Category Archive: governance

Jun
23
2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I have just returned from a fascinating conference at MIT on Security and Human Behaviour and am now preparing for the EU Green Week conference in Brussels.  This post explores an issue common to both conferences: paranoia. The “security” of central interest to the MIT conference was that of people using the Internet. The titles …

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Feb
11
2009

Ban horse riding, or …

Below is a letter to the Guardian, published today (11 February 2009) in reduced form. Jacqui Smith is keen that the Government’s classification of drugs should send clear messages to would-be users. One message conveyed by her attack on David Nutt (Drugs adviser says sorry over ecstasy article, 10 February) is that she does not care …

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Feb
07
2009

Risk Management: the Economics and Morality of Safety Revisited

Abstract The introduction to the proceedings of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2006 seminar on The Economics and Morality of Safety concluded with a list of issues that were “worthy of further exploration”. I have  reduced them to the following questions: • Why do moral arguments about ‘rights’ persist unresolved? • Why can risk managers …

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Nov
05
2008

Proving a negative and the onus of proof

Two assertions that I cannot prove: ·      No one, anywhere, ever, has been killed by a bicycle bomb. ·      No life, anywhere, ever, has been saved by the life jacket under their seat.  Anywhere is a large place, and ever is a long time. The most one can do is broadcast an appeal for disproving …

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Apr
16
2008

The Achilles heel of eco-towns

Dear Sir Simon Jenkins (4 April 2008) exposes the Achilles heel of all the proposed eco-towns: transport. But he is a trifle hard on the motives of the original proponents of the garden cities and new towns. Relieving the squalid, densely packed, inner city slums by providing houses in new settlements, with gardens, in which …

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Sep
06
2007

John Stuart Mill and the cream-buns theory of liberty

Britain’s Liberal Democrat History Group provoked a mid-summer controversy with its search for the greatest British Liberal of all time. Its short list, to be voted on at the party’s annual conference in September, consisted of William Ewart Gladstone, David Lloyd George, John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes. The front runner for most of …

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Mar
19
2007

“Ensure you can see where you are putting your feet before walking”: Governance and Compliance

Keynote address to OpRisk Europe Conference, 21 March, London: All risk is subjective. “Risk” is a word that refers to the future, and that exists only in the imagination. Risk management involves speculating about this future, about things that could go wrong, and about ways of preventing them. In recent years, in the public sector …

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