Opinion

COMMENT

YESTERDAY saw the latest example of how alleged misconduct in finance is being rigorously pursued.
HOW DO you discombobulate a banker?
THE RECENT suggestion by the chief medical officer Sally Davies that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax” is a tribute to the extraordinary media profile of Action on Sugar, the latest pressure group to blame a single ingredient for people being
End of the BBC [Re: How technology has doomed the BBC licence fee, yesterday]
AN UNLIKELY source holds the key to how the West should respond to Russia’s takeover of the Crimea. While researching for my book Ethical Realism (which I co-wrote with the rightly celebrated Anatol Lieven), I came across a startling fact.
PIMLICO Plumbers will be a familiar brand to many readers – it has a prominent advert on the approach into Waterloo station.
FOLLOWING the devastating financial crisis of 2008, it’s easy to understand why there was a severe drop in business investment. From peak to trough, this vital part of economic life plummeted some 30 per cent.
Ukraine crisis [Re: Russia’s Ukraine attack is end of Pax Americana, yesterday]
REGULATORS can punish wrongdoing, but they find it much harder to legislate for what constitutes good behaviour. If they try to do so, they are likely to end up with massive rule books – and fail to meet their objectives.
WE SHOULD expect to hear much more about the future of the BBC in the next few months. Its Royal Charter is due for renewal in 2016, and there have already been murmurings about the sustainability of the licence fee model.
IN RESPONSE to Russian forces entering the Crimea, the interim Ukrainian government called for UK and US intervention, invoking the undertakings we (and the French, and latterly Nato) gave to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
YOU’RE thinking of a friend, and suddenly the phone rings and it’s them. You’re on a short break in Paris and you bump into your brother.
IMMIGRATION is a sensitive subject at the best of times.
US SECRETARY of state John Kerry tends to reveal more than he ought to.
Socialist Venezuela [Re: How socialism has destroyed Venezuela, Wednesday]
AS ITS currency collapses, protests flare up in Crimea, and Russia flexes its muscles on the doorstep, those in the West claiming triumph in Ukraine should remember the story of King Pyrrhus of Epirus.
YOU DON’T know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!” Harold Ramis, the writer of the endlessly quotable Ghostbusters, died this week.
IF WE could build and heat homes with the hot air generated by the UK’s housing crisis debate, we would solve both issues in one go. Eighteen months ago, the issue was the availability of mortgage finance.
Baby boom [Re: In Britain, recessions mean more babies. In the US, births fall, yesterday]
RADICAL reform of income tax is not only desirable, but completely possible. To achieve it, however, proponents of change need to provide a strong evidence base for a much flatter tax system, with a much lower top rate in the UK in particular.
CAST your mind back to 1978. The mighty Boney M had two number one hits, I was sheepishly starting big school in Cambridge, and Britain had a household savings rate of 12 per cent – more than double the current level.
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in London today on an official visit that many are heralding as the start of David Cameron’s pitch to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Peak holidays [Re: Holidays cost more at peak times. The reason is basic economics, yesterday]
MILTON Friedman once said that, if you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert, there’ll eventually be a shortage of sand.
MOST of the commentary on the UK’s economic recovery focuses on consumers. Are they taking on too much debt again to finance their spending? Is there a bubble in house prices, as people get more excited about bricks and mortar?
SOFTWARE rules the world. This isn’t just what we say out in Silicon Valley, or a belief that my sector matters most – it’s a simple statement of fact.
Intimidated Russia [Re: Russia must back down over Ukraine to avoid a catastrophe, yesterday]
WHETHER it is best for Ukraine to split, or the UK to join the emerging Single European State, or Catalonia to leave Spain, or Scotland to leave the UK are not fundamentally economic questions.
AS RECOVERY becomes entrenched, it is easy to forget the sense of urgency of those heady days in May 2010, when the Tory-Lib Dem coalition agreement was thrashed out.
THE HOUSING crisis is the biggest challenge facing London. For the first time ever, it is now Londoners’ top concern.
IF WESTERN economies have lost considerable ground to emerging powers over the last two decades, it is not simply because we lack the cheap labour of China and India or the natural resources of Russia and Brazil.
GEORGE Osborne signalled last week that he plans to encourage more trade and investment in next month’s Budget announcement. The chancellor rightly pointed out that this was critical to securing a sustainable recovery across the UK.
THINGS are finally looking up for Europe’s beleaguered economies. So it is incomprehensible that we are still taking the idea of implementing a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) seriously.
IT MAY be a clean form of energy, but solar has become a dirty word in some circles. Given expensive subsidies and feed-in-tariffs, solar (like other renewables) has looked like yet another uncompetitive distraction.
THE LEGO renaissance is one of the great business stories of our time. A decade ago the Danish firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. It is all different now. Last autumn it overtook Hasbro to become the second-biggest toymaker in the world.
THERE is almost nothing more difficult for a political risk analyst than assessing the dynamics of a revolution, a situation in which long-held conventional wisdom can be upended in a matter of minutes.
Wasted Parliament [Re: Has the government now missed its chance to repair Britain’s public finances? Wednesday]
LIKE a slow-motion car wreck, the tragic violence that has erupted in Ukraine over the last few days – which some fear could result in bloody civil war – has been inexorably coming for some time.

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