Why nobody should be surprised by the Liberal Democrat showing in Witney

The main story of yesterday’s by-election for David Cameron’s former Parliamentary seat in Witney has been an apparent Liberal Democrat surge.  It was a good result, but it is one that should suprise nobody – because in recent months there has been a consistent pattern of strong Liberal Democrat results in areas where they are […]

A vote for soft fascism

Yesterday’s vote to leave the EU is a leap into the unknown. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the winning side hasn’t a clue what happens next.  No exit strategy, no negotiating brief.  Only a vague perception that “we have taken our country back”, and a lot of noise and fury about immigration;  a vote distinguished […]

After IDS: some questions for Labour’s Parliamentarians

With the Tory Party apparently in meltdown following Ian Duncan Smith’s resignation, it’s easy to miss how the events of the past few days affect Labour too.  I’ve already blogged about how the terms of Duncan Smith’s resignation letter expose the cuts and austerity agenda as a matter of political choice, not economic necessity; the […]

The Duncan Smith resignation: fundamentally shifting the economic debate

With the departure of Ian Duncan Smith from the Cabinet, commentators are spending much time and effort analysing how the balance of politics within the Conservative Party has changed.  However, the text of Duncan Smith’s resignation letter raises some absolutely fundamental economic questions – and these have big implications for Labour too. The key paragraphs […]

The productivity conundrum that isn’t

Following George Osborne’s budget, there has been much talk of the productivity “conundrum” – the question of why the United Kingdom’s productivity levels are so low. Is it really a conundrum?  The reasons seem obvious to me: A sustained failure to invest -the UK’s investment figures are among the lowest in the industrialised world, and […]

2016 could be a great year for Labour – if the Party lets it

As the year turns, the political commentators are preoccupied with Labour’s apparent difficulties.  It’s hard to remember that in any normal times it would be the Tories that would be on the ropes.  There are three key issues on which the Tories are, potentially, in the most serious trouble: On Europe, the Tories remain as […]

Against pragmatism: the undermining of Jeremy Corbyn

This weekend, something important happened.  As a Labour Party member, I received an email from the party leader asking for my views on whether the UK should join in the bombing of ISIL in Syria.  It was a leader, elected with a huge mandate, putting into practice what he promised during his election campaign – […]