Author Archive | Fred Harrison

Brexit: Plan B and Europe’s Misfortune

Bureaucrats in Brussels have cooked up a bitter pill for Britain to swallow in the negotiations over Brexit. But Britain really does hold all the cards – if it stirs a brew of its own. Plan B is the tax reform that would enable Britain to walk away from the EU and expand its home market by much more than it would lose if all trade with Europe ceased.

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Populism: the Real Culprits

Politicians and the mainstream pundits have a new bête noire: the populists – the people who refuse to toe the line. They no longer respect to practises laid down for them in the past, which coerced them into accepting their “lot” in life. The populist movements that emerged to give the UK Brexit and the USA a mercurial character called Donald Trump as president, materialised for one good reason. The checks and balances that are supposed to ensure social stability have broken down.

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Britain needs Plan B: Beyond Brexit

THE EU’s Brexit negotiators will try to squeeze the UK into a dangerous corner, when Prime Minister Theresa May invokes Article 50 in March. Talks on the terms for withdrawing from the European Union will not go smoothly. There is no goodwill within the EU for a member that blazes the exit trail: too many people across the continent want their countries to embark on a similar course. So the UK must be damaged: relationships between the two must be rendered painful, no matter what the cost to Europe’s struggling economy.

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Rent-seeking with Chinese Characteristics

The world was led to believe Deng Xiaoping [1904–97])that China would adopt free markets, foreign investment and private ownership within a system of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Instead, because of the negligence of the Communist Party, the people of China were assaulted with a perverse model of state capitalism with rent-seeking characteristics. The latest “reform” drives China further down the road to an unsustainable economic process which will end in tears for the Politburo in Beijing.

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Taxing Questions on Rights and Responsibilities

The surreal nature of the debate on taxation continues. At a Resolution Foundation seminar on November 2, the panel of experts was asked whether the UK tax-take was about right (35% of GDP), or too high, or whether it ought to be lower. There is no correct answer to that question, the infantile nature of which reflected the incoherence of tax policy. As Sir Vince Cable, who was Business Secretary in the Cameron coalition government, observed: “People want US levels of taxation [very low] and Scandinavian levels of spending [very high]”.

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Saving Nature: the Missing Link

Something vital was missing from the campaigns to alert the world to the way our natural habitats were being wrecked. NGOs like Greenpeace did a marvellous job of alerting us to the way in which icebergs were melting, species were being extinguished, the acidification of the oceans, the rate at which CO2 was being emitted […]

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Adam Smith is turning in his grave

BREXIT, according to the Adam Smith Institute, is the chance for Britain to zero-rate the corporation tax. Retiring the tax would “reboot Britain”, according to Madsen Pirie, the president of the London-based think-tank that claims to honour the Scottish moral philosopher. In fact, the Adam Smith Institute brings disrepute on the name of the author […]

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EU referendum 1: The Risks of Remaining a Member

Prime Minister David Cameron claims that Britain would be “safer, stronger and better off” inside the European Union. This is a false prospectus which should be exposed before people vote in their referendum on June 23. Let’s look at one argument in favour of quitting a union that wants to become a political super-state. The […]

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