09/17/2014 05:18:00 AM
Let's get the identity thing out the way: I'm British. My Mother is Scottish, with Ginger hair and Gaelic-speaking parents, a fear of sunshine and everything. My Father is mostly English, with a Welsh grandparent and an Irish surname. So as far as I > read more
On Representative Democracy
09/14/2014 15:02:00 PM
An individual is generally a pretty competent judge of his or her interests. We are pretty efficient at judging what's best for friends and family too. And in certain cases, distributed decision-making is better than individuals, because a market pri > read more
Douglas Carswell, Direct Democracy and the Clacton By-Election.
08/29/2014 10:05:00 AM
When Quentin Davis defected to Gordon Brown's Labour party in 2007, Matthew Paris remarked "when a Tory crosses the floor to Labour, the Average IQ of both parties goes up..." which is one of the most deliciously bitchy political insults of all time. > read more
On Social Mobility and "Who Runs Britain"?
08/28/2014 05:52:00 AM
There's a report from Alan Milburn's Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which suggests, amongst other things, companies should publish social mobility audits, revealing how many privately educated employees they have. This offensive, ridic > read more
Why our Leaders are Pygmies.
08/11/2014 03:24:00 AM
It's simple: Nothing I've seen of the leadership of the UK suggests the calibre of people is any better or worse than in previous ages. It's just the issues they're dealing with are smaller, and the scrutiny they face is much more immediate, superfic > read more
A Conversation about Drugs with some Policemen.
08/05/2014 05:59:00 AM
I had a (social) conversation with some people who worked for Dibble at the weekend. Some were world-weary cynical beat officers, who ultimately agreed with me. The younger warranted officers, and those civilians (I hate it when the filth use that wo > read more
The Iron Curtain
07/24/2014 03:26:00 AM
For my generation, growing up, the Cold war was a fact. There was "us": the Americans, and the Atlantic Alliance, and there were the Soviets. And there was a line through Europe that was called the Iron Curtain.I was born in 1977. I remember the Gero > read more
Bicycle Helmet Compulsion
07/23/2014 10:15:00 AM
Whatever internet libertarians think, car use has externalities, and bicycle use doesn't. So it is a reasonable goal of Government to facilitate cycling especially for short journeys. Standing in the way of more people jumping on their bikes for shor > read more
Some Strikingly Weak Arguments against Cannabis Legalisation
07/22/2014 05:31:00 AM
James Snell wrote the "no" piece on this online poll. I don't know whether he's writing for pay, or whether this is actually what he believes, but the arguments are strikingly weak. What's also remarkable is that he writes for HuffPo, Left Foot Forwa > read more
A "One-State" Solution for Israel/Palestine?
07/18/2014 10:36:00 AM
The Israel/Palestine question splits neatly along left/right lines. The rights and wrongs of this conflict are characterised by grievance-mongering from the supporters of either side. For the left, it's axiomatic that Israel is an aggressive, invasiv > read more
On "Assisted Dying".
07/18/2014 06:40:00 AM
I don't like Euphemism.Let's be absolutely clear what "assisted dying" is. It is asking a Doctor to kill you. Sure, a terminally ill patient, in theory, pulls the trigger, but it's the doctor that sets up the drip, inserts the catheter and explains e > read more
On the Legitimacy of Strikes
07/10/2014 10:13:00 AM
My good friend Joel compares the turnouts in Strike Ballots with the turnouts in elections. Obviously, it's ridiculous to say a person "was elected by 25% of the electorate" when 50% of those who voted voted for him. Abstention is a legitimate democr > read more
The Tour De France in Essex
07/08/2014 06:29:00 AM
Yesterday, the world's biggest sporting event (live audience measured in Millions... there's nothing else that comes close) travelled through Cambridgeshire, Essex and into London through the rolling countryside that the Tour organisers call "flat" b > read more
Britain in the EU after Juncker
07/02/2014 10:09:00 AM
Obviously David Cameron's defeat over the Commission presidency is a disaster for him, right? Daniel Hannan wrote The game is up. No one will now believe that the United Kingdom can deliver a substantively different deal in Europe. The FCO's ploy of > read more
Bracken's Law and the NHS
06/20/2014 07:30:00 AM
Everyone knows Godwin's law:"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1". > read more
On the Right of Recall
06/05/2014 03:46:00 AM
I'm not a fundamentalist on this issue. We have a right of recall, it's just we might have to wait a few years to exercise it. Neil Hamilton was booted out by the electorate in Tatton in 1997 and now pathetically plods along, embarrassing UKIP rather > read more
A Very Good Description of UKIP
05/30/2014 03:23:00 AM
From the Australian magazine Inside Story:What is UKIP? A short answer is that it is a right-wing British nationalist party, promoting a tale of national decline and elite betrayal, dedicated to exit from the European Union and minimum immigration, m > read more
The Rise of UKIP Heralds a Return to Two Party Politics.
