Role models from the riots

Amidst the reaction that continues from last week’s riots, one of the familiar themes has been the lack of role models for young people.

Many would nominate Tariq Jahan, whose son Haroon was killed during the violence in Birmingham. Unlike many of our most hyper-ventilated media commentators, Mr Jahan has spoken with remarkable reflectiveness about his son’s death and the riots in general. More

Benefits: Rights or Privileges?

Yesterday on the Today programme, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith proposed removing benefits from those convicted but not jailed for rioting. But amidst the criticism of this plan’s feasibility, an important issue has been neglected: whether benefits are rights or privileges, and whether they should be up for grabs in the criminal justice system.

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Why politicians don’t get the riots

I have had a fascinating response to the blog http://davidboyle.blogspot.com/2011/08/let-them-yearn-for-tat.html

I wrote earlier this week about the riots, blaming vacuous materialism and urging a new kind of political language.  Most of it was even positive.

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Benefits: Rights or Privileges?

Yesterday on the Today programme, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith proposed removing benefits from those convicted but not jailed for rioting. But amidst the criticism of this plan’s feasibility, an important issue has been neglected: whether benefits are rights or privileges, and whether they should be up for grabs in the criminal justice system.

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Economics needs history

In the week that the banks failed – that strange week in October 2008, where everything seemed to be unravelling – I ventured into the City Business Library, in its familiar, slightly unkempt building off London Wall.

I used to spend quite some time there, when I was writing about the history of money.  I remembered it – perhaps wrongly – as a font of hidden knowledge.  By 2008, it certainly wasn’t that.

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Financing climate meltdown

If we are serious about moving to a low carbon economy, then we must confront the fact that our financial system is still directing large sums of money towards the coal, oil and gas industries.

For example, whenever pension funds buy shares in companies such as Shell, they are helping to finance the oil and gas industry. While this is acceptable up to a point, there is a very real danger that the amount of money going into such sectors is not compatible with the goal to combat climate change.

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The economic madness of fish discards

Since 1963, European (EU27) fleets have thrown away billions of cod from the North Sea, dead. No one can possibly appreciate this enormous figure, or what a waste it is. These fish didn’t contribute to the economy – they were never sold. They weren’t cashed in for anything. They barely had a chance to play a role in their ecosystem, being caught mostly small and before they can reproduce.

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The Comprehensive Spending Review: one year on

As we draw closer to the anniversary of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, talk abounds about the likely impact that the new austerity measures will have on people from all walks of life – especially those from already deprived communities. More

Believing impossible things before breakfast

Listening to the Today programme yesterday morning, I found myself choking on my gluten free muesli in my frustration at their item on banking.

The reason is simple.  One of the biggest barriers to progress in the banking debate is the stubborn refusal of politicians to shift the argument about small business lending.

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High Speed Rail won’t heal the great divide

“Our country has been divided for too long,” begins Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond in last Thursday’s article in the Telegraph.  He continues, “Successive governments – of all persuasions – have tried and failed to tackle the problem that divides our country”.  The gulf, keeping England a two-sided nation, according to Mr. Hammond: economic prosperity.  The solution: HS2. 

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