Delivering “Real” Free Trade?

No two political words in the English language are more misused and abused by the global political class than ‘Free Trade’.  Real free trade – as opposed to what so many claim to be ‘free trade’ – involves absolutely minimal restriction and unfettered market access. One only has to glance at the many, many pages […]

Business at the Tiller

There is a long tradition in the United States of appointing people who have no political experience to the cabinet directly from business. This is particularly true of economic portfolios such as Commerce or Treasury but applies in other positions too. The Secretary of State has long been different. All recent Secretaries of State have had at […]

Concerning trends in Turkey

Donald Trump’s inauguration seems like a good reason to focus our attention elsewhere and your columnist has selected Turkey: that’s the country, not the Thanksgiving meal. After 11 years as Prime Minister and two as President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is proposing amendments to the constitution. He wants the position of Prime Minister abolished and its […]

Issuing orders

In his first week of office, Donald Trump issued more executive orders than Barack Obama did in his first week.  That was probably deliberate. He wants to be seen as an activist president. Executive orders are generally controversial with the party which does not control the executive, and sometimes with constitutional scholars. The President is […]

French standoff

Until the 1970s, Western countries had no clear ideology of conservatism. Conservative politicians saw their role to slow down, but not actually stop, the changes advocated by the left. They wanted to adopt these “inevitable” changes at a slower pace than that advocated by liberals and socialists. Reagan and Thatcher changed that. Soon, worldwide, conservatives […]

Is Trump rejecting climate denial?

It has become depressingly ordinary for Republican politicians to enter a denial phase in any discussion of climate change. This both undermines any attempt to deal with this issue, but also to discuss it. People who pretend the climate isn’t changing will refuse to discuss how best to address the issue and it allows liberals […]

Trump is wrong, even when he’s right

Donald Trump has a remarkable ability to let his worst characteristics shine through even when he happens, by pure chance, to be right about something. Buzzfeed published some completely unconfirmed allegations about Trump’s personal life. The site even acknowledged that they had absolutely no idea if the allegations were true. CNN then reported that Buzzfeed […]

A nation of laws

There were many legal arguments raised against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). But there was one interesting approach that no-one tried. No-one argued that the Act was unlawful because enacting  a single-payer system was beyond the powers of Congress. That makes sense. The legislation did not enact a single-payer system. Candidate Obama had claimed that […]

How to be an independent

Donald Trump is, effectively, an independent president. He has no roots in the Republican Party, and no sympathy with its vision or policies. There are numerous ways to be an independent. Your columnist would favour a grand bargain in which the president persuaded Democrats to abandon everything they want on the economy and Republicans to abandon […]

No Congressional Honeymoon

President Clinton – President Bill Clinton – began his term when the Democrats had controlled the House for forty years and the Senate for most of that time too. They lost control two years later. When George W Bush took office Republicans had a secure majority in the House and a narrow one in the […]