Economic affairs.

I am not an economist. Until early 2014, I took a fairly close interest in economic debates, and tended toward the free-market point of view, though with a healthy respect for canny government intervention, both as polities tried to produce stable growth, and as they considered redistribution of wealth. I also very closely followed the "Happiness Debate", in which I argued that market choice and material affluence were large social, pyschological and even spiritual benefits.

BBC pay for Talent, and fairness

I was called, but not chosen, as a potential contributor to a BBC Radio 4 current affairs show about the BBC pay disclosures. Here, put simply, is what I would have said (with a bit of explanation below the fold): The BBC ought to organise itself so that its senior current affairs presenters are better and cost less. Its entertainment presenters should matter less to it, and also should increasingly be more cheaply home-grown. Also: is absurd for quite over-paid women presenters to complain that they are not paid as much as grossly over-paid males. No fairness principle worth the name is at stake in the women's claims for parity. Read more...

Published

24 July 2017

Bossy Liberals and Fascism: 100 years war

This 13,000 word PDF download  BLF Essay 110617 is a four-part study in the history, ideas and current picture of the opposition between Fascism, authoritarianism and their clearest opponents, the Bossy Liberals. It is a beefier and wider account of the issues which lie behind the phenomenon of the Auto-liberal who is so important to modern politics. Read more...

Published

11 June 2017

Auto-liberals, Corbynistas and modernity #1

I posit that we have mass-produced Auto-liberals who are mostly graduates, or soon will be. They have unthinkingly picked up a variety of  narrow, intolerant, Bossy Liberalism which assumes that only the soft-left Green worldview can be open-minded, inclusive, progressive and fair. They constitute a good deal of the success of the delusionist (old-hat, half-baked) Corbyn tendency within the Labour Party. Read more...

Published

08 June 2017

Auto-liberals, Corbynistas and modernity #2

This near-2000 word posting is a sort of appendix to Auto-liberals, Corbynistas and modernity #1. It is designed to colour-in some of the necessary historical and philosophical background to the way modern Auto-liberals and their Bossy Liberalism fit into and cut across long-running assumptions. 1: Some contemporary political history 2: Unpicking J S Mill's Religion of Humanity for our time Read more...

Published

05 June 2017

Brexit and migration

There is a nasty - or tasty - little secret about migration, tax, and welfare which I have never heard mentioned in mainstream debate, but it needs to be. That is: single, young migrants in employment are probably an economic benefit, taking one thing with another, but when they go on to make families, most of them are almost certainly not. In short, freedom of movement for work is mostly good; freedom of settlement or citizenship, not so much.  Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

Brexit and Scotland

The EU referendum has had very odd implications for Scotland. I was no fan of Scottish independence, but I can't say the break-up of the UK struck me as very worrying from an English, let alone an English Tory, point of view. Now though, one can easily see a rational Scot of any political stripe thinking that if it came to leaving the EU or the UK, maybe it's the UK that Scots need less. Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

BHS and capitalism’s moral compass

The BHS and Sports Direct sagas have raised the question: is UK capitalism in a uniquely scuzzy phase? I am inclined to say that it isn't but that anyway capitalism has many forms ranging from the decent to the near-criminal; from the paternalist to the devil-may-care.  The problem for society is how to regulate the intolerably bad bits without killing the vigour some quite dodgy chancers (none of those invoved in the sagas in question have been proved to be so) bring to the economic table. Read more...

Published

15 June 2016

The End is Nigh (not, probably): BBC TBQ

The BBC's The Big Questions asked a panel of "experts", and its audience, whether "the end is nigh". I responded that it almost certainly is not. Indeed, I said, things are going rather well and humans don't need huge reforms of their psyche - but many long for better politics and economics to come their way. Read more...

Published

12 June 2016

The UK economy and the welfare state

For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for "inequality".)  This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and - even more important - with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. Read more...

Published

02 April 2016

RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

I was asked onto BBC1's The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain's stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). Read more...

Published

26 February 2016
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