remain

Tone-deaf Labour

First published in the New European

Why is it left to Tony Blair to point out the government’s Brexit failings, asks Richard Angell

She may have voted Remain, but after the country opted for Leave, Theresa May performed an about-turn to appoint herself the leader of the latter.

Her ‘Brexit means Brexit’ slogan and the appointment of Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davies is supposed to reassure the 52 per cent that she is the champion they have been waiting for. It has fallen to Nick Clegg and Tony Blair to head up the 48 per cent.

Yes, the referendum has split the country in half, but considering how many were heavy-hearted Leavers or reluctant Remainers, it seems odd that the prime minister uniquely positioned to unite us seems intent on entrenching our division. The question the public will be asking is: who is speaking on behalf of all of us? (more…)

No compromise with reality?

First published in Progress magazine

No one has levelled with the public about what drives migration to this country

‘No compromise with the electorate’ was Ted Knight’s infamous opinion when he and his hard-left friends ran Lambeth council into the ground in the 1980s. After the 2015 general election, a senior Labour member of parliament who has long been associated with Progress said to me, ‘On immigration, you are as bad as the Trots – no comprise with the electorate.’ Recently another MP remarked how bizarre it was that, as they saw it, ‘Tony Blair and Diane Abbott basically have the same opinion on immigration’.  The former prime minister’s mantra of ‘fair rules without prejudice’ is certainly a position I – and most Labour party members – can get on board with. But the initial comment made me think.

Is there a neo-Blairite/neo-Bennite, liberal metropolitan elite view and is it just a modern form of Knight’s philosophy? Do they have a point? (more…)

The debate: Divided Britain (Sky News 4 July 2016)

Claire Fox (director, Institute for Ideas) and I debated the implications of the EU referendum on Sky News ahead of the #DividedBritain programme.

I called on those who argued for #Brexit to take the greatest role in reassuring those in the UK, originally from elsewhere, that they place in British society is both welcome and secure.

Sky News, 10.30am, 4 July 2016

Sky News Australia talk Brexit

On Tuesday 28 June 2016,  Laura Jayes from Sky News Australia on the fall out from the European Union referendum and the decision to leave Europe.

An unrest being fuelled not quelled

First published on ProgressOnline

It all feels very personal. It is not that I cannot believe it or that I hate my fellow country-folk. But I do worry about what our country is becoming. Leaving the European Union is a body blow to Britain, as we are seeing in the markets. I respect the decision but think it was a very wrong one for everyone.

On the tube this morning a group of friends were talking about Brexit, Boris and Trump in the same worrying breath. A mixed race guy told his friend that he ‘felt like an illegal immigrant in his own country’. The first cross word I have ever had with my grandma was over this divisive referendum and Facebook seems full of families arguing about who took what side. There is an unrest in the air that this decision is fuelling not quelling. (more…)