Keir Starmer still has time to shine as Labour leader

Since last summer, Starmers have been the stock to short.   In June, the Leader of the Opposition enjoyed a net approval rating of plus 31 per cent. The latest polls show this has fallen into negative territory.  But as with all stocks, past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. In terms of […]

Government scientists must be transparent about flawed Covid models

The strength of the economic recovery as Britain emerges from lockdown is a hotly contested subject among economists. Some believe there will be a massive surge in demand as consumers celebrate their freedom, others argue it will take time to claw back confidence.  Economic forecasts are subject to the same faults as any projections, as […]

The curious case of Boris Johnson’s popularity after a year of lockdowns

In 1993, economics Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman published a paper with the enigmatic title “When More Pain Is Preferred to Less”. He and his colleagues conducted two experiments with the same group of people.  In the first, the participants had to hold their hand in cold water for a specified time.   They had to keep […]

Calorie counting gimmicks and sugar taxes won’t solve obesity crisis

In the early days of the pandemic obesity was identified as a key factor behind hospitalisation rates and deaths from Covid.  The Prime Minister knew this personally, from his own brush with mortality last April. This is on top of the already well-established links between obesity and other life-threatening conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, […]

Vaccine passports: a free market and plentiful pubs mean they won’t work in the UK

As the country emerges slowly from lockdown, the debate over so-called vaccine passports gathers pace. Yesterday, Matt Hancock confirmed Britain was looking into the proposition for international travel. Countries such as Greece and Spain have a strong incentive to develop a system with us. Each attracts large numbers of British tourists in a normal year. Whatever the […]

Beware those who’d lock us down and throw away the key

Rather like dedicated Remainers, pro-lockdown enthusiasts never seem to give up. Their ardour will have been fuelled by leaks over the weekend of results from the epidemiological models. Apparently, even though quite soon all the over-70s will have been jabbed, lifting restrictions before the summer would lead to a massive third wave of the virus.  […]

Cash for Covid? Cash for jabs makes far more sense

As the snow fell on Sunday, I almost expected a Cabinet minister to address the nation that very evening: “Don’t go out in the snow. Don’t slip and sprain an ankle. Save the NHS!” It could have been backed up by a scientist brandishing a chart and a “model” to demonstrate that icy weather led to […]

Decentralising the NHS could be a game-changer for the UK’s future health

The NHS is a highly centralised organisation. During the Covid crisis, policy decisions have been made at the top and then passed down.  There has been little scope for showing initiative at a local level. This dates back to when the NHS was set up in the late 1940s. Central planning was very fashionable at the time. […]