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To understand Boris and Brexit, look to Edmund Burke

They are proud of Edmund Burke in Bristol. His statue stands on Colston Avenue, fist aloft, the inscription declaring “I wish to be a Member of Parliament to have my share of doing good and resisting evil”. Burke is celebrated to this day for his Speech to the Electors of Bristol on election day in 1774, in which he set out why an MP owed his constituents his judgment and conscience, but didn’t necessarily owe them the total subjugation of his own views to theirs. In his view, MPs were... Read More >

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Thatcher or Trump – the big choice awaiting the Right
Just days in to the Johnson Premiership and there should be little doubt where we are heading. Dominic Cummings may revel in his contempt for Westminster Village groupthink, but this time the Prime Minister’s special adviser might have to Read More >
Life after Downing Street: What Prime Ministers do next
As she exits the political stage pursued by a blond bear, Theresa May’s mind will inevitably turn to the question of ‘what next’? As for the immediate future, she might follow John Major’s example. Hours after losing the top job in Read More >
Boris Johnson must get behind Britain’s internet economy
No one wants the internet to be a source of harm. Our industry has always carried with it the optimism with which the internet was born. The ability of a single individual to speak to the whole world, to be connected with the all the learning Read More >
Boris – what Real Estate Investors can expect
Boris Johnson will survive the first hundred days of his Premiership if he delivers a Brexit divorce deal. There will soon follow opportunities for other events - a Budget, a Queen’s Speech, a General Election – to set out detailed plans Read More >
What should the next US ambassador do?
In all of the sound and fury and sordid events that led to the resignation of the British ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, there has been little attention paid to the question of what is the function of the UK ambassador in the US, or indeed, Read More >
What to look out for if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister
Unless there’s an extraordinary upset in the Tory leadership election, Boris Johnson will become Prime Minister next week.  What kind of government are we going to get? Could this be the start of something extraordinarily significant, Read More >
Business must do more to shape the politics of immigration after May
Whichever candidate takes the keys to Number 10 later this month, the change of Conservative leader and Prime Minister looks set to mark the end of the net migration target. As politics move on, those looking to advocate for a fresh approach Read More >
Political instability in the UK – Response to Andrew Hawkins
How Brexit and the minority government pose a problem for international investors   Three factors continue to cause political instability in the UK. The first and most important is that Britain is being run by a minority Read More >
Entropy or evolution: the UK’s changing political landscape
To be sure, UK politics are in flux. A vocal huddle of mostly Remain protesters, and occasionally Leavers, have occupied a spot opposite the Houses of Parliament for the past two years. Voters have voiced at the ballot box their anger at the Read More >
Don’t let discredited doom-mongers undermine Brexit
Unless Britain joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, they once said, it would face economic instability. So we duly joined the ERM. But instead of stability, pegging our currency to those of our neighbours meant we endured an economic Read More >
Time for an intervention in UK politics
As the current political impasse continues, the situation bears a resemblance to the events of 1931. As King George V once did, will the Queen advise? On 24 August 1931, King George V called for a meeting at Buckingham Palace. There attended Read More >
How trade can help rebalance the post-Brexit economy
It is no secret that the United Kingdom’s economy is imbalanced. London and the South East are head and shoulders above the country’s other regions with respect to economic indicators like gross value added per capita and median real Read More >
Inside the EU machine: A Brexit Party MEP’s first trip to Brussels
As I hurtled towards the big EU machine on the Eurostar from London St Pancras, I had initially intended this post-induction piece to be a light-hearted reflection on my first experiences in Brussels. The beer was good/ the bureaucracy was bad Read More >
Europe is sharply divided on the role of the ECB
The search for ECB President Mario Draghi’s successor has revealed deep-seated divisions in the Eurozone over the fundamental responsibilities of the bank. Draghi’s presidency was marked by a willingness to be a lender of last resort to Read More >
A US-UK trade deal could be just the tonic the NHS needs
President Trump’s visit has been the excuse for another burst of scaremongering about what a US-UK trade deal might mean for the NHS. You might expect dire warnings about ‘profits before people’ or ‘the Americanisation of healthcare’ Read More >
Washington Monthly Diary
Thoughts for the month ahead: Yipes! President Trump shocked the markets on May 10th by doubling down on tariffs against all Chinese imports. Last Friday, he again shocked everyone by threatening 5% tariffs, starting June 10th, Read More >
The Euros 2019
No you have not missed a footie championship. The heading refers to the EU Parliamentary Elections last week, in which I stood and following which have been returned to Brussels as an MEP, for the Brexit Party, representing London.  I Read More >
Nigel Farage is the one figure in British politics who has learnt from his mistakes
Success in politics, as with so many things, is often about learning from past mistakes. What is surprising, perhaps, is how few in politics – full as they are of their own sense of certainty – are able to do this. Following last week’s Read More >
The polls point towards a dramatic realignment. Are they right?
For a year or more after the 2017 election, your columnist’s most frequently asked question from politicians, journalists and many others, was why the polls have remained so stable, in spite of all the political turbulence. That has completely Read More >
The Brexit odds have changed – but perhaps not by as much as we might be led to believe
Much has happened since my last Brexit forecast but I reckon that odds on the core Brexit outcomes might have remained remarkably stable. The ‘No Deal’ option has evaporated for the time being while according to hints in the weekend's press, Read More >
Washington Monthly Diary
Thought for the month ahead:  While many Americans focus on who the Democrats might nominate for president next year, President Trump and China's President Xi hope to conclude a trade deal.  The markets are counting on it Read More >
What would Labour’s plan to scrap ‘slum housing’ actually achieve?
