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A Cloudy Energy Future

Type: ReportsWritten by Professor Ian Fells | Saturday 22 November 2003

In a new ASI paper, distinguished energy expert Prof Ian Fells says the government's energy policy is 'timid, complacent, and reckless'.

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Time to charge for GP appointments

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Alex Singleton | Tuesday 24 August 2004

Our illusions about the National Health Service are breaking down. We used to call it 'the envy of the world'. Not any more. We now recognise that our health service is actually pretty poor compared with other developed countries. It has wonderful and dedicated people in it; but they are let down by a system which creaks with incompetence

One of the old NHS principles has been that GP services, including surgery appointments and house calls must be free.

Time that Inheritance Tax died the death

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Tuesday 31 August 2004

The Left's policy wonks have come up with another great wheeze to divide Britain's hard-working classes from their cash. Namely Inheritance Tax (IHT) changes which will (says the spin) 'cut tax in 87% of cases' – but which aim to rake in another £147 million by raising the tax on the other 13%.

Britain levies IHT at an already punitive rate of 40% on all estates over £263,000. And giving away your assets to your kids before you die is no protection either. Unless you live for seven years, the Treasury still demands a slice.

Butler on Museums

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Saturday 11 September 2004

The American bank robber, Willie Sutton, was asked why he persisted in robbing banks.

"That's where the money is," was his rather puzzled reply.

And why do our museums spend so much time dogging the heels of
politicians? Because in their world, government is where the money is.
After all, if you can't charge people to come in, then visitors become
no more than a necessary nuisance, wearing out the carpets and
fingering the exhibits.

Making super-size dupes of us all

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Monday 13 September 2004

The hype is enormous too: Morgan Spurlock's movie Super Size Me hit
British screens this weekend. Calling itself a 'documentary', it
supposedly shows that when the hapless Spurlock had spent an entire
month eating only at McDonalds, he ended up 25 pounds heavier and with
a liver like fois gras.

The BBC - Britain's politically-correct state broadcaster - got in
on the act too, heralding the movie with its own 'Healthier Britain
Week' and commissioning opinion polls claiming that the Brits are
desperate for government to save them from their bad eating habits.

The selfish greens

Type: Think PiecesWritten by James Lovelock | Saturday 25 September 2004

We remember Adam Smith for his stunning intuition of the invisible
guiding hand that somehow enables rampant self interest to evolve for
the common good. Two hundred years later we face a similar paradox. We
know that the Earth is a benign and comfortable place for life and has
been so for most of its history, so how have selfish genes allowed the
evolution of so altruistic a planet? It is easy now to see how
Darwinian natural selection leads to the evolution of fit organisms but
how can the common good for all life also evolve by natural selection?

Helping the public to go private

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Madsen Pirie | Sunday 26 September 2004

Independent schools are too expensive for most people; they provide a
service that is bought by only seven per cent of the population. Yet
polls have shown repeatedly that most of us would like to send our
children to an independent school if only we could afford it.

One of the reasons for their high cost derives, paradoxically, from
their charitable status. If they were profit-making companies that
distributed their profits to shareholders, there would be incentives
for them to keep costs down and operate efficiently. They would try to
sustain dividends and share values by seeking savings.

Blame politicians, not managers, for productivity gap

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Sunday 03 October 2004

Dr Eamonn Butler investigates the productivity report which argues the productivity in Britain is 20 % that of France of Germany. He points out what he feels the reason for this may be and looks to the poor education system and the increasing public sector as major issues.

Oil price is a sign of global health for the environment

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Monday 04 October 2004

Dr Eamonn Butler takes a closer look at the Kyoto agreement and what it means for the world. He questions whether the expensive agreement is a worthwhile way to solve the global warming problem and suggests that we could be doing plenty of other things to tackle the issue which are far cheaper.

Free trade

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Monday 11 October 2004

Dr Eamonn Butler takes a closer look at how free trade came about. He also explains how various forms of protectionism have undermined the success of free trade over the years and that if free trade is going to be at the forefront of economic policy leaders are going to have to be tough.

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