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Stamp duty contortions and eco-warriors with private jets? Welcome to silly season

Stamp duty contortions and eco-warriors with private jets? Welcome to silly season

August is traditionally the silly season. Brexit makes this year slightly different, of course, but it is good to see a fine British tradition still being preserved. Silly stories abound. Sajid Javid was linked (erroneously, he now claims) with the idea of fixing the housing market by making

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What was behind Friday’s National Grid outage? Network theory, not conspiracy

What was behind Friday’s National Grid outage? Network theory, not conspiracy

National Grid is getting a kicking in the aftermath of last Friday’s electricity blackout. Potential explanations swirl around both social and mainstream media. The system cannot cope with too much wind-generated electricity. The Russians hacked into the computers. A puzzling aspect is that the initial shock to

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Retailers beware, the online shopping revolution isn’t going anywhere

Retailers beware, the online shopping revolution isn’t going anywhere

Another week, another retailer biting the dust. The baked potato specialist Spudulike has closed all 37 of its branches, with a loss of nearly 300 jobs. Shopping centres are undergoing a sudden and dramatic squeeze, with many retailers only able to stay in business if granted a

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A gender equality lesson for the new cabinet from the world of academia

A gender equality lesson for the new cabinet from the world of academia

There has been much discussion on the gender and ethnic composition of Boris Johnson’s cabinet. The Channel 4 Fact Check site calculates that 33 MPs are entitled to attend cabinet. Of these, six – 18 per cent – are from an ethnic minority background. According to the

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Citizens’ assemblies would hand power to establishment experts

Citizens’ assemblies would hand power to establishment experts

Citizens’ assemblies have become the height of fashion. The London borough of Camden is currently holding one on how to reduce carbon emissions in the area. Last month, Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to set one up to consider constitutional issues in Scotland. The Irish government’s one on

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Relax, the UK (probably) isn’t heading for recession

Relax, the UK (probably) isn’t heading for recession

Immediate fears of a recession in the UK economy were eased last week with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate of monthly GDP. The economy had shrunk in April, but growth resumed in May. This has not prevented widespread conjecture that a recession is imminent.

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In the case of sugar, the nanny state really does know best

In the case of sugar, the nanny state really does know best

Boris Johnson created a furore last week by announcing that he was considering getting rid of the so-called sugar tax. Was he right to question the levy, or does it serve a purpose? Introduced in April 2018, manufacturers now have to pay more tax if their drinks

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The left’s support for university students is fuelled by political self-interest

The left’s support for university students is fuelled by political self-interest

Why do left-wing politicians want to shower money on privileged members of society? In general, university students have a higher intellectual ability than non-students, and often come from more desirable socio-economic backgrounds. But leftists can’t do enough for them. For instance, Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 promised to

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Tragedy awaits if we don’t bridge the gap between beliefs and reality in the NHS

Tragedy awaits if we don’t bridge the gap between beliefs and reality in the NHS

A tragic story over the weekend revealed how a man who died of lung cancer was failed abysmally by the NHS. Two separate sets of doctors omitted to tell him for over a year that he had the disease. The added poignancy of the news item was

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If you’re panicking about a spike in oil prices, look to history for a silver lining

If you’re panicking about a spike in oil prices, look to history for a silver lining

The tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman have raised fears of a sharp increase in the price of oil. These are currently being offset by worries about a slowdown in the world economy and a drop in the demand for oil. But what if the conflict

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