Science has been overrun with politics – it’s time to take it back

At the onset of the Covid pandemic in February 2020, the pages of the Lancet, a very prestigious medical journal, carried a statement eulogising China and the efforts it had already made to deal with the virus. For the luminaries who signed the statement, no praise could be too high for the Chinese. They had […]

Citizens assemblies are no solution to the climate challenge — we need innovation

Australia protests

At first sight, long-term swings in individual seats in Australian elections are a definite niche interest, one for the real trainspotter. But during a visit to Sydney University’s Complex Systems Institute, I noticed a fascinating piece in The Australian newspaper. The Australian Labor Party had a good result in the 2007 federal elections, and a […]

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

Priti Patel

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 2011 Census, 14 per cent of the UK […]

From taxes to cats, May’s government has been an affront to Tory ideology

British cat

Theresa May has finally announced her resignation. How can we capture the flavour of her tenure in office? This can be found in the dry and measured content of the Economic and Fiscal Outlook from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The OBR stated in its latest publication in March 2019 that: “the tax receipts-to-GDP […]

Puzzled over Australia’s shock election result? Economics can help explain

Australian voting booths

The surprise of the week was the re-election of the centre-right Coalition government in the Australian General Election. The Labor opposition had led every major opinion poll for the past two years. But Scott Morrison of the Coalition is still Prime Minister – and it is his Labor opponent who is resigning as leader. Economists, […]

Doublethinking or dim? Why the Labour party can’t be trusted with the economy

John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn

Are members of the Labour Party frontbench experts in doublethink? The concept was invented by George Orwell for his novel 1984, written in the 1940s as a critique of the Soviet Union. Masters of doublethink can hold, for purposes of political expediency, two opposing opinions at the same time, one of which might be complete […]

Less austerity will always mean more tax

Austerity

There is a great deal of discussion, following the election, of relaxing or even abandoning austerity. There is an equal amount of confusion about this, because the same word is being used to describe two quite separate concepts. The consequences of the government changing its policy on austerity are dramatically different, depending on which one […]