I remember weeping at one conference, in those far-off days when the Tories were in power, when he [Michael Hesseltine] said he had recently read a speech by the Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown, which contained the phrase 'neo-classical endogenous growth theory'. Upon making inquiries Heseltine discovered that it was not written by the Shadow Chancellor himself but by a teenage scribbler called Mr Ball. 'So there you have it, Mr Chairman,' siad Hezza to an audience already incontinent with pleasure because they could see the punchline. 'It wasn't Brown's; it was Balls!'
from Boris Johnson, 'Friends, Voters, Countrymen'
Not that it takes much to make a Tory audience incontinent, mind. However Mr Balls was not merely a "teenage sribbler" but a Kennedy Scholar whose economics education had taken in Oxford and Harvard. (Steve has previously mentioned him here). This Guardian profile highlights his intellect, and closeness to Brown. Recently, Mr Balls has crossed the divide from policy wonk to politician, having been awarded the safe Labour seat of Normanton, South Yorkshire. (BBC, Telegraph). Suddenly, the phrase "neoclassical endogenous growth theory" is back in the spotlight. And alas, it seems 'Hezza' was justified in mocking politicians who use it. Labour MP for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson mentions the "neo-endogenous growth theory". Readers of The Filter^ should instantly cry out "the what?" From my email to the Honourable gentleman:
in your blog you refer to a "neo-endogenous
what is neo-endogenous?
if you aren't sure, I suggest you publish a correction
and admit that Mr Hesseltine was (sadly) entirely
right to mock Labour MPs for using words they don't
His reply will be added to this article.