Section: Politics

Culture wars

Mike Temple

So what do populist leaders do when they’re in trouble? Answer: the same things they did to gain power. You don’t need the Cummings playbook to work out that it’s one of two things (or, better still, both): it’s play the blame game – blame the Jews, blame immigrants, play on people’s fears and prejudices; […]

Anyone for tea and class war?

Sadie Parker

Examgate finally laid bare the hollowness of the Tory “levelling up” mantra, which helped them win over voters in the so-called “Red Wall” seats in the 2019 election. Was this utter catastro-shambles merely an unfortunate accident, or was it a deliberate act —the Government’s boldest move yet in a covert class war? Looking back over […]

Hyperbole, Harding and health: how cronyism trumps competence

John Valentine

Does it not fill your heart with dread, when a minister in the current government states that a proposed new organisation will become “world-renowned”? Well, Health Minister Matt Hancock has recently said this about the body he is planning to set up to replace the battered Public Health England (PHE). PHE, itself, was only established […]

Box set: Tom Scott

Tom Scott

Message from the Editor-in-Chief: We’ve only been going five weeks, but we’ve already built up what we think is a pretty strong back catalogue of articles with a long read-by date. We thought you might like to catch up on a few grouped by author. We kick off with the articles from Tom Scott, the […]

Belarus and the impact of Chernobyl on its struggle for freedom

Peter Webscott

‘CIA! CIA!’ the man wobbling towards me on his bike shouted as I tried to take his photograph. It was a shock. My embarrassed companions moved me on. We were standing in the main road through a small village deep in southern Belarus in the early 1990s where foreigners were a rare sight indeed, probably […]

What have government done this week? The tweetathon round up!

Sadie Parker

Editor’s comment: please note that this is a straight repro of a twitter thread, unedited! To start off #TheWeekInTory, some good news —possibly because it’s got nothing to do with Tories. 19AUG20: The 1st polar bear to be born in UK for 25 yrs will move from its Scottish home to an English Park. Hmm. […]

EuroDog on that Scottish holiday…

EuroDog

Whilst on another break from work during the government’s shambolic response to all matters covid-19, Johnson’s failure to comply with the Countryside Cose results in an early retreat from Scotland.

Russ in Cheshire sums the whole ghastly thing up!

Russ In Cheshire

It’s Tuesday, #TheWeekInTory is already 80 points long, and I’m very sorry you have to read it. And even more sorry I had to write the bloody thing. Anyway, here goes. 1. The govt announced quarantine for people returning from France 2. It waited until everyone had made travel plans, then brought the policy forwards […]

Has Steve Bannon met his Waterloo?

Tom Scott

The arrest of far-right propagandist Steve Bannon in the US on fraud and money-laundering charges has sent shock waves through far-right populist circles around the world. Bannon, who was arrested by agents of the US Postal Service aboard a super-yacht belonging to a Chinese billionaire, is accused of running a fraudulent fundraising scheme. The indictment […]

EuroDog on Democracy Day: make votes matter!

EuroDog

The first past the post (FPTP) electoral system – which bequeathed the Conservatives an unwarranted 80 seat majority in December 2019 – has enabled the Prime Minister, cabinet and government to act with impunity and unrivalled incompetence and with scant regard for the best interests of the electorate. Voting behaviour would change with proportional representation […]

Gavin Williamson’s A* record of cynical manipulation and deceit

Tom Scott

Trying to justify the chaotic mess around the way A-level students have been graded, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared on multiple media channels and in the pages of the Daily Telegraph to warn of the danger of ‘grade inflation’ – the risk that some students would be awarded grades beyond their actual abilities. The far […]

“Free of income tax, old man, free of income tax”

Tom Scott

The peculiarly modern kind of evil embodied by Harry Lime in The Third Man is also the animating spirit of Boris Johnson’s government. Who is the most memorable villain in the history of cinema? There’s no shortage of strong contenders, from Ernst Stavro Blofeld (he of the fluffy white cat) to the soft-spoken cannibal psychiatrist, […]

