Pete Spence

The fizzy drink tax Fanta-sy

Written by | Thursday 6 September 2012

Tucked away in the twenty-third page of the Liberal Democrat party conference agenda is a proposal to look into “fiscal measures such as the taxation of heavily sugared drinks”. This follows a recent post by two advocates of such a policy at LSE Politics and Policy which is also fairly alarming.

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The lazy logic of banning sports supplements

Written by | Friday 31 August 2012

Most of us are used to prohibitionists banning things that are thought of as being unhealthy. But the fact that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has decided to ban DMAA, an ingredient used in popular sports supplements, is a little more surprising. DMAA is used in pre-workout products, intended to give athletes greater focus and energy. Even the most ardent paternalists tend to be supporters of greater public fitness.

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Not such a capital idea

Written by | Friday 17 August 2012

It is natural for politicians to want to offer solutions to problems. We should be wary of their ability to deliver on often unrealistic promises. One that George Osborne should avoid making is his rumoured plan to increase government infrastructure spending following new criticisms of his economic plan.

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Get the Olympic rulebook out of our private lives and legalize steroids

Written by | Friday 3 August 2012

We’ve seen quite a few sporting upsets at the London 2012 games so far. But what remains predictable are disqualifications for drug use, with an Albanian weightlifter and Uzbekistani gymnast being banned and some Chinese swimmers facing allegations of doping.

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The Liberty Lectures 2012

Written by | Wednesday 25 July 2012

Next month the ASI hosts its annual event, The Liberty Lectures on the 23rd August from 2-6pm. An afternoon of lectures for students only [but we'll be putting everything on Youtube as well — ed.], that aim to introduce them to big ideas they might not otherwise encounter. This August, the conference will cover economics, history and politics, with lectures on four big ideas that can help how we view the world.

'Only Individuals Choose' – Dr. Anthony J. Evans

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The (il)logic of Sunday trading laws

Written by | Tuesday 24 July 2012

George Osborne’s announcement that laws banning Sunday trading will be suspended for 8 weeks is a welcome one, and he is right to point out that this will be beneficial to business. It will be convenient for consumers and create jobs for the unemployed. But he should be making them permanent.

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Stop letting farmers milk the poor

Written by | Thursday 12 July 2012

All too often, when discussing how to make the poor better off, we focus on the sum of money they have to spend, as opposed to what that they can buy with the money they have to spend. This image from the Occupy movement highlights the issue:

occupyimage

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Government smut blocks are a limp substitute for parents

Written by | Tuesday 3 July 2012

Government plans to filter adult content on the internet have in part relied on claims that opposition to them has been merely ideological. In a new ASI report released today, the very practical issues with such measures are laid bare. There already exist scores of options for parents concerned by what their children might see on the internet.

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Housing benefit changes would only plaster over the cracks in government policy

Written by | Monday 25 June 2012

It is encouraging to see that the Coalition is looking into welfare and changes to improve how the state treats the poor. After all, a lower welfare bill means the stress on the poor through taxation can be reduced. Proposed measures to scrap housing benefit for under-25s however, are poorly thought out.

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The EU's cookie monster

Written by | Thursday 21 June 2012

This May marked the end of an amnesty by the Information Commission Office (ICO) on enforcement of the EU Cookie Directive. It requires all website owners to update their content to request the viewer’s permission to use cookies. While ‘essential’ cookies are exempt, this doesn’t include cookies that track usage or allow targeted advertising, which are critical to improving the user’s experience (through methods such as A/B Testing).

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