Meet the Brexiteers and their real revolution

To understand Brexit must involve appreciating the powerful Brexiteer faction that has such a strong grip on the Conservative Party. A bit like Momentum with Labour and Corbyn, the Brexiteers seem now able to dictate to May’s government what her approach to Brexit should be, and are in effect now the driving force behind the slow-motion revolution that is Brexit. But who are they and what do they want? The … Read more

The political deadlock in Parliament continues

The turmoil that is Brexit continues but still with no clear way forward emerging. In effect there is political deadlock in Parliament and no political option has a clear majority. This division and confusion is replicated amongst journalists, who offer various solutions but no consensus, and the public, as can be seen in confusing opinion polls. Negotiations with the EU resume tomorrow on a proposal that most people already are … Read more

Electoral law is being undermined and this is a risk for democracy

An important sign that a democracy is less than healthy must surely be when people cease to follow the rules which sustain it. Today has revealed yet more evidence that the Leave campaigns in the 2016 UK referendum broke electoral law. It is crucial to democratic elections that they observe the law, that there is no undue influence exerted at any stage, and that money is correctly spent. The risk … Read more

A response to identity politics needs to unite not divide

A characteristic of today’s western political divides has been the rise of identity politics, who you are politically and who and what you identify with*. In particular this has seen the growth of political tribalism that is different from traditional party politics and even cuts across it. Such people are often angry and hostile towards traditional cosmopolitan liberalism and seek to take back control, as with “America First”, exit from … Read more

The liberal crisis posed by Trump, Brexit and authoritarian nationalism

President Trump’s visit to the UK this week, like his NATO meeting, has characteristically stirred up massive controversy and been met with widespread demonstrations. Rather than diplomatically mute his approach, he revels in controversy, the “Great Disruptor”. People may detest what Trump does and who he is, or be incredulous about what is happening and be like rabbits in the headlights, but that may be uncomfortably beside the point. A … Read more

Avoiding the slow-motion Brexit train crash

The slow motion train crash that is Brexit is gradually speeding up as the deadline for an agreement with the EU gets closer and yet the political situation in the UK remains deadlocked. May’s government has, after months of wrangling between ministers, finally produced a White Paper of an outline of a proposal for a trade negotiation with the EU, only to see it widely criticised as either unworkable or … Read more

Data manipulation and the murky world of political advertising

Recent investigative journalism has shone a bright light on the murky world of digital data mining and political advertising. A US-UK company, Cambridge Analytica, with an off-shoot the Canadian firm Aggregate IQ, have been found to have mined huge quantities of personal profiles on Facebook and turned the data into a means for highly personal and psychologically targeted political advertising that some consider could have helped swing elections in marginal … Read more

British Russophobia gets another airing with the poisoning of a spy

British russophobia once again grips politics British russophobia has had a good airing once again in UK politics, this time over the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury. Remarkably quickly, Putin has been accused and found guilty and a massive effort made to secure backing from Western allies for a verbal counter-attack, in contrast to previous murders of exiled Russians and … Read more

To leave or not to leave the EU, that is the question

“To be, or not to be: that is the question”, said Hamlet in Shakespeare’s celebrated play, “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” The chemical-weapon poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK city of Salisbury comes neatly near to the year-point, 29 March 2019, when the … Read more

How the Brexit end-game negotiations cruelly exposes the UK’s weaknesses

As the UK cabinet finally and very belatedly gets round to talking about the crucial Brexit end-game, nine months after triggering Article 50, yet more data has emerged today to confirm what many of Gove’s dreaded experts have been saying for a long time, that the economic impact of Brexit on the UK is far worse than that for the other EU states, and thus Britain is in a very … Read more