Tacking Left on Economics, Right on Culture

I thought I’d chance my arm at setting out some semi-serious thoughts on what “leaning left on economics and right on culture” might actually mean in practice for a UK government in 2021. We are told this is the electoral sweet spot, but I don’t think the current Government’s heart is in it at all and it certainly doesn’t have the talent to achieve much. As for the opposition, well… I started out with a thread then decided it properly belonged in a (quickly put together) blog post. The train of thought was prompted by this tweet: The last reforming...

International Aid

Written 14 July 2021 I didn’t follow yesterday’s debate in Parliament closely in which the Government won the vote to move away from the 0.7% of GDP target. I doubt I missed much. I’m writing something down on this because I have spent a few years up close and personal with International Aid (in Egypt in the mid-1990s) and never really quite got to the bottom of what I think of it all. I’ll see if writing my thoughts down gets me any closer to a conclusion or a more settled position. I suspect it will help but I doubt...

Labour (mainly, again)

I am writing on the morning after another by-election in a so-called Red Wall seat. Keir Starmer will be enjoying his muesli more than he perhaps expected as Labour managed to hold on in Batley and Spen in what sounds like a fairly depressing contest. This is without a doubt a better result than losing the seat, and much better than many expected, even allowing for the usual tiresome expectations management game played by all the parties, low turnout and the presence of George Galloway, an unpleasant and toxic politician but nevertheless one that on the whole I’m glad we...

Official statistics

Written 24 June 2021 The story this week in the BBC on the EU resettlement scheme seems to me to have pretty wide ranging implications. Maybe it’s just me though: I find stories in the statistics/economics/public policy/Brexit space pretty interesting, but I accept that this puts me in a small minority! Anyway, the story concerns the numbers of EU nationals applying for settled status in the UK as the deadline approaches and the BBC coverage is here. It appears that as at 31 May 2021 some 5.6 million applications had been made under the scheme. The UK government is currently advertising...

England and Ideology

Written 8 May 2021 I’m writing this as the Hartlepool by election result and most council elections are through but before having final results from Scotland and London. Certainly more than enough to keep the opinion columnists busy, and to be honest it’s unlikely I’ll be able to add too much to the huge amounts that will be written over the coming days and weeks let alone the reams over recent years on the realignment in English politics we are seeing. What we are seeing is the working out through the first past the post system of changes that have...

Scotland (1)

Written 6 May 2021 I’d been meaning to put something down on Scotland before now but find myself on the day of what we are told are huge elections writing in rather a hurry. It’s perhaps indicative of the state of the United Kingdom that one feels one must make an apology for writing a piece on Scottish independence as an Englishman, but never mind. I’m English (with some connections to Scotland) and a UK citizen so I do have an interest in the question. My position on Scottish independence is that I would be rather sad if Scotland did...