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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.
We once suffered from Norman Angell’s “Great Illusion” that prosperity was the product of aggressive control of territory and resources — and now we know better. The wealth of Denmark is instead built on exporting bacon and drugs to control diabetes — an appropriate combination — around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
John describes lessons for democratic politics from Hotelling's model of spatial competition.
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.
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 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.