Blair backs nuclear plans – but…

At the CBI dinner, the PM says nuclear power is back with a vengeance. An odd choice of words… like it’s pay-back time and a lot of people are gonna to get hurt.

This determined winner-picking pro-nuclear stance based on the PM’s gut feel and advisers’ hunches shouldn’t really surprise anyone – he’s been saying it for months. The trouble is that it is quite difficult to actually do this, even if it is what the Prime Minister wants. At least not without completely upending the energy market as currently designed – and that may take rather more time than the PM has. Continue reading “Blair backs nuclear plans – but…”

EU judgement on hospital reimbursement goes way too far

The European Court of justice has just found that the NHS must fund treatment on the continent if the NHS waiting time is deemd too long. The ruling on case of Yvonne Watts (see BBC) effectively creates a single European health service with open ended obligations and removal of one of the very necessary approaches to rationing health care. Continue reading “EU judgement on hospital reimbursement goes way too far”

New Statesman energy supplement – May 2006

My contribution to the NS energy supplement, “Wasting assets“) focussed on energy efficiency starts with the remarkable fact that the internal rate of return on the small investment of £2.50 in replacing a conventional lightbulb with a low energy lightbulb is about 400%. Believe it or not ( and understand how sad that is…) I’ve got this investment case worked out on a spreadsheet.This is part of a wider and much larger case for energy efficiency. Continue reading “New Statesman energy supplement – May 2006”

Nationalise infrastructure?

Was presenting at an interesting Oxera conference today. Amazing suggestion – not quite a proposal – from one famous speaker… when the government stands behind the main networks, as it always will…. electricity, gas, water etc. why does the consumer pay market interest rates (as the government ultimately bears the risks)? In other words, why not give these operations quasi-public sector status and let them borrow at the Treasury rate, making it cheaper for the consumer?

A most unexpected place to find the incubation of the coming era of ‘new’ socialism…

Climate change in Africa

Christian Aid says that 180 million people likely to die from climate change in Africa by the end of this century – see BBC story But the coverage focuses on mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases) rather than adaptation – which is what will matter most in Africa over the next 50 years. Here’s a map showing where the deaths from climate change are already happening. And it isn’t the USA…

First past the post

With David Cameron riding high, will he win the next election? In the 2005 general election, each party needed dramatically different numbers of voters for each seat it won. They weren’t that far apart in votes cast, but miles apart in seats won.





% seats

Votes / seat













Lib Dem






All others












At the next election a hung parliament is a possibility – perhaps that will be what we need to have a change of electoral system. We have to get closer to PR, without ending up like Italy.How can anyone possibly call this fair? The worst injustice was done to UKIP – with 605,973 votes and no seats. This would be enough votes for 22 Labour seats. I have no brief for UKIP at all, but they do reflect a particular view in Britain that is seeking representation.

First post

Have just set this thing up and now realise I’ve got nothing interesting to say.

Hopefully, it will come.