Author Archives: tpbale

‘Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is more heavyweight than you think. The bootlicking incompetents at today’s top table might look better tomorrow’, Prospect, 27 August 2021.

The idea that the Cabinet is chock-full of brain-dead non-entities is a charge levelled with increasing frequency of late. But it is nothing new—anyone of a certain age can remember a 1980s Spitting Image sketch. Margaret Thatcher is dining out … Continue reading

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‘Give them a future too’, Mirror, 1 August 2021

IT’S been obvious for weeks now that the vaccine take-up rate for younger people hasn’t been what it needs to be to reduce the chances of Covid making a serious comeback after the summer. So the Government should get some … Continue reading

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‘The Truth About the Blue Wall’, Unherd, 2 August 2021.

If an American tells you that they’re “Waiting for the other shoe to drop”, they mean that, having had one piece of news, they’re expecting another piece pretty soon. The idiom apparently originated in New York where the residents of … Continue reading

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‘Why some people switch political parties: new research’, The Conversation, 12 July 2021.

Why do some people switch political parties? After all, if someone is committed enough to a particular vision of politics, wouldn’t they be relatively immune to the charms of its competitors? It turns out, however, that switching parties at grassroots … Continue reading

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‘Post-truth – and post-conservative? How Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party poses a threat to the quality of our democracy’, Constitution Unit Blog, 5 July 2021.

I’m no expert on the constitution, the courts or the more arcane aspects of parliamentary procedure. But I can, I suppose, claim to know a bit about the Conservative Party. And I’m growing increasingly concerned. The party has always been protean … Continue reading

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‘Sajid Javid sounds like a lockdown sceptic, but he won’t want to alienate the NHS’, Guardian, 30 June 2021

Sajid Javid: Ayn Rand or Florence Nightingale? A neo-Darwinian who’s hellbent on opening up the economy come what may; or a humanitarian numbers-nerd intent above all on saving lives? Continue reading

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‘Reflecting on Brexit: What I got right and wrong about the 2016 EU Referendum’, 21 June 2021

The idea that none of us know-all academics saw what was coming has hardened into one of the truisms of the 2016 Referendum – so much so that I’d almost come to believe it myself. It was with some trepidation, … Continue reading

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‘Lib Dems beating the Tories where Labour can’t is what Keir Starmer badly needs’, Daily Mirror, 18 May 2021.

Don’t get too excited. We’ve seen the Lib Dems pull off an amazing by-election win in a true-blue seat before, only for the Conservatives to take it off them again at the next general election. Take Eastbourne. Back in the autumn … Continue reading

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‘PLOUGHED UNDER? LABOUR’S GRASSROOTS POST-CORBYN’, Political Quarterly Blog, 17 June 2021.

Labour’s post-Corbyn membership is overwhelmingly white, well-educated, middle class and middle-aged, and living in southern England. Labour members are disproportionately likely to work in the public or charitable sector. They are left-wing, socially liberal, and pro-European. This means they have … Continue reading

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‘Is the UK choosing between the EU and the US?’, Encompass, 10 June 2021

Writing as the 20th century turned into the 21st, Andrew Gamble argued that Margaret Thatcher had ‘legitimated opposition to Europe’ by suggesting ‘that there was an alternative’: ‘the English adventure’, he averred, was not over, provided English sovereignty was not … Continue reading

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