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Tag: Politics

Three Ways to Improve Referenda

Three Ways to Improve Referenda

Whilst it’s right that Vote Leave are being fined, it’s absurd to suggest that this renders the result invalid. That being said, this – and other events before, during and after the referendum – do highlight a number of areas where our rules around referenda could helpfully be strengthened. First though, let’s get the Vote Leave situation out of the way As I said above, there is no reason to doubt the outcome of the investigation. Vote Leave seem unambiguously…

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Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

I spent most of Sunday trying to see the Chequers Brexit agreement in the best positive light. The deal seemed a long way from what I would have liked to see in a Brexit – which, as I’ve written before, would be some form of FTA arrangement. It ceded far too much control to Brussels – and that was even before the negotiations begin, in which no doubt the position would be compromised further. But I was conscious that I…

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Happy Birthday, NHS

Happy Birthday, NHS

Happy Birthday, NHS! I’m proud to celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of Britain’s best and most brilliant institutions. The NHS is absolutely fantastic. I’ve personally been fortunate enough in my health that I’ve not needed much from the NHS beyond childhood vaccinations and the mending of a broken finger, but every other member of my immediate family, and many of my friends, owe their lives to it. I don’t normally talk about my family on this blog, but I’ll…

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Gay Cakes and the Concept of a Legitimate Customer

Gay Cakes and the Concept of a Legitimate Customer

For some reason, bakeries have found themselves at the forefront of the culture war between gay rights and freedom of religion activists, with cases in both the UK and the US recently ending up in their respective Supreme Courts. Fortunately, the last person I know who opened a bakery was a senior and highly capable lawyer. These two points may be entirely unconnected. In this post I will be focusing more on the UK case as I am more familiar…

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Quarterly Book Round Up: July 2018

Quarterly Book Round Up: July 2018

The quarterly book review provides a non-exhaustive list of some of the books I read and enjoyed in the previous quarter. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) I always feel mildly guilty reading Archer, given the perjury issues, but this was a hugely enjoyable book. It followed two people from very  different backgrounds, their rivalry and their rise to success, in this case in the United States in business between about 1910 and 1960. Archer’s gift, as in First Among Equals…

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Brexit Paper now online

Brexit Paper now online

I’ve added a new Current Affairs section to the website. In addition to links to my articles elsewhere on the internet, the major addition is the link to my 2014 paper on Brexit, that won the Institute of Economic Affairs €100,000 ‘Brexit’ prize for the best policy blueprint for the UK in the (then hypothetical) event of our departure from the EU. A link to the paper, and to other articles, and a discussion of its relevance today, can be found…

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“Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground

“Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground

No phrase of the Leave campaign is more vilified than Michael Gove’s, “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts…”. Unlike many of the other contentious phrases, such as the £350m, it transcends Brexit itself to express everything that Remain voters – broadly liberal, highly educated, outwardly-looking – find repugnant about the movement that led to Leave. It is seen as a quintessential expression of populism, a battle-cry of the ‘somewheres’ against the ‘anywheres’ and is…

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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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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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