Labour’s latest housing wheeze is a plan to scrap a scheme that allows office and industrial buildings to be converted into homes without planning permission. This will apparently put an end to “slum housing and rabbit hutch flats” and Read More >
What does a political crisis do to a party’s polling performance?
As the Brexit crisis continues, many have expressed astonishment that the Labour Party has not (yet) been able to build up a substantial lead in voting intention polls. Their surprise is understandable – the government’s handling of Brexit Read More >
In defence of the Trump tax cuts
They may have other differences, but all the major Democratic presidential candidates agree they want to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The GOP’s landmark tax reform made major changes to tax deductions, slashed the corporate Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:30 AM:  Attends the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council meeting; 12:15 PM:  Daily intelligence briefing; and   4:30 PM:  Meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT):   1:45 PM:  Meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; and   7:00 PM:  Attends the National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner at the National Building Read More >
Letter from Washington
"China Announces Trade Concessions as Liu He Heads to U.S."  This morning's Bloomberg article leads with: The Chinese government said it will extend a suspension of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. autos and include the opioid fentanyl in a Read More >
How British start-ups are bucking the Brexit gloom
It’s seen as a given that Brexit is hurting business and will continue to hurt business, whether or not we crash out of the EU without a deal. We hear daily of companies moving their headquarters overseas or taking other forms of action in Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 1:00 PM:  Visits Lake Okeechobee and Herbert Hoover Dike, Canal Point, FL.   2:35 PM:  Arrives back at Mar-a-Lago. "Kudlow Says U.S. Ready to Extend China Talks by Weeks or Months."  Read More >
Robert Mueller and the delusion of America’s partisan media
“I am an innocent man,’ Billy Joel bellowed on his song of that name. “Oh yes, I am.” “Love your music!” Donald Trump tweeted in 2016 after the Bronx piano-tickler had dedicated performances of his 1974 tune ‘The Entertainer’ Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:45 AM:  Daily intelligence briefing;   2:45 PM:  Meets with Secretary of State Pompeo;   4:00 PM:  Departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews; 5:55 PM:  Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:45 AM:  Daily intelligence briefing;   1:00 PM:  Attends the Senate Republican Policy Luncheon; and   3:15 PM:  Meets with House Republicans on how to pass the U.S. Read More >
Letter from Washington
Washington Calendar, March 25 – March 29 President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:45 AM:  Holds a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 9:30 AM:  Departs the White House, South Lawn;12:05 PM:  Arrives at Atlantic Aviation, 3800 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL; and 2:00 PM:  Hosts a meeting with Caribbean leaders from The Bahamas, Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:00 AM:  Participates in a conversation at the Business Roundtable quarterly meeting; and   3:15 PM:  Signs an executive order on improving free inquiry, transparency, and accountability Read More >
Letter from Washington
2:30 PM EDT:  Fed Chair Powell's news conference, live on C-SPAN.I will forward a transcript as soon as it becomes available.   This morning's Wall Street Journal preview leads with: Federal Reserve officials are on track to Read More >
Letter from Washington
FOMC two-day meeting with a 2:30 PM Wednesday press conference.  I will send a transcript as soon as it becomes available. "Fed Officials Wrestle With a ‘Dot Plot’ Dilemma. Officials are set to release rate projections on Wednesday, Read More >
Ignore the Spending Review at your peril – the stakes have never been higher
You could be forgiven for not having noticed, but last week the Chancellor delivered his Spring Statement. This is essentially just a response to the biannual fiscal updates which the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is mandated to Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:00 AM:  Meets with national security officials at the Pentagon; and 12:30 p.m.: Has lunch with Secretary of State Pompeo. White House "'Carried Interest' Back in Play as Democrats Eye Tax Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 10:50 AM:  Meets with Irish Prime Minister Varadkar12:00 PM:  Attends the Friends of Ireland Luncheon at The Capitol; and  6:00 PM:  Participates in the Shamrock Bowl presentation by Irish Prime Minister Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EDT): 11:30 AM:  Daily intelligence briefing;   1:45 PM:  Briefing on the "drug trafficking on the southern border;"   3:00 PM:  Meets with Republican members of the Senate on trade; Read More >
Letter from Washington
"Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell: The 60 Minutes interview."  See yesterday's 13- minute CBS 60 Minutes video and transcript highlights here. The "First Phase" of President Trump's FY20 Budget will be released at 11:30 AM Read More >
Letter from Washington
Fed Chair Powell will speak at 10 PM EST tonight on "Monetary Policy Normalization and Review" at Stanford University, CA  Watch it live here. President and Mrs. Trump will depart the White House at 9:20 AM EST this morning for Fort Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's Schedule (EST):11:00 AM:  Meets with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin;11:45 AM:  Daily intelligence briefing;12:30 PM:  Lunch with Secretary of State Pompeo;  1:55 PM:  With Mrs. Trump, meets with Czech Prime Read More >
Unsurprisingly, American consumers are picking up the bill for Trump’s trade war
Tariffs might be politically controversial. But their inadvisability is one of the few things that practically every economist can agree on. Unfortunately, the exceptional economist who proves the rule is Peter Navarro, who happens to be one Read More >
Letter from Washington
"Trump Plans to End Key Trade Preferences for India and Turkey."  This morning's Bloomberg article leads with: President Donald Trump has announced he plans to end key trade preferences for India and Turkey, in the latest move by the Read More >
Letter from Washington
"U.S., China Close In on Trade Deal."  Sunday afternoon's Wall Street Journal article led with: China and the U.S. are in the final stage of completing a trade deal, with Beijing offering to lower tariffs and other restrictions on Read More >
The real centre of British politics may not be where you think
After a couple of years that have seen a seemingly endless string of new centrist parties, usually with more Twitter followers than voters, last week finally saw the formation of The Independent Group, which at the very least has MPs and, for Read More >
Chris Williamson and a second referendum could push more Labour MPs towards the exit
Ultimately, this is a column about Labour, Brexit and the Independent Group. However, first I am afraid we do need to talk about Chris Williamson. For just as the Westminster commentariat began to scratch their metaphorical beards and ponder Read More >
Letter from Washington
Fed Chair Powell will testify at 10 AM EST before the House Financial Service Committee. Watch the hearing live here.  I will forward a transcript as soon as it becomes available. Debt Limit: CBO estimated Treasury will run out of cash Read More >
Only genuinely free markets will save capitalism from the far left
New anti-market movements are emerging. In Britain and America, a revivalist Left is ascendant, winning not only seats in Parliament and Congress, but hearts and minds in classrooms, on campuses and online. The appeal of the likes of Jeremy Read More >
Letter from Washington
Fed Chair Powell will testify at 10 AM EST before the Senate Banking Committee.  His testimony will be posted here at 9:45 AM. Watch the hearing live here.  I will forward a transcript as soon as it becomes available.  More in Read More >
Letter from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EST): 11:30 AM:  Daily intelligence briefing; 12:15 PM:  Lunch with Acting Interior Secretary Bernhardt; and   6:15 PM:  Reception for National African American History Month. China Read More >
No definition, no soul, no purpose – what is the point of the Independent Group?
