Research
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a World Health Organisation (WHO) treaty that has a Secretariat which holds a biennial Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss tobacco control issues. Despite the treaty’s commitment to tobacco harm reduction, the WHO and FCTC secretariat have never embraced e-cigarettes but have instead called for excessive ... Continue reading
Research
Summary Advertising – ‘commercial speech’ - is a form of communication which brings considerable benefits to the economy and society, and restrictions on it need clear justification. Until the mid-1950s advertising was for the most part unregulated, subject only to laws relating to fraud and defamation which also affect other forms of speech. Since then, ... Continue reading
Summary There is currently much concern with questions of freedom of speech and expression, much of it focused on the appearance of so-called ‘wokeness’ and its manifestations in corporate life, the media, and (most notably) the academy. Historically the idea of free expression was seen as dangerous or a heresy. But this has changed over ... Continue reading
Summary Online communication and sharing of user generated content have become part of everyday life, but have long worried governments, which have sought to monitor and gain access for reasons of security and crime prevention. Until recently, digital platforms were considered to be socially beneficial, and legal measures were passed in jurisdictions including the EU ... Continue reading
Research
Summary National debt figures need perspective. This can come from viewing them as a ratio to national income. That ratio has surged in the last 20 years. But despite many assertions, the debt-to-income ratios of the past few years are not unprecedented. When the ratio reached such peaks in the past, much concern was expressed. ... Continue reading
Summary Since March 2020, central banks in major economies have been (partially) monetising government deficits through the purchase of a significant part of the new debt issued by the government. In the UK, this has resulted in the rate of growth of money broadly-defined (M4) reaching an extraordinary 14 per cent in 2020. Advocates of ... Continue reading
Research
What is democracy? How does it work? What are its strengths – and its shortcomings? Two-thirds of the world’s population, in over 100 countries, live under governments that claim to be democratic. Yet few of those governments live up to the ideals of democracy, or respect its key principles and institutions. Here, author Eamonn Butler ... Continue reading
Research
Summary India is at a crossroads. As the UK’s Prime Minister prepares to meet Indian leaders virtually, he promises an Enhanced Trade Partnership, possibly leading to a full Free Trade Agreement (FTA). There are important commercial reasons for this agreement, but perhaps more importantly, there are powerful geopolitical reasons. India could be brought into an ... Continue reading
At its April 2021 meeting, once again by video conferencing, the Shadow Monetary Policy (SMPC) voted by seven votes to two to hold the bank rate at 0.1%. As in the January meeting, there was unanimous agreement that the last round of QE announced in November last year was unnecessary and risked stoking inflation. All ... Continue reading
Summary While not formally a regulator in the strict sense, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) exercises de facto regulatory powers in retail financial services, as its rules and determinations direct the behaviours of firms. While intended to be independent, the FOS has a close relationship with the Financial Conduct Authority. Ombudsmen, however, have considerable discretion ... Continue reading