05/27/2014 03:49:00 AM
The Liberal Democrats have based their political offer on a number of things. First a certain honesty about policy. Remember "1p on income tax to fund education" for example, and a general willingness to "think the unthinkable". Clegg coming out as a > read more
Cameron, Farage and the Referendum
05/21/2014 02:42:00 AM
In 2007, when Cameron made his "Cast-Iron" guarantee about a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, it was made in the context of an election which was anticipated in 2008. This was probably his greatest political mistake. In not making this abundantly cle > read more
Gary Barlow, Pfizer & some Increasingly Common, but Stupid & Illiberal Ideas
05/14/2014 07:30:00 AM
Gary Barlow, formerly of take that invested in a scheme which has subsequently been ruled offside by HMRC. As did Jimmy Carr. Neither of these individuals is a finance professional. They were advised that these schemes were legal, followed advice whi > read more
Oderint Dum Metuant
05/08/2014 11:25:00 AM
UKIP is based on the idea that the educated and intelligent, who have a certain set of views, should kowtow to the brute and unexamined opinions of the uneducated by sheer dint of the latter's numbers. "The liberal metropolitan elite" don't know how > read more
In-Group Preference and Jeremy Clarkson
05/02/2014 07:29:00 AM
The Daily Mirror has "outed" Jeremy Clarkson (a long-term opponent of the Mirror's former editor, and most unpopular man on earth, Piers Morgan) as a "racist" because he might have used what is always euphemistically described as the 'n-word'. For th > read more
"I hope Putin wins"
04/16/2014 05:44:00 AM
I know it's cheap and tawdry to base an essay on a comment on the Daily Mail website but bear with me OK?The Mail pointed out that the Ukraine crisis might just be the start of WW3. Personally, I think this unlikely. I doubt Russia will even Annex Ki > read more
Prediction: a Year Out
04/14/2014 08:09:00 AM
The Tories are going to win the General Election next year, there's an outside chance of the Lib-Dems securing enough to be worth hanging onto as coalition partners.Everything is in place for a Tory victory in 2015. Don't believe me?Even Gordon Brown > read more
The Post Office IPO
04/02/2014 03:53:00 AM
Most of the objections raised in the media concerning the sale of the Royal Mail are spurious. Most IPOs get away at a discount. Investors are taking on significant risk in buying a share for which there is no established market, and therefore price. > read more
What Happend in Ukraine?
03/13/2014 04:45:00 AM
It's not very often, now the daily blog has migrated to twitter, when I simply point to someone else's work. Tim Snyder Professor of History at Yale, and currently occupying Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Econom > read more
The Western Playbook in Ukraine.
03/03/2014 06:50:00 AM
Consensus appears to be that Russia has "won" and "the West", meaning the EU and USA is weak.Russian Troops in Ukraine (source)Strong countries do not have trouble keeping their satellites in orbit. The need of Russia to intervene in its near abroad, > read more
Hankering after a Better Yesterday
02/27/2014 10:36:00 AM
When I was 19, getting pissed and partying, with school receded into distant memory, university finals were still a long way away. Hangovers were something that happened to other people, and I was made of rubber and kevlar. I could run the 2.4km of t > read more
Won't someone Think of the Children?
02/20/2014 06:19:00 AM
Kathy Gyngell, Research Fellow and bansturbationist at the centre for policy studies is worried: the people who perturb me are middle-aged political converts to this cause Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan and Norman Fowler. Whether i > read more
McJobs, long-term unemployment and the Minimum Wage
02/17/2014 07:01:00 AM
Labour love to decry insecure jobs on low wages, of which flipping burgers for McDonalds is the archetype. The insecurity of self-employment, contracting or "zero-hours contracts" (what I used to call "temping") is another.It's terrible, the lament g > read more
Angry Public Sector Workers Shout At Me.
