Memo on …

Memo to … the new Scottish Labour leader

Paul Richards  |  14 November 2014

Congratulations on your victory. With a clear majority of support among the party’s members and elected representatives, you have a clear mandate for change. Who would have believed that with just a few months until the general election, Scotland would be the key election battleground? What happens in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh will determine whether …

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Memo on … foreign affairs

Paul Richards  |  18 July 2014

Congratulations on your appointment as foreign secretary. You join Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, James Callaghan, Tony Crosland, Robin Cook, Jack Straw and David Miliband in the pantheon. As you mount the Grand Staircase, and stroll around the Locarno Suite and Durbar Court, you will find it hard not to be in awe of your new …

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Memo on … Europe

Paul Richards  |  9 May 2014

Dear minister of state for Europe, Congratulations. Or should I say felicitations, gratulation, felicitaciones or complimenti? Welcome to one of the worst jobs in the Labour government. It’s awful for two reasons. One is the relentlessness of the travel. Constant travel to European Union conferences is glamorous, interesting and exciting for about a fortnight. After …

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Memo on … decentralisation

Paul Richards  |  4 April 2014

Congratulations on your appointment as the new minister for decentralisation. We have just been elected on a ticket of ‘power to the people’, so your job is one of the most important in the government. First, there is confusion as to what decentralisation actually means. For some, it is just shorthand for more powers to …

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Memo on … schools

Paul Richards  |  21 February 2014

Congratulations on your appointment as minister for schools. This is one of the hottest spots in the government. With Tristram Hunt as your secretary of state, things won’t be dull. The starting point for this job, and the middle and end points, is pupils and their parents. They are what matter most. Soon you will …

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Memo on … public health

Paul Richards  |  17 January 2014

Congratulations on your appointment as minister for public health. You have two options in this role: you can be like all the other ministers for public health, both Labour and coalition, and allow the role to be just one among many in the health department, subservient to the more glamorous world of NHS hospitals and …

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Memo on … social security

Paul Richards  |  18 November 2013

Welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions. Your new department spends more public money than we spend on the police, schools, hospitals, railways and international development combined. Nearly 20 per cent of government expenditure is spent on benefits, excluding pensions. If Ed Miliband’s new government is serious about predistributing wealth, not redistributing it via …

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Crowd on the Underground

Memo on … immigration

Paul Richards  |  18 October 2013

In the first of his new monthly memos, Paul Richards looks at the challenges incoming Labour ministers would face in 2015 Congratulations on your appointment as immigration minister. You inherit not so much a poisoned chalice as an entire lake of toxicity. You will also be dealing with an issue which speaks to the very …

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