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Exploring the risks of EU mis-regulation with Sparks e-cigarettes

The EU Tobacco Products Directive looks set to seriously damage the development of the e-cigarette industry. That is likely to diminish the prospects of helping people quit smoking and lead far healthier lives. Researchers from University College London (UCL) have said that: For every million smokers who switched to an e-cigarette we could expect a reduction of more than 6000 premature deaths in the UK each year, even in the event that e-cigarette use carries a significant risk of fatal diseases, and […]

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A better way to engage with patients about health choices?

Via the doctor in the house, this video from James McCormack, Choosing Wisely: Could a little entertainment be what is missing from contemporary health education?

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Letter to the Bucks Free Press on freedom of expression and extremism

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Via the Bucks Free Press, my letter on freedom of expression and extremism: I was delighted that this year’s parade in High Wycombe to celebrate the birth of Muhammad once again demonstrated the friendship we enjoy in our Town. It was by all accounts a happy and successful occasion. I have observed closely the development of local commentary in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I read the Mayor’s statement on Facebook carefully, and the support and criticism he […]

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Speech on the timetabling of DRIP yesterday

Yesterday in the debate on the timetabling of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, I said: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): The subject of the Bill is of profound importance to members of the public who care about such matters, and no wonder because it is the paradigmatic example of the conflict between the rights of the individual and the power of the state as enabled by technology. The Bill can be understood only in the context of the very worst crimes […]

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Book review: A Brief History of Liberty, Schmidtz and Brennan

A Brief History of Liberty by David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan “provides a comprehensive, philosophically–informed portrait of the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals”. Each chapter begins with a thesis, comprises a lively, engaging and well-referenced discussion and concludes with questions to consider and comprehensive notes. The theses are as follows: Introduction, Conceptions of Freedom. “Thesis: There are several forms of liberty. Whether they are conflicting or complementary is a matter of historical circumstance.” Chapter 1, A […]

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Speech at Runnymede on the 799th anniversary of Magna Carta

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Two years ago, I attended a two-day Liberty Fund conference on Magna Carta. Today, I was glad to join The Freedom Association to commemorate the 799th anniversary of Magna Carta at the memorial. Here’s an extended version of my speech: Seven hundred and ninety nine years ago today this place witnessed a definitive moment in our history. A document was signed which asserted the rule of law. It was not unprecedented – Henry I’s charter of liberties asserted much the same […]

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A “UKIP earthquake”? No – a landslide for disengagement

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Politicians don’t care much about turnout. That’s why most politicians and commentators don’t talk about it. What politicians care about is winning. There’s plenty of news right now about a “UKIP earthquake“. The BBC reports UKIP gaining 30% in an area where they had not run before. They explain excitedly the prospect of UKIP as a disruptive force. So it seems. However, I’ve just learned that the turnout in Wycombe District — somewhat larger than the constituency — was 41,381, […]

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Smoking kills

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Today, the Commons will vote on whether to disagree with the Lords in their amendment to ban smoking in private vehicles in the presence of children. Anyone who can read knows that smoking kills. And I know, for it killed my stepfather and an uncle. Why anyone does it despite the clear warnings and often lurid images on the packets is a mystery not explained by appeal to the addictive qualities of nicotine. People who wish to live long and […]

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The Europe for Citizens programme should be curtailed

Today, the European Union (Approvals) Bill returns to the Commons. It would approve an EU spending programme called Europe for Citizens. The last Europe for Citizens programme allowed British taxpayers’ money to be given to organisations promoting a federal European State, for that is its purpose: The aim of this programme is to bring Europe closer to its citizens and to enable them to participate fully in the European construction. Through this programme, citizens have the opportunity to be involved in transnational exchanges […]

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Book review: Life After The State, Dominic Frisby

Dominic Frisby’s Life After the State catalogues the systematic failure of political power to meet people’s aspirations for it. From the book description: Have you ever had the nagging feeling that the problems the country faces are spiraling out of control, that the government has lost its way and that, despite its promises, nothing ever changes? Well, you’re right. In every instance where government gets involved in people’s lives with a desire to do good, it can always be relied […]

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