Dear Europe, don’t give up on us. The best of Britain can be found not around Boris Johnson’s cabinet table in London but in the hills of Greece; not snarling at France but helping traumatized Afghan families who have reached the European Union to rebuild their lives. The Refugee Trauma Initiative (RTI), founded six years … Continue reading Dear Europe, don’t let Johnson fool you: there is a better Britain
Suddenly everyone – everyone, that is, who is obsessed with the ups and downs at Westminster – has got excited. Before today, eight national polls conducted since the Owen Paterson saga hit the headlines had been published. They all told the same story and none had received more than modest attention. They ranged from a … Continue reading “Labour surges to 6% lead”. Should we believe it?
The prime minister is bad with money. So bad that he relies on rich friends to pay off his debts, and uses his position to bully the Inland Revenue into reducing his tax bill. He insists on breaking Whitehall’s rules by keeping government files as if they are his private property, so he can use … Continue reading Corrupt? By global standards, our MPs are not even trying.
Last week, a Conservative MP rebelling against his government said “crap.” Philip Dunne admitted it was not a word he intended to use in parliament, but he used it in its literal sense, not as an expletive. He was concerned that “we do not treat the arteries of nature, which is what our rivers are, … Continue reading How governments hit trouble – and how one US President, sort of, showed what to do
Neither Labour nor the Conservatives will admit it, but both have lost their favourite line of attack against the other. Following the pandemic, and the announcement of a new tax to pay for extra spending on health and social care, the Tories can no longer be plausibly attacked as a right-wing, laissez-faire, small-government party. Equally, … Continue reading Why the Tories are still ahead – and where they are vulnerable
Labour and the Conservatives head for their annual conferences with Britain’s voters in much the same mood as Romeo’s wounded friend, Mercutio: “a plague on both your houses”. The voting intention figures tell only a fraction of the story; we shall come to these later. The larger truth is that, unusually, the leaders of the … Continue reading Johnson and Starmer trapped by the Plague Index
It’s my fault. Well, mine and 12 million others. We are living too long. Were it not for us, there would be no social care crisis, the NHS would have plenty of money, and taxes would not need to rise. My intention here is not to induce guilt in my fellow post-war baby boomers, but … Continue reading Higher taxes? We ain’t seen nothing yet
Nobody with the slightest humanity could equate the horrific events in Kabul with McDonalds running out of milk shakes. Yet in recent UK news broadcasts, stories of mildly inconvenient food shortages at home have vied for viewers’ attention with the desperate plight of families 4,000 miles away. In their very different ways, both stories give … Continue reading Afghanistan, Brexit and the illusion of “Global Britain”
Perhaps opinion polls should come with the same warnings as financial advertisements: past performance does not guarantee results. Even so, as Boris Johnson faces criticism for Britain's role in the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, a trip down memory lane suggests that foreign policy disasters do not necessarily destroy the reputations of governments. Let’s start with … Continue reading War and politics: lessons from Eden, Blair and Churchill
Time to separate the noise from the signal. Polling headlines often pick out the noise—dramatic changes that might be short-term, or reflect sampling fluctuations, or both—rather than the signal: the underlying state of public opinion, which conveys more significant messages. Two polls in recent days point in different directions. YouGov’s poll in Saturday’s Times reported a “collapse” … Continue reading British voters now dislike both main parties