Over the quarter of a century with which this book is concerned,the UK has had an extraordinarily diverse experience of monetarypolicy and monetary regimes. Monetary policy has been transformed,from attempts to control broad money from the supply side with theuse of indirect controls on banks' lending, to an almost exclusivefocus on interest rates in a context of inflation targeting. Theexchange rate has at times been fixed, at other times almostperfectly flexible, and at other times again more or less managed.Meanwhile the real economy has experienced large variations ingrowth, together with what most observers have seen as a sharp riseand then a gradual decline in the NAIRU; inflation has variedbetween 25% and 2%.

This is a book about the making of monetary policy in the UK,about how and why the monetary regimes changed over the period, andhow and why the monetary authorities took the decisions they didabout monetary growth, interest rates and the exchange rate. Itincludes separate chapters on monetary targeting, on policy in thesecond half of the 1980s, on the UK's brief membership of the ERM,on inflation targeting between 1993 and 1997, and on inflationtargeting with instrument independence since 1997. It also containsa detailed analysis of the factors that influenced interest ratedecisions and monetary policy with particular reference to theexchange rate, and an investigation of the nature and reasons forinterest rate smoothing in the UK.

"David Cobham has written an excellent history of British monetarypolicy over the final quarter of the 20th Century. His judgement ofthe political and economic context is sound and sensible. It iswell written with clear and helpful tables and charts. Besides thecareful historical reporting, Cobham adds some valuable extraresearch of his own, notably on the interaction between monetarypolicy and the exchange rate (Chapter 9) and on the reasons forinterest rate 'smoothing' (Chapter 10)."
Charles Goodhart, Norman Sosnow Professor of Banking and Financeat the London School of Economics

"...an essential guide covering everything the reader could everwant to know about the UK's turbulent monetary history over thelast quarter century"
Charles Bean, Chief Economist, Bank of England

The story of the short, tragic life of Bowland Beth – an English Hen Harrier – which dramatically highlights the major issues in UK conservation.

The Hen Harrier has become the conservation cause célèbre in the UK – with only three nesting pairs in England it is seen as a totemic species in the battle between the conservationists and the ruralists. Extensive research has revealed that persecution is possibly the major issue highlighted by the death by shooting of a Hen Harrier called Beth. David Cobham has been at the centre of this research. In Bowland Beth he follows the short life of this Hen Harrier, interweaving her story with the story behind the species’ plight.

Following the style of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter and Fred Bodsworth’s Last of the Curlews, Cobham has dramatized Bowland Beth’s short life between 2011 and 2012, entering her world to show what being a Hen Harrier today is like. He immerses himself not only in the day-to-day regimen of her life, the hours of hunting, bathing, keeping her plumage in order and roosting, but also the fear of living in an environment run to provide packs and packs of driven grouse for a few wealthy sportsmen to shoot.

As one of the key players in this emotive debate, David Cobham is uniquely placed to reflect on Beth’s life and tragic death. In this powerful narrative, he provides us with a profound story which helps to illuminate the larger implications of the species’ decline, highlighting the urgent need for conservation efforts to reverse this.

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