Author: Guy Maughfling

Guy was born in Herefordshire; his family has lived in Cheltenham since 1980. After graduating in Philosophy, Politics & Economics, Guy qualified as a chartered accountant since when he has advised numerous private and public sector enterprises in Africa, Europe, Australia and the USA. He lived in Delft in the Netherlands from 2001-2005; whilst there he worked with the Competition Directive of European Commission as well as Competition Authorities in Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark. He has spent much time in Africa, living in Kenya from 1989 to 1995 and again from 2005-13 during which time he was a partner in PwC leading their consulting business in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Guy is now an independent consultant and divides him time between Cheltenham and Crete.

My Covid Story

Guy Maughfling

During much of the pandemic, Cheltenham, like the rest of the South West, had relatively low infection rates, notwithstanding the super spreader event that was the horse racing festival in March 2020. The vaccine rollout went well. My Covid story started well too. I received my second jab in May, a week earlier than my […]

The Value of Teachers (and Parents)

Guy Maughfling

“They f*** you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.” Philip Larkin: “High Windows” Having teenage children can be a painful experience. They are breaking away from the family, discovering new interests, using technology […]

Fragmentation or Unity?

Guy Maughfling

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. In simple terms, we all want lots of everything. We can’t have that because there’s only a limited amount to go round and we need to work out how best to share what we have. A lot of complicated stuff follows […]

How to roll out a successful Vaccine Programme

Guy Maughfling

Wednesday morning was sunny so I rode my bike through Sandford Park in the centre of town to Cheltenham East Fire Station. Inside, I took my shirt off, someone stuck a needle in my shoulder, I rested for 15 minutes and then I cycled home. Once there, I sat and watched England’s batting collapse in […]

Languages are good for the Economy!

Guy Maughfling

Out of the more than 3,000 secondary schools in England, only around 160 are selective grammar schools. This includes seven schools in Gloucestershire, including Denmark Road High School in Gloucester where both my daughters are pupils. Denmark Road is a very fine school. It was the Sunday Times Southwest State Secondary School of the Year […]

Why we mustn’t be like Homer Simpson

Guy Maughfling

In one brilliant episode of “The Simpsons”, Montgomery Burns instigates a personal fitness regime to reduce Homer’s excessive weight gain. He quickly realises Homer lacks the discipline to get fit and goes for the easy solution of fat removal using plastic surgery. This was the exchange: Montgomery Burns:    “Bah! I will just pay for […]

White Privilege

Guy Maughfling

There’s one constant thread that runs through the Penguin History of the United States by Hugh Brogan: race. Many generations after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery in 1865, its scars are still visible. Hardly surprising, given the country nearly split in a civil war after Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 […]

It is our Time to “Eat”

Guy Maughfling

One of the first Kiswahili words I learned when I first landed in Nairobi in 1989 was “WaBenzi”. As described by Shiva Naipaul in “North of South: an African Journey”, WaBenzi were corrupt politicians and their associates who drove around town in fancy Mercedes Benz, while most people lived on $2 a day or less. […]

This wouldn’t have happened without the Trump Enablers

Guy Maughfling

After the initial shock of seeing angry men with feeble beards invade Washington and interrupt a session in the House of Congress, including one dressed as a shaman complete with fur hat and horns (I still don’t know what that is about), my first thought, naturally, was of Franz von Papen. Papen was Chancellor of […]

Johnson’s “Boosterism” has to stop

Guy Maughfling

Blackadder: George, I’m in trouble here …  I’m not sure your particular brand of mindless optimism is going to contribute much to the proceedings.George: Well, that’s a shame, sir, because I was planning on playing the mindless optimism card very strongly. Blackadder 4, Episode 2: “Corporal Punishment” Sunday morning is the worst time to be […]

Divorce is just the beginning

Guy Maughfling

“Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”. There were several ways for Henry VIII to extricate himself from his six marriages, some requiring an executioner and others needing approval from the Archbishop of Canterbury. For much of the UK it wasn’t so easy to escape unwanted relationships until the last 50 years. Matrimonial Divorce Hard as […]

A Green Biden Presidency?

Guy Maughfling

I’ve wanted Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister ever since he publicly backed the Leave campaign in a direct challenge to David Cameron in March 2016. Not because of his politics and certainly not because of his character. I’m with Max Hastings, whose article for The Guardian as long ago as 2012 was headlined “For […]

Why I do this

Guy Maughfling

I’m 58 years old. I come from a middle class, West Country non-conformist tradition: my father, senior partner for twenty years in a good sized Gloucestershire-Herefordshire accountancy practice was a paid up Liberal from Jo Grimond days, my mother, an outspoken 6th form English teacher, loved Attlee’s post-war government. I had a fabulous education at […]

Time to Decide: The US Presidential Election

Guy Maughfling

Every four years, on the first Tuesday in November the United States heads to the polls to elect the next President. Like much that comes from the other side of the Atlantic, elections in America are full of superlatives. They are bigger, more expensive and longer. They truly are world-beating. To add to the superlatives, […]

What the Greeks have taught us

Guy Maughfling

Remember the early part of the year when we first became aware of the spread of the virus? We watched as it went from China on to cruise ships then off to Italy and Spain, and around the world. I used to check the virus’ progress on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ –  there’s a table showing total cases […]

What’s it like working with the European Commission?

Guy Maughfling

Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, each year on 11 September I send a text message to my old boss to remind him that another year has passed since we were together on that terrible day in 2001: 9/11. We were in Paris, working as trustees for the European Commission (EC), overseeing the first […]

The EU’s Green Deal is Good for All

Guy Maughfling

In decarbonisation lessons, one of the first thing you learn is a simple rule: with respect to greenhouse gas emissions coal is worse than oil, which is worse than gas. As a result, policy makers have consciously encouraged switching to lower emitting fossil fuels. This is low-hanging fruit: greenhouse gas emissions reduce without the cost […]

Will UK become an “Aviation Leper”?

Guy Maughfling

“British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down.” Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph, 26 June 2016 A short boat trip across Mirabella Bay from the upmarket resort of Elounda in Crete gets you to the island of Spinalonga, […]

Paradise is a Cheltenham industrial estate

Guy Maughfling

In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little nameBy chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the samePrince: Sign O The Times At the end of January I was on a conference call in a hotel room in Prague discussing the logistics for a six month […]