Miles Saltiel

The govt is finally catching up with the ASI

Written by | Saturday 26 October 2013

A second day for the ASI to celebrate. It may have taken HMG four years to catch up with our policy on a bad bank, but it took just six months for our arguments on green taxes to win through. In April’s blog, “An end to Zombie politics”, we called for the government to “suspend surcharges on energy bills [and] subsidies to energy suppliers or technologies”. Yesterday Cameron told the House of Commons that he is doing just that.

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Bad bank

Written by | Tuesday 22 October 2013

Let us join with the evangelist’s celebration of heaven’s joy at the sinner who repenteth. Even since the financial crisis kicked in, we’ve been banging on about the government’s approach to banking regulation, variously irrelevant as the bonkers Vickers proposals, self-contradictory as schemes simultaneously to recapitalise and to promote lending (help to buy, anyone?), and generally panic-stricken throughout.

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America's shutdown to a Briton's eyes

Written by | Saturday 12 October 2013

What to make of the Yanks and their budget? As Newt Gingrich pointed out in last Saturday’s FT, we might start by dialling down the hysteria: shutdowns are no novelty.

“Democratic Speaker, Tip O’Neill presided over twelve…government shutdowns…with presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and even while Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress….No one in the O’Neill era saw shutdowns as catastrophic. They were irritating, complicated and frustrating but also part of the legislative process.”

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A better way for hospital care II

Written by | Sunday 9 June 2013

Two years ago, the ASI’s No Need to Flinch set out a raft of proposals to shake up the NHS’ demand side. We called on the NHS to treat people as individuals with less heavily aggregated risk pools, we called for funding options to be widened, and we made the case for allowing co-payment on procedures the National Institute for Clinical Excellence would not otherwise fund.

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A better way for hospital care I

Written by | Saturday 8 June 2013

Relieving the State of a hospital sector it has never been able to control would raise standards and reduce Britain’s national debt by close to fifteen percent.

In the private sector, if outfits fail they are reorganised, we call this bankruptcy. In the public sector, if outfits fail they are supported with our taxes—heaven knows what to call this—solidarity? compassion? How about hokum?

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An end to zombie politics 6: Broadcasting

Written by | Friday 17 May 2013

The government needs revenues and holds too many assets on its books. In future blogs, I will return to its holdings in finance and healthcare. For the time being, let’s look at its involvement in media, specifically broadcasting.

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An end to zombie politics 5: Europe

Written by | Thursday 9 May 2013

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An end to zombie politics 4: Land use

Written by | Friday 3 May 2013

Zombie policies on land use are no Aunt Sally: credit conditions come and go, but planning delay (or unavailability) is a project-killer from cycle to cycle. In October 1998, the McInsey report, Driving productivity, identified UK land-use restrictions as one of the critical impediments to productivity growth. This was never contested but neither was it acted upon.

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An end to zombie politics 3: The regions

Written by | Friday 26 April 2013

The urgency of relief from Zombie regional policy was brought home by the street-parties celebrating the death of Baroness Thatcher, the palpable bitterness of regions eviscerated by a century of rotten policy. Originally I planned this post for financial regulation, but as recent banking failures hinge upon regional policy, let’s turn to this instead.

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Get ready for shale

Written by | Monday 22 April 2013

The prospects for hydrocarbon production on the British mainland seem stronger than ever. On 10 April, Professor Richard Davies of Durham University's Energy Institute published a paper stating that fracking is not a significant source of detectible seismic events. Meanwhile, over the last year, there has been a series of leaks of the forthcoming report by the British Geological Survey which is to raise the UK’s estimated reserves of shale gas by some 300 times.

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