Kate Andrews’ comments on decision to ban Julien Blanc from the UK feature in The Australian, CityAM, and the Daily Mail

Communications Manager Kate Andrews’ comments on the Home Secretary’s decision to deny Julien Blanc entry to the UK were featured in The Australian, CityAM, and the Daily Mail.

From The Australian:

The decision to deny the Swiss-born American a visa has led to a furious debate in the UK about freedom of speech.

Kate Andrews from the Adam Smith Institute said banning people simply because they expressed offensive views set a dangerous precedent.

Ms Andrews suggests people should boycott Mr Blanc’s events and turn off their TVs.

“Debate is better than banning it,” she told Sky News.

From CityAM:

While the decision to deny a visa to a 25-year old pick up artist may please those who signed the petition others are concerned about the precedent the decision may set in terms of free speech.

Kate Andrews, communications manager at the Adam Smith Institute, wrote:

Surely, we must recognise that there is a fundamental difference between the private sphere taking away one man’s platform to be noticed, and the state taking away every person’s platform to speak freely without threat of punishment or criminalisation.

Some worry that barring Blanc from the UK will actually increase his appeal and turn him into a matyr.

From the Daily Mail:

But Kate Andrews, of the respected Adam Smith Institute think tank, said: “The decision to deny Julien Blanc’s entrance into the UK has set the precedent that freedoms of speech and expression can be criminalised, if and when enough people sign a petition.

“Blanc’s comments are socially reprehensible and offensive to both men and women, but if we do not respect the rights of the offensive, we start risking the safety of any minority viewpoint.”

Press Release: McKinsey obesity report misjudges weight of evidence on economic costs

Commenting on the McKinsey report that found obese people cost the UK £47 billion a year, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

We do not want to live in a society where we tot up how much each person or group of persons ‘puts in’ and ‘takes out’, but in any case the premise here is faulty. Existing studies find that obese people cost the health service less in total, over their lifetimes, than the non-obese. Healthy people cost the most, because they require far more end of life care.

The McKinsey report finds a different result—that the obese cost the UK £47bn per year—partly through counting it as a ‘cost’ when people produce less output over their lives due to obesity. Part of the difference is down to looking at annual, and not life-cycle, numbers. But we don’t call it a ‘cost’ when people decide to become teachers or nurses, who rate their jobs as more satisfying, but are less economically productive than accountants or lawyers.

It may be that reducing obesity will make people happier and healthier, and if so then we should make it as easy as possible for people to lose weight. But we should not rush to believing that the overweight are costing the rest of us.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Sam Bowman’s comments on JRF’s housing report feature in the Mail Online

Research Director Sam Bowman’s comments on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s new report – which projects real private sector rents to rise by 90% between 2006 and 2040 - were featured in the Mail Online:

Researchers created ‘housing pathways’, combining information about the types of tenure individuals were in throughout the period with events in their lives over the same time, such as changes in household composition, earnings, and retirement.

The research examined how these pathways related to poverty and ‘housing deprivation’.

Sam Bowman, research director of the Adam Smith Institute, said the report gave a ‘worrying prognosis’ of the future for Britain’s renters, adding: ‘It should be a wake-up call to anyone interested in fighting poverty in Britain.

‘But the report’s solutions, which focus on the construction of new social housing, are to some extent just a sticking-plaster.

Read the full article here.

ASI Senior Fellow argues against clawing back bankers’ pay in the CityAM Forum

Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, Tim Worstall, argues that Mark Carney’s plan to clawback bankers’ pay is “logically ridiculous” in the CityAM Forum: 

The suggestion that fixed pay could be clawed back is logically ridiculous. Pay that is subject to clawbacks is no longer fixed pay: it is variable pay – pay dependent upon the future performance of the organisation.

We’ve already got EU rules where variable pay may not be more than 100 per cent of fixed pay. If what was formerly fixed pay is now variable pay, then under EU rules, we cannot pay bankers anything – because there is no fixed pay for which variable pay can be a multiple. Not paying bankers at all will please the rabble, but it’s an odd thing for the governor of the Bank of England to suggest.

Read the article here.