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Uber under attack?

By Alex Chatham
October 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am | Comments Off on Uber under attack? | Posted in Uncategorized

Transport for London (TfL) has launched a consultation on private hire regulations. The consultation sets out proposals to regulate private cars and apps that allow customers to book a vehicle. TfL has said this is not an attack on Uber. Putting that argument to one side, it is certainly an attack on the free market as the proposals would force companies to adopt certain business models.

Anyone can respond. If you support a free market then it is worth spending the time answering the questionnaire and setting out your objections to some absurd regulatory suggestions such as having to wait for five minutes after booking a cab even if the car is nearby and can be there within a minute or so.

The consultation is here.

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Public policy failure

By Alex Chatham
June 19th, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on Public policy failure | Posted in Economics, Public Sector Reform

Lord Bob Kerslake, the author of a report in housing in London, has said that the failure to build enough homes “has been the biggest public policy failure of the past 50 years”. It is refreshing to hear someone admit that public policy can fail. Normally, commentators and policymakers talk about market failure. This is normally a cue to proposal State intervention. Lord Kerslake appears to be thinking along these lines, which is a shame. It would be better to admit that public policy has failed and that it is time to let the market function properly.

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Liberalism and the European Union

By Alex Chatham
June 2nd, 2015 at 2:30 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in EU

The European Union is not a very liberal organisation. It is constantly on the look out for ways to interfere with how people live their lives and how businesses run their affairs. Membership does commit members to the rule of law and a single market.

If if the EU isn’t the organisation liberals want, would it be best to leave?

Out of the EU, Britain may find itself even less liberal than it currently is as it throws up a protectionist blanket to protect British jobs. The country could find itself adhering to directives it disapproves of just to access trade with Europe. And it would have give up the opportunity to  push the EU in a more liberal direction.

There are no easy answers to these issues. What they do is force liberals to think hard about what their political philosophy is all about.

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Conservative Government: liberal scorecard

By Alex Chatham
June 1st, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on Conservative Government: liberal scorecard | Posted in Conservatives

From time to time, it is worth judging the Governemnt on a liberal scorecard. So, how are they doing so far?

They score well on their commitment to significantly reduce red tape but poorly on their plans to monitor the public as part of the campaign on terrorism.

Here re are some suggestions on how they might up their liberal score:

  • Abolish some Government departments. Vince Cable wanted to abolish BIS before he got to run it, so that would be a good start. Other departments suitable for  the chop are Sport, Media and Culture, DECC and if you wanted to be very radical Education. After all John Stuart Mill argued that Government should fund education but not provide it.
  • Reform the Licence fee. Why are we paying a poll tax to consume entertainment?
  • Draw up a constitutional settlement that allows people to run their own affairs.
  • Stop telling people how to live their lives.

The Uber free market

By Alex Chatham
May 28th, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on The Uber free market | Posted in Conservatives, Economics, freedom, Nannying

For some in the Conservative party, Boris Johnson is the libertarian saviour waiting in the wings to take power and reshape Britain. After all, the London Mayor recently told licenced Black Cab drivers that they had to accept the success of Uber because that is how a free market works. Liberals should applaud this championing of the market. For those who don’t much like markets, remember people collectively send price signals that tells suppliers what is and isn’t wanted.

Odd then that the same Boris Johnson has decided to put a cap on how many mini cabs operate in London. He has decided, no doubt based on expert advice, that we have too many. It might be worth reminding Boris that this is a free market and it is the people who should decide how many cabs offer their services to Londoners.

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