Showing posts from July, 2015

Extra summer music spot: Handel's Sarabande

A lovely piece to relax to on a summer evening And of course, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 31st July 2015


Ici Londres: In praise of patriotism

Dan Hannan MEP on the merits of patriotism. (Not nationalism: he is talking about the sort of patriotism which means fondness for one's own country and as he points out, does not have to mean hatred or disdain for any other nation.)

Quote of the day 30th July 2015


Everyone should have a say on whether Britain stays in the EU

The point of holding a referendum on Britain's EU membership is that everyone should be entitled to have their say. This is a decision for the British people, not just the politicians. Everyone should be able to take part in the debate, not just so-called "experts." I hope that debate can be held in a civilised and friendly manner, and that everyone will listen to the views of both sides. I hope that both sides will put forward a positive vision for the sort of Britain they want and that country's place in the world, and that we won't get too much scaremongering from either side. I hope that we don't get - from either side - any of the egregious hostility which sadly characterised some contributions to the Scottish independence debate. Those who indulged in that last year did no service to the cause of Scotland and anyone who adopts similar tactics of hate in the UK independence referendum will do no service to the cause of Britain. There is a good art

My favourite advert of all time ...

They really don't make them like this any more, which is a shame. Not many adverts ever broadcast could make people laugh 20 years later as much as this one ... And by the way, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 29th July 2015


Ici Londres: Dan Hannan on the Euro vs. Democracy

A thought-provoking piece by Dan Hannan MEP, illustrated with some unusual parallels, on the tension between the Euro and democracy. And remember, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 28th July 2015


Don't let's be beastly to the Germans

Dan Hannan has written a very good piece in the Washington Examiner, Don't blame the Germans, blame the euro . I have consistently been strongly opposed to British entry into the Euro and was part of the "Keep the Pound" campaign from day one. There is actually a case for the Euro in those countries whose economies are synchronised with Germany's and which are willing to accept the financial discipline and loss of sovereignty which are necessary to make it work. The inclusion of countries like Greece to which neither of these things apply was a recipe for disaster, and it is this, not any evil intent on the part of the German government or people, which has been a major part of the problems they have been experiencing (though massive mismanagement by past Greek governments didn't help.)

Quote of the day 27th July 2015


This Week's best spoof articles

Another good crop of spoof stories, despite the fact that some of the "silly season" spoofs in the mainstream media are so ludicrous that it must have been hard to top them. Indeed, this very point appears to have been the inspiration for the News Thump story Queen's corgis are Nazis claims shock report. The Daily Mash says " Labour MPs are all changing their name to Eric Pickles (except Jeremy Corbyn) ," and on that note, " Jeremy Corbyn's rivals accuse him of creating 'Scrappy Doo'. " NewsThump also advise us that " John Prescott says 'Hodor' " (I wonder which JRR Martin series of books they've been reading.) And one from earlier this year which I missed at the time as I was just a bit busy with elections: William Shatner steals space shuttle 'Enterprise' to search for reborn Leonard Nimoy. Doubtless if that had been published in the last few days they would have suggested he might try to get

Congratulations to Chris Froome

Chris Froome has just become the first ever British cyclist to win the "Tour De France" twice. Congratulations to him on this fantastic achievement.

Sunday music spot: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

In 1804 Ludwig van Beethoven was going through a period when his work was not appreciated, and he was very short of money. He had such difficulty paying the bills that his cleaning lady, who had not been paid for weeks, came to give notice. "But you cannot leave me!" cried Beethoven. "You are my inspiration." The cleaning lady was most amused. " I am YOUR inspiration ?" she asked. "Ha Ha Ha Haaaaah !" "Ha Ha Ha Haaaaah !" And by the way #SupportOption1.

Rebecca Coulson on Political Spam

Rebecca makes some good points at the Spectator here  about the amount of texts, email, social media contact etc everyone remotely interested in politics tends to get, especially (but not just) during election campaigns. I particularly like her last paragraph: "Of course parties need to communicate during election campaigns. But they urgently need to do it better. By talking with rather than just talking to. By writing in clear, attractive English. By resisting cut-and-paste soliloquies with famous signatories. Simply, by offering people a real reason to vote for them." Too right.

