Boris Johnson is in a wretched place. If he isn’t feeling terrible about the way the pandemic drama is playing out, he should. For the crisis has crossed a dangerous line. Until last week it was a positional problem. It is now a valence crisis. To explain: voters’ views on politics usually divide into two … Continue reading Dominic Cummings turns a problem into a crisis for Boris Johnson
A pincer movement threatens the government’s hopes of emerging from the Covid-19 crisis with its reputation intact. One half of the pincer is provided by the latest polls, showing that decline in support for the government is not just continuing, but accelerating. The other half of the pincer is evidence that the government is simply … Continue reading The polls and the pandemic: double trouble for Boris Johnson
Politico reports that Downing Street has commissioned private polls to track the public mood through the coronavirus crisis. What are they telling Boris Johnson? The separate, published, surveys that have been conducted suggest something like the analysis below. It is worth delving into the numbers for they show how and why ministers are losing the … Continue reading The lockdown: how and why Johnson is losing support
This Thursday, May 7, should have been election day. Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, we should be casting our votes five years after David Cameron secured his majority in May 2015. Let’s suppose…. It has become known as “the predictable Parliament”, and not just because the law decreed when it would end. The tone … Continue reading The untold story of the election that never was
It is hard to overstate the significance of Jennie Formby’s departure as the Labour Party’s general secretary. She was the last important survivor of the Corbyn era. Keir Starmer has taken just one month to dismantle the ancient regime and establish complete control over the party. He now has the power to set its course … Continue reading Starmer now has complete control of Labour. How will he use it?
Within the next few weeks, the government will start to relax the coronavirus lockdown. Two big questions arise. The first, which has been widely discussed, is one that nobody, not even ministers, can yet answer: what will the new rules be? The second question, just as important, is receiving little attention—but can be answered: how … Continue reading When the lockdown is relaxed, how will we tell if the new rules are working?
If I were still a staff journalist, fighting for space in my paper, or time on my TV programme, my task would be easy. I would show my editor evidence that ministers are dishing out dodgy data daily on the Coronavirus pandemic; that around 1,500 more people have died in hospital from Covid-19 than the … Continue reading Why the daily headlines for Covid-19 hospital deaths are wrong
I have been rereading a piece of journalism that I reckon is highly relevant today. It is almost 80 years old – and that is why it is relevant. In January 1941, Hitler controlled most of western Europe. Britain stood alone. The Blitz saw bombs devastate our cities night after night. The editors of Picture … Continue reading What kind of Britain will emerge from the crisis?
Just as Iain Duncan Smith’s election as Conservative leader in 2001 was overshadowed by 9/11 two days earlier, so the Coronavirus pandemic will overshadow Keir Starmer’s almost certain election on Saturday as Labour’s leader. Yet it will be an important moment for the party and for British politics; how important may depend on what he … Continue reading Keir Starmer needs to shake up Labour’s machine – starting at the top
Following Labour’s catastrophic general election, the time has come to return to first principles. If the party did not exist, would we need to create it? If so, why, who for and with what objectives, beyond winning elections? These are the most important questions the new leader must answer — if not during the leadership … Continue reading What is the point of the Labour Party?