Tuesday, July 23, 2019

An end to smoking?

The big news of the day was the announcement of Boris Johnson as the new Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. In light of this, much may change regarding future priorities. However, what caught my eye was the announcement that the (current) government intends to end smoking in England by 2030.

That's a rather bold move. It's probably misleading for the BBC to describe this as a 'pledge' though, given that it's only a green paper for consultation. The end of the article says this consultation runs until 14th October, with a government response due in spring (2020). I can't help thinking they might have other priorities, perhaps even including an early election...

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Universal Credit and Prostitution

I've been reading some stuff on prostitution lately, for my Ethics of Public Policy module. Predictably, much of it focuses on whether prostitutes have any free choice over engaging in sex work or whether they are coerced, for instance by poverty and a lack of acceptable alternatives.

This piece on the BBC is therefore timely. It reports that a number of women, particularly single mothers, are forced into 'survival sex' as a result of changes to universal credit. Unfortunately the deadline for submitting evidence has now passed, but this was a concern of the DWP.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vegan-Friendly Cities?

I've seen a couple of people sharing this ranking of vegan-friendly cities, which has also been picked up by some news sources, such as The Metro.

You wouldn't know the methodology from the news reports but, if you go to the original source, it seems to be based entirely on total population divided by the number of vegan/veggie-only restaurants. It takes no account of things like quality of restaurants or how accommodating other restaurants are for vegans (which I'd say is pretty important in branding a city 'vegan-friendly').

 Indeed, despite labelling the table 'most vegan friendly cities' it doesn't even seem to distinguish vegan from vegetarian. Theoretically, somewhere could top this list based on having a lot of vegetarian restaurants without any vegan dishes.

I'm also curious as to how this ranking would compare with one of total restaurants per person. While I'd expect some places to have a higher proportion of vegan/vegetarian restaurants than others, it seems this methodology will simply favour places with more restaurants per head (assuming some will be vegetarian/vegan).

It's a pretty meaningless ranking I'd say.

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