Quote of the day 26th July 2015

I picked this one because of the behaviour of SNP "anti-austerity" protesters in David Mundell's constituency last week. And anyone else who thinks they win an argument with someone by sending a hundred people to shout them down in a threatening or abusive way, or by insulting them generally. As Jim King pointed out in a comment yesterday, the SNP are not the only culprits of this sort of behaviour. It is wrong whoever does it. It is not impossible, by the way, to organise an demonstration in a non-threatening way, and I don't have a problem with that or consider that Paine's words would apply to it. I have seen, for example, a hundred or more people standing outside a building or the entrance to a venue, at a safe distance so that they are not obstructing of directly threatening the people their protest is aimed at, holding placards. The most effective such demonstrations had people either standing in disciplined silence or singing something associated wi

Bringing shame on Scotland ...

David Mundell MP is a good guy, an assiduous constituency MP and a brave man. He was jeered and threatened yesterday by an SNP mob when opening a food bank in his constituency. And nobody will convince me this was not organised. As US comedian Jon Stewart asked Nicola Sturgeon a few weeks ago when she said the SNP were having an investigation into the three seats they didn't win (including David's), "You think you're Saddam Hussein, you get 99%?" It was funny on his show: this SNP mob are not funny, they are scary, because they are acting as if they actually believe they have a divine right to all the seats and anyone who opposes them is a traitor to Scotland. They shouted at him "Traitor" and "Shame on you." Well any decent human being watching the video of what happened would have been thinking "Shame on YOU!" The members of that mob were a disgrace to Scotland. As a person with some Scots ancestry myself, I cannot be

Quote of the day 25th July 2015

"After the events of the last few weeks Labour is doomed to be all over the place for quite some time." ( Steve Richards, in an Independent article which you can read here . He is, however, quick to point out that five years is a long time in politics, inferring correctly Labour will not necessarily be all over the place for five years. The fact that Labour are in a mess while the Conservatives are riding high today does not guarantee that either of those things will still be true in 2020.)

Be careful what you wish for: a response to "Tories4Corbyn"

There are some Conservatives who derive a strong sense of schadenfreude from the car crash into which Labour's leadership election appears to be descending.   I can understand that, though I am trying to resist it.   I hope those who are talking about being "Tories4Corbyn" and suggesting that people should register as Labour supporters to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in order to destroy the Labour party are joking.   Because if people actually did it the joke could be on Britain.   Jeremy Corbyn is certainly not Labour's best prospect to win the next election. My main concern about the damage he could do to Britain is that I think he would be a very weak Opposition Leader, far worse than Ed Miliband, who nobody would take seriously. It would be better even for the Conservatives, and much more so for Britain, if the government were kept on its' toes by somebody who was seen as a credible alternative.   But the fact that I don't believe a Corbyn v

Anatomy of a seagull

Suspect I will not be the only resident of Whitehaven who has some sympathy with this picture of the anatomy of a seagull posted on twitter by Ben Dawkins (@bennyd111)

The Economist on the opposition's lemming-like rush to irrelevance

The Economist has a good article on the British opposition's headlong attempt to make itself unelectable which you can read at The frightening thing however, is that however determined on self-immolation Labour may be, a few disastrous events and a bad crack-up during the European referendum could still put them in power. Britain needs a strong opposition. The worrying thing is that it doesn't look at the moment like we are going to get one.

Saj Karim MEP on the end of mobile roaming charges

The end is in sight for mobile roaming charges – Sajjad Karim, MEP for the North West, writes:     "An agreement between the European Commission, Council and Parliament was recently reached that will phase out data roaming charges across Europe within two years. The deal is great news for consumers and travellers.   This long overdue settlement means that charges will be significantly cut next summer and from June 15, 2017, we will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data irrespective of whether at home or travelling in the EU.   I and my Conservative colleagues in the European Parliament have been pushing for this. It’s been a tough battle but now we have an agreement to end this unfair practice that we’ve been trying to get rid of for so long and it removes another barrier to a true single digital market in Europe, helping Britain be more competitive which is good news for consumer and businesses.   The ‘Telecoms Single Market’ package has to be rat

Quote of the Day 24th July 2015

The Longest Suicide Vote in History? ( Front page headline of yesterday's "Independent" referring to the Labour leadership election. You can read the article for which this is the headline here .)

