Think Pieces

From paedophilia to speeding, bureaucrats need a sense of proportion over the risks

Written by | Thursday 29 October 2009

Watford Borough Council’s decision to ban parents from the playground in case they are paedophiles are another case of the Bully State gone mad. We’ve seen it in the past week with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (whose .gov web address shows it to be anything but independent), telling piano teachers and others that they ought to get CRB checks, or parents might ask why not.

Lord Stern is wrong: giving up meat is no way to save the planet

Written by | Tuesday 27 October 2009

Lord Stern, whose 2006 report set out the consequences and costs of various levels of global warming, has now called for humans to stop eating meat. His reasoning is that our farm animals, especially cows and pigs, expel methane, which is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, making meat-production account for 18 percent of all carbon emissions. He says that it will become as socially unacceptable to eat meat as it is to drink and drive.

Competition in postal delivery is the solution

Written by | Tuesday 20 October 2009

The impending mail strike makes it clear how near-monopoly services seem to breed dinosaur unions. The ability to shut down a service ups the ante for the unions. In services where there is a competitive market, customers can turn to other suppliers. Lord Mandelson rightly points out that a mail strike now will turn customers to alternative communications technologies, customers who will probably not return.

The Archbishop of Canterbury caricatures consumers and fires at token targets

Written by | Tuesday 13 October 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged families to get in touch with "the natural rhythms of the seasons," and have "a sense of connectedness to natural processes." Instead of a consumerism which "treats each person as essentially a hole that you have to keep stuffing things into," he urges "a life that is balanced, that is at home with its material and human environment." These are fine sentiments, in that most of us would want balanced lives rather than unbalanced ones, and most of us would rather be at ease with the world than at odds with it.

Privatisation is no way to sustain Britain's runaway spending

Written by | Monday 12 October 2009

First there was "borrowing our way out of debt" which raised the eyebrows of sober-minded accountants. Then there was "printing our way out of debt," as quantitative easing magically created money out of nowhere. Now the latest round is "selling our way out of debt," as the Prime Minister announces the sale of £16bn worth of state-owned assets.

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