Author Archives: tpbale

‘To regain lost ground at the next election, Labour will need to convince voters that it can deliver greater social justice and security without risking the economy’, LSE British Politics and Policy, 8 November 2021 (with Paul Webb).

As many opinion polls have attested to over the past year, Keir Starmer has found it difficult to make his mark as Leader of the Opposition. Notwithstanding the twin economic impacts of Brexit and the pandemic, Labour continues to lag … Continue reading

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‘Boris Johnson wants net zero by 2050. Are his voters behind him?’, The Loop, 3 November 2021.

A UK referendum on its net-zero policy? In the run-up to the COP26 summit in Glasgow, a group called CAR26 persuaded the Daily Telegraph – one of the UK’s best-selling, Conservative-supporting newspapers – to run a story on a recent poll it had commissioned. The poll … Continue reading

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‘Macmillan’s many, many Chancellors’, Daily Telegraph, 30 October 2021.

Much as he might have liked to, Edmund Dell, a cabinet minister in Jim Callaghan’s Labour government, never came close to being appointed chancellor of the exchequer. But he did write what remains the best book ever written about the … Continue reading

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‘The Tories will never change’, UnHerd, 27 October 2021.

To watch Rishi Sunak deliver his Budget, one could be forgiven for thinking that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is a very different beast from its ‘age of austerity’ predecessor led by David Cameron and George Osborne. But, in reality, is … Continue reading

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‘What has happened to western Europe’s centre right?’ (with Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser), The Conversation, 13 October 2021.

As a species, we humans are inveterate pattern makers. We’re also plagued by recency bias – the tendency to give more weight to things that have only just happened. Hardly surprising, then, that when analysing party politics, we tend to … Continue reading

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‘Identity politics are a risky strategy for both Labour and the Tories’, Financial Times, 2 October 2021.

Corbynites soundly squashed. New policies floated. And voters encouraged to take another look at the party leader. Labour’s annual conference in Brighton finished on a high. So should the Conservatives be worried as they get together this weekend in Manchester? … Continue reading

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‘The Keir Starmer Strategy’, Unherd, 30 September 2021.

When I was a kid, growing up in a sleepier town just along the south coast, we’d occasionally go over to Brighton and visit the amusement arcades on and around the city’s Palace Pier. I was hardly a pinball wizard, but … Continue reading

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‘Labour Conference: Members aren’t quite tearing chunks out of each other but a distinct air of unease remains’, The Conversation, 28 September, 2021.

Getting off the bus and walking to the Brighton Centre, the main venue for this year’s Labour conference, it was hard – impossible even – not to ponder on the pathetic fallacy. I’m not referring to a party that won … Continue reading

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‘What’s behind the Boris reshuffle?’, Unherd, 16 September 2021.

“When I hear the word culture”, Josef Goebbels is supposed to have said, “I reach for my gun.” Boris Johnson, on the other hand, merely reaches for whoever he reckons will most rub the so-called metropolitan liberal elite up the … Continue reading

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‘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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