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UK election confirms many beliefs are held in the absence of facts (truthiness)

We are all subject to confirmation bias — a tendency to find, or interpret, facts to support opinions we already hold. But truthiness is more extreme, occuring when conviction is prized over information.

Ice cream, apathy and the paradox of two party politics

John describes lessons for democratic politics from Hotelling’s model of spatial competition.

What did the US Supreme Court have to say about Sir Malcolm Rifkind in 1874?

The Supreme Court of the 1870s took the view that free speech and honest speech were two sides of the same coin. In 2010 the same court held that the expression of views you are paid to hold is an activity deserving of the protection awarded to free speech under the First Amendment.

Barnett formula erodes the concept of “English votes for English laws”

Any action by the UK government that has tax or expenditure implications anywhere in the UK, whether related to reserved or devolved functions, will have consequences for tax and expenditure decisions in Scotland through the Barnett formula.

In finance and politics it pays more to be right than to be active

In the face of an event like the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the urge to respond decisively is natural and strong. But the bias to immediacy and action is as pervasive in finance as it is in politics.

Scottish independence vote will continue to shape British politics

Anyone who thinks that the Smith Commission proposals on further devolution for Scotland will defuse the remaining issues lives in a political bubble distant from the interests of ordinary voters.

Scottish No vote was not the end of an argument, but the beginning

The close independence vote, together with the hasty promises that preceded it, have rendered unsustainable the quiet compromises that had defused the Scottish issue in British politics.

Rule of the vigilante is not the way to handle business misconduct

There are good reasons for state action in areas of business misconduct. But announcing ad hoc measures against companies in the news is the wrong way.

Tricky questions for Scots lucky enough to have a vote

While most of the debate surrounding Scottish independence has been about economic matters, the economic arguments are far from conclusive either way. The real questions concern the sort of country Scots and Scotland’s residents want. The nation’s political future will drive the economics.

How to fix Scotland’s independence depositor dilemma

If Scotland introduces its own currency the first minister should declare that all contracts made in sterling – or dollars – will continue to be payable in that currency.