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The economic consequences of Scottish separation


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I received today a copy of Ewen Stewart‘s paper for the Scottish Research Society, Much Cost, Little Benefit – The economic consequences of Scottish separation. This excellent paper covers currency, debt and borrowing, public spending and taxation, oil revenues, the Scottish banks, trade, population, energy, defence and more. The conclusion is robust: Scotland will either choose continuing union or separation this September. If Scotland chooses separation, it will not be in any true sense independent. It could not exercise policy in […]

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Keynes, Carney and the corruption of capitalism


We’ve come a long way since the Bank of England’s Andy Haldane pointed out that they had “intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history” and that it constituted the biggest risk to financial stability. Yesterday, in his Sky News interview, the Bank’s Governor Mark Carney said that the housing market was the biggest risk to financial stability. Selected headlines from the recent press continue the story: U.K. House Prices Rise to Record High in April – “U.K. house prices hit […]

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Saving – a foundation of a civilised and progressive society


When we did not reach my Treasury question yesterday — What assessment he has made of the effect of sustained low interest rates on incentives to save; and if he will make a statement. — I asked the supplementary in a topical: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): There is no doubt that low interest rates have played a crucial part in the Chancellor’s long-term economic plan and brought about today’s widely welcomed news, but low rates will not be good news […]

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Presentation on government policy and the economy, 28 Feb 2014


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I’m most grateful to Stupples Chandler Garvey for the opportunity yesterday to present some thoughts on the economy over the next 12 months to local business people. Here are the slides – The UK Economy – the next 12 months:

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The Four Horsemen, Russell Brand and the biggest problem with democracy


I found time this morning to watch the film Four Horsemen. It’s about what’s fundamentally wrong with the world and it features some major thinkers from Britain and the world. I feel fairly sure many of them did not know that the central point of the film is to explain why money should be separated from the state. As I set out in my maiden speech, Today, money is a product of the state. The Bank of England controls the […]

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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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Speech on the “Green Investment Bank”


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A speech in committee on the so-called Green Investment Bank, which appears to have had a greater impact than I had forseen: 4.45 pm Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): I fear that we are, once again, gathered together to make our constituents poorer and to promote special-interest rent seeking. I am rather surprised that we are gathered together in this Committee. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has pointed out that Opposition Members wish to use direct intervention in the […]

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Book review: Milton Friedman by Eamonn Butler


I usually romp through Eamonn Butler’s books and Milton Friedman: A concise guide to the ideas and influence of the free-market economist was no exception. The book sets out how Friedman became a public intellectual of worldwide influence, how to end financial crises and how to cure inflation. People, trade and currencies should be free, he argued. Government fails and markets work to promote diversity and help ordinary people. Friedman advocated a 100% reserve requirement on demand deposits, giving government […]

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Heathrow – this price fixing must end


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Via BBC News – Heathrow Airport attacks regulator’s price-control plan: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Thursday said that Heathrow’s yearly rise between 2014-18 should not be more than the retail price index (RPI). Prices can only bring supply and demand into balance if they are allowed to find their own level. If some government authority fixes prices, it is bound to create problems: we should not be surprised Heathrow is overcrowded and other airports struggle if prices for access […]

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Book review: On God’s Side, Jim Wallis


I enjoyed meeting Jim Wallis in Parliament through The Bible Society. He’s undoubtedly a great orator with a huge heart for service to other people in fulfilment of the Christian faith we share. I mostly delighted in his book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. The book’s key inspiration is a saying of Abraham Lincoln, My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be […]

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