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English law cannot stop Scots being sterling squatters

In today’s world of global business and finance, people make agreements in whatever currency they like and under whatever legal system they choose.

The welfare cap replaces political judgment with spin

Whatever initial misconceptions spin doctors may promote, reality will out.

A stealthy step towards abolishing income tax

The man who “laboureth much, and sparing the fruits of his labour, consumeth little” should not, Hobbes argued, pay more “than he that liveth idlely, getteth little, and spendeth all he gets”.

Currency unknowns weigh on an independent Scotland

Whatever Mr Salmond may say, there has to be a plan B.

Philistines may carp but scientists should reach for the sky

Anthropology helps us understand the world, in ways that are helpful whether we are talking about the internal contradictions of communism or the pathologies of financial crises.

For truth on immigration, look to the Bard not politicians

Politicians, like gang bosses and football fans, routinely attempt to establish or reinforce their leadership by inciting hostility to other groups.

London’s mayor is half right on envy, greed and inequality

Envy is both inseparable from economic progress and destructive of social cohesion. Some inequality is inevitable, and there seem to be three principal factors that make it more tolerable.

Scottish independence matters less than you think

The centre of political gravity in Scotland is far to the left of that of the UK and that is at the centre of the concerns – widely held but little expressed – of Scottish business over independence.

The Olympic optimism bias has left the taxpayer out of pocket

The Olympiad was a good party, which cost the British population about £200 per head.

Britain’s ‘great leap forward’ was start of nuclear power failure

British technological failures have been compounded by a political phenomenon I have come to think of as “great leap forward syndrome”. The idea is that the best way to compensate for stumbles and missteps is to move, at one bound, ahead of the field.