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 a normal service. The only time you hear decent hymns is at weddings or funerals when they’re chosen by members of the congregation rather than by the minister. This is just one example of the fundamental disconnect between the church and its audience (both actual and potential). 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 exhale, vapour imbued with a touch of nicotine. They work in the same way as asthma inhalers. The potential for them is vast. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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 by now. This would be placed in serious jeopardy by independence. At best (a bit like with the currency) policy would be outsourced to foreign control. See my take on it in Saturday’s Daily Mail.

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The energy market is a victim of the democratic cycle

The energy market in gas and electricity is one of Britain’s success stories. It was an extraordinary feat of imaginative policy making to introduce competition, not just in the capital markets via privatization, but for consumers and retailers too.

This won’t stop the politicians trashing the whole thing, though. Continue reading

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Lying by implication

For months now, the Scottish Government has been giving the strong impression that it had sought specific legal advice on whether an independent Scotland would be allowed automatically into the European Union. It has blocked attempts to force it to publish that advice and has responded to the growing clamour that it should publish by saying that legal convention prevents it from doing so. Continue reading

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More choice on the railways

The Ministry of Truth has decreed that rail privatisation has been a failure. I’m not sure about that. Most of the indicators show that things were even worse under British Rail, not that that’s saying much. But there’s one thing missing from the rail industry that would make it much more efficient. Continue reading

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