Politics Posts

EU holding Africa back

How the EU is holding Africa back

Published 10 January 2018

It’s long been known, but often hushed over, that the subsidies the EU pays its farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy, plus the bureaucratic rules and standards it wields against food imports, have discriminated against African farmers.

Read the full article...


Is globalisation over? The future of world trade

Published 29 November 2017

Listen to the debate ‘Is globalisation over? The future of world trade‘ from Battle of Ideas 2017

Read the full article...

Progress in Africa. Foto: Axel Schmidt/ddp

Africa: what would real progress look like?

Published 27 November 2017

After the faltering of Angela Merkel and the fall of Robert Mugabe, here are some principles of economic development that could form an alternative to Germany’s policy and practice in Africa

Read the full article...

The Great Firewall of China

China isn’t the only country censoring the web

Published 8 August 2017

Last weekend, that supreme and unimpeachable force for worldwide progress, Apple Computer, withdrew perhaps 60 Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) from its App Store in China.

Read the full article...

Donald Trump & Trade

The liberal West was protectionist before Trump

Published 31 January 2017

Obama and the EU pursued their own PC-flavoured trade wars before the Donald arrived

Read the full article...


A postcapitalist pseuds’ corner

Published 15 December 2016

Two books prophesying the future show a distinct ignorance about present-day capitalism

Read the full article...

Child migrants in Europe

Child migrants: Britain is far from full

Published 8 February 2016

David Cameron says he hates racism. He says he cares, deeply, about children – enough to cosset the charity Kids Company until well past its sell-by date.

Read the full article...

Lewis Carroll and Children

Why Alice is still wonderful

Published 26 July 2015

In July 1865, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford, published the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Read the full article...

Transport in UK election

Transport in the UK election, 2015

Published 1 May 2015

While Japan is building floating trains, British politicians are promising (slightly) lower fares.

Read the full article...

Greening of education

The greening of the ivory towers in education

Published 26 March 2015

A National Association of Scholars report interrogates the tyranny of sustainability in education.

Read the full article...

Dangerous dogs

Dangerous dogs or feckless owners?

Published 15 May 2014

If you own a dog in Britain and it hurts someone, you can now be sent to prison for five years.

Read the full article...

Fur is not political

Banning fur is not a political statement

Published 28 February 2014

Call me sentimental, but I like animals. But I don’t like celebrity culture, and not just because I don’t know who many of the top celebs are nowadays. Don’t know, don’t want to know.

Read the full article...


Humanity: alive and well in the fast lane

Published 13 November 2013

The human spirit – motorists emphatically included – remains intrepid, indomitable, and impervious to differences of race, age or gender.

Read the full article...

A tax obsession with diminishing returns

Published 29 August 2013

Politicians fetishise tax avoidance because they have little clue how to generate wealth.

Read the full article...

Dangerous dogs: not that dangerous

Published 8 August 2013

Further proposed state restrictions on pets always mean yet more state restrictions on humans.

Read the full article...

The robots are coming – but not fast enough

Published 15 July 2013

The claim that mechanisation is sweeping away jobs in a wave of innovation bears little relation to reality.

Read the full article...

From red peril to green panic

Published 18 June 2013

America’s military industrial complex once chased communists. Now it obsesses over CO2 emissions.

Read the full article...

The right to bear 3D-printed arms

Published 16 May 2013

The US authorities are armed to the teeth, and we’re panicking about citizens printing out rubbish guns?

Read the full article...

Rare earths and not-so-rare tensions

Published 27 March 2012

The US government’s threat to take China to court for hoarding precious elements is more than just a trade dispute.

Read the full article...

All this carbon-cutting is a waste of energy

Published 2 February 2012

Neither Boris Johnson nor Ken Livingstone is willing to deliver the uninterrupted, cheap energy London needs.

Read the full article...

Making a molehill out of a mountain

Published 17 January 2012

Clint Eastwood’s biopic of J Edgar Hoover is more about the man’s personal identity than his historical significance.

Read the full article...

A Satire of Tulip Mania by Brueghel the Younger (ca. 1640)

Manias about change

Published 7 November 2011

Just because your email Inbox is brimming doesn’t mean that the real pace of change is accelerating. Panel discussion.

Read the full article...

Fracking and Fukushima: our energy security fears

Published 17 October 2011

When I hear the phrase “energy security”, I reach for my revolver’.

Read the full article...

The end is nigh

The end is nigh: is survival all we can hope for?

