pragmatism, and you can’t really pretend to be the side of pragmatism when you’re splitting a party in two because it didn’t agree with you enough – that’s the prospect they’ve been complaining about!

  18. To be fair (even if I don’t agree with any of his economic ideas) to Murphy, about 75% of the BoE QE programme was actually buying government debt. And it is also true that the government of the time breached all accounting rules when the banks were bailed out (as the banks were insolvent, existing ownership rights should have been declared nil, and written off), so in a way, anything that the BoE and the Treasury did back then was bailout of the banks (including Barclays, which never happened officially).

    There is a huge confusion among people who are looking for solution without sufficient time to actually do the research, and hence the different solutions (Japan, China, U.S., UK, ECB) all get muddled.

    But Murphy is not worse than the economics apostles of the previous two decades.

    Still financing infrastructure investment from QE is just silly (public investment to infrastructure in a way (!) is already QE, as you are releasing demand without the corresponding supply (not even in the future) so even if it is financed from borrowing, or tax revenue, you are creating an inflationary mechanism, and also additional monetary base. The UK government actually did it (although not in accounting terms) in the 2000s.). Rather long bracket … Anyway, if it is a meaningful infrastructure investment, you don’t need to print money to finance it – you can just borrow (if there was a major deflationary threat, yes, maybe, just maybe).

  19. As to PR, constituencies and parties. I don’t know if it’s still the rule (probably not), but in the 1980s in SDP of Germany (list based), elected MPs had to sign a resignation declaration which was put in force if they voted against the party line (I know that one of these was used in 1983, but I can’t find the reference). The Green split there also caused all kinds of problem then – I know it’s history.

    I know it’s fantasy, but the democratic principle would suggest that people should vote for something they can actually control, check. So constituencies of about 200 people. Their chosen person would again have sufficient knowledge of another 200 people (and also about the cares of their constituents), so that’s 40,000 electorates choosing 200 reps who choose one. Of course, you would have to have the right to recall at any time. Enough of dreams.

  20. The thing about PR (for Westminster) is that it’s popular with opposition parties and not the governing party and when the opposition get into power they don’t want to know about it.

    Labour are at their lowest ebb for now but even their party strategists know that under PR Labour will never hold the proper power of governing it so craves for ever again and the same goes for the Tories.

    The only advantage I can see for FPTP is that it keeps some of the lunatics out of Parliament.

    I’m dreading to see the composition of the next Welsh assembly will look like. It really could see a Tory UKIP coalition….Yuck!

  21. “It really could see a Tory UKIP coalition….Yuck!”


    Imagine an SNP/UKip coalition…

  22. In all this talk of Corbyn, it might be worth bearing in mind that it is not unusual for leaders to moderate their stance on various things once they attain power…

  23. Meanwhile, in all this talk of QE, there is much focus on mechanisms, while ignoring the elephant in the room: The salient outcome.

    In other words, if someone talks about amputating a foot, and you wanna talk about whether they use a scalpel or a laser, it could be kinda missing the point: losing the foot may be the important thing.

    Thus while it is true that QE is a mechanism that works via the banks, and has various advantages in doing it this way – it gives the banks liquidity, lets the govt. shift some debt, and can let the banks shift some toxic debt off their books onto the BoE – in the context of comparisons with Helicopter money, a key feature of QE is the OUTCOME that – as with helicoptering – a fair chunk of it makes it way into the wider economy.

    Which has been quite the boost for the South East. I have pointed this out before, citing a BoE report which calculated the resulting growth and inflation.

    The problem is that this money gets into the economy via the banks who are not necessarily following our economic priorities by putting more into SMEs etc., hence considerations of helicoptering as an alternative method of ensuring the outcome of getting more money into the economy via bypassing the banks as the conduit.

  24. I should add that another reason for bypassing the banks is that at present the South East gets most of the benefit of the QE, because via the banks, whereas if you use a different distribution mechanism, more could find its way up North.

  25. LASZLO

    @” about 75% of the BoE QE programme was actually buying government debt. ”

    100% in Gilts according to the annual accounts of the “Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited”

    All purchased in the secondary market , after intital issue by the Treasury.

    ( That company was authorised to purchase up to £10bn of private sector assets-but hasn’t yet bought any )


    @” can let the banks shift some toxic debt off their books onto the BoE ”

    No it can’t. Only UK Gilts were purchased , in exchange for liquidity in the form of a credit balance with BoE.

  26. Good morning all from a very wet and windy but mild Mount Florida.


    “Imagine an SNP/UKip coalition”

    Now you’re taking things to the extremity of impossibilities.

  27. @Colin

    Are you saying that QE cannot ever be used that way, or just that we choose not to?

    Although, as you you know, it’s a sideshow anyway…

    Of the repayments you mention, what proportion of the total has been repaid, and how much is the debt being eroded by inflation?

