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.

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What The City should tell St Paul’s

The City faces a severe test from the sort of protest centred on St Paul's. Whether it at last responds properly comes down to character, or its institutionalised cousin - professionalism. The protestors are asking The City to explain itself, and (so far as this dedicated reader of the Financial Times can see) there's been no reply. Where is The City's answer to the question: Does The City do a good job? Read more...

Published

16 November 2011

RDN on poverty & inequality at Greenbelt

I've been invited to the Greenbelt religious festival (27/08/11) to debate " The Poor are Poor because the Rich are Rich?" It is arranged round a Methodist document, Of Equal Value: Poverty and Inequality in the United Kingdom. Read more...

Published

26 August 2011

Liberal teachers started these riots in the ’80s

Today's rioters have parents who failed them. So it's worth looking at what was happening to inner city black and white 10 year olds, in the early and mid 1980s. They were the first fruit of a primary school system which decided to abandon the idea of traditional education. You may say that this did not matter much, since they were about to go into a secondary system which was hardly better. But the rot was in. Read more...

Published

09 August 2011

Is Cameron a small state Tory?

It is a famous mystery whether David Cameron believes in a smaller state and indeed whether this of any other beliefs matter to him or his politics. This weekend, we seem to be a little nearer a plausible answer. Read more...

Published

24 October 2010

Coalition news: lowest taxation since the 50’s

Evan Davis lightly mentioned in Programme 1 of his Evan Loves Tax (BBC Radio 4) that on current plans the Coalition might (intends to?) end its first term with a 36 percent tax-take (as against total GDP). I always thought the Con-Libs were conducting an extraordinary coup, but this confirms it, if true. Here are two cheers. Read more...

Published

15 September 2010

Will the BP spill transform the oil business?

I was asked to appear on Radio 4's special programme BP: Beyond the horizon and the Macondo disaster. Would it transform the firm and the oil business? I'm clinging to the idea that it won't much, but with one big caveat. Here's the crib I prepared.... Read more...

Published

25 July 2010

Three (Tory) reasons to be fearful

Just before I get too sunny, here are three areas where the country's politicians, and the Tories not least, face real problems. They all centre on the country's habit of self-deception. Read more...

Published

16 May 2010

Gordon Brown’s great good fortune

I was often depressed and irritated by Gordon Brown, but he made a good departure (that matters in political life). Better still, substantial people are fighting for his reputation. Irwin Stelzer (the Spectator), Anthony Seldon (the Guardian) and Martin Wolf (the Financial Times) have all mounted defences of his record. This is… Read more...

Published

16 May 2010

Note to the 2010 MPs: “Grow a couple”

In previous posts I have remarked what a great political and constitutional opportunity the UK now has. But it depends far more on individual MPs than on their leaders, constitutional historians, greybeard commentators or anyone else. Read more...

Published

07 May 2010
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