Published 11 October 2011

In their policies for energy and for the economy, British politicians hold up continued existence as the maximum goal we should strive for.

Read the full article...

Drowning in oil by Loren C Steffy

BP’s Deepwater Horizon and Loren Steffy, Drowning in oil

Published 24 April 2011

BP became so obsessed with irrational management practices and petty health-and-safety measures that it overlooked the real safety of its workers

Read the full article...

Budgeting for a dismal no‑‏growth future

Published 30 March 2011

For all their talk of innovation, the Lib-Cons are more concerned with pinching pennies than investing.

Read the full article...

When a billion Chinese jump

‘Lifestyles will have to be redesigned’

Published 27 August 2010

A Guardian journalist’s ranting about the ‘neglect, greed and human filth’ of modern China shows that new prejudices about a Green Peril have replaced old fears of the Yellow Peril.

Read the full article...

An exhausted approach to the energy issue

Published 3 August 2010

The Lib-Cons ‘energy policy’ is to encourage people to use less of it rather than to generate more of it.

Read the full article...

Christian Salmon

An engaging tale, packed with myths

Published 28 May 2010

Christian Salmon’s book rightly notes the increasing use of narrative in modern life, but his ‘anti-capitalist’ instincts get in the way of understanding why.

Read the full article...

Election 2010: question everything on innovation!

Published 2 April 2010

James Woudhuysen explores the roots of the establishment’s neglect of scientific and technological innovation.

Read the full article...

How the state is a roadblock to progress

Published 11 March 2010

Red tape-obsessed, visionless governments are holding back the kind of big and risky innovation society needs.

Read the full article...

Letter from India

Published 11 March 2010

On a recent trip to India, James Woudhuysen collected a prize for Excellence in Innovation. As proof, he records the boom and dust of his travels.

Read the full article...

Still no clear policy on nuclear energy

Published 9 November 2009

New Labour’s commitment to nuclear is half-hearted at best, and goes hand in hand with more policing of our energy use.

Read the full article...

State intervention is no substitute for innovation

Published 30 October 2009

British industry isn’t dead by any means, but if low-carbon jobs and protectionism trump new research and development, it soon will be.

Read the full article...

New Labour’s power vacuum

Published 21 October 2009

The UK government’s obsession with energy self-sufficiency and renewables looks set to lead to blackouts in the next few years.

Read the full article...

What movies tell us

What movies tell us about work

Published 2 July 2009

Movies, as everyone knows, form a powerful medium. So when we consider movies and the world of work, one thing ought to be obvious: to show a few classic movies at normal workplaces would be a useful innovation.

Read the full article...

Gladwell: hero or zero?

Published 26 June 2009

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers reveals more about the author’s prejudices than it does the nature of success.

Read the full article...

An R&D recession

Published 27 May 2009

Today’s economic crisis partly springs from years and years of under-investment in research and development.

Read the full article...

A Fu Manchu of the dot com age?

Published 9 April 2009

Claims that Chinese cyber-spies are plotting world domination through the World Wide Web are greatly exaggerated.

Read the full article...

The recession and the Politics of Fumbling

Published 19 March 2009

The consistent incompetence of politicians is no accident: it is testament to their lack of a cohering ideology.

Read the full article...

The CFLs are on, but nobody’s home

Published 12 January 2009

The mad green war on light bulbs won’t save much electricity – it’s about enforcing moral rectitude in the home.

Read the full article...

Global rivalries go green

Published 23 December 2008

Climate change will be a central part of government agendas in 2009 – and a rich source of diplomatic squabbles, too.

Read the full article...

Nothing Romantic about environmentalists

Published 16 July 2008

The great nineteenth-century English poets waxed lyrical about nature, but they still believed in humanity – unlike today’s eco-pessimists.

Read the full article...

Eco-imperialism is alive and well in the West

Published 12 July 2008

The West’s pleading with China to cut carbon emissions bursts with ulterior motives

Read the full article...

London 2012: where’s the Olympic Spirit?

Published 2 April 2008

Officials don’t care about sport for sport’s sake: they want the Games to boost British self-esteem, fix public transport and solve global warming.

Read the full article...


Brown’s ‘get fit’ towns: Kim Jong-il would be proud

Published 7 November 2007

With its new towns that will force people to keep fit, New Labour is pushing an authoritarian health agenda that will be the envy of tinpot dictators.

Read the full article...

