Mind and body

Fri 16 September 2016
I get my heart pumping at 150+ beats per minute three or four times a week in 45 minute sessions. An obvious benefit is that I generally feel fit and healthy, but that's not my main motivation: regular exercise helps keep my mental state in balance. Immediately after exercising ...

Brexit — correlations, causes and philosophy

Tue 28 June 2016
I shared some thoughts on why I voted remain, then mused on the result and the possibility that brexit might not happen, but now I'd like to try and understand why people in the UK voted to leave in such large numbers. There are a variety of simple stories ...

The EU referendum result

Fri 24 June 2016
photo credit: Start button via photopin (license) It's midnight on one of the shortest nights of the year and I'm ambling down a leafy road. There's some light summer rain and I'm pleasantly inebriated after ...

The EU referendum

Sat 18 June 2016
For citizens used to representative democracy the belief we're voting for significant change can be intoxicating. We like to anchor our instinctive reaction for Remain or Leave, or Yes or No, with rational arguments. But instinct is a more powerful driver of thought than many of us can admit ...

Raising tax can raise GDP

Mon 13 June 2016
I've been improving my grounding in macroeconomics recently and have noticed something that isn't stated explicitly in textbooks, nor mentioned in public political debate, but I do think it's correct and liable to provoke some thought. The main point of this blog post is expressed in the ...

Inchmaholme priory

Wed 25 May 2016
Inchmaholme priory is a ruin that sits on a small island within Scotland's only lake — the Lake of Menteith. It's called a lake rather than a loch due to a mistranslation of the Scots word laich which means lowlands. The island's air of tranquility is apparent as ...

I've written a book

Wed 30 March 2016
I've written a book. It is called An Active Citizen's Guide to Scotland and in it I share my understanding of the information and data that describes Scotland's economy and society. You can visit its website ...

GERS revenue 2014-15 preview

Sun 06 March 2016
I was leafing through Scotland's National Accounts, as you do, when I noticed that some aspects of the much awaited 2014-15 GERS (General Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) report, which is due for release later this week, are in fact already released, albeit tucked away at the end of a ...

A tale of two Dunbartonshires

Fri 04 March 2016
The issue of devolving powers more locally is a recurring theme in recent political debate and particularly the de-centralisation of income tax — the single biggest source of public revenue. This raises the question: How can taxes be set and collected locally to fund council expenditure when income, wealth and needs ...

Scotland - full fiscal flows

Tue 23 February 2016
Scotland's fiscal flows are the monies related to tax and public spending that wend their way through all three levels of government — UK, Scottish and local — and sustain our public infrastructure and services. I created the diagram below to illustrate the flows, drawing on a number of sources. The ...

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