And then there were eleven. The “Independent Group” of MPs can, for the time being, field a cricket team. They now hold more seats in the House of Commons than the Democratic Unionist Party. They are not so much a third way as the fourth Read More >
Letter from Washington
The Federal Government in D.C. is closed today because of an ice and snow storm. "Federal Reserve Board offices in Washington, D.C. are closed due to inclement weather. The FOMC minutes will be released as scheduled at 2:00 p.m. The daily Read More >
Letter from Washington
FOMC Minutes -- 2 PM Wednesday Fed Monetary Policy Report -- 11 AM Friday 2019 U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, New York, NY: Fed Vice Chair Clarida, 12 PM Friday, "The Federal Reserve's Review of Monetary Policy Strategies, Tools, and Read More >
Jeremy Corbyn Provides the Best Chance of Retrieving Margaret Thatcher’s Property-Owning Democracy
When considering the investment risks that would arise from the implementation of an anti-capitalist labour manifesto, we should start by considering both the likelihood of this outcome and the form of Brexit that will provide the economic and Read More >
Letter from Washington
"U.S. Futures Point to Opening Gain as Mnuchin Flies to China for Trade Talks."  This morning's Wall Street Journal article leads with:U.S. stock futures edged higher Monday as U.S. officials arrived in Beijing to start another round of Read More >
Letter from Washington
The latest from our Washington DC insider: Humphrey-Hawkins hearings announced.  Fed Chair Jerome Powell will deliver his semiannual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking Committee at 10 AM, Tuesday, February 26th and to Read More >
The changing face of political photography The era of political photography as a vehicle for justice may well be over
The recent controversy about a group of white American teenage boys wearing MAGA hats who seemed to be taunting a Native American elder touched a nerve in American political life. The three minute clip, taken at the March for Life rally on Read More >
Millennials, your views on Brexit are not set in stone It simply isn't the case that older voters are more self-interested
Dear Millennials, I have read and watched with careful attention the complaints made by many of you, and others on your behalf, about the Brexit referendum. For two years and seven months, the internet has been awash with complaints that an Read More >
Franco-German dreams of European integration are on the rocks France and Germany try to go it alone - and smaller EU states fear a stitch-up
While all eyes were on Davos this week, the German and French governments were having an altogether more significant pow-wow in the western German city of Aachen. It was in the same place, once Charlemagne’s capital city, that Emmanuel Macron Read More >
Letter from Washington The latest insider updates from our Washington contact
"U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela’s Oil Industry."  Last night's Wall Street Journal article led with: The U.S. imposed sanctions (Treasury's press release) on Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant in a dramatic move designed to empower Read More >
The border wall with Mexico is Trump’s Trajan Column he border wall Mexican stand-off is what happens when you elect a property developer to high office
Donald Trump wants to install an immoveable object on the southern border, but has come up against the irresistible force of Senate procedure. Yesterday, the Senate rejected two proposals, one from each party, designed to end Washington’s Read More >
Letter from Washington Updates from our Washington Insider
CBO's Budget and Economic Outlook will be released at 10 AM Today Here.  Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall will hold a press conference at 11 AM.  Watch it live on C-SPAN.  With a strong than expected second half of 2018, will Read More >
The surprising truth about how voters see public spending The British people have clear views on public spending, but not a clear idea of how it has changed
For the second part of CapX’s latest series of polling on some of the biggest questions in the political and economic battle of ideas, we look at government spending. But this time with a twist. Opinion polling, besides doing what it says on Read More >
Letter from Washington Updates from our Washington Insider
"China Sends Vice Ministers to Washington to Pave Way for U.S. Talks."  This morning's Bloomberg report leads with: A Chinese delegation including deputy ministers will arrive in Washington on Monday to prepare for high-level trade talks led Read More >
Letter from Washington Daily update from our Washington Insider
President Trump's schedule (EST): No public events are scheduled. President Trump will delay his State of the Union speech until after the shutdown per this Tweet and that Tweet late last night. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin will speak at 2 Read More >
Labour should practise what it preaches on housing Labour claim they will be radical, but on housing they stand for the status quo
Power in local government is particularly important to a political party that is in opposition nationally. For a start there is the impact on morale of council election results. Politicians can dismiss (or pretend to dismiss) opinion polls. Real Read More >
Letter from Washington The latest updates from our Washington Insider
“U.S. turns down China offer of preparatory trade talks.”  Yesterday, the Financial Times reported: The Trump administration rejected an offer by two Chinese vice-ministers to travel to the U.S. this week for preparatory trade talks Read More >
Letter from Washington The latest updates from our Washington Insider
President Trump's schedule (EST): 12:00 PM:  Daily intelligence briefing; and 12:30 PM:  Lunch with Vice President Pence. The Senate will return a 1 PM EST today to "resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.1, Strengthening Read More >
Why an accidental Brexit could be the best thing for the UK Free trade Brexiteers should pin their hopes on convenience, not ideology
For months, ministers were resolute.  Britain, they insisted, must remain aligned to the rest of Europe.  It would spell ruin if we were to simply leave, they said.  And they kept on saying that, until the day we actually left. I refer Read More >
