Anatomy of a disaster: Labour after Copeland and Stoke

After the by-elections, the comment on the state of Labour.  For the Labour Party – which won Stoke and lost Copeland – the very fact that its, rather than the Tories’, performance was the focus of attention ought to be bad enough, given that the Government is in clear disarray over Brexit.  But there is, […]

How one interview destroyed the economic case for Brexit

On this morning’s Today programme on Radio 4, Mishal Husein interviewed Employment Minister and Leave campaigner Priti Patel, following Leave’s pledge to match all the EU funding lost as a result of Brexit for every region of the UK.  In a masterclass in political interviewing, Mishal Husein effectively  destroyed the Leave campaign’s case, by asking […]

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 […]

Tories, blood plasma and altruism

The Government has sold a majority holding in Plasma Resources UK, the state-owned enterprise that forms the basis of Britain’s blood plasma supplies, to an American venture capitalist, Bain, for £230m.  While it is not clear whether this will affect the blood that is given by millions of donors across the UK, it has certainly […]

The Spirit of ’45: a flawed but powerful message for contemporary politics

You would need a heart of stone – or to be Liam Byrne – not to shed a tear during The Spirit of ’45.  My moment came when the retired doctor – one of a number of individuals whose reflections and reminiscences punctuated the narrative, and whose demeanour might have been made for a white […]

Labour and the Ashcroft poll: winning the war as well as the battle

There has been a certain amount of excitement over a poll of marginal constituencies by Tory donor Lord Ashcroft, suggesting that Labour is on course for a thumping win at the 2015 General Election.  While it is no doubt encouraging for Labour and indeed for anyone who wants to see the end of the Coalition, […]

Railways, renationalisation and political risk

Recent announcements that rail fares will rise by up to 11% have produced a significant political reaction.  Formerly supine Tory MPs for commuting constituencies have been making subversive noises; on the left, the call for renationalisation has been strong. It’s difficult to argue with renationalisation in principle.  Privatisation has resulted in a hugely inefficient structure […]