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Month: May 2018

Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

I’m not an expert on child development. I don’t know whether 17 is the right age at which we should let people get a driving license, or whether this should be changed to 16 or 18. Similarly, I don’t have a strongly informed opinion on other similar issues, such as the fact that: 18 is the age you can buy a pint of beer in a pub 18 is the age you can use a sunbed 18 is the age…

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A More Transparent Tax System

A More Transparent Tax System

One of the challenges of the tax system is how complex it is. And that’s not just in terms of the rules and sub-rules, but because it’s hard for people to really visualise what the limits mean. If someone proposes to raise taxes on everyone earning over £100,000 how many people does that affect? What should the threshold be for inheritance tax? And when we add in benefits the complexity compounds even further A further problem is the way that…

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Guest Blogger Programme Announced

Guest Blogger Programme Announced

“I’m pleased to be announcing a guest blogger programme, showcasing interests or achievements of friends and members of the edrith community that are likely to be of interest to the wider readership. Guest blog posts will occur no more than once a month and will be aligned to the overall theme of the blog, including books, games, politics, current affairs and puzzles. I’m delighted to say that the first two posts, coming in June and July, will be: –  By…

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Things I’ve Learned from Games

Things I’ve Learned from Games

People often underestimate how much you can learn from games. On a simply factual level, I learned most of my British geography from The Great Game of Britain, a light-hearted children’s game set in the golden age of rail, played on an accurate map featuring well over 100 British locations. And whilst I’ll admit that Risk may overemphasise the importance of Irkutsk and Yakutsk on the global scale, I would confidently claim that 99% of the people outside Germany who…

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Making Markets Work: Public Procurement

Making Markets Work: Public Procurement

Marking Markets Work is a series exploring how the free market can operate more effectively to deliver benefits to ordinary working people. It affirms that the free market has been the best and most successful mechanism for generating prosperity and lifting people out of poverty, but recognises that in recent years a number of departures from the theoretical ideals of a competitive market have resulted in some discrepancies between headline economic figures and the welfare and wellbeing of ordinary citizens….

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Debut Conservative Home piece

Debut Conservative Home piece

My debut article for Conservative Home has been published: “Five Tests for a Good Brexit Deal.” In it, I briefly review progress on negotiation since Brexit and then set out recommended parameters for the final deal. You can read the full article here.

Five Things We’ve Learned From Science

Five Things We’ve Learned From Science

Because there’s not been much progress in the fundamentals of physics – the Standard Model is still essentially the same as it was 30 years ago – it can sometimes feel that we’ve not learned that much new recently. Sure, we have a lot of exciting technology, particular computers and smart phones, but these are all operationalistions of existing basic science rather than based on anything new. I think this is a classic example of the current time paradox, where…

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Started the Christmas Quiz

Started the Christmas Quiz

So, I’ve finally started work on Christmas Quiz XIII, only five months behind schedule! Still, six months to go before advent, so plenty of time yet to ensure it’s suitable challenging. 🙂 This year is a cryptic year and the theme is going to be ‘Countries and Regions’ – and as with cities in Christmas Quiz III, you will be told which continent they’re in. For those who’ve not been following the Christmas Quiz through the years, the back catalogue…

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Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Means testing(1) is everywhere these days. It’s in maintenance grants and child benefit, job-seeker’s allowance and housing benefit and much more. Sometimes it seems that almost every new policy proposal involves means-testing. So how did it get to this stage, when means-testing should be anathema to both left and right wing? For those on the left, opposition to means testing has its very roots in the Labour party. Attlee’s government swept to power in 1945 after campaigning to abolish what…

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