Could the Conservatives be doomed to succeed on Brexit? Tories want to hang together, for fear of all hanging separately
For the cross-party talks on Brexit to succeed, the Labour party has to split. And anyone who watched Michael Gove’s brilliant winding-up speech on Wednesday night in the No Confidence debate will have been reminded that Labour is already Read More >
Letter from Washington The latest insights from our Washington Insider
"Trump team weighs surprise tariff cut in hopes of securing China trade deal."  Last night's Washington Post article led with: The Trump administration is considering eliminating tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports to spur Read More >
Letter from Washington The latest inside scoop from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EST): 11:00 AM:  Participates in the Missile Defense Review Announcement at The Pentagon; and 1:45 PM:  Daily intelligence briefing. The House will pass another continuing resolution to reopen the Read More >
Letter from Washington Updates from our Washington Insider
President Trump's schedule (EST): 11:30 AM:  Meets with the House Problem Solvers Caucus; 1:00 PM:  Has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and 2:15 PM:  Signs S.24, the "Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of Read More >
Letter from Washington Daily updates from our Washington Insider
"Shutdown Pinches Economic Growth."  Last night's Wall Street Journal article led with: A Vermont mead brewery has delayed a major expansion because the owners can’t get a business loan. A craft-burger joint in Utah has sent employees home Read More >
Tucker Carlson and the Republican turn against the market Will the post-Trump Republicans be pro-market or populist?
Can you guess who said the following? “Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars.” If you thought of Senator Bernie Sanders or Representative Read More >
Letter From Washington The latest updates from our Washington insider
"Shutdown Pinches Economic Growth."  Last night's Wall Street Journal article led with: A Vermont mead brewery has delayed a major expansion because the owners can’t get a business loan. A craft-burger joint in Utah has sent employees home Read More >
John Le Carré is no communist stooge Claims that John Le Carré sympathised with the Soviets are plain wrong
Poor David Cornwell. He is the country’s most famous (real) spy, a veteran of MI5 and MI6, who as the Berlin Wall was being built, was busy tapping up Soviet diplomats in Bonn, and yet among the UK’s commentariat he has developed a latter-day Read More >
The truth is we just don’t know what will happen on the Irish border The key Brexit players have contradicted themselves on the future of the Irish border
I’m going to admit something. I think it is something to which plenty of other people — in fact, most people in Westminster — would admit to if were they being honest. If in 81 days the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a Read More >
Letter from Washington Insider updates from Washington
President Trump's schedule (EST): 2:30 PM:  Hosts a roundtable discussion on border security and safe communities with state, local and community leaders at the White House. The House will pass an Interior-Environment appropriation, Read More >
What we learnt from polling in 2018 There were plenty of surprising insights lurking in 2018's polling
A new year brings with it new topics. But it’s interesting to look back at 2018 and recall what we learnt from polling during what was, to put it mildly, an eventful year. We didn’t learn much about changes in voting intention because Read More >
Letter from Washington Daily updates and news from our Washington insider
12:45 PM Fed Chair Jerome Powell will address the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.  Watch it live here.   7:00 PM Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida will address the Money Marketeers of New York University on the "Economic Outlook and Monetary Read More >
Letter from Washington
CQ NEWSMAKER TRANSCRIPTS Federal Agency Jan. 10, 2019 - Final Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell Delivers Remarks at Economic Club of Washington LIST OF SPEAKERS RUBENSTEIN: So we're very honored at the Economic Club Read More >
The Brexit film was good television. But was it accurate? James Graham's Brexit film saw the referendum as some sort of error, in need of explaining away
As a piece of television entertainment, Brexit: The Uncivil War was first class. I really enjoyed watching it last night, and – if I’m honest – felt rather flattered to see myself feature in a film (even if I would rather have been played Read More >
Letter from Washington Daily updates and news from our Washington insider
President Trump's schedule (EST): 11:30 AM:  Signs an anti-human trafficking bill, H.R.2200; 12:00 PM:  Daily intelligence briefing; 1:00 PM:  Attends the Senate Republican policy luncheon, S-207, The Capitol; and 3:00 PM: Meets Read More >
Letter from Washington The daily scoop from Washington
"U.S.-China Talks Near Close With Positive Signs From Both Sides."  This morning's Bloomberg article led with: Chinese authorities planned to give a statement following the latest round of U.S. trade talks on Tuesday in Beijing, after both Read More >
Londoners deserve better than Sadiq Khan’s empty gestures While Sadiq Khan indulges in foreign policy, the Mayor is neglecting his proper role
The capital had just welcomed in 2019 with a fireworks display that its Mayor, Sadiq Khan, couldn’t resist politicising. The London Eye was lit up in the colours of the EU flag to show his opposition to Brexit. Surely New Year’s Eve should Read More >
Fresh thinking is needed to fix Britain’s productivity problem Too many people mistake productivity with time sat behind a desk
Britain has undergone a jobs revolution since 2010. On average, 1,000 jobs have been created every single day, and at the time of writing, only six have been taken by George Osborne. Despite this, Britain’s productivity growth has struggled to Read More >
Sadiq Khan should reduce rents with more homes, not emit hot air about caps Why isn't London's mayor using the tools at his disposal to fix the housing crisis?
