Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

Drinking by numbers

By Editor
May 21st, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Comments Off on Drinking by numbers | Posted in Lifestyle Products


HAT TIP: In case you missed it, the brilliant Guido Fawkes website put this little infographic up on its site yesterday…



It refers to a startling new report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs looking at the gloomy predictions about what the Licensing Act  (24 Hour Drinking) would do to the English nation. The graphic above pretty much says it all , but you can read a brief summary from the author (Christopher Snowdon) here. It has links to the fuller report on the IEA website.

Our thanks to Guido and co for the use of the image.

Tags: , , , , ,

The case for freedom – short & sweet

By Editor
May 13th, 2015 at 10:15 am | Comments Off on The case for freedom – short & sweet | Posted in Uncategorized

HAT TIP:   Following the May 7th General Election results, a timely article on the case for freer markets and a less powerful state has just been published by CentreForum. No surprises that the author of this stellar piece is by none other than IEA Director General, Mark Littlewood.

This short (2 page) article is especially recommended to our liberal-minded Conservative MPs; short, pithy and loaded with Littlewood’s delicious and highly repeatable soundbites.  We reckon these are the choicest themes that will be quoted, expanded upon and otherwise used time and again in the months (possibly years) to come.

“[in the past 40 years] state spending has increased by a factor of about three and half in real terms”.

“Spending on all welfare provision in the UK –including state pension provision – amounts to around £8,000 per household. Twice what it was in nominal terms a decade or so ago. “

“Pretty consistently, in recent decades, governments – again of all political persuasions – have only found it possible to collect around 37% of national income in tax receipts… Given this 37% rule seems to be close to being an iron rule, [Government] spending above this on any consistent basis is a road to ruin.”

“[My educated guess is that] the financial services are the second most regulated sector of our economy. I was disappointed it didn’t come top – I think handling weapons grade plutonium comes top.”
Read the full article here.
Tags: , , , ,

Fun, facts and fag-packets at Forest event

By Editor
February 27th, 2015 at 11:21 am | Comments Off on Fun, facts and fag-packets at Forest event | Posted in Personal Freedom, Uncategorized

The Hands Off Our Packs “Stop the Nonsense: Plain Speaking on Plain Packaging” event was held on Tuesday night. What a joy it was.MArk Littlewood southampton FC

All Forest shindigs are must-go-to events as far as we are concerned. They are lively and fun; the speakers are invariably excellent value; the alcohol flows; and the pavements/terraces/balconies are alive with smokers and non-smokers alike celebrating life, the universe and everything else.

This event was no less fun, informative and innovative than we have come to expect. We had intended to write up the event in  more detail, but Dick Puddlecote has pretty much said it all – so just go read his post.

[PS his added note was an eye-rolling moment..

“*An interesting note on David Cameron and his view of plain packs. He came out with a quip during yesterday’s PMQs which went something like this – “Now we are committed to plain paper packaging of cigarettes, it will give more space for the opposition to write their policies on”. Yep, it looks like David Cameron doesn’t have a first clue about the policy he is legislating on! “

Let us just add our salute to Simon Clark (Forest Director) for coming up with such an innovative format (8 or so quick fire speeches- each lasting no more than 2 or 3 minutes).

Hats off to our very own Angela Harbutt who kicked of the formal speeches delivering the plain facts from Australia and ending up with an ask that MPs “consider the facts – not the wishful fiction of state-funded lobby groups and self-serving Whitehall bureaucrats”.

We should also salute Mark Littlewood, formerly of this Parish, and now Director General of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs. Not only did he deliver a suitably rousing finish to the formal part of the evening, he managed to namecheck (yet again) his much-beloved Southampton Football Club!

Not without merit…(though he rarely needs an excuse in our experience).  He simply pointed out that he had acquired a (very robust and rather snazzy) “SaintsFC cig box” into which he drops his chosen cigarette pack. Given the interest in the room that evening , we suspect many more will be doing likewise (acquiring their own bespoke cig case – not necessarily creating a Saints FC one.)

Forest has promised to put a video of the speeches up on YouTube in the coming days. But here is a close up pic of the much-discussed cig case.

ML cig case

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rejoice rejoice

By Editor
February 24th, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Comments Off on Rejoice rejoice | Posted in Government lobbying government

Full marks to Eric Pickles. The Department for Communities and Local Government yesterday announced that it is to crack down on on wasteful spending of government lobbying government.


“Using taxpayers’ funds to lobby government wastes public money and undermines transparency.”

“The Department for Communities and Local Government is also cracking down on taxpayer funded lobby by other organisations. The Institute of Economic Affairs has undertaken extensive research on ‘sock puppets’ – those pressure groups and charities receiving public money that then use it to lobby government and Parliament for more money and regulation. “

“The department is setting Whitehall an example by taking the additional step of amending its grant agreements to include a new anti-lobbying, anti-sock puppet clause. Simple and effective, it will bring about an end to this practice and make sure that taxpayers’ money is being spent on those things that make a real difference to the lives of hard-working families.”

We particularly welcome this statement…

“It ensures that payments do not support activity that could influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties. It applies to any activity that could influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants or legislative or regulatory action.”

We call this a win.

You can read the full DCLG statement here.

You can download the IEA paper “The Sock Doctrine: What can be done about state-funded political activism” here .


Tags: , , , ,

Fringe Event: “Why aren’t the Liberal Democrats more liberal?”

By Editor
September 15th, 2013 at 8:00 am | 1 Comment | Posted in conference

Looking for a good Conference fringe event for Sunday evening? Look no further. Topical debate, lively speakers.

“Why aren’t the Liberal Democrats more liberal?

Date/Time: Sunday 15th Sept 1815-1930

Place: Alsh 2 Room, SECC Conference Centre.

Chairman: Mark Littlewood, Director General, IEA


Jeremy Browne MP

Emma Carr, Deputy Director, Big Brother Watch

Julian Huppert MP

Chris Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics, IEA

Stephen Tall, Co-Editor of LibDem Voice

Hosted by Liberal Vision and the Institute of Economic Affairs.

See you there we hope!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,