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Martin Livermore
How certainty can breed intolerance

How certainty can breed intolerance

CERTAINTY IS USUALLY thought of as a virtue, and we often regard those who lack firm views on an issue as indecisive or weak. In fact, it can be a mixed blessing, with a refusal to ...

Eben Wilson
Stop the meddling, cut VAT and provide the confidence to grow

Stop the meddling, cut VAT and provide the confidence to grow

FEW POLITICIANS understand the undercurrents of fiscal policy. They react largely to a public clamour about “tax and spend” which interprets fiscal policy choices as levers to produce instantaneous results.

As is ...

Martin Livermore
Hype and reality

Hype and reality

IT'S NOT OFTEN that I get an opportunity to quote Private Eye, but here goes. In a column by ‘Old Sparky’ (issue 1462), under the headline ‘Real food for thought’ is a critique of the ...

Martin Livermore
Changing energy sources is inevitable but technology can make it attractive

Changing energy sources is inevitable but technology can make it attractive

ANYONE WHO EXPERIENCED the oil crises of the ‘70s and ‘80s will remember Sheikh Yamani, Saudi oil minister and leader of the then dominant OPEC cartel in the days when oil was cheap and America ...

Eben Wilson
Scottish Government Brexit paper reveals its economic prejudices

Scottish Government Brexit paper reveals its economic prejudices

THE OTHER DAY, the Today programme had a go at asking “why there were so few right-wing comedians”.  I say “had a go” because it was surreal.  A supposedly right-wing comedian was brought in to ...

Martin Livermore
 No longer fantastic plastic?

No longer fantastic plastic?

IN TODAY’S WORLD of blacks and whites, plastic waste is becoming a major target both of environmentalists and policymakers, and the benefits are being forgotten. This is an unfortunate trend, but typical of the highly ...

Tony Trewavas
Improving quality of life should be our guiding policy principle

Improving quality of life should be our guiding policy principle

THE PRIORITY of government climate policy is simply emissions reduction; it should instead be improving the quality of human life.

There is enormous momentum  behind  present climate policy because of the political ...

Martin Livermore
How and why our environmental priorities are shifting

How and why our environmental priorities are shifting

EARLY CIVILIZATIONS evolved after the development of arable farming about 10,000 years ago. This enabled settled communities to grow and some people to specialise in skills other than hunting and foraging. Life was still unbelievably ...

Martin Livermore
The perils of pessimism – and optimism

The perils of pessimism – and optimism

BEING of a naturally optimistic disposition, I’ve often thought that the environmentalist movement has a deep streak of pessimism running through it. At the extreme, the world view is one of our species – and ...

Ewen Stewart
Productivity? Is there something wrong with the math?

Productivity? Is there something wrong with the math?

IT IS FASHIONABLE to suggest UK productivity is weak. At the Budget the OBR cut GDP forecasts materially, largely blaming a cut in forecast productivity growth as the culprit. The OECD too has jumped onto ...

Martin Livermore
Putting 2017 in perspective

Putting 2017 in perspective

ANOTHER YEAR has nearly finished. For the EU, the combined tensions of Brexit, Catalonian nationalism and a much-weakened Chancellor Merkel seem to be doing little to disrupt normal life. On the other hand, the underlying ...

Miles Saltiel
Behind the detail of Clause 49

Behind the detail of Clause 49

 I’M SORRY, but this blog is for the nerds, as it goes through Clause 49 with a fine toothcomb. Its purpose is to explore the extent to which Theresa May has yielded on “regulatory alignment”. ...