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is reported to be considering bringing in rent controls. It is not clear that he has power to do that, or how it would work. Rent control might improve the lot of suffering existing tenants, at least for a Read More >
How to fix ‘golden visas’ We should be doing whatever we can to attract legitimate foreign investment to the UK
This week, the government announced that they were suspending the Tier 1 Investor visa scheme over money-laundering concerns. Known informally as the “golden visa”, foreigners who invest £2 million in the UK gain the right to live and work Read More >
The perils of banning fake news A ban on fake news could just as well be used to enforce strict censorship and silence critics
There is no reason to believe that protecting democracy against fake news wouldn’t be utilised as a pretext to enforce strict censorship and silence critics. When the printing press was invented in the mid-1400s, Europe faced radical and Read More >
Pelosi’s last stand Pelosi will win the House Speaker vote, but times have changed inside her party
It is the fate of successful party managers to be liked by no one, but to be indispensable to all. On the 28 November, Nancy Pelosi won the House Democrats’ nomination for the next Speaker of the House. Her majority, 203 votes to 32, shows how Read More >
Will things in Europe have to get worse before they can get better? European citizens are getting more and more pessimistic
The historian Arnold Toynbee characterised civilisation as “a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbour.” By necessity, civilisations are curious, forward- and outward-looking, and animated by the belief that their best days Read More >
What Jordan Peterson gets wrong about the Nordic gender paradox In countries with a more limited welfare state, more women rise to managerial positions
The Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson received considerable attention when he visited Stockholm recently. He was told to “crawl back under a rock” by Sweden’s Foreign Minister and engaged in a heated discussion about the paradox of Read More >
Why is everyone so obsessed with Sweden? Sweden's many contradictions makes it an easy target
From education and immigration to taxation and even road safety, there seems to be no end to the examples we Swedes offer the rest of the world. But what is it that is so uniquely fascinating about my homeland – and how relevant is the way Read More >
Abstract digital numbers Why the bankers won’t bail out May’s Brexit deal Four key reasons the markets will not help Theresa May with Brexit
As things stand, Theresa May’s Brexit deal seems very unlikely to pass. Though there is some evidence that the public has become a bit more supportive since its strongly negative initial reaction, the Withdrawal Agreement does not currently Read More >
Is Trump’s nuclear stance a grand plan or a reckless gamble? Trump sold himself as a deal maker but is turning out to be a deal breaker
Donald Trump likes to shoot from the hip. It has helped him consolidate domestic support, bring North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table, and has led America’s main strategic rival – China – to reassess how it engages with Read More >
Maritime ties pave the way for an even closer US-UK trading relationship The US-UK relationship has promoted free trade not only across the Atlantic, but all over the world
The United States and the United Kingdom are, and long have been, two countries divided by sea but united politically, culturally, economically and militarily. Recently we were in New York to ensure a prosperous future by strengthening what Read More >
Strangely, building more homes does reduce a housing shortage The idea the UK has a shortage of land to build on is completely bogus
Why can’t you afford a home? UCL researcher Josh Ryan-Collins says it is due to inevitable landowner profits from land, to a majority of homeowners blocking fair taxation of those profits, and to excessive mortgage credit. His new book is Read More >
A US-UK trade deal built on trust would set an example to the world Britain should seize the mantle of global champion of free trade
It’s official. We are most definitely not at the ‘back of the queue’ when it comes to a trade deal with the United States. Actually, we’re at the front. Well, we’re technically third if you take it in order of the letters released Read More >
What next for the BREXIT deal? The latest position as of 10am Thursday 15th of November
Few MPs disagree with Jo Johnson’s assessment that Mrs May’s Brexit Deal is a failure of British statecraft on a scale not seen since Suez. What divides them is where to go from here. Remainers recognise that the current proposal is not Read More >
Fight or business class flight? The WHO needs to get its priorities straight The World Health Organization has big questions to answer about its spending
Expensive hotels, beach resorts, and staggering travel costs: the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) would have some tough questions to answer, if only the countries that funded it would ask them. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom happily Read More >
What does your choice of breakfast say about your politics? Why asking what people have for breakfast shows the broader dilemmas facing pollsters
“What did you have for breakfast this morning?” That’s something that broadcast media guests get asked surprisingly often. It’s also the reason why Angela Eagle, much to the confusion of Twitter, began an interview about her withdrawal Read More >
Do we get more Eurosceptic with age? That all depends… Age matters when it comes to voting - but it isn't everything
It’s a truism that people get more conservative as they get older. A corollary of that is that older people tend to be more Eurosceptic – something emphatically borne out by the results of the Brexit referendum. Among the arguments pushed Read More >
The Conservatives would be rewarded at the ballot box for making work pay No one should ever have to pay more than half of the next pound the they earn in tax
If the Conservatives want to win the next election, then they are going to need a story to tell voters that will appeal not only to their minds but also to their hearts. There is no point making the case for a slimmer state, lower taxes, or Read More >
People want to live in town centres – finally the Government is letting them Under the radar, the Budget has given a big boost to town centres
A lesser spotted announcement in the recent Budget was a commitment to ensure that empty lots on high streets — flats above shops and disused malls — could be transferred quickly to housing. It’s a war I’ve been waging for a decade. Read More >
Bavaria’s election shows the good old days of German politics are over Bavaria was always an unlikely place for a political revolt, but it got one anyway
Under long-time Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany had always been used to stability. Regardless of which political crises would hit its neighbours and other countries in the world, it was guaranteed that in Germany, the government would stand Read More >