  28. @Allan

    Well they do have the odd thing in common…

  29. Just a couple of points on PR. You do keep the constituency link with the system of PR used to elect the London Assembly, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament. They all use the Additional Member System (AMS) of PR. You have constituency MPs but also MPs from party lists which provide the proportionality. So the next time a Labour politician tries to fob questioners off with the ‘constituency’ argument against PR, we should interrupt them to let him or her know loud and clear.

    Also the belief that FPTP keeps small, extremist parties out of parliament is not correct. For those parties to actually achieve power on their own, they would need more than 50% of the vote to gain an overall majority with PR. Under FPTP we have a government now elected on just 37%, which is much easier to achieve. How many times does a party get over 50% of the vote?


    BoE cannot buy “toxic debt”. It is buying UK Gilts within a range of maturities which it decides on.

    The last tranche ( £50bn) of the £375bn of Assets purchased was in July 2012.

    Redemptions at maturity started coming back to BoE in Sept 2014. To date £35.4 bn has been repaid. In accordance with current BoE policy all repayment have been re-invested in the Gilts secondary market in order to maintain the stock of assets held ( and the monetary stimulus) at £375bn. When this policy is changed, repayments will start to reduce the stock of assets ( and the monetary stimulus)

    Perhaps you can apply inflation rates to the various tranches of the Asset Purchase Programme yourself?

  31. Carfrew

    Just to follow up on quality of assets purchased-the BoE website says this :-

    “In January 2009, the Chancellor of the Exchequer authorised the Bank to set up an Asset Purchase Facility (APF) to buy high-quality assets financed by the issue of Treasury bills and the DMO’s cash management operations. The aim of the Facility was to improve liquidity in credit markets. The Chancellor also announced that the APF provided an additional tool that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could use for monetary policy purposes. When the APF is used for monetary policy purposes, purchases of assets are financed by the creation of central bank reserves.”

  32. @carfrew

    Perhaps you could list the policies which SNP and UKIP have in common?

  33. It should probably be mentioned, that the reason QE kits present form has had little or no inflationary effect, is that it is assumed that it will be unwound and that all government debts honoured.

  34. @HIRETON

    Are you serious you don’t know?

  35. @Hireton

    They both share a political philosophy that goes something along the lines of:
    “It’s all the fault of the foreigners, and things would be fine if our own country could only be left to get on with things by itself.”

    They are also very keen to exaggerate the influence that said foreigners have upon their own said country. Obviously the definition of foreigners is different.

    If Farage had been able to choose the text of Cameron’s EU referendum, he might well have decided upon “Should the UK be an independent country”.

    Well they do have the odd thing in common

    I’m confused because at the last election Labour and Tory voters shuffled over to UKIP and not the SNP. The SNP don’t make a racket over immigration they are pro EU.


    Utter waffle

  37. […]

    The whole political debate in England is dictated by immigration. The Tories and UKIP lead the pact and large parts of the core left turning to UKIP because of what they see as a migrant take over of England but still the SNP bad?

    Who moved the rock?

  38. QE was done purely to offset the threat of deflation.

    Inflation/deflation is a function of the velocity of money and the money supply. The velocity of money collapsed after the Great Crash, so they increased the money supply to offset and keep things kinda level.

    Why was the QE used to buy gilts rather than just mailed in cheques to the citizens?

    Because gilts offer an easy means to reverse the QE.

    As the government redeems the gilts, the money then disappears back into the BoE and the money supply is reduced. At the moment the bulk of the QE is invested in very long term gilts, so most of the redemptions are way into the future. But it’s easy for them to use market operations to swap these for shorter term gilts to get early redemptions and thus shrink the money supply should the velocity of money pick up.

    QE was not done to pay for anything. If it was it wouldn’t have been put into gilts that the government needs to redeem. It would have been mailed out never to return.

  39. QE was not just deflation Candy. It was also to provide liquidity and spending increases. The fact inflation was so low is what made this a very viable option.

    Two birds one stone but spending was part of the short term aim.

  40. An interesting response to Corbyn’s pledge to “re-industrialise the North”-from Sir Richard Leese, the Labour leader of Manchester Council who has backed Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to devolve NHS and social care budgets to combined authorities in the region, tweeted: “Corbyn completely ignores what Labour in the north is doing.”

  41. TOH you may be seemingly right about Osborne – clearly he must have something about him.

    We sell off a tranche of 500p RBS shares at 333p making a one billion pounds loss and almost nothing gets said.

    There was no pressing need for the timing to be to sell right now.

    What is more if we were going to sell the price was over 400p earlier this year surely it should have been sold then.

    So a billion loss that will in the end entail more cuts to get the same position.

    And hardly a murmur of opposition.

    George Teflon Osborne clearly…

  42. @colin

    Yes, I know under the current arrangements, the BoE may not be buying toxic debt.

    My point, is that one might use QE for buying toxic debt. The U.S. don’t just use it the way we do, they buy mortgage-backed securities as well?

