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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    @Michael BG "I find the idea that decisions are better if made by the UK government than if made by the EU weak." So do...
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    I thank Paul for this . It is outrageous that calls get taken seriously for sacking someone who speaks their mind , is not offensive...
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    The attitudes which caused the cruel and unnecessary Abervan disaster are still with us and those who promote them flourish. "I think the economic logic...
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    @Peter - no, Nissan has not announced they will build new models at Sunderland. The decision is due next month. In the meantime, the boss...
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    El Sid "As for sovereignty being with parliament and not the people who put the MPs there, for MPs to argue that their ignoring the...
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    Annabel "Nothing is more important than freedom to run your own affairs." First of all we have had freedom to run our own affairs with...