Four fundamental pillars of freedom, jury trial, Double Jeopardy, Presumption of Innocence, and Habeas Corpus, are threatened by an unprecedented alliance between populism (to sound tough on crime) and modernizing zeal. The net result will be to make the British people more vulnerable than ever to arbitrary action by the State. While it is important to tackle crime, sacrificing the liberties that protect the innocent will not help bring the guilty to justice. And every time an innocent person is convicted, the real culprit is left free to commit more crimes.
The government's vision of 'Broadband Britain' will never be achieved without fundamental reform in telecoms regulation. The report Broadband Britain: Finding a Way Forward says that broadband could become a major driver of wealth creation within ten years, improving education and business performance. Britain lags behind, 21st out of the richest 30th countries in terms of broadband penetration. The institutes points to the need for a more aggressive regulatory regime that will deliver a level playing field for profitability in telecommunications. Opportunities created by this will give BT and its shareholders the option to review the break up of the service into two parts. One for services (Servco) and another for network infrastructure (Netco).
Around the world - Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands - postal services have been liberalised and the public is getting better services at lower cost. Yet the UK - the pioneer of privatisation in the 1980s still lumbers along with a state-owned post office that is now losing large amounts of money. Ian Senior says it's time for the Post Office to embrace competition, develop new services, and start making money...and he identifies some precise opportunities to that end.
Showing the practical benefits that education choice has brought in other countries, the authors develop a no-nonsense plan to open UK education up to the same choice and competition that is already improving school standards in the most disadvantaged communities in Europe and the US. The plan aims to improve equality, access and diversity by allowing parents an escape from failing schools, empowering parental choice, and boosting the provision of new non-state community schools.
Local authority officers, backed by proposals from Brussels, want to end the 20 year old deregulation of buses and bring bus operations back under their control, says transport executive Prof. John Hibbs OBE in a new ASI report. But that could mean less competition and higher taxes...
Britain's electricity supply has been left dangerously vulnerable by the government's plans to phase out nuclear power and rely more on gas and renewable energy. Wind and solar power are costly and intermittent sources of energy that cannot fill the gap left by nuclear, while planned gas imports rely on a complex cross-national network that is easily disrupted by political upheavals in any one of a number of countries.
The only booming sector in the UK seems to be the public sector. We've skimmed the Guardian's jobs pages and added up the cost of all those community awareness co-ordinators (30,000 of them each year, at nearly a billion quid in salaries). Our report, by Jonathan Woolham, shows exactly where your hard-earned tax money is going.
Do we need regulation, rule-books and new codes of practice to keep boardroom executives in check? Corporate-governance specialist Elaine Sternberg says not. The keys to getting on-the-ball, responsible management are competition and shareholder empowerment. Her punchy report takes on the regulationists and shows how to achieve good governance without politics.
Tim Ambler of the London Business School says that up to £1b a year is being wasted on unnecessary bureaucracy in the research councils - and that we would get better science at less cost by allocating the research budget directly to the universities.