Monthly Archives: November 2012

The curse of puritan Scotland

I’ve been toying with a theory that there is a correlation between incompetent politicians and their tendency to regulate our lifestyles. Why else would Scotland be both at the vanguard of smoking bans, minimum booze prices, hunting bans, football chant … Continue reading

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The trouble with oil funds

Infrastructure spending is often said to stimulate long term economic growth. But you have to build it in the right place. For example, the last Labour administration in Scotland maxed out its PFI credit card building lots of new schools. … Continue reading

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The churches need to work out what their audiences might like and offer it to them

I attended a wonderful Church of Scotland memorial service yesterday. The eulogies were excellent, the readings appropriate and the hymns were classics such as ‘Onward Christian soldiers’ and ‘I vow to thee my country’. You would never hear these in … Continue reading

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The e-cigarette revolution

I’m fascinated by e-cigarettes. In case you haven’t seen them, they look just like real fags, weigh a bit more, and have a light that glows when you puff on them. Instead of inhaling tobacco smoke, you drag on, and … Continue reading

Posted in Life, UK | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Borders Railway – a case study of pork in action

The economist Tony Mackay dissects and despatches the Borders Railway project with considerable elegance in his Monthly Report. The article is reproduced here in the excellent new Internet bulletin for Scottish business, Scot-buzz. It shouldn’t really be news to anyone … Continue reading

Posted in Scottish Borders, Scottish politics | Tagged | 1 Comment

China’s a paper tiger

With China selecting its new leadership and a bizarre row with the Japanese over some islands in the East China Sea, it’s worth reflecting on the impact of China’s economic miracle.

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Is the ‘living wage’ to be the new minimum?

Where did this ‘living wage’ malarky spring from? It seems a group based in East London has been urging employers to increase wages. Sometimes, it seems, this improves morale and productivity to the extent that it pays for itself.

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Renewable energy – dependent on English gold

I’m always a little bemused why the Unionist camp in Scotland doesn’t make more of the fact that renewable energy here benefits from an enormous subsidy transfer from the rest of the UK. It must be worth about half a billion … Continue reading

Posted in Scottish politics, UK | 2 Comments