Hard Work: why we need to change the way we think about work, pay and benefits

The concept of work is at the heart of contemporary political and economic rhetoric.  Slogans about work – about hard-working families, about backing the people who work hard, about being the party of work – pepper political discourse across the political spectrum.  But work is in crisis in a way that you would find hard […]

Scottish independence and the potency of nostalgic mythology

As an Englishman with strong Scottish connections I have watched the debate over Scottish independence with interest and no little frustration.  It has not been an edifying affair – apart from that moment of weakness from Salmond, when his utter inability to provide intelligent answers about a Scottish currency laid bare the fact that there was […]

Green spin, Labour and saving the NHS

A recent Green Party leaflet seeks to draw a distinction between the Green Party and Labour on the future of the NHS, by quoting a line attributed to  Andy Burnham’s office to the effect that there would always be a role from the private sector in delivering world-class healthcare in the NHS. The implication, presumably, is […]

Don’t mention the war: Greens, Iraq and Godwin’s law

Earlier this year, Brighton and Hove City Council passed a motion of no confidence in its Green administration.  The debate was a curious affair, illustrating much about Brighton and Hove politics; in particular the way in which, nominally about the record of the administration, it turned into a series of personal attacks on Labour’s leader […]

Labour’s policy on rail – at last a rational way forward to a public railway

The debate on the future of the railways is among the most interesting at the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum.  The challenge was to understand that there are three key challenges facing the rail system – the privatised structure, capacity issues, and the cuts in subsidy in recent years that have contributed hugely to the […]

Unchain the motorist – will they never learn?

A new advertisement from the Brighton fringe group Unchain the Motorist, which claims to speak for drivers in Brighton and Hove, makes a hugely misleading assertion about 20mph zones and casualties. The advertisement quotes DfT statistics showing that the number of casualties in 20mph zones has increased substantially for 2013, while those on 30mph roads […]

Benefits and depression: Tory cruelty plumbing new depths

Just when you think the Tories can’t get any more cruel or inhuman, they demonstrate the depths to which they will sink.  The Telegraph reported yesterday that Tories are considering withdrawing benefits from those off work due to depression unless they receive mandatory “treatment”. The news that depression is treatable because Ian Duncan-Smith says so […]