Britain should take the global lead in the fight for biodiversity The UK should spend 10 per cent of its aid budget boosting biodiversity
I have a pair of lucky underpants. They were acquired during an encounter with a Sumatran rhino called Rosa who had become accustomed to human contact. A team from the International Rhino Foundation, including me, was despatched to the jungles of Read More >
Cuts to council budgets are no bad thing if they make local authorities up their game It's high time local authorities were made to compete with each other on tax and services
A newly released paper from the University of Cambridge makes interesting reading on fiscal devolution and the relationship between the state and local authorities. The research makes clear that the local authorities which have made the Read More >
Village with fields in the distance The moral bankruptcy of pretending to rebalance the British economy People move around the UK far less than they used to - and it's seriously damaging our economy
A disturbing new trend has emerged. Faced with strong evidence from the US of the terrible damage to welfare and GDP from our long-term failure to build enough homes with access to jobs and opportunities, the beginnings of a counter-revolution Read More >
There’s no room for complacency on Britain’s public finances Britain cannot afford to substantially loosen the purse strings
In her speech at Conservative Party Conference at the start of the month, the Prime Minister announced “an end to austerity”. In policy terms, this message has been the main focus of the post-conference talk for the commentariat. With polls Read More >
Ignore the hysteria. Universal Credit is working Universal Credit should not be scrapped - but it does need more money
Universal Credit was recently at the top of the news agenda thanks to a leaked Cabinet briefing and John Major comparing it to the Poll Tax. This time, the Department for Work and Pensions say that lone working-age parents could be £200 worse Read More >
Romer and Nordhaus: Worthy Nobel winners and apostles of progress Romer and Nordhaus's work is a testament to human ingenuity
Earlier this month, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Nordhaus, the Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, is best known for his work in economic modelling and climate change. Romer, who Read More >
Public opinion is much less volatile than you think British political polls are in an especially stable period
With conference season over, we’re beginning to get the first indications of how the annual party gatherings affected voting intention. Much has been said and written, but what did the public actually make of it all? The three polls we have Read More >
Green Party policies would give us less leisure time – not more Specialisation and greater productivity, not government edict, give us leisure time
According to the Green Party, we should have a new economic target: leisure time. This, they argue, should be a formal measure of the economy. Our free time should be measured on an annual basis and be continually rising. And why not? Leisure Read More >
Plummeting maternal mortality rates are a sure sign of human progress The global maternal death rate fell from 385 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 216 in 2015
When Lady Sybil, a wealthy British aristocrat in the popular television shown Downton Abbey, died of eclampsia during an episode set in 1920, it was a reminder of the progress that mankind has been made on maternal mortality. Despite being able Read More >
Abstract arrows and numbers Lies, damn lies and statistics – how dodgy figures feed fake news Ministers misusing statistics undermines people's faith in government
As soldiers in a war of words go, the head of the UK Statistics Authority might seem an unlikely candidate. But recently Sir David Norgrove came out swinging over the cavalier use of figures by Education Secretary Damian Hinds. Sir David Read More >
If Theresa May truly admired free markets she would embrace Canada+ Theresa May claims to support free markets - Chequers suggests the opposite is true
The one thing that stood out in Theresa May’s recent Conservative conference speech was her praise of free markets. In a hall erupting with applause, the Prime Minister noted “free markets are the greatest agent of collective human progress Read More >
The Brexit migration report: one step forward, two steps back A new report is clear - Immigration has not damaged the British economy
After more than a year of waiting, the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on our post-Brexit immigration system is finally here. Its publication is timely, in the sense that immigration has for too long been on the back burner in the Read More >
The Brexit that could bypass us all The economy will roll on
The most common question I am asked as a political consultant is “How is all this going to play out?” Any answer can of course be dismissed as pure conjecture and no prediction will turn out to be 100 per cent correct. But by talking to Read More >
When it comes to fake news, politicians should trust the people Politicians should not to succumb to the panic over fake news
Various shrill reports have been warning about a new crisis of “fake news” that imperils our democratic process. Damian Collins, the Tory MP who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Select Committee, declares that it Read More >
Prime Minister Imran Khan is the last thing Pakistan needs Imran Khan is no liberal
Pity Pakistan. In recent weeks it has suffered one of its worst ever terrorist attacks, with 149 people blown to bits. The rupee is crashing as the economy teeters on the brink of a debt crisis. And the country has been put on an international Read More >
A Busman’s Holiday for MPs This has been a term that will long be remembered for its unusually bitter in-fighting and rancorous debate
As any parent of school-age children will recognise, the end of term sometimes cannot come quickly enough. Theresa May clearly felt the same last week, given the Government’s abortive attempt to hasten the start of the summer recess. This has Read More >
Local government must be more than just a branch of Whitehall Metro mayors offer a striking example of what can be achieved by devolving more power
Up and down the country people are beginning to worry about the death of local government. Bus services are less frequent, accessing health and social care is becoming more difficult, and high streets shops are closing down. Local councils face Read More >
Under Sánchez, Spain looks set for a slippery slope to economic decline Sánchez's socialist policies will undo all of the work from past years which ushered in an era of prosperity
Politics is the art of spending regardless of whether there is money to do so. This seems to be the motto of Pedro Sánchez, the new prime minister of Spain, who has recently revealed his intentions to boost public spending until the end of his Read More >
With Brexit, Britain can show the world the path to prosperity Brexit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show to the world an alternate path to global prosperity
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves Read More >
