Recent Articles



50p income tax? The rich should count their blessings

by Dave Osler     March 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Of course the 50p top rate of income is more important for its symbolism than its efficacy. So the super-rich should stop griping and thank their lucky stars that the last Labour government lacked the political courage required to reintroduce genuinely progressive taxation.

If only they would count their blessings instead of counting their money, they would realise that the current arrangements represents a brilliant public relations coup on their behalf. For a somewhat modest outlay, the artificial impression is created that they are pulling something approximating their weight.

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A right to wear the cross? Nearly, but not quite

by Dave Osler     March 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

There is no ‘ban’ on wearing crosses at work in Britain, and 99.9% of employers large and small are happy enough to allow employees to do so. Let’s make that clear right from the outset.

Nor is this country in the grip of a generalised witch hunt against those that wish to draw attention to their Christianity this manner. Despite the immense publicity accorded to Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, these are the only two known instances in which the issue has even arisen.

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Sorry Cardinal O’Brien, but reality is redefining itself

by Dave Osler     March 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

If you are still unpersuaded of the need for secularism to prevail in politics, then consider the latest religious intervention. Britain’s most senior Catholic is dominating the news agenda today with a hyperbole-laden polemic against the prospect of men being allowed to marry men and women being allowed to marry women.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien starts, of course, from the theological premises set down in the Vatican’s 1975 Declaration on Sexual Ethics. Same sex attraction may be unavoidable, but is nevertheless ‘a serious depravity’; to act on that attraction is ‘intrinsically disordered’.

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Leftwing disruption of sporting events: a proud tradition

by Dave Osler     February 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Emily Wilding Davison famously threw herself under the King’s horse at the 1913 Derby, in order to publicise the suffragette cause. She died in hospital a few days later. I truly hope her bravery will be suitably commemorated on its centenary next year.

But even at this distance in time, her name lives on, Emily’s List – the New Labour women’s network that helped around a dozen shoulder padded Blairites make it to Westminster – chose the appellation at least in part in Ms Davison’s honour.

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Job snob? No, I’ve got the T-shirt

by Dave Osler     February 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

One of the numerous job creation schemes of the Thatcher years was known officially as Employment Training, although the acronym was colloquially translated into ‘Extra Tenner’, because that was how much it paid on top of the dole.

These days, it seems, even an additional ten quid a week is a bit much to ask. Many of Britain’s  most profitable employers are securing staff for nothing, with the state picking up the tab for Jobseekers’ Allowance and a bus pass.

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Secularism: the best defence for religious freedom

by Dave Osler     February 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I am not quite sure where the Almighty stands on the mechanics of proportional representation or qualified majority voting in Brussels. Nor, having read both the Bible and the Quran from cover to cover, am I clear as to divine opinion on the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Given that the job of any the European Union constitution is to regulate these matters, the case for such a document including explicit reference to God – as demanded by Baroness Warsi in the Daily Telegraph today – is tenuous.  

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Liberals wear Birkenstocks, actually

by Dave Osler     January 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

What is this country coming to, Telegraph columnist Jeff Randall asks this morning, when we cannot even kick out al Qa’eda masterminds, Nigerian rapists, Romanian Big Issue sellers and those nice smiley Polish girls behind the counter at Pret, and set our indigenous chavs to work selling over-priced sarnies instead?

Throw in repeated over-the-top use of alleged analogies between liberals and German fascism, and deliver the outcome in a prose style reminiscent of Jeremy Clarkson minus his characteristic wit, intelligence and literary panache, and you end up with what evidently passes for serious comment on the political right these days.
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Welfare Reform Bill: why won’t anybody say it’s just plain wrong?

by Dave Osler     January 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

So many of London’s £1m-plus houses are occupied by workshy immigrant families of ten that swathes of Maida Vale have been transformed into one vast welfare ghetto, with Afsoomali emerging as the dominant tongue on street after street.

And huge numbers of City Boys aren’t that fussed about losing their jobs in investment banking because, let’s face it, most of them are better off on the sick.

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Scottish independence: which partner gets the record collection?

by Dave Osler     January 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Not many books make such an impression that you can still remember the broad outline of their arguments three decades after reading them. But the second edition of Tom Nairn’s ‘The Break Up of Britain’, published in 1982, was the work that has shaped my thinking on nationalism within the British Isles ever since.

If Scotland goes its own way, a permanent Tory fiefdom would result in England and Wales. But Europe would gain another country with a social democratic centre of political gravity. Let the Scots decide their own future.

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The class politics of standardised mortality rates

by Dave Osler     January 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Bryncethin? It’s some village near Bridgend, apparently. Never heard of it until this morning, to be honest. Wouldn’t like to guess as to how you pronounce the name.

However, the place finds itself in the news this morning, after data released to parliament revealed that the age-adjusted death rate per nominal 100,000 people is 1,499. That compares with 1,452 in Botswana and 1,427 in Rwanda.

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