Time to remove the protected status of Seagulls

Eight years ago on this blog I raised concerns about seagulls which were picked up by the Whitehaven News. The problem of aggressive seagulls in Whitehaven has continued to get worse and was picked up this week by the Daily Mail . I think it is time to remove the protected status of seagulls - they are not remotely endangered, we could not wipe them out if we tried - and they are becoming a health hazard because 1) we have foolishly allowed them to associate humans with food and 2) they have lost their fear of humans. I think when it came out that primary school children at Jericho School had had to be escorted past the gulls into school after coming under attack from them was probably the tipping point for a lot of people. We need to get the situation under control.

When people believe strange things ...

Forty six years ago this week, Apollo 11's lunar module landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, in one of the most incredible achievements in human history. The fact that this was done tells you something and amazing and positive about the human race, but something equally amazing but negative is how many people, some of whom are otherwise highly intelligent, have managed to convince themselves of the absurd idea that the moon landings never happened and NASA pictures of them is all a gigantic hoax. I was deeply shocked a little over a decade ago, during a casual conversation with a colleague who I knew from the quality of his work had a fully functioning brain, to discover that he was convinced that the moon landing films had been faked. Since then I have had an interest in why people believe strange things. An amusing coincidence - which I am certain was not a conspiracy - is that after the experience of finding that an intelligent work colleague believed in this

Quote of the day 23rd July 2015

“All those things we were saying about how it was a hard election for us to lose were true, we just still managed to lose it.” (Ed Miliband adviser speaking to Rafael Behr of the Guardian and quoted here .)

Old habits die hard

Can I draw your attention to four unnecessary words in a quote from a generally very perceptive article? Andrew Rawnsley, a very shrewd centre-left journalist, wrote a few days ago, that Jeremy Corbyn's argument "– that Labour lost because it was not left wing enough for the electorate – is going essentially unchallenged. This is, of course, what hard leftists always say after a Labour defeat. They said it after 1979. They said it again when Labour adopted most of their prospectus and then went down to an even worse defeat in 1983. They said it after 2010. They are singing the same old anthem now about 2015. If we had promised higher taxes, more welfare, more borrowing and mass nationalisation, Ed Miliband would be in Number 10. Meanwhile, out in the real world, serious people are investigating the true reasons why Labour came 98 seats behind the Conservatives in England and Wales, and secured 2 million fewer votes than the Tories. " (The full article is here .)

Dan Hannan MEP on why Socialism Doesn't Work

Dan Hannan MEP in a debate at the Oxford Union, on why Socialism does not work.

John McTernan doesn't pull his punches ...

Hat tip to Guido - former Labour spinner John McTernan does not pull his punches about the Labour MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader so that there would be a debate ...

Syed for Mayor

I live more than 300 miles away from London, so it is entirely right that I will not have a vote either in the selection of Conservative candidate for London mayor, nor in the election itself. And I hope that all the rumours of CCHQ trying to impose either a candidate or a specific size of shortlist on Conservatives in London are just that - rumours - it should be for Conservatives in London to pick their candidate. However, I used to work in London and naturally still take an interest in what happens there, so I see no reason not to express a view. There are several excellent candidates who have put themselves forward, but although he would be a huge loss to the European parliament, I hope Syed Kamall MEP becomes mayor. Syed has been a London MEP for ten years and is currently the British Conservative leader in the European Parliament and also the leader of the Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament. While I was standing for the European parliament las

Quote of the day 22nd July 2015


The wrong reason to attack Tim Farron.

Like the vast majority of political activists in Cumbria who are members of parties other than the Liberal Democrats, I am definitely not a fan of Tim Farron M.P. His own electorate appear to love him because of his enormous skill at appearing to, as the saying goes, "be nice to everybody." He has practically eliminated the Labour vote in Westmorland & Lonsdale by coming over as a progressive alternative to the Conservatives while persuading many people in the constituency of a broadly Conservative persuasion that he thinks like them. And some of the tactics by which the Lib/Dems have achieved this have, shall we say, not been exemplars of the highest possible standards of truthfulness. However, I have not been impressed by the manner in which, during the campaign for Lib/Dem leader, and since his election, Tim Farron has been relentlessly attacked by people making out that because he is an evangelical Christian he must have ambiguous views on gay rights. This amo

A Westminster columnist's valedictory

The Economist's "Bagehot" Westminster political correspondent is moving on and has written a valedictory column, "This House is Falling," using the crumbling state of Pugin's masterpiece, the Palace of Westminster, as a metaphor for the state of the United Kingdom. It makes some good points and you can read it here .