A changing Supreme Court could herald the end of big-state liberalism Should he win a second term, Trump might get to nominate three Supreme Court justices
The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, and the imminent nomination of his replacement by Donald Trump, confirm that the United States has entered a new era. Or rather, it has left an old one. We might or might not be Read More >
The public sector needs an automation revolution Automation is already improving public services around the world
The majority of people accept that we need to pay tax. However, we do so on the reasonable expectation that this money will be used to provide high-quality public services. In reality though, this contract between the public and the state is Read More >
Philip Hammond: The lonely fiscal conservative The chancellor seems to be the only person in government sticking up for taxpayers
Reading the Sunday papers can’t have been fun for Philip Hammond. After weeks of pressure from the health secretary and Number 10, it seems the chancellor has been forced to allow a big new spending pledge on the NHS to go ahead without any Read More >
Why the EEA isn’t the answer to the Brexit conundrum EEA membership would minimise disruption but come at a high price
No matter how many times the Government rejects it, the idea that the UK will remain a Single Market member after leaving the European Union refuses to wither and die. Those against Brexit, or for reducing its risks, argue that the Referendum Read More >
A pragmatic plan for Brexit The customs union is not a solution to the Irish border problem
There really only are two different ways of implementing Brexit. The first is for the UK to simply leave. No deal, no negotiations. That this would be a costly option should be obvious. One estimate puts that cost at half a million jobs in Read More >
Beware the ‘margin of error’ poll fallacy Uncertainty over party support is down to much more than random error
Anyone who pays even a passing attention to opinion polls will have heard about the margin of error. For those of us who use social media regularly, it’s very often cited by someone trying to downplay a poll move or finding that’s Read More >
Remainer scaremongering is still built on dodgy economics Once again, the Treasury has overestimated the cost of Brexit
I recently gave evidence to the House of Commons International Trade Select Committee on the economic effects of trade policy, alongside my Economists for Free Trade colleague Professor Patrick Minford. As written evidence, I submitted a report Read More >
Is Britain finally getting tough on Russian oligarchs? The UK has, until recently, welcomed oligarchs with open arms
Roman Abramovich’s visa issues will set alarm bells ringing for his fellow oligarchs. For years, this group of extraordinary rich politically-connected business owners have jet-setted between Russia and the West. They have enjoyed the fruits Read More >
John McDonnell’s claim of a ‘wrong turn’ in Venezuela is nonsense If only John McDonnell had been right about the Venezuelan government 'betraying' socialism
Venezuela is “experiencing problems”, because the country has taken a “wrong turn”, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell remarked over the weekend. That is a bit of an understatement, but I suppose we can agree on his basic Read More >
Switzerland offers some valuable lessons for Brexit The British economy is the same size as the 19 smallest EU countries put together
It’s hard to ignore Switzerland’s experience when looking at Brexit. Here we have another country that isn’t a member of the European Union, the single market or a customs union. It’s also a country that trades heavily with the EU. And Read More >
The future of the Union is about more than whingeing Jocks Brexit has made a complicated issue even more difficult
It’s proving rather complicated, this Union thing, isn’t it? It was complicated enough when us Scots voted on independence to a mixed southern chorus of “please don’t go!” and “good riddance!” It’s only got more tangled since, Read More >
RIP Tom Wolfe — the writer who exposed the hypocrisy of the Left Wolfe gave a sense of the harm that comes from indulging terrorist groups
Tom Wolfe didn’t just provide us with enjoyable books to read, noble accomplishment as that is. He helped us understand the world. Wolfe’s insights made explicable the flaws in our fellow man which were hitherto puzzling. Most particularly he Read More >
The dead hand of the state – not capitalism – has failed young people The local elections show a pro-freedom, low-tax message can resonate with voters
As members of the Conservative Party under the age of 50, we are a rare breed. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been asked why we vote Conservative — and not Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, who are “clearly so much better for young Read More >
It is official – Brexit squabbling is damaging the economy Brexit extremists on both sides seem oblivious to the damage they are doing
The British economy is slowing. There. I have said it. After repeatedly writing upbeat pieces for CapX to counter the doom and gloom mongers in the last two years, the facts are changing and so is my mind. I would go further and say that the Read More >
Trump won’t win the Nobel Peace Prize – whether or not he deserves it Trump's decision to dump the Iran deal could have been calculated to annoy the Nobel committee
There we have it. The date and time for Donald Trump’s meeting with the Kim Jong-un are set. It was announced when Trump’s newly appointed secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, returned from Pyongyang with three Americans who had been imprisoned Read More >
What happens to oil if Trump tears up the Iran deal? Why poor countries could be cheering Donald Trump if he tears up the Iran deal
For all Boris Johnson’s best efforts to persuade him otherwise, President Trump seems likely to pull the United States out of the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This weekend Read More >
Marx’s defenders should explain why his ideas never actually work The anniversary of Marx's birth is another chance for misguided leftists to claim he was 'right' about capitalism
This week will mark the 200th birthday of Karl Marx. It will be an occasion for a deluge of articles repeating the well-worn cliché that even though Marx’s predictions ultimately did not materialise, his analysis of capitalism was nonetheless Read More >
Brussels still refuses to face up the fiscal reality of Brexit Brexit leaves a 97 billion euro hole in the EU budget
The EU budget frenzy of (at least) one year has officially begun. Today, the European Commission, led by Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger, revealed the first proposal for the upcoming multi-annual financial framework (MFF). This budget Read More >
The latest inside news from Westminster The decision to appoint Sajid Javid as Home Secretary was shrewd
The Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Sajid Javid to take over from Amber Rudd as Home Secretary was shrewd. He was the one member of the Cabinet with the credibility to defuse the Windrush scandal quickly, having himself been born to Read More >
