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Do we have a moral obligation to be happy for the sake of others?


I woke this morning to an interesting question on Twitter: @gmaxski Thanks: I think that shows how important it is to have something positive to say. A good thought with which to start the day. @gmaxski Thanks: I think that shows how important it is to have something positive to say. A good thought with which to start the day. — Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerMP) January 30, 2015 It reminded me of this video from Prager University, Why be happy? […]

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Cutting income tax for 30 million people


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Via Share The Facts: While Labour and the Lib Dems have confirmed they will raise taxes, we’re committed to cutting income tax and rewarding hard work. Income tax cuts are a key part of our long-term economic plan – to help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money and be more financially secure. In this Parliament, we’ve halved the deficit as a percentage of GDP and cut taxes at the same time – proving that tax cuts and a stronger […]

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The NHS Five Year Forward View


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Last week, the NHS published a Five Year Forward View. Amongst other things, it envisages a new care model which is close to the proposals I have brought forward – the Primary and Acute Care System: We will now permit a new variant of integrated care in some parts of England by allowing single organisations to provide NHS list-based GP and hospital services, together with mental health and community care services. And, In some circumstances – such as in deprived urban communities […]

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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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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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Photos of 2013


Photography reminds me that, despite all its difficulties, this is still a beautiful world: A set of my favourite photos of 2013 is here. It’s been an eventful year in Parliament: my colleague Douglas Carswell provides a good summary. Great forces continue to work themselves out in our economy, society and political system: Parliament appears to be rising slowly to their challenges. I look forward to 2014. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!  

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PovertyCure — From Aid to Enterprise


A fascinating video from PovertyCure on aid and enterprise: I particularly identified with: Having a heart for the poor isn’t hard. We have a mind for the poor. We will never reconcile all opinion about how to help the poor but there is far more unity than is generally believed over the goal: creating stronger societies through prosperity. As the video concludes, “Good intentions don’t end poverty. Enterprise and freedom end poverty.”

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Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch while I discuss the BMW S1000RR with Lembit Öpik


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Via Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch: His Royal Highness Prince William Duke of Cambridge visited Motorcycle Live at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham today to get a close look at the UK motorcycle industry and some of the new models that have been launched for 2014. The Duke, who is known to be a keen motorcyclist, was welcomed to the NEC by Paul Thandi, deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, who is also chief executive of […]

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How choice and competition improve society


Writing today for City AM, Paul Ormerod argues “It’s time to fight the claim that consumer choice doesn’t improve public services”. Quite right. Ormerod indicates one of the trends of our time: The new Labour shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said last week that she was “open” to the idea of returning all train services to state control. Damaging reports into the Al-Madinah free school in Derby have led to sustained attacks on the idea of freeing schools from local […]

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What makes us prosperous? The 2013 Prosperity Index supplies a survey


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This morning, after spotting Allister Heath’s boldly optimistic article for the Telegraph, I chaired the Parliamentary launch of the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index. It’s not enough to consider quality of life by material things alone: Gross Domestic Product neglects great swathes of factors which make life worth living. As the Legatum Institute explains: Traditionally, a nation’s prosperity has been based solely on macroeconomic indicators such as a country’s income, represented either by GDP or by average income per person (GDP […]

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