Archive for the ‘Social policy’ Category


How close are we to stopping Alzheimer’s?

July 31st, 2017 by Roger Darlington

This is the question posed at the head of a very short six-part feature currently on the BBC’s website here. I was particularly interested in the section on the special role of sleep which states: “New research by Professor Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Copenhagen suggests that regular, good quality sleep throughout life may powerfully […]

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Would a universal basic income actually work?

March 6th, 2017 by Roger Darlington

Rutger Bregman is a Dutch economist who is causing a stir with his book “Utopia For Realists – And How We Can Get There” which is published in English this week. He has an article in today’s “Guardian” newspaper in which he summarises his case that “Poverty is not a lack of character. Poverty is […]

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How the world’s population is becoming heavier and heavier

October 10th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

“In 2010, 11.5% of adults, or 565 million people, were obese. By 2014, that had already risen to 13% (670 million) … if the trajectory does not change, 17% of adults will be obese by 2025. There will be 170 million adults with a BMI above 35, which is the threshold for urgent medical treatment, such […]

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Why is opinion polling becoming harder and less reliable?

July 27th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

All the pollsters failed to forecast accurately the result of the British General Election in May 2015. We are still awaiting the outcome of an inquiry by the British Polling Council to determine what went wrong and how it can be fixed. Most of my work as a consumer advocate involves working  with regulators and […]

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How many in Britain still smoke and what is it costing us?

June 13th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

Fortunately fewer and fewer people are smoking in the developed world but, here in Britain, almost one in five (18.5%) is still a smoker. According to a new report entitled “Smoking Still Kills”, the annual cost is almost £13 billion – £2 billion to the NHS, £1 billion to social care, and the rest in wider costs […]

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How well do people know the basic facts on immigration?

October 31st, 2014 by Roger Darlington

A new survey by Ipsos MORI has checked public understanding of the numbers behind some key news stories in 14 countries. Let’s just look at two issues in two countries. When asked: out of 100 people, how many do you think are immigrants in this country? In the UK, the average guess was 24%, but […]

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The truth about obesity: 10 shocking things you need to know

June 24th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Nearly two-thirds of the UK population is either overweight or obese. Obesity is shortening our lives. Obesity could bankrupt the National Health Service. It’s an unfair fight between anti-obesity & food industry marketing. Obesity took off in the have-it-all 1980s. Snacking is a newly created behaviour. The food industry is behaving as the tobacco industry […]

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Out of 11 of the major industrialised countries, which has the best health system and which has the worst?

June 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

The countries are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States. The best health system is that of the UK which is publicly funded but spends the second lowest amount of money on health care – £2,008 or $3,405 per head. The worst health system is that of […]

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“The Spirit Level” : five years on

April 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Five years ago, Professors Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson wrote a seminal work called “The Spirit Level” which I reviewed here. What do the authors say now about the inequality they described then? “When we published our book ‘The Spirit Level’, the Government of the day was still famously relaxed about people becoming ‘filthy rich’. […]

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How a decent level of welfare can actually promote economic growth

March 28th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

“There is no general correlation between the size of the welfare state and the growth performance of an economy. To cite a rather striking example, despite having a welfare state that is 50% bigger than that of the US (29.4% of GDP as against 19.2% of GDP in the US, in 2009), Finland has grown […]

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