Author Archives: Simon Beard

3 facts about assisted dying (or ‘it’s not all about Switzerland you know’)

The debate around legalising assisted dying seems increasingly to centre on the case of suicide tourism; whether people should ‘have to’ travel to clinics in Switzerland where they can legally end their lives. Whilst this is undoubtedly an important trend, it is merely a side show to the real issue and masks three important facts about assisted dying.

1 – Very few people travel to Switzerland to end their lives.

In the last 10 years less than 200 people have travelled to Switzerland to end their lives. That’s quite a lot. However, it’s far fewer than the estimated 500

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 32 Comments

Opinion: Corruption – We can do better than this

The UK is more corrupt than Qatar. That’s not my judgement, but that of the World Bank and their Control of Corruption Index. This places the UK 18th in the world, behind not only Qatar but Iceland, Chile and Liechtenstein.
 
It’s easy to sound jingoistic with this sort of comparison, and I really don’t mean to. So here’s an even more worrying comparison. In 2010, the latest year the World Bank has collated its figures for, the UK received a control of corruption score of +1.48 (on a …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments

Opinion: Opening up the benefits of renewable energy means considering much more than just the size of subsidies

At present for somebody to benefit from the subsidies offered to small scale renewable energy production they must have three things:

1 – Ownership of a property suitable for producing renewable energy

2 – A substantial amount of capital to invest in installing the technology and

3 – The opportunity to invest this capital for 25 years, with no possibility of early pay back unless they sell their house, in which case it is an open question what return they might receive.

Unsurprisingly this leave most people unable to access these benefits, even though many may have something to contribute to renewable energy production, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Why I will be making trouble for the census

After voting in elections, I doubt there is any civic duty more important than responding to the decennial census. The information it provides to governments for policy making is vital, and often very revealing. It simply is not mentioned enough, but the last time a census was taken, back in 2001, it was found that the population was over a million people smaller than predicted in 2000, and that estimates of the population growth rate, which fueled national hysteria about immigration in the late 1990s were twice what they should have been.

It therefore makes me very sad that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 9 Comments
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  • User AvatarPeter Chegwyn 31st Oct - 11:21pm
    Paul - There are 13 candidates declared so far in Rochester but no 'Bus Pass Elvis' as yet. It's generally accepted that there's a margin...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 31st Oct - 10:44pm
    On the subject of George Osborne. He's gone up in my estimations. It's not really political, more personal. All politicians are human and if you...
  • User AvatarPaul Kennedy 31st Oct - 10:39pm
    Like others, I am very disappointed to hear that Lester has decided to resign. As the nice party of British politics, the Lib Dems are...
  • User AvatarMeral Hussein Ece 31st Oct - 9:32pm
    A truly terrible inhumane decision . The increased numbers are due to the fact, as Sarah Teather rightly says, the Middle East is burning. How...
  • User AvatarPaul in Wokingham 31st Oct - 9:24pm
    A little detail on that Rochester poll mentioned by malc: the sample size was 1012. The total number of people who said they intended to...
  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 31st Oct - 9:14pm
    Indeed, people should keep their comments short if they want to be read. I often skim past very long comments, especially if they seem particularly...