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Panic! What panic?

There is nothing quite like queues and empty shelves to sell news stories.  So it is that the UK media have finally got the story that they have been waiting for since SARS-CoV-2 began its 2020 world tour.  Toilet rolls, hand sanitiser and sanitary towels are just a few of …

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What are we planning for?

The UK government has published plans for responding to the threatened COVID-19 pandemic which ministers say could affect between 50 and 80 percent of the population, and could result in 20 percent of the workforce being off sick at the same time. As with all of these things, we begin …

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Decline and Fall: The Brexit years

An excerpt from my new book which is available on Amazon or to order from bookshops and libraries: I didn’t set out to write about Brexit.  My interests have always been in the far more profound crisis stemming from what environmentalists – among others – refer to as trying to have …

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Our second greatest shortcoming

The late Albert Bartlett, a professor in nuclear physics at the University of Colorado, famously explained that: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” What Bartlett was referring to was the way in which most people misunderstand growth – whether of an …

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The strange death of the BBC

US President Franklyn D. Roosevelt coined the idea that the first 100 days of a government provided the best opportunity to introduce the greatest reforms.  In the years since, it has become a truism; one that Johnson’s Tories will be fully aware of.  It is instructive then that with the …

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Labour needs much more than a change of leader

Between now and April, the media will have a field day publicising the personalities of the various contenders for the position of Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition for the remainder of the decade.  There is the centrist millionaire working class boy made good; the metropolitan liberal woman who makes …

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The left needs to give up hope

Some years ago I got into one of those online spats that can never be resolved with just 280 characters.  It was in response to someone who, in November 2016, claimed that “conservatives just cannot get over the fact that we [the left] keep winning the arguments.”  This, I suggested, …

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The cold light of day

After four decades of neoliberalism, Britain’s political geography has changed for good.  The enduring result of last night’s general election is that there is no longer such thing as a “traditional Labour seat.”  The old pattern in which working class voters unthinkingly voted for a Labour Party that was their …

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This dismal election

The announcement of the 2017 general election drew the comment, “not another f**king one!”  This time around, the rage appears to have dissipated into a generalised apathy among anyone who is not a party activist.  Polling expert Sir John Curtice has referred to it as an “unpopularity contest,” describing Boris …

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Beware the allure of green policies

At face value, green politics is the way to go.  With evidence of a changing climate mounting all around us – bush fires in Australia and California, flooding in Venice and Yorkshire, etc. – and in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion protests, there is growing concern about the environment.  …

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