Austerity: Why We Shouldn’t Watch the Sequel

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Franklin D Roosevelt, Inaugural Address.   We recently set out a three-point plan for Mr Johnson in which the first stage is a rigorous lockdown in order to save lives during the corona virus outbreak, the second stage is a managed rebound to ensure that the economy […]

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Until the Imperial College Covid-19 Group published their report last Monday, the strategy of the government was laissez-faire. The government’s Chief Scientific Adviser explained that this was in order to build-up herd immunity in the UK population. The Imperial College Report made clear to journalists and to the public something that should have been clear […]

A Three-Point Plan for Mr Johnson

Any general who goes into battle without a plan is doomed to fail. Any general who sticks to his plan is doomed to fail.   Attributed to Napoleon In its approach to tackling the coronavirus, the UK government has finally – following the Imperial College report – moved away from the herd-immunity or laissez-faire strategy. […]

The Great Anglo-Saxon Health Experiment

All models are wrong, but some are useful. George Pelham Box   The US and the UK are both in the process of reviewing their strategies in response to the coronavirus. On March 13 2020, President Donald Trump moved from his previous policy of dismissing the threat from the virus to announcing a state of […]

The Great British Health Experiment

All models are wrong, but some are useful. George Pelham Box This is an update on the previous post about the virus. It is based on a slightly more sophisticated model which better captures the impact of different rates of infection and on the Chief Medical Officer’s estimate of death rate. The message is the […]

Why We Can’t Get Our Minds Around Wealth Inequality

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” — Plutarch We are used to inequality. There is inequality of height, weight, shoe size, intelligence – in fact every human characteristic you can think of. But most of these characteristics follow what is called a normal distribution, which […]

Fast Leader on 99%

Fast Leader magazine carries an article about 99%  in its March issue. It quotes Martin Wolf of the Financial Times saying: “This book makes three main arguments. First, the middle class is under extreme pressure and may vanish. Second, many of the constraints on purposive action in response, such as presumed fiscal limits or the […]

Two Sides of Freedom

Today, the word ‘freedom’ came up very powerfully in two jarring ways: • Priti Patel, on behalf of the Home Office, celebrated the end of freedom of movement; and • #EUandME chose The Shape: a short (4:30) film on freedom as one of its winners. The Anti-Freedom side of the story Here is Priti Patel […]

Crumbs from the Rich Man’s Table

There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Luke 16:19-21 For such an […]