Paul’s Week in Politics

Usdaw, trade union

Miliband can succeed where Blair failed

Paul Richards  |  5 July 2013

In my garage, in a sealed crate, behind garden chairs, children’s bikes and a concrete mixer, I have a collection of Conservative Research Department pamphlets. These were produced throughout the 1980s and 1990s to provide propaganda points for Tory supporters on the issue of the day: why sanctions against South Africa will not work, why …

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Nigel Farage

Not just ‘gin and jag’

Paul Richards  |  3 May 2013

If you heard Nigel Farage on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, you’ll have heard a masterclass in dissembling. Farage has a right to be triumphant this morning. After the results of the overnight counts, his party is winning more seats than predicted, across the UK, with more to come today. He will have …

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Split

From Tito’s villa

Paul Richards  |  15 March 2013

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon at the villa once owned by Marshal Tito on the coast at Split. It’s a beautiful setting, with a private beach, swimming pool, bowling alley, capacious rooms and views across the Adriatic to the islands off Croatia. The bathroom had been done up for his last visit, when the …

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Eastleigh

The lesson from Eastleigh

Paul Richards  |  1 March 2013

It is important, in the cold light of day, not to get carried away with the result of the Eastleigh by-election. The outcome of by-elections is seldom repeated in general elections, especially shock surges for smaller parties. UKIP is not going to come second in the general election. There are, though, some straws in the …

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Business

If you value the NHS: back British business

Paul Richards  |  22 February 2013

The Labour party, rightly, is obsessed with public services. Scratch the surface of any party member, and you’ll get a deluge of views about the health service, education system, libraries, railways and the local council. This is partly a reflection of the prism through which modern socialism sees the public sector: as a method of …

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Houses of Parliament

Something needs to give

Paul Richards  |  8 February 2013

It seems that Chris Huhne is an unpleasant and flawed man. His public image was of a preening, arrogant politician. Just re-read his speeches as the energy secretary, and especially his ludicrously overblown promises around the so-called ‘Green Deal’.  Just a couple of years ago Huhne claimed the Green Deal would transform our lives and …

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Westminster parliament by night

Sobering up parliament

Paul Richards  |  1 February 2013

Congratulations if you, like me, have just completed a Dry January. My feeling of smugness at having not touched a drop of alcohol since new year’s eve is diluted somewhat by the fact that I am a moderate drinker, and can go a week or two sans booze without noticing. For many more people, a …

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SWP

The SWP and all that

Paul Richards  |  18 January 2013

Like a kind of Miranda (from the Tempest, not the woman who falls over on BBC1) in reverse, Laurie Penny has decided the Socialist Workers’ Party is a Bad Thing. She has looked at the comrades who hitherto she admired as part of a giant, mythological, heroic brave new world of leftwing activism, and decided …

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NHS hospital

The NHS after Stafford

Paul Richards  |  11 January 2013

If you were to choose when and where to fall ill between January 2005 and March 2009, you’d have been wise to avoid Stafford General Hospital. For over a thousand people, without the choice, their illness led to avoidable death. The NHS in Stafford killed more people than Harold Shipman. Within weeks, the inquiry into …

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Big society

The ‘big society’ lies at the bottom of the ocean

Paul Richards  |  21 December 2012

The world may not have ended this week, but the ‘big society’ did. It was born in David Cameron’s Hugo Young memorial lecture of November 2009, and died in the prime minister’s questions last Wednesday. It started in a whirlwind of rhetorical hyperbole: ‘we need a thoughtful re-imagination of the role, as well as the …

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