Winds of change – reflections on Minsk, democracy and dictatorship

Rachel Marshall

“I’m going to Russia, well, Belarus.” “Where’s that?” “Next to Poland. Where most of the Chernobyl cloud went.” So went conversations with friends in early 1995, as I prepared to depart for Minsk for a Russian language course. Minsk was a slightly strange place to be learning Russian. In the brave new world of the […]

Strategic ignorance: a privilege of power

Anthea Simmons

Knowledge is power. But if you’re a politician or a CEO, ignorance may be more powerful – and more lucrative… I’m afraid I don’t listen to BBC Radio Four as much as I used to. It was once a background to my daily life, but the far-right toxicity on the Today programme finished my love […]

The catalogue of horrors continues…

Russ In Cheshire

We have great pleasure in sharing @RussIncheshire’s regular twitter thread. #TheWeekInTory is a monster because they’ve been, well, even busier than usual, the scamps 1. The dictionary definition of Honour is, “the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right”. Keep that in mind as we tackle the Honours system 2. Boris Johnson gave […]

All good things no longer come in threes

Sadie Parker

You could be forgiven for feeling exhausted. Since the general election in December 2019 – in itself a tiring and dispiriting event – it seems as if bad news, government incompetence and poorly judged behaviour have been relentless. When Boris Johnson dreamed of being “World King”, is this the type of prime minister (PM) he […]

If (or How to be Prime Minster)

Tom Scott

Boris Johnson has often boasted of his prodigious memory for poetry. In 2009, he informed readers of the Daily Telegraph: “I could do you a dozen Shakespeare sonnets, the whole of Lycidas (186 lines of the thing) and the first 100 lines of the Iliad in Greek… What is the point of education, what is […]

The ‘forgotten 50 per cent’ get forgotten again

Mick Fletcher

In a speech to the Social Market Foundation on 9 July, Gavin Williamson gave much-needed encouragement to the struggling further education (FE) sector when he said, “From now on, our mantra must be further education, further education, further education.” In a clear bid for support from the new Tory voters in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ […]

Power without a right

Ann Higgins

A constitution based on unwritten rules and gentlemen’s agreements is a poor defence against shameless and determined rule-breakers. Listening to interminable lectures on UK constitutional law many years ago, I little thought it would be at the forefront of a political power struggle some 40 years later. Yet such is the battleground for the current […]

Jane Austen and the slave trade

Mike Temple

Did Jane Austen have anything in common with the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Surely not! Our Jane is the nation’s favourite author – she’s on our ten-pound note and we are all, regardless of our political differences, “Janeites”. Some adore her for her love scenes, especially if spiced up with a little wet-shirt action; some […]

Useless Eustice? No, he’s much worse than that

Tom Scott

This article references some vile, racist language which we have reproduced, rather than hide just how morally-repulsive some individuals are. Editor. George Eustice has risen from obscurity to become the smooth-talking frontman for some of the worst aspects of Brexit. In February, Environment Minister George Eustice was loudly booed by an audience of farmers at […]

Resistance and hope

Anthea Simmons

First of all, a big thank you to all those who are reading our articles. The response has been fantastic. We’ve only been going for eight days, but already we are amplifying the reach of writers who deserve to be read, voices which need to be heard and issues which must be exposed. It’s great. […]

Dorset MPs: end of term reports Part II

Sadie Parker

Michael Tomlinson, Conservative MP for Mid-Dorset North Poole (Government Whip). By convention, whips don’t speak in parliamentary debates, and so there are no parliamentary interventions to report on for Michael Tomlinson. His name often appears on motions debated in the House and he frequently acts as a teller in votes. Whips also do not give […]

End of term reports: Dorset MPs Part 1: a mixed bag…

Sadie Parker

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth East (Chair, Defence Committee). Tobias was frequently in the news this session, whether it was being the only Tory MP brave enough to put in an appearance on Good Morning Britain to face a grilling by Piers Morgan, or calling for aid for his beleaguered constituency when 500,000 flocked […]

Government plans to weaken nature protections

Miles King

I’m not much a Zoom enthusiast but the invitation to listen to Defra secretary of state George Eustice give a “major” speech on the environment, via Green Alliance, seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. So, having finally got zoom to work on my computer, I sat and listened to him talk for 15 […]