A Tax on Sugar Would Leave a Bitter Aftertaste

In recent months there has been some discussion around the idea of a “sugar tax” to help reduce obesity rates. My hunch is that such a tax would leave a bitter after taste.

Here’s why…

The Obesity Problem

First, some background. People in the UK are getting fatter. Although we live in a free country in which you are quite entitled to weigh whatever you want, increasing obesity rates are generally deemed to be a bad thing because it leads to other health problems, shorter life expectancy and more expense for the NHS. Of particular concern are the rising obesity levels among children who may have less say in their diet.

There are no doubt some who would argue that this is not a problem for the state but I suspect most people think this is something that we should address. The question is how this is best done. One proposed answer is a tax on sugar.

Continue reading


Thank the Lord for Reforms

At the end of the previous parliamentary session, some significant changes were made to the constitution of this country and you probably didn’t hear about them. News outlets widely ignored them and you’ll struggle to find anything much on Google either. But changes there were.

They may not impact your daily life directly but I still think they are significant and noteworthy.

The reforms related to our nation’s Upper House, The House of Lords, and as I understand them, are as follows:

Continue reading

Lib Dems voted for their country (but their country didn’t vote for them)

Entering into a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 was the right thing for the Liberal Democrats to do.

This may be anathaema to many: the Lib Dem loyalists who voted Clegg and got Cameron, and the liberal left who dreamed of a Lib-Lab coalition.

But the alternatives were worse: the numbers for a Labour pact weren’t really there, the chemistry apparently lacking and the risk of low credibility with a Prime Minister no one voted for. Meanwhile leaving the Conservatives to form a minority government in a time of recession would have been churlish.

In short, though there may have been plenty of self-interested motivations as well, the Lib Dems did what was best for their country.

In return, the country has taken them on a swift and brutal journey from “I agree with Nick” to #CleggsFault. For a party that polled so high ahead of the 2010 elections, the recent local elections were a huge fall and the EU results far worse. The party has taken a big hit and for what?

Continue reading

Open Letter to Ed Miliband from a School Boffin

Dear Mr Miliband,

When I was at school my friends and I were regularly called “boffs” by the other kids, as in “boffins”. It was meant as an insult but we took it as a compliment i.e. that they thought we were clever. This, of course, probably proved their point but I think it also demonstrates something else and it is this that I wanted to write to you about.

Continue reading

50p tax: plenty of emotion but not a lot of evidence

John Lewis Managing Director Andy Street recently claimed that it was a “proven fact”* that lowering the upper tax rate from 50% to 45% has increased tax revenues. It is not.

But before the left cheers and the right jeers, neither has the opposite been proven. Indeed, it would be difficult to “prove” any such thing. We can, however, at least look at the evidence but first some background

Continue reading