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Invitation to a duel

A few weeks ago, I spoke at an international conference on regulation. One of my fellow panellists told me, as we took our seats, that he was against regulation. I rubbed my hands with glee in anticipation that sparks would soon begin to fly. Sadly, the only sparks were the evidence of us getting on like a house on fire. He wasn’t against regulation; it was just bad regulation that he couldn’t tolerate. Me too.

We could have ended up in heated agreement – but happily we didn’t

But where did we each draw the line between the good and the bad? Several examples came up in discussion and our lines seemed to be in much the same place.

But he put some distance between us when he said that it was not a good idea to impose a price-cap on the standard variable tariffs for domestic gas and electricity (my views on that topic haven’t changed since writing this in 2017) and that the current system for regulating the press was going well (I say it’s not).

After the conference, he invited me to debate press self-regulation online, hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs. We were each allowed 650 words. And we couldn’t see in advance what the other was saying. I suppose we could have ended up in heated agreement once again. But, happily, we didn’t … as you can see here. Many thanks, Julian Jessop.

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