Chairman, Laffer Associates
Cut the 50p tax
Reducing the burden which government places on the economy, through tax cuts, is the surest way to promote growth. I have never heard of a country that taxed itself into prosperity. Yet Britain last year raised the top rate of income tax from 40 per cent to 50 per cent. For more economic growth, and more tax revenue, this rate should be lowered immediately.
We need an orderly end to the EU’s disastrous economic experimentThe eurozone crisis threatens the world’s economic stability, but not for the reasons people think. The crisis was predictable and predicted, but schadenfreude is neither appropriate nor affordable. The task now is to extricate ourselves from this mess, and to learn its lessons. This means identifying the factors behind the debt crisis, and deciding how best to bring the calamitous eurozone experiment to an end.
When, two decades ago, the cricket historian David Frith published his study of cricketing suicides, By His Own Hand, the book carried a foreword by Peter Roebuck. As an opening batsman, Roebuck had represented Millfield School, Cambridge University and Somerset, where he was the club captain. In his second life he proved to be a quirky, provocative journalist, initially for the Sunday Times and eventually for several newspapers in Australia, where he lived by choice.
A Canadian doctor may have found a natural way to extend women’s fertilityDr Robert Casper, gynaecologist, reproductive endocrinologist and Toronto-based fertility guru, is telling me a bunch of stuff I really don’t want to hear. ‘The ageing female reproductive system is like a forgotten flashlight on the top shelf of a closet,’ he says in his flat, matter-of-fact Canadian bedside voice; a voice, incidentally, that reminds me of my father’s.
When Keith Richards stepped up onto the stage at the Norman Mailer Gala at the Mandarin Oriental in New York last Tuesday, to collect the Autobiography Award from a bumptious Bill Clinton, he appeared to be almost speechless. Words eventually came, though, if a little tentatively: ‘I’m not usually fazed by stuff,’ said Keith, almost humbly, glancing at the ex-president, ‘but I’m fazed by this.’ It was difficult to tell who had the most star-power; the great and the good took out their mobiles to take snaps of Clinton, while Keef charmed everyone with his unintentional impression of Bill Deedes.
I flew into Cochin one December morning, glad of the humidity, like a welcoming hot flannel after Britain’s bitter cold. I was staying a short walk from the shore in the heart of the old fort at Malabar House, one of a group of boutique hotels set up by Joerg Drechsel and his Catalan partner, Txuku. ‘We were told we were doomed to fail,’ says Joerg, a determined-looking German in his early sixties.
The best view of the Goan coast can be seen from the topmost turret of the ruined Portuguese fort above Chapora. From the dark upper slopes of the Pernem hills down to the level ground of the coastline stretches mile upon mile of banana and coconut groves, the deep green of the palms offset by the white sand of the shore and the foam of the breaking rollers. In the palm groves you can just see the toddy tappers throwing ripe king coconuts down from the treetops.
An everlasting chant wafts from the ancient walls of the temple of Kapaleeshwarar: ‘Om Namasivaya.’ The effect is hypnotic. I wander inside and the chant merges with Vedic folk music as a joyous crowd of worshippers sing in praise of Shiva.An elderly couple are having a birthday blessing and the Dravidian precincts are a riot of colour, jasmine garlands and spice. In a quieter corner, a girl kneels beside a stone cow and whispers her prayers into its ear.