The ineffective puritanism of modern public health
Perhaps, we will shift back to a more balanced approach to these issues. Less judging, less hectoring. Or maybe we'll sleepwalk into a ghastly, oppressive world where the New Puritans police our behaviour for its adherence to the received orthodoxy of believe about pleasures. I am not all that hopeful right now.
How lies - by pharma companies and tobacco businesses - are used to try and kill vaping
Biebert has identified Big Pharma, anti-smoking groups and government as the real forces at work to discourage electronic cigarettes and vaping. Biebert, who neither vapes nor smokes, was first drawn to the topic after reading about the famous ‘formaldehyde in ecigs’ claim. Beibert had friends that had switched from smoking to vaping and when he looked into the formaldehyde in ecigs study, the lie was obvious. That got him wondering.
Why free speech is really really important and the only winners in its removal are those with power
"In simple terms: one, I don't think we should be spending public money on finding out whether we can ban the EDL.
"Secondly, free speech and free assembly matters and if we can't have these things our society is worse for it."
How the lack of real accountability in the NHS kills any attempt to make it more efficient or more effective
The idea that the NHS is run by ‘the people’, as a joint endeavour, is a romantic fantasy. The NHS is an elite project, and this could not be otherwise. Collective choice is not a substitute for individual choice and ‘voice’ is not a substitute for ‘exit’. The illusory ‘accountability’ mediated through the political process cannot come anywhere near the accountability of a marketplace, or of a properly designed quasi-market setting, in which providers stand and fall with the choices consumers make, and depend on them for their very economic survival.
How free markets, free trade and capitalism are making the world - day after day - a healthier, wealthier, happier and more equal place
It was Schumpeter who pointed out that capitalism and the free market revolution didn’t mean all that much to Elizabeth I. She already had knitted stockings (in fact, we know the day she got her first pair). The great genius of capitalism is that it ended up with every factory girl possessing knitted stockings. That’s actually the defining feature of the system, that it ends up making everything just extraordinarily cheap–exactly the thing we want in order to be able to improve the lives of the poor. Just as it did our own forefathers of course. Because our forefathers were, almost all of them for almost all of history in exactly that $2 a day poverty that we now define as absolute poverty.
In between this stuff there'll be the usual bits about urbanism, the stupidity of planning, daft environmentalism, a bit of Bradford and - of course, of course - some mushrooms. I might even find a little time to say something about why we should leave the EU. Hopefully some of you will stay the course. Whatever you do, have a good 2016 if you possibly can.
It goes without saying that I'm grateful so many of you kept coming back here - prompted by a few great blogs including that commie fellow Chris Dillow's 'Stumbling & Mumbling', Dick Puddlecote and Chris Snowdon as well as the legion of folk who arrive from Twitter and Facebook.
So whatever you're doing this evening, do it in style and I pray it includes some binge drinking, over-eating, staying up too late, making a noise and enjoying the fabulous munificence of this great world we've got to live on. And I hope you don't let the nannies, the fussbuckets, the puritans, the health fascists and the greeny-greeny, back-to-the-mud huts brigade ruin your year. Above all please try to be polite while saying the things you want to say about the things that matter to you. Don't let the tyranny of those - like the Labour's leader on Bradford Council - who want to stifle your right to speak freely.
Happy New Year. And have a good one.