Why greens don’t want to ‘solve’ climate change

Published 10 October 2007

Environmentalists are cagey about techno-fixes to climate change because berating mankind for its impact on nature is their raison d’être.

Read the full article...

Sputnik: when American fears went into orbit

Published 4 October 2007

When the Soviets put the first man-made satellite into space, 50 years ago today, the event launched an era of US self-doubt that continues to this day.

Read the full article...

It’s official: the masses are not gullible

Published 16 August 2007

A new British government survey suggests that lots of us have an agnostic or atheist attitude to the cult of environmentalism.

Read the full article...

This land is our land

This land is our land

Published 8 August 2007

If New Labour is serious about making homes more affordable, then it should allow members of the public to buy land and build homes where they please.

Read the full article...

Let’s fight back against the new Model Army

Published 12 July 2007

Like voodoo forecasts, computer models of climate change are being used to stifle political discussion and resign man to his Fate

Read the full article...

Take a PEW, hear a sermon

Published 25 May 2007

With three new tracts on planning, energy and waste, the government shows it would rather change our habits than encourage innovation.

Read the full article...

Did Rachel Carson really kill more people than Stalin?

Published 23 May 2007

On the centenary of her birth, the author of Silent Spring is idolised by greens and demonised by the right. Both sides need to turn over a new leaf.

Read the full article...

Come, friendly bombs, fall on Brown’s eco-towns

Published 11 May 2007

With his plans to erect zero-carbon homes in zero-car suburbs, Gordon Brown builds on the Blairites’ small-minded approach to housing

Read the full article...

Remembering the Moscow Trials

Published 16 April 2007

Amid today’s craze for anniversaries, there’s one episode in history that nobody – especially on the left – wants to talk about.

Read the full article...

Gambling addiction: a panic at odds with reality

Published 22 January 2007

Top doctors, business consultants and officials reckon we could all end up enslaved by the slot machines. Wanna bet?

Read the full article...

Beware the New Parochialism

Published 7 August 2006

The Blair-Schwarzenegger and Clinton-Livingstone love-ins on tackling climate change summed up the Lilliputian localism of today’s Green lobby.

Read the full article...

Carbon ration cards

Published 20 July 2006

Debate on BBC Breakfast between Professor Mayer Hillman and Professor James Woudhuysen about the Carbon Ration Card proposal announced by Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs David Miliband

Read the full article...

Windmills of the mind

Published 3 July 2006

Why the UK government’s energy policy is more concerned with changing our behaviour and mindset than with actually supplying more energy.

Read the full article...

The folly of carbon swipe cards

Published 25 June 2006

David Miliband is right: his plan for all citizens to carry around a card that measures their use of carbon will be seen as ‘burden’ by most of us.

Read the full article...

Computer games and sex difference

Published 26 April 2006

The suspicion exists that there are not enough computer games being programmed by women for women. Yet women do play computer games.

Read the full article...

ID cards yes, mobile government no

Published 20 February 2006

The government’s enthusiasm for ID cards is in stark contrast to its lukewarm attitude to mobile IT

Read the full article...

All’s quiet on the Trafalgar front

Published 21 October 2005

Why the British elite won’t utter the v-word on the bicentennial of Nelson’s battle

Read the full article...

All eyes on the future

Published 21 June 2005

New Labour invests a lot in cloudy crystal balls – a professor of forecasting explains why.

Read the full article...

Future of work in Ireland

The future of work in Ireland

Published 18 February 2005

Looking beyond the myths toward the Big Picture: speech at Industrial Relations News, Dublin, February 2005

Read the full article...

Brands: don’t buy the hype

Published 25 August 2004

Both corporations and their critics are so obsessed with brands that they ignore the real worlds of work and politics.

Read the full article...

Putting the IT into politics

Published 7 August 2003

A little more conviction and a little less ‘compulsion’ might get people interested in e-government.

Read the full article...

Playing at democracy

Published 28 November 2002

Reality TV is no model for voting reform. In the US, Fox TV’s cable channel, FX, plans to broadcast a new kind of gameshow.

Read the full article...

Brands demystified

Published 27 January 2001

Throughout the world of business, people believe in the magic of brands

Read the full article...

Government and City literature

Published 1 May 1991

The presentation of important information from government and the City should be more efficient – and legible.

Read the full article...

A licence to print money

A licence to print money?

Published 9 April 1987

The other day, I found my­self in a book auction orga­nised by Sotheby’s, in the West End.

Read the full article...