My biggest beef with the European Union has always been the way it stifles consumer-friendly innovation in the interests of incumbent businesses and organisations. Yesterday’s victory for Sir James Dyson at the European General Court lays bare an especially shocking example. Dyson’s case, which has taken five years in the courts, reveals just how corrupt ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
On Tuesday of last week, the European Union and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Following over four years of negotiation, the EPA covers 600 million people and an impressive third of global GDP. In an atmosphere of increasing trade barriers, this provides some relief for the global trading system. The EPA removes Japanese ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
This wasn’t a lazy half-hearted reshuffle, Theresa May was imposing her own stamp on government. Rather than going for continuity, she was ruthless in personnel changes. Initially, it started to look as though the Prime Minister might even be overhauling our outdated Whitehall structure too. The appointments of Liam Fox to oversee international trade and ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Predictably, those who demand more government spending both when the economy is doing well and badly are calling for increases to see off any potential post-Brexit slowdown. “Infrastructure spending” is the call of the day, with masses of supposed “shovel-ready projects” with high returns apparently lying around for the government to undertake. Unfortunately, in the ... Continue reading
Education
Last week’s decision by the House of Commons Education Committee not to endorse the appointment of Amanda Spielman as Ofsted Head raises important questions. Teaching unions have pointed to Ms Spielman’s lack of teaching experience. In partial defence, she does know her way around education, having amongst other things been involved with the Ark academy ... Continue reading
Housing and Planning

Rent controls are a bit like communism, in the sense that they can never ‘fail’, in the eyes of their supporters – they can only be ‘badly implemented’. Rent controls have worsened the situation of tenants in New York, or in Stockholm? According to the true believers, that tells us nothing whatsoever about rent controls ... Continue reading
Regulation

A BBC investigation shows that the number of public toilets has continued to fall, with nearly 1,800 closing nationwide in the last 10 years. There is no legal obligation on councils to provide conveniences, and closing them is often an easy way to save money when cash is short. London’s provision is now abysmal, with ... Continue reading
Monetary Policy

The Institute for International Finance has just released an interesting briefing paper on the trends in risk-weighted assets (RWA) among major banks before and after the financial crisis. RWA is the main measure of risk mandated by the Basel Committee, the forum of central bank supervisors charged with global standard-setting to achieve financial stability. The ... Continue reading
Energy and Environment

On 17 March 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its Provisional Decision on Remedies in its investigation of the energy market. The following is a summary of the concerns expressed by five former GB energy regulators (Stephen Littlechild, Sir Callum McCarthy, Eileen Marshall, Stephen Smith and Claire Spottiswoode). Their 11 April response to ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Benjamin Wrench recently wrote a paper titled Risk and Reward: why the EU separates risk from reward and what this means for the City. This blog post is a rough transcript of Prof Booth’s remarks at the launch event. I very much welcome Benjamin Wrench’s paper. An assumption seems to have passed into all discourse about ... Continue reading