Quote of the day 21st July 2015

" If Jeremy Corbyn is the answer then Labour is asking the wrong question " (Headline on an Observer opinion piece about the Labour Leadership election.)

Tom Tugendhat MP's letter to a constituent re Syria

Tom Tugendhat MP's agent Andrew Kennedy has published on his blog a letter which Tom recently sent to a constituent who was concerned at the possibility that Britain might become more involved in military intervention against DAESH (the so called "Islamic State.") You can read the letter  here and I can see why Andrew thought it deserved a wider audience.

School Holidays start in West Cumbria

My word, the roads seem remarkably quiet this morning ...

Quote of the day 20th July 2015

Rarely have I seen so powerful an example of the old adage that there is many a true word spoken in jest than this quote from Groucho Marx And by the way, we need to retain consultant-led maternity at West Cumberland Hospital and Furness General Hospital so # SupportOption1

Public Toilets in Whitehaven

I walked past Whitehaven Civic Hall this afternoon - closed during a round of cuts under the previous Copeland Council Labour administration and then re-opened after they found they had more money than they had realised - and it was open this afternoon for a music event. Someone had made a point of making the toilets in the Civic Hall available to members of the public whether they were attending the event or not: there was a big sign with directions to the toilets. (The public toilets in the Marketplace had been another victim of the same round of ill-judged cuts.) I suspect someone may have been making a point there ....

Occasional Sunday music spot: Mozart's Symphony No. 40

And don't forget, we still need to keep up the pressure on the NHS trusts to retain consultant-led maternity at WCH and FGH. #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 19th July 2015


Ici Londres: Dan Hannan MEP on Fascism and communism

Great piece by Dan Hannan MEP on the similarity of Nazi and Communist ideologies

Debate between the four candidates for Labour Leader

I've been trying to find a video which can be shared of the debate between the four Labour leadership candidates without any luck - but here's something equally bananas ... And here's something which isn't a joke: we need consultant maternity at West Cumberland Hospital so #SupportOption1

David Cameron on Growth

David Cameron has posted a video, filmed on his recent trip to Cornwall, in which he restates his commitment to One Nation conservatism and explains the actions the government is taking to ensure the whole country benefits from growth. You can watch it at the following link:"> href=" David Cameron video from Cornwall

Quote of the day 18th July 2015

"We're running around stamping our feet, screaming at the electorate when ultimately what we need to do is meet people where they are at, not necessarily where we would want them to be." (Labour's shadow business secretary  Chuka Umunna , in an interview with BBC Newsnight political editor Allegra Stratton.) He also accused some of his Labour colleagues of "behaving like a petulant child who has been told you can't have the sweeties in the sweet shop".

If Jeremy Corbyn became Labour Leader

Atul Hatwal, who blogs at Labour Uncut, is one of comparatively few Labour activists whose views on anything I would go out of my way to read. I think he is spot on in his imagined piece at Sun Nation " What if comrade Corbyn became Labour leader ?" that the election of Jeremy Corbyn would be very bad news for the Labour party. I doubt, however, that he is right that the party would depose him at the end of 100 days. Much of the Labour party realised that they were heading for disaster with Michael Foot as leader but they bottled out of doing anything about it. They realised that they were heading for disaster with Gordon Brown as leader but they bottled out of doing anything about it. Many of them realised that they were heading for disaster with Ed Miliband as leader but they bottled out of doing anything about it. The Conservative party has little hesitation in sacking its' leaders if it thinks they are likely to lose it the next election. But Labour does

Quote of the day 17th July 2015


Why were the polls so wrong?

Latest analysis from the British Election Survey on why the opinion polls were up the creek can be read here . They think the explanation had less to do with "Shy Tories" and more to do with the polling companies not estimating correctly what proportion of people would vote. The conclusion reads: "Our analysis of the post-election BES data makes us much more sceptical about late swing, “don’t knows” and Shy Tories. By contrast, we are leaning strongly towards differential turnout as part of the explanation and think that it’s likely that sampling and weighting also played at least some role." Which roughly translates as "There was a problem with people lying to pollsters, but it wasn't so much Tories lying to the pollsters about being Tories as people who described themselves as Labour voters not being honest enough to admit to admit they were too lazy to vote."