    As for the QE repayments, yes, I think you can see my point. Even if it all winds up being repaid (and given your exchanges with Amber, there is a vague on that), given the way it’s been getting rolled over, and the erosion of the debt due to inflation etc., although your posts give the impression QE differs from helicoptering in terms of money-printing, there is in practice quite the “free money” element, except without the targeting one might have via helicoptering.

  43. @hireton

    “Perhaps you could list the policies which SNP and UKIP have in common?”


    Ah, well it isn’t necessarily about policies, for eggers it could be about voters, or campaign tactics, or nationalism… But obviously it was just a light-hearted exchange with Allan. That said, it might come as a surprise, but policy-wise, did you know both parties seem quite keen on the “escaping a union” thing?

  44. @Allan

    Yes, obviously there are differences between the SNP and UKIP. I mean, the latter don’t seem to have been quite as comical over oil prices for a start…

    Anyway, I just thought you’d find the comparison amusing*, I don’t think it’s a great idea to go down the Scots road needlessly at this point. Statty’s a bit sensitive about it all at the mo’ and it’d be nice to have him back.

    * or horrifying, depending.

  45. People will tend to be “sensitive” if someone (Rob Sheffield) basically accuses half of a nation of being racist, then everyone else agrees with him.

  46. @ Jonathan,

    That’s what happens when the Shadow Chancellor is more interested in critiquing the economic policies of Labour backbenchers than he is in doing his job.

  47. I have not bailed out on the site – you may be relieved ; pained or indifferent to learn. I’ve been tied up in a house sale; doing some work on the Tudors for TV; and engaged with the politics of the Labour leadership election….a rare confluence which would alike the transit of Venus that does not often together in one lifetime.

    Certainly watching the leadership contest certainly reminds me that party politics is a blood-sport and not suitable for the squeamish…..

    Certainly seems unlikely at present that the honey in the post election honeymoon for the Conservatives will run out any time soon and has still some way to run… may even last them through the next year. It begins to feel as if the Referendum will happen next year as well and there will be another bruising election in Scotland for all the major parties of the Union. This government is most likely to suffer upsets from the political ad constitutional rather than the economic…

    Meanwhile over in the USA Trump is giving both Bush & Clinton something to think on…literally a bad heir day for them and their establishments in the parties as much as it is always a bad hair day for Donald Trump….if photos don’t lie…

  48. @ John Murphy,

    Trump is only a threat to Clinton insofar as the Democrats might take a risk on Bernie Sanders if Trump’s prominence in the primary makes the Republicans sufficiently unelectable.

  49. @Carfrew

    Actually, the way the QE was done (funnelling the money into lending to the govt), achieved much better targeting than plain helicoptering.

    The govt essentially spends the bulk of it’s money on transfers to the weak – the old, the unemployed, the disabled and so on. This is pin-point targeting.

    Your idea of helicoptering by just cutting everyone a cheque would have resulted in very poor targetting by comparison. Lots of people would have received the money who didn’t need it. And because the govt would have been left to borrow from the markets rather than the BoE, it would likely be paying a higher coupon rate, and would have had to make that up elsewhere (bigger cuts than we’ve had).

    Essentially the way the BoE, Darling and then Osborne did QE was very elegant – good targeting, plus deflation headed off, plus a means to reverse it should inflation rear it’s head.

    You’ve also made a few comments about how the South-East benefited most from QE – but recall that QE was money lent to the govt who then spent it, and the South-East receives the least amount of govt spending per capita.

    The reason the South-East is thriving isn’t to do with QE at all, it’s because it has a lot of entrepreneurial activity. That’s nothing to do with govt and entirely to do with local cultures and attitudes. There is nothing stopping people in the north setting up new businesses apart from cultural conditioning and peer-pressure – and places like Manchester prove that those attitudes can be turned around by a determined council – see the way Manchester/Salford have created a hub of independent media businesses, ever since they managed to lure the Beeb there as bait for the others.

  50. “It is quite unforgivable to conflate the bank bailout with QE.”

    Everything done since 2008 has been part of the bank bailout.

    The bit actually labelled bailout was like the paramedic. ZIRP put them on a drip and QE is the ongoing blood transfusion.

    Don’t forget all the central banks are connected to the Federal Reserve under the counter and the Fed has bought 2 trillion or so (forget the amount) of toxic bank debt – was any of that from UK banks?.


    “t should probably be mentioned, that the reason QE kits present form has had little or no inflationary effect, ”

    Another possible reason is the trillions in toxic debt inside the banks was effectively negative money so the cash poured into the banks to transfer that debt has partly just canceled that out.

    If/when the interest rates go up and the toxic debt transferred to the public goes kaput then all that negative money disappears.


    “BoE cannot buy “toxic debt”.”

    It certainly couldn’t be called that – they would have to label it high quality assets or something.


    (That’s not to say QE should be used for infrastructure though.)

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