A free trade future for Africa A pan-African free trade area has the potential to be bigger than the EU's single market
While President Trump has been preparing to rock the global trading system with aggressive moves to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, African leaders have been moving in a very different direction In February, under the auspices of the African Read More >
Tackling the myths about Brexit and the customs union Proposals to soften Brexit must be sustainable
Wild theories are doing the rounds about whether Britain should or should not join a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit. Unsurprisingly, Remain supporters have leapt at the idea as a way to soften Brexit. Some even hope that it Read More >
The card that could help the UK boost ties with the Commonwealth Australia can show Brexit Britain the way to re-engage with the Commonwealth
This week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting comes at a crucial juncture for the UK’s future as a trading nation. Does Brexit change the way Britain should approach the Commonwealth and what can the government achieve in this meeting Read More >
Container ship in port The seductive simplicity of blaming Trump’s win on Cambridge Analytica Blaming bad news on nefarious forces
For the last two years, on both sides of the Atlantic, liberals and other concerned citizens have spent their time searching for an answer to the agonising, appalling, question “How did this happen?” How, for the love of God, could the United Read More >
Vintage suitcases in a pile What Britain can learn from Switzerland Switzerland's economy continued to be strong after it rejected EEA membership
When the UK voted to leave the European Union on June 23 2016, many people could not understand how David Cameron could have allowed such an important decision to be made by, of all people, the voters. Some saw the decision to call a referendum Read More >
Miniature toy house on plain white background Let the market fix the Tories’ housing problem Getting housing right is an existential matter for the Conservatives
During the 2015 General Election, Ed Miliband’s flagship pledge to cap energy prices was derided by conservatives as a deranged idea from the 1970s. The then-PM David Cameron accused “Red Ed” of “wanting to live in a Marxist universe”. Read More >
London skyline Chancellor left hoping that the doomsayers are wrong Recap of the Autumn Budget 2017 and what this means for Brexit
Over 24 hours and counting, and the Autumn Budget still hasn’t unravelled. These days that probably counts as a win. The newspaper coverage has predictably split along party lines, but the consensus seems to be that Philip Hammond played a bad Read More >
Blurred photograph of crowds walking through London The government is ignoring popular, easy fixes to the housing crisis The only way to fix the housing crisis is to make house building popular with local people
Horrified passengers suddenly realize their boat has a leak. They frantically start to paddle it with their hands towards a distant shore. The engine and sail sit ignored and unused. Meanwhile, someone at the stern refuses to raise the Read More >
Monopoly houses balanced on one pound coins Our sluggish planning system is to blame for high house prices The five-year stockpile of building land is caused by planning regulations
We’re told that there are near half a million planning permissions out there as yet unbuilt. Enough to keep the house-building industry going for five years – thus it it argued that it cannot be the planning permission system which causes Read More >
Britain will still do good business after Brexit Preparing for the post-Brexit era
The British Prime Minister Theresa May has been taking criticism, both at home and in EU circles, for being unable to answer precisely the question of what sort of relationship she wants the UK to have with the EU after it has ceased to be a Read More >
Cranes outlined against the sunset Land-banking is not to blame for the housing crisis Developers have little financial incentive to hold on to land; they do so because of restrictive planning laws
The government has found another way to put off ending the housing crisis: it is to launch a review into land-banking, and is expected to recommend a “use it or lose it” approach. It is the latest in a depressingly long list of Labour Read More >
Westminster tube station with Big Ben in the background The Prime Minister has bought herself time – but not yet political authority An update from among the parliamentarians
After nearly losing a general election that she did not need to call, last year ended with Mrs May pulling off the greatest coup of her Premiership. By stumping up enough money, she persuaded the EU that sufficient progress had been made to Read More >
Businessmen walking across a bridge Banks need to be on their best behaviour Having lost the respect of the politicians, testing times are ahead
It is no great revelation that the Cabinet is split on Brexit but the most fundamental split is not one that the mainstream press spends much time analysing. The big divide is between those Cabinet members who want a Canada-style free trade Read More >
Lightbulb on plain white background A tale of two parties Adrian Pepper reflects on the Labour and Conservative party conferences
What a contrast between the Labour and Conservative party conferences. One was more like a rock concert, the other a dull business convention. Labour members scent power and they are high on it. A palpable wave of excitement sweeps across the Read More >
Vintage illustration of an ornate staircase Housing is now at the top of the political agenda Our Westminster insider shares his thoughts on the latest political developments
Six months ago, building new homes for the British was heralded as one of the great crusades of Theresa May’s Conservative government. A housing green paper published in February led on the theme of looking after Generation Rent, with Read More >
Union Jack flag Cliff edges and slippery slopes: tough times lie ahead for the UK Our political insider on the last week in UK politics
For a whole week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been out and about on the airwaves of the United Kingdom, attempting to talk up the prospect of a long transitional period for the UK-EU relationship after the UK’s membership of the EU Read More >
Close up view of Big Ben's clock tower A view from the inside Our political insider Adrian Pepper on the recent developments in Westminster
Despite some of the commentary and analysis of the few days since the UK general election, it is worth reminding ourselves of the result. The Labour party lost the general election and the Conservatives won, albeit that they lost their Read More >
Flatlay of laptop, diary, phone and coffee cup Fixing the broken housing market? Our political insider Adrian Pepper gives his view on recent developments in Westminster and the property markets
You wouldn’t think it from listening to the BBC, watching Sky News or ITN nor from reading the Daily Express. But as negotiations on Brexit continue, the UK and EU may find they can strike a grown up and wide-ranging deal after all. It Read More >

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