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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.

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.

Income tax in Scotland can only go up if new powers are exercised

There is only one way in which the Scottish government’s new freedom to vary income tax can be exercised, and that is to raise it. That was not what the supporters of more devolution had in mind when they asked for additional powers.

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.

The ‘best’ health care is not always the one that keeps us alive

Can Britain’s NHS really be the best in the world – except for keeping its patients alive? John reviews the paradox.

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.