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Tax

Tax

We don’t raise enough tax in this country. Too few people pay any income tax. Too many people dodge paying the correct tax – the gap between what HMRC think is due and what they actually collect is well over £30b. And of course those with assets can hide them in tax havens. The tax burden is not evenly spread. Moreover, we have created a situation in which those who make the biggest demands on public services and benefits have…

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It’s 1983 all over again

It’s 1983 all over again

It seems likely that we will have an election in the next few months. I expect the Conservatives to win, unless a no deal Brexit really has called chaos. It feels to me like 1983 all over again. Back then Labour had gone too far to the left. Michael Foot was leader. he too had no dress sense. The party then was committed unilateral nuclear disarmament, leaving NATO and leaving the EU. This was in the days when the Labour…

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Self-devouring growth

Self-devouring growth

This was the title of a talk by Prof Julie Livingstone from NYU at UCL the other week. I sometimes sign up for an event and am not sure exactly what I have signed up for. This was one of those events. The talk turned out to be about Botswana. Professor Livingstone, is an anthropologist.  She looked at three aspects of Botswanan society, economy and culture – rainwater, beef and roads. Water is a fairly limited and therefore precious commodity…

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Uber floatation

Uber floatation

Uber floated on the US stock market recently. It had a valuation of $70B.  Why? The company has not made a profit as yet. It may never make a profit. It holds it own drivers in debt bondage. And it has disrupted the regular taxi trade in cities all across the world.

Trump Visit

Trump Visit

It was quite useful that Trump came to Britian during the Brexit impasse. He made it enturely clear that the US will only do a trade deal with the US if its companies get acess to NHS contracts. He realised that he had said something that should remain unsaid and quickly backtracked. The other thing that a trade deal with the US will involve is chlorinated chicken. Dispatches had helpfully been under cover in a chicken factory in the US….

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A trip to Wapping

A trip to Wapping

I went to a guided with Ken Titmuss the other day – he  is on Twitter as @oldmapman. I am also very interested in the history of London.  London in the 18c is not the same as London now. A lot of places which are now part of London, were then completely separate villages. London in the 18th century was the City of London, plus places such as Wapping, Shadwell, Rotherhithe, Deptford and Bermondsey. Looking at London now, it is…

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Anti system parties

Anti system parties

I went along to hear Jonathan Hopkins talk about the rise of anti system parties. According to his definition, the Brexit Party is not an anti system party. They believe in capitalism, they believe in Queen, country etc. They are a pro system party.

Dmocratic strains

Dmocratic strains

I have been to a couple of events on democracy recently. I don’t think democracy is quite in crisis yet. But I think a show down is coming. I don’t see how Johnson is going to get a new deal. I don’t see that he could get the existing or any other deal through. Parliament is implacably opposed to a no deal Brexit. Something has to give and it is not currently clear what the something will be. Democracy as…

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Brexit wont happen

Brexit wont happen

Theresa May is now in a bunker in Downing Street as her own party tries to depose her. She has been a woefully bad leader of this country for the past 3 years. Her authority as PM is shot to pieces. Her latest manoeuvre was to suggest a Brexit withdrawal bill that would include a customs union and a possible second referendum. I have really stopped paying attention as it is obvious that her own party will not support it….

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