Socialism is a bankrupt ideology

Luke Johnson has a great piece on the CAPX website called " Socialism is a bankrupt ideology ."

Quote of the day 16th July 2015


A glorious day

It has been a wonderful summer's day in West Cumbria today. The measure of a clear day on the West Coast of Cumbria is that the Isle of Man is easily visible and it was very clear indeed. Sometimes I am stunned by how beautiful the world around us is, and today was one of those days.

Quote of the day 15th July 2015

"It is the fecklessness of the Greek government’s negotiating strategy and their utter separation from reality which have been the primary causes of a deal far worse for Greece than it should have been. It is the Greek people, above all the poor, who will suffer most from the game-playing of this supposedly left-wing government. "In a makeshift alliance of charlatans and lunatics, Tsipras deserves only limited credit for deciding at the last minute that he was just a charlatan after all." (Kevin Feeney, a Labour party member, in an article on "Labour Uncut" called " Look at Syriza, look at Greece: that's what Jeremy Corbyn would do for Labour and Britain .")


West Cumbria is to get a new nuclear power station: NuGen, the UK nuclear new-build developer, announced today that it has officially signed a contract with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for the Moorside site. Feasibility studies at Moorside have now confirmed the site is suitable for the construction of three reactors. NuGen have paid an undisclosed sum to the NDA for the land and the contract was approved at a meeting in Tokyo today. NuGen chief executive Tom Samson signed the land deal with the NDA’s chief executive John Clarke. Mr Samson was delighted at the “major milestone for NuGen’s Moorside project”. “This is a key moment in our Moorside Project journey," he said. "Our board has reached a decision of significance which confirms Moorside is suitable, against criteria at this stage of the development. “This is great news for the north west, and particularly for west Cumbria, the UK’s nuclear heartland. We are delighted to be taking forward Moorside,

Best Spoof articles of the last few days

Conservatives cannot afford to get complacent given the risk of what Harold MacMillan called "events, dear boy, events" so are strictly only recommended to read this "Daily Mash" article as a joke because it is very funny: " Labour split on how to self-destruct ." (Mind you, if I was a Labour supporter I would be turning the air blue, thumping my desk and complaining that it had far too much truth in it.) And nobody should share the following Daily Mash article with the ECB or the troika in case it gives them the idea to try it for real ... " Greek economy wired to bomb " Meanwhile NewsThump say America is convinced that removing the Confederate Army Battle flag will definitely prevent mass shootings ...

Laws for various parts of the UK:

Mark D'Arcy,   Parliamentary correspondent for the BBC, has just drawn attention to this interesting parliamentary answer by the Leader of the Commons, Chris Grayling, which affects the argument for English Votes for English Laws: Question To ask the Leader of the House, how many government bills introduced in each of the last five years have been (a) England, (b) England and Wales, (c) Great Britain, (d) Wales, (e) Scotland and (f) Northern Ireland only in the scope of their provisions. Answer The following figures relate to Bills introduced over the five years of the last Parliament and are based upon the impact of the legislation, rather than their territorial extent. They exclude any minor or consequential impacts. (a) one affecting England only; (b) 13 affecting England and Wales only; (c) two affecting only Great Britain; (d) one affecting Wales only; (e) one affecting Scotland only and; (f) one affecting Northern Ireland only.

What has the SNP in common with Syriza?

Today the UK government withdrew proposals to bring the law on hunting in England and Wales into line with the law in Scotland, because the Scottish National Party has just made a U-turn and announced that they will now oppose adoption in England and Wales of the same law which they, as the majority government in Scotland for the past four years have apparently been perfectly happy to leave in place for Scotland. Let's repeat that.SNP representatives from Scotland constituencies have just successfully blocked, at least for the time being, a proposal for England and Wales to adopt the same law on hunting that Scotland currently has. Only weeks ago the SNP leader told the Guardian that this was an issue on which SNP members of parliament would not interfere in English affairs and they have only very recently taken the same promise down from their website. It is perfectly obvious what is going on here and it has nothing whatsoever to do with foxhunting. I agree wholeheartedly

Website Adjustment

Hat tip to Guido Fawkes for pointing out that this has vanished from the SNP website ...