02/13/2014 09:50:00 AM
What you have in the comments here, is a circle-jerk of indignation from people who enjoyed public spending (largely paid for by the taxes levied on banks bankers by Labour...) which, when the golden goose was killed, suddenly dried up. The public se > read more
Academics are Left Wing because...
02/04/2014 02:10:00 AM
Chris Bertram is professor of Social and Political Philosophy at Bristol, he tweets as @crookedfootball and blogs at Crooked Timber. In Today's post he argues that "Squeezing the rich is good, even when it raises no money". Essentially his argument b > read more
Maajid Nawaz & Jesus and Mo
01/30/2014 03:33:00 AM
A while ago someone who is trying to be, but won't be an MP (anyone think a Lib-Dem will win the UK's tightest 3-way marginal?) tweeted a cartoon purporting to show the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). > read more
See Bike think Horse & the ASA.
01/29/2014 02:39:00 AM
To The Advertising Standards Authority. (email@example.com)Reference your ruling A13-238570 on the Cycle Scotland - see bike, think horse advert.The basis of your ruling is wrong. Cycle helmets have little effect in open traffic as they are not design > read more
Why the 50p Tax Rate is a bad idea.
01/27/2014 07:01:00 AM
The purpose of progressive taxation is to put the greatest burden on those with the means pay more. This makes economic sense due to the theory of the marginal utility of money: a further pound to someone on £100k is worth less than a further pound > read more
12 Years A Slave
01/20/2014 03:53:00 AM
In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wroteThe whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. > read more
Why Evidence-Based Policy is a Bad Thing.
01/07/2014 08:05:00 AM
Who could possibly be against "evidence-based" policy?Via Dr Brook Magnanti on Twitter.The problem is very simple. It's almost impossible to conduct experiments in the social sciences. No government can alter one economic variable and measure the out > read more
01/06/2014 06:36:00 AM
Perhaps slavery would have been abolished in the Americas nearly a century earlier, had the Colonists lost the war of Independence?Most wars are about economic matters, and it's difficult to over-state how central slavery was to the economy of early > read more
2014 is going to be the best year in human history.
12/31/2013 03:33:00 AM
This time last year, I made some predictions: 2013 is going to be the best year in human history. It was, for most of the world at least. And 2014 is going to be even better, for all the same reasons.How did I do with my prognostication?The scourge o > read more
A Christmas Adventure in Venice...
12/25/2013 06:36:00 AM
This is the view looking south-east from Venice, near St Mark's square on a damp Christmas morning, 2013 at dawn. You can see the spire of the San Georgio Monastery which reflects the Campanile in St. Mark's.Spectacular and memorable to be there with > read more
Gender Segregation in Universities
12/12/2013 03:23:00 AM
If you believe the hype, you'd think British universities are going to be routinely segregating by gender in order to appease islamists. Twitter is outraged. This is about new guidance from universities UK which suggests that some external speakers m > read more
12/11/2013 07:35:00 AM
Insofar as the world's rivalries exist, generally were 'the west' win, the outcome is better for ordinary people. The Ukraine had a choice between the EU, which whatever its flaws has been a force for democracy and prosperity in post-soviet Europe, a > read more
What Chancellors Do and Don't Influence
12/06/2013 04:54:00 AM
The Commons hue and cry of the Autumn Statement has died down. It was clear that at some point growth would return, and when it did, Ed Balls would be left with egg on his face. And so it transpired. There is a problem with the Cost of Living, but it > read more
Beside the sea or in the city: the best locations for weekend breaks in the UK
12/06/2013 03:43:00 AM
When it comes to planning a holiday in the UK, regardless of whether you opt for a city break or a seaside holiday, there are a number of places to choose from.The first thing you should consider is the time of year you wish to embark on this break. > read more
Labour's dishonesty on tax.
12/04/2013 05:54:00 AM
There are few things that annoy me more than watching Labour complain about a "tax-cut for the rich". The top rate of tax is higher under the coalition than it was for all but one month of Labour's time in office. The rate was raised as a nasty polit > read more
It isn't about cyclist behaviour.
11/18/2013 07:02:00 AM
Whenever a cyclist dies, and there have been 5 deaths in London in the past 10 days, there's always a chorus of voices saying "yes, but they run red lights". The word "They" is always a handy combat indicator of sloppy thinking. When you lump everyon > read more