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New Direction | The Foundation for European Reform is an international partner of CapX, a digital service which commissions and aggregates the best news on popular capitalism from around the world.

The non-existent conspiracy to privatise the NHS

For years, protestors have claimed that successive governments are secretly plotting to underfund the NHS as a prelude to privatising it. But it's a total fantasy. UK health spending is in line with, or higher than, many other countries – and while most of them have mixed systems, less than a tenth of the NHS's budget goes on private provision.

Patents are pointless unless they protect

The primary point of a patent is to protect intellectual property for a set period. It also means that others can research and improve the idea. This delicate and economically vital system should be handled carefully. Which is why a European Commission plan to add waivers for stockpiling and exporting of pharmaceuticals is so worrying.

Progress depends on reason

In his new book, the psychologist Steven Pinker looks at what constitutes human progress and whether it can continue. He concludes that it is not only definable, but measurable, and rooted in the 18th century Enlightenment. Rather than the Utopian notion that we can solve every problem, progress comes from how we use reason to address them.

Remainers are fighting a losing battle

The glee with which some Remain campaigners greet gloomy economic forecasts is doing nothing to persuade Leave votes they were wrong – indeed, few voters have changed their minds since the referendum. UK voters chose Brexit and it's absurd to claim they were conned. Remainers should concentrate on improving Brexit – not reversing it.

The forgotten hero of the women's vote

Willoughby Dickinson defied his own party and sacrificed his career in his relentless campaign for women's suffrage. Yet a century after the introduction of the first votes for women, the only MP with a perfect voting record on the issue, who devised a compromise which led to the legislation, has largely been forgotten


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