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Rail privatisation has delivered improvements through accountability and autonomy

Both the leading candidates for the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour party have now committed themselves to renationalising the country’s railways. But the state-owned British Rail was one if the most reviled institutions in the UK, and privatisation has delivered many relative benefits.

It sometimes makes sense to fix the market rather than its results

The 2015 election was an almost unmitigated disaster for the UK Labour party. Yet there was one significant success — an intellectual one. It’s called “predistribution”. And it has already been put to use by the new Conservative administration with a 40% increase in the minimum wage.

The best answer to the West Lothian question is to ignore it

The logic of English votes for English laws is irresistible. But the core issue is that it is genuinely difficult to identify purely English matters in a United Kingdom of which England constitutes 85 per cent of the population.

HS2 is yet another politically-driven project in search of a rationale

Projects acquire political momentum of their own. The original rationale is forgotten, if indeed it ever existed. And so it has been with HS2, the project to build a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and then to the north of England.

To keep the UK united we need a coherent vision of the union and its advantages

The Conservative prime minister is making the same mistake as Lord Robertson did in 1995 with plans to make Scotland “the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world”. The concept of the union is gradually being drained of any content.

Labour Party’s economic rethink should focus on good corporations

The UK’s Labour Party failed to provide a convincing economic narrative and duly lost the 2015 general election. In future it would do well to recognise the role it can play in promoting good corporations; reestablishing the political and social legitimacy of the market economy.

The next UK government must stop being a housing market spectator

British housing policy is a tale of disaster. It’s time to use the sector as an instrument of counter-cyclical policy rather than allow it to be a prime source of instability.

The bumpy road ahead will most likely lead to Scottish independence

It is — just — possible to visualise a UK in which the SNP is one of several power brokers in a more fragmented party system. But such an outcome requires imagination and co-operation beyond the capacity of most of the politicians who fill our screens.

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.