An Englishman's Castle <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Friday, August 15

Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet): "Junk Science & DDT

A very good article here on the demonization of DDT and how it's caused the deaths of many people around the world, with more to come."

Thursday, August 14

FOXNews.com on Global warming: It is hot " we don’t know why. Neither do the global-warming pushers."
An Email from the Adam Smith Institute which deserves the widest audience.

*From:* Eamonn Butler
*To:* Adam Smith Friends

If you've just come back from holiday and this is one of 157 messages in
your inbox, then I know the feeling and I'm sorry. But some of us work round
the year you know. Price of liberty is eternal vigilance, etc. But anyway,
I'll keep it as short as I can.


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IN THIS BULLETIN....
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TRAVELLING ECONOMISTS: We spread the word up North
HARD NEWS: Well, I find some of it pretty tough to bear, at least
EVENTS: Autumn lunches, conferences, and other events
STUFF: Just stuff, really


BUT FIRST... A COMPETITION

People from overseas used to tell me how funny they found 'Yes Minister'. I
aways explained that in Britain it was not regarded as comedy but at biting
social realism. Well, this isn't a joke, it's the real thing.

Following the wide coverage on our report COSTING JOBS, we're holding a
COMPETITION to find the daftest public-sector job description. It could be
something pithy like Bristol's 'Walking Officer' or something grand like
Durham's 'Young People's Substance Misuse Tier 3 Service Manager' -- or
something truly daft like Ealing's 'Five a Day Local Area Co-ordinator'.

Results will be announced on NOVEMBER 5 (of course), so get your entry in to
jobsworth@adamsmith.org before then. The winner will receive a certificate,
a bust of Adam Smith, and an old Punch Cartoon showing a customer in the
'Jolly Taxpayer' looking in despair at the bill.


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TRAVELLING ECONOMISTS
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ICELAND BOOMS
*************

I'm just back from a Reykjavik seminar on education reform. Like the locals,
I looked on enviously as experts from the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden
described their voucher-style education systems. There, parents can choose
any school, public or private, and the government pays the basic cost -- so
everyone has a choice and there's real innovation in schooling. Magic. Have
a look at these themes on our education issues page:
http://www.adamsmith.org/cissues/education/home.htm
and see our review of the Dutch and Danish systems, Learning from Europe:
http://www.adamsmith.org/policy/publications/education-pub.htm

Iceland is booming, by the way, thanks to a twelve-year programme of tax
cuts, deregulation and privatization. I met the Finance Minister, who seemed
rather glum that he had privatized everything he could. So I mentioned the
success of private prison management in the UK. He hadn't thought of that
one. So our experts are expecting a call. Watch this space.

SWEDEN DECIDES
**************

Meanwhile, my colleague Dr Pirie is speaking to a conference in Stockholm
next week to help them make up their minds on the Euro in advance of their
referendum vote on the issue. Should be enough to tip the balance. Start
selling Euros now. Mind you, like Ireland, if they get the result wrong the
Feds will probably just insist they have to vote all over again...


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HARD NEWS: Well, most of it sticks in your craw, at least...
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- How come taxes are so hard to escape while benefits are so hard to apply
for? Over 250,000 families eligible for tax credits haven't applied says the
Revenue, but the Tories say the real figure is more than 1,000,000.

- Meanwhile, even those who have applied for tax credits can't get them
because Revenue computers in many areas can't cope with the burden.

- May and June's exports fell to their lowest level since 1999.

- Over three-quarters of NHS hospital doctors plan to quit early, citing
long hours, stress and depression, says a Hospital Doctor magazine survey.

- The IPPR says that all the political horse-trading means that the Kyoto
agreement won't work. Ah well, right conclusion, at least.

- The 4000-pound 'golden hellos' have failed to attract new maths teachers.
there are 320 (ie 20 percent) fewer trainees now than in 1997.

- The ONS says 86,000 new public-sector jobs were created in 2002. But local
authorities are hiring twice as many administrators (8.2 percent more) than
teachers (3.7 percent more). See our JOBS COMPETITION above.

