Beware Sugar Taxes And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Health campaigners lobbying for the introduction of a tax on sugary foods and drinks would do well to consider the lessons of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Well meaning measures to protect the planet from climate change resulted in European Union (EU) governments encouraging a major switch from petrol to diesel vehicles across the continent over … Continue reading

Climate Change: Effective Adaptation Versus Costly Curbs – The Dilemma For UK Policy Makers

The four horsemen of the apocalypse make an appearance in today’s report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts” warns the report which makes for scary reading, highlighting the risks of food shortages, floods and the extinction of many … Continue reading

Skin In The Game: Why Taking People Out Of Tax May Not Be Such A Good Idea

A philosophical thread ran through yesterday’s UK Budget linking the historic changes to pension rules with the increase in the amount that workers can earn before they start paying income tax. It is better for people to have control over their own money rather than it is to let insurance companies do it through pension … Continue reading

The Big Question: Is It Our Moral Duty To Stand Up To Russia Over Ukraine?

Is it our moral duty to stand up to Russia? This was the first question debated on this morning’s edition of The Big Questions on BBC1 television in the UK. And the question cuts to the heart of the Ukrainian problem: what is the right thing to do when faced with illegal actions by a … Continue reading

Would You Leave Your Money In A Scottish Bank Account Post Independence?

Remember Iceland. The Icelandic banking system was far bigger than the Icelandic economy and when the financial crisis broke and the banks went pop, the Icelandic government was unable to bail out its banks. People lost money. If Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond fails in his quest to keep an independent Scotland within a monetary … Continue reading

We Get What We Pay For – We Should Pay MPs £200k

Am I mad? Is there something wrong me? Am I the only person in the UK outside of the parliamentary pay watch dog who thinks that our MPs should be paid more? And not just a little more, either. I would more than triple the salaries on offer to prospective MPs. A salary of around … Continue reading

If The Climate Scientists Don’t Know Then The Politicians Certainly Won’t

This week’s leak of the doom-laden second instalment of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) coincided with the publication of the latest satellite data on global temperatures showing a continuation in the so called global warming pause. These two items neatly summarise the dilemma facing policy makers over the climate. On … Continue reading

Spy On The Terrorists – Don’t Turn Us Into East Germany

There is something poignant about the anger of Angel Merkel, a woman born into the communist police state of East Germany, at the allegations that she has been spied on by America’s National Security Agency (NSA) – allegations that have not been denied by the White House. For Merkel grew up in the shadow of … Continue reading

Teachers Need To Inspire – They Don’t Need Teaching Qualifications

In the wake of the Al-Madina Free School row Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is calling for free school teachers to be formally qualified. Let’s leave aside the fact that the Liberal Democrat leader needs to create some clear distinctions with the Tories ahead of the next election and also the tricky issues of coalition … Continue reading

Capitalism Needs A Champion

Lord Maurice Saatchi made a long over-due call, on BBC Newsnight yesterday (Monday 21 October), for capitalism to be put to work in support of freedom. The former Conservative Party chairman whose advertising firm created the election winning “Labour Isn’t Working” campaign for the Tories in 1979 is seeking a new political formula for today … Continue reading

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