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Ugly descriptions of the the market economy undermine its real successes

The Labour and Conservative party election manifestos mark a retreat from the economic liberalism of the years from 1980 to 2015. There is a risk that the real achievements in removing obstacles to productivity and innovation will be steadily eroded.

Business is not politics

Why do business leaders often fail in applying their skills to politics?

Why are British governments so bad at infrastructure decisions?

The recent decision to expand Heathrow is the latest in a catalogue of blunders stretching back to 1968. Why are UK governments so bad at decisions of this kind? Adversarial government, the tyranny of the minority, bogus quantification and a short-term focus on newspaper headlines are all to blame.

We need incremental infrastructure improvements, not grand projects

We need more infrastructure spending.  With long term interest rates around zero and a sluggish economy, the opportunity seems obvious.  And with a new...

Hinkley Point: Another Brexit silver lining

For those looking for some silver lining from the Brexit outcome, there is the good news of the abolition of the Department for Energy...

Why Scotland is different

Discontent with established politics erupted in the Leave vote during the UK’s EU referendum. But in Scotland it has found expression through support for the SNP (a party of protest and government). It would be wrong to infer from this that Scotland will now automatically vote for its own independence. But I do now think this will happen in my lifetime.

Why the European Union is not the United States of Europe

Many visions of Europe are driven by rivalry the United States of America. In this article I describe one which welcomes European integration, sees a European identity as a complement to national identity, not a substitute for it, and does not equate ‘ever closer union’ with additional powers for supra-national institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.

The dangers of confusing democracy with populism

Last week I received a communication from the Electoral Commission about the coming EU referendum. The pamphlet states the case for each side and gives instructions on how to vote. At first sight that process epitomises democracy in action. But on closer examination the leaflet illustrates why momentous decisions should not be made this way.

Political instability stems from the diminished importance of the left-right spectrum

The problem of western democracies such as Britain and the US is that the institutions of a two-party system in which alternating governments compete to attract votes in the centre do not work well when politics is no longer arranged on a one-dimensional spectrum from left to right. Recent political upheavals are only the start of the resulting instability.

Incremental improvements to infrastructure offer better value for money

Does it lift your heart to hear that “Britain is uniquely placed to lead the world in a smart power revolution”? Do you share the ambition of George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, to discover “what the government needs to do to become a world leader in 5G infrastructure”? Here's why my heart sank when reading these words in the plans of the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission.

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