Category Archives: Politics

The EU’s proposed “link tax”: a modest proposal

Despite the disastrous effects of the same policy in Spain, the European Union is flirting with the idea of a link tax. This autumn’s proposals for copyright reform in Europe might contain all sorts of good things — not least, Hargreaves-like rules for content-mining — there is also the real possibility that they will also propose requiring payment for linking to content.


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A response from Joining Up Your Information; and my reply

Four days ago, I got a letter about Gloucestershire NHS’s Joining Up Your Information scheme, which I was not really happy about.


I sent them a query about some questionable wording. And yesterday, I got this response:
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My reservation about Joining Up Your Information

This morning I found this mailing in our hallway:


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A short open letter to Stephen Crabb, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Dear Stephen,

First of all, congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. It’s a hugely important role, well earned by your years of hard work for your constituency and in government. Decisions that you make, and discussions that you contribute to, will have a massive effect on many lives.

Demonstrators On The Hardest Hit March Protest Against Government Cuts To Disability Benefits And Services

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Brief thoughts on the budget

I was going to write a piece on George Osborn’s new budget, and how all anyone can talk about is a sugar-tax when the real story is yet more flagrant robbing the poor to give to the rich. But then I read Siobhan Fenton’s analysis, 85 per cent of Osborne’s Budget benefits will go to the wealthiest half of Britain, and realised there as no need for me to duplicate it.

So go and read that.


Honestly, I do make a real effort to persuade myself that Cameron, Osborn and co. aren’t actively trying to make poor people’s lives more miserable. I keep working to retain what belief I can muster in their essential decency. When I screw up my eyes and clench my fists really tightly, I can just about persuade myself it’s just that they don’t give a crap.

What is a government actually for?

It’s taken me a while, but I think I have finally figured out what it is that I dislike so much about our present government in the UK. The constant factor is this: they talk and behave like they are our rulers rather than our government.


Is this a fine distinction? Heck, no. It’s almost the opposite.

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Understanding Tony Blair, as explained by Tony Blair

There is a fascinating article in the Spectator today: In defence of Blairism, by Tony Blair. As I started reading it, I was sceptical, but in the end I found it enlightening, and even in places inspiring.


Not that there wasn’t lots to object to, as well, but it’s a genuinely fascinating read. It’s interesting to understand why he thought that the things his government was doing were good things.

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