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LearnLiberty: Why Do Politicians All Sound the Same?


Via LearnLiberty, In a two-party, majority rule system, moving toward the center is not likely to alienate the voters on the ends because they feel there is not another viable candidate to vote for instead. This means, there really isn’t any penalty for a candidate chooses to move toward the middle. And it explains why all politicians end up sounding the same. Too cynical? Try reading this excellent primer on public choice theory. But what can you do about it? […]

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HS2 – a study in why politicians make bad choices


Yesterday, a number of us voted against the preparatory bill for High Speed 2. I remain opposed for the reasons I have given. As if the economic case were not weak enough already, yesterday another £10 billion was added to the cost: Patrick McLoughlin said that the projected cost has risen from £33billion to £42.6billion because of a significant “contingency” fund to cover the cost of potential problems with the programme. This excludes the cost of the rolling stock, billions […]

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The Government vs the State


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ConservativeHome reports that the Government (the ministers) are scaling up their battle against the civil service: Outside of Manchester, the most significant political speech of the day is being delivered by Francis Maude to the Institute for Government. Indeed, it could actually be more significant than “the most personal speech ever given by a British political leader,” too. For Mr Maude’s subject is the structural relationship between government and the civil service, and how it should be altered. His words will […]

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How crony capitalism happens – public choice theory


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It’s common for politicians and officials to discuss “market failure” before setting out how the government will correct those failures. However, government fails too and with widespread, profound consequences for us all. Why? Dr Eamonn Butler’s Public Choice – A Primer explains how Public Choice Theory applies the methods of economics to the theory and practice of politics and government to provide important insights into the nature of democratic decision-making. Just as self-interest motivates people’s private commercial choices, it also affects […]

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More unexpected borrowing?


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Yesterday, we learned “public sector net borrowing was £0.6 billion in July 2012; this is £3.4 billion higher net borrowing than in July 2011, when net borrowing was -£2.8 billion (a repayment)”. Compared to say May, when we borrowed £17.9 billion, £600 million seems relatively modest. It’s still the gross annual earnings at the national average wage of over 23,000 people. Apparently, it was a surprise to economists (again). They expected the usual July surplus. As far as I recall, […]

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