Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘Mainstream right in Western Europe: challenging times; trouble ahead?’ (with Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser), UK in a Changing Europe, 22 January 2022.

Europe’s centre-right political parties used to be seen as both dependably dull and dependably stable. Not anymore. The continent’s Christian democratic, conservative and market liberal parties – each of which can be said to belong to three distinct ‘party families’ … Continue reading

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‘Boris’s North Shropshire nightmare is eerily reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s Eastbourne defeat’, Telegraph, 17 December 2021.

Margaret Thatcher was no stranger to by-election defeats. But she’d got used to taking them in her stride. Between 1979 and 1987, her Conservative government lost seven of them – six to candidates representing either the Liberals or the SDP, … Continue reading

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‘Your starter for 10: Would the Tories be better off without Boris Johnson?’, Open Democracy, 14 December 2021.

Facing a rebellion over new COVID restrictions, a potential inquiry into undeclared donations from a Tory peer to pay for improvements to the prime minister’s Downing Street flat and revelations over lockdown-breaking Christmas quizzes and parties, the season of goodwill appears to … Continue reading

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‘Boris Johnson’s woes are multiplied if he cannot “unite the right”‘, Financial Times, 11 December 2021.

Boris Johnson might be in a whole heap of trouble right now but two years ago almost to the day he was master of all he surveyed. That December, he achieved an overall majority of 80 seats on a vote … Continue reading

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‘Riding the populist wave: the UK Conservatives and the constitution’, Constitution Unit Blog, 10 December 2021.

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with costochondritis – a minor and surprisingly common condition involving the cartilage that joins your ribs to your sternum but which produces chest pains that make some people suffering from it worry they’re … Continue reading

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‘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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