Think Pieces

There's a simple way to clear the university logjam

Written by | Wednesday 1 September 2010

Today, more than 100,000 students with decent grades, will begin the scrabble for the smallest number of clearing places in decades. Droves of young people will be turned away proving what everyone already knows: university finances are in a mess.

What’s the solution? Some advocate uncapping fees, which is just a short-term sticking plaster. Others want to tax graduates, which would put funds into the Treasury, but not necessarily the lecture hall.

Let's not muddy the waters over the big society benefits

Written by | Wednesday 18 August 2010

A LOT of people, both on the Left and the Right, are suspicious of David Cameron's plans for the "big society". The Left think it's a way of making cuts sound cuddly, while the Right fears it will turn into just another way for Government to boss us around. I think both sides have got it wrong.


Crime: The false dilemma of Right versus Left still reigns

Written by | Thursday 22 July 2010

Libertarians believe that the real political issue is not whether a government is Left or Right but rather whether it is large or small. Freedom is indivisible; it is silly to want free speech without freedom of (peaceful) action. (If A and B meet in the street and agree under free speech that it would be good to swap A’s apples for B’s oranges in a certain ratio, it is silly to forbid them to go ahead with the swap).

The hidden debt is the real monster

Written by | Saturday 12 June 2010

Yes, the government is deep in debt. But how deep? The Treasury says about £893 billion, equivalent to 62% of GDP, the amount we earn each year. Even with the promised cuts it will reach 75% of GDP in five years’ time.

That isn’t the half of it; not even a quarter of it. The government owes five or six times more than it lets on. Like the iceberg, its IOUs to lenders are just the part you can see. Far bigger are all those IOUs it has given us on our future pensions and medical bills — promises that keep growing as the population ages.

A scalpel is needed on health costs we can no longer afford

Written by | Saturday 12 June 2010

Cutting public spending is the most pressing challenge the Government faces. Right now, we have the biggest budget deficit in the developed world and are accumulating debt fast. Put simply, the British government is borrowing about £18m per hour, every hour, all year long. But we can't go on like this indefinitely. And the slower the political response to our fiscal crisis is, the more likely a Greek-style meltdown becomes.

When Will the Eurozone Collapse?

Written by | Thursday 27 May 2010

As a long-standing critic of the concept of a single European currency, I have not rejoiced at the current problems in the eurozone that threaten the very survival of the euro. Before discussing the events surrounding the Greek debt crisis further, I must provide at least a working definition of what the word "collapse" means. In the context of the euro, there are at least two interpretations that come to mind.


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