Quote of the day 14th July 2014

"Sorry, but Greece isn’t victim of a ‘coup’. It’s a victim of the Euro."   ( Fraser Nelson , title of a Spectator article which you can read here .)

James McEnaney on whether the SNP should vote on English matters

There was a time, as you can still read on the SNP website, here , when their MPs did not vote on England only matters. As they said in 2006,   "Scottish National Party MP's vote for Scotland's interests and priorities at Westminster and the SNP wants all powers currently exercised by the House of Commons to be returned to an independent Scotland. "In the meantime, SNP Parliamentarians vote on matters which have a direct or significant indirect impact on Scotland, including UK constitutional affairs. We refrain from voting on exclusively English, Welsh and Northern Irish matters." And as recently as February 2015, as lecturer James McEnaney points out here ,  Nicola Sturgeon said that this policy would continue, writing in the Guardian that where "any issue is genuinely 'English-only', with no impact on Scotland, the case for EVEL can be made." She also provided one specific example of an issue which would legitimately be seen as a matt

Grexit postponed?

It looks for the moment as though those who argued that Greece would not leave the Euro were right. Mainly because Tsipras bottled it in what has been called the "U-turn of the century." It's fairly clear that if he hadn't the Germans would have held firm and refused to pay up, making some form of exit or suspension from the Euro for Greece almost inevitable. I would not totally rule out the possibility that it still might happen, although the odds look a lot lower than they did a few days ago. I still think a negotiated and properly managed Grexit - though not a forced one - would have been better for both Greece and the Eurozone, but it would appear that neither side wants to listen to that argument. Let's hope it does not go horribly wrong. I also remain extremely glad Britain is not in the Eurozone. Our economy is not aligned with the Eurozone, and for very good reasons is not likely to become so anytime in the next couple of decades. Staying out of

Quote of the day 13th July 2015


Dear Auntie Yasmin

Like most Conservatives I strongly disagree with many of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's opinions, but I have to give her credit for the courage and intellectual honesty involved in tackling some incredibly difficult issues around terrible problems which few other people have the guts to raise. For example, I respect the work she has done in highlighting problems like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and the harm that comes to both young women and young men in forcing them into particular patterns of behaviour. She gets a lot of letters from people within the Asian community who cannot think of anyone else to turn to, and there was an article about them in today's Sunday Times magazine called "Dear Auntie Yasmin" which made me want to weep. Here are a couple of extracts ... "I am Amina. My English is not so good. They want my six year old daughter wear the hijab. Where it says in Qu'ran that a child must do this? When I say no, they beat me, e

Sunday Music slot; Bach's Air on a G String

And I have not abandoned my Cato act: we still need consultant-led maternity at West Cumberland Hospital and Furness General, so #SupportOption1

Hunting in England & Wales and Scottish votes

MPs are due to vote next week on whether the law on hunting with dogs in England and Wales should be brought into line with that in Scotland. There will be a free vote on this measure, and later in the parliament on whether the Hunting Act should be completely repealed. Which raises an interesting issue. In my opinion, since matters relating to hunting have been devolved in Scotland to the Scottish parliament, neither measure will affect Scotland and it is unreasonable for MPs representing Scottish constituencies to vote on either measure. It would be strongly resented by whichever side loses what is expected to be a very close vote if the issue of whether the Hunting Act in England and Wales is repealed were determined by the votes of MPs for Scottish constituencies for whom the matter is determined by the Scottish parliament. That would be bad enough. But the case against MPs for Scots constituencies doing anything other than abstaining in the Hunting vote next week is over

Quote of the day 12th July 2015


The Minimum Wage balancing act

For many years I was vehemently opposed to the idea of a minimum wage. I thought it was likely to create more problems by pricing people out of work than it solved. I was dead against it when Blair introduced it for very much the reasons explained in an item the Economist blog has published this week on " why some economists oppose minimum wages ." However, you have to take account of the evidence - as Maynard Keynes said, "When the facts change, I change my mind." My first fear, that politicians would set it at an irresponsibly high level, has not so far been realised, and the increase and rebranding in the 2015 budget does not appear at first sight to change this. The chancellor set out plans to increase the rebranded "living wage" to £9 by 2020 - which is not very much further than inflation adjustment would probably have taken it anyway. Nor is there any evidence so far that the minimum wage has priced significant number of people out of jobs