election 2016

Copeland challenge

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

Jamie Reed leaving parliament

I am personally extremely sad that Jamie Reed – and former author of this column – is leaving parliament in the near year but understand that he must put his family first. His new role people he might be able to get more done for the people of Copeland than he would in parliament in the short run but I know that will be no compensation for his desire to be a public servant. He has worked tirelessly for his community since being elected as the second youngest Labour MP in 2005. He is popular locally and an important working class English Labour voice on the green benches. We will miss his proximity but wish him luck as he pursuits a new challenge. (more…)

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Don’t give up on progressive politics

First published on ProgressOnline

‘This is your captain speaking. The new president of in the United States is … Donald Trump’. News that the Barack Obama’s successor is the rightwing orange demigod is met with groans on my flight as I head as far away from last night’s new as is humanly possible. The realisation that there is nowhere you can fly out of the sphere of influence of the 45th occupant of the Oval Office feels horrifying. Watching the results creep in it is hard to suggest a feeling of shock, the final result – as with Brexit – was present in the early results in Michigan. As Sunderland had foretold the inevitable news that Britain had rejected the European Union, Florida confirmed US voters had voted to reject a neoliberal world order of free trade and outsourcing, political elites and mass movement of people providing cheap labour. But as with Brexit, it is not clear what they voted to replace it with. Will Trump bring about a new wave of protectionism and government spending? Will the billionaire TV host and former Democrat donor not surround himself with a like-minded inner circle? Is he really going to build a wall, kick out immigrants, ban Muslims and separate families? (more…)

What to expect in 2016

First published in Maitland Political Insight

In 2016 the real world and the political world will feel more distant from each other than ever. At the furthest point from the next general election both major parties will attend to party matters, ahead of the country’s big challenges. (more…)