- The ONS says that while RPI inflation is 2.9 percent, public-sector
inflation is 6.4 percent, and universities' costs will rise at 6.9 percent.

- With 1600 schools reporting deficit budgets, the government is raiding a
scheme designed to improve teaching standards in order to help plug the gap.


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WHO'S HOT? WHO'S NOT?
----------------------------------- -------------------------------------

POLYFILLA: Usefully fills spaces POLLY TOYNBEE: Doesn't
http://www.polycell.co.uk/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/columnists


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EVENTS: See http://www.adamsmith.org/policy/news/forward.htm for details
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Never mind the heatwave, Christmas will soon be here. And among other stuff
going on at ASI between then and now, we have some impressive speakers lined
up for power lunches, seminars, conferences and lectures. Including:

DAVID SMITH, Sunday Times Economics Editor (10 September)
JOHN HORAM MP, ex-chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (18 September)
MICHAEL DOBBS, author of House of Cards (24 September)
NEIL COLLINS, Telegraph City Editor (8 October)
DAVID WILLETTS MP, he of two brains (16 October)
PETER PIKE, chairman of the Regulatory Reform Committee (22 October)
CHRIS GENT, ex Vodaphone boss (11 November)
MIKE SUMMERS, Falkland Islands MP (1 December)
DAVID CARTER, head of OFCOM (10 December)

YOOF: Then there's our (under-33s only) Next Generation Group sprees on 14
September, 7 October, and 4 November. Not to mention our ISOS sixth-form
conference on 2 October.

GROWN-UPS: Conference-wise, our international workshop programmes look at
privatization issues such as labour adjustment, infrastructure management,
corporate governance and effective regulation.

NOSH: Following our hugely successful Westminster health policy breakfasts,
we're doing another lot. Watch www.adamsmith.org for unfolding details.


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STUFF: Progress! Relief! Networking!
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365-DAY PROGRESS
****************

On my way to Iceland I was reading the newsletter of the Specialist Schools
Trust, run by our excellent friend Sir Cyril Taylor. At one of their events,
John May (Chief Exec of the Career Academy Foundation) threw out some
statistics that show what a changing world we life in.

Currently, he said:
- the US economy grows as much in a day as it did in a year in the 1930s.
- one day's world trade equals that for the whole of 1949.
- one day's foreign exchange deals equal the total volume for 1979.
- one day's phone calls number all those made in 1984.
- one day's emails equal the number of all those made in 1989.

And no doubt a teacher fills in as much paperwork in a day as he or she
might have done in a whole year in the '50s and '60s.


TAX-CUTTERS DO IT FOR RELIEF
****************************

The new low-tax campaign group has hit the papers by saving a Norfolk farmer
29,000 pounds in late-payment charges on Revenue bills he never actually
received. And they've served a 50-million-pound demand on the Revenue on
behalf of all those people who're due tax credits but haven't yet got them.
More power to your elbow, folks. Visit them (and join!) at:
http://www.taxrelief.org.uk


DO A FRIEND A FAVOUR
********************
Don't forget to recommend this email bulletin to a friend (or, if you don't
like it, to any enemy). Why keep all these good things to yourself when an
email to your address book costs nothing at all. Just tell folk to go to our
front page, where they can sign up -- and of course they can unsubscribe at
any time. You know the link:
http://www.adamsmith.org


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AS ADAM HAD IT...
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If you search the text of the Wealth of Nations on
http://www.adamsmith.org/search/home.htm
you'll find that the sage didn't say anything about Iceland, but he did at
least make a comment on subsidies ('bounties') in the Hebridean fishing
industry. Sound familiar?

"The bounty to the white-herring fishery is ... proportioned to the burden
of the ship, not to her diligence or success in the fishery; and it has, I
am afraid, been too common for vessels to fit out for the sole purpose of
catching, not the fish, but the bounty."
- The Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chapter V

e

-----
Dr Eamonn Butler, Director
Adam Smith Institute, 23 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BL, UK
E-mail butler@adamsmith.org - Visit us online at www.adamsmith.org
Tel +44 (0)20 7222 4995 - Fax +44 (0)20 7222 7544

To unsubscribe, visit www.adamsmith.org/lists.htm