Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is irrelevant to today’s authoritarianism

A letter I wrote, reproduced below, was published in the February 2018 edition of Prospect. I wrote it in response to Alan Johnson’s article “The Orwellian eye”. Continue reading Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is irrelevant to today’s authoritarianism


How Brexit led to Corbyn: UK politics review 2017

Official portrait of Jeremy Corbyn crop 2
It’s 2015 and Ed Miliband stumbles off the stage after failing to convince the audience that New Labour, which had left government five years earlier, had not overspent. It was a symbolic moment of that year’s election and also shows how much priorities have changed in British politics in the two and a half years since. Continue reading How Brexit led to Corbyn: UK politics review 2017

Power on the screen

Gérard Depardieu (Berlin Film Festival 2010)
A glut of recent French political dramas explore the age-old dilemma between power and principle. Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have taken apart the old certainties of the country’s politics by exploiting popular cynicism and exhaustion with the way traditional policymakers behave. But television is taking a fresh and honest look at corruption, loyalty and ethics in politics.  Continue reading Power on the screen

An anti-Brexit party really could succeed


Ever since the EU referendum result in June 2016, excitable speculation about the potential for an anti-Brexit party – most recently ignited by the support of former Daily Mail political editor James Chapman – has found its equal and opposite reaction in vigorous sneering at its prospects. Continue reading An anti-Brexit party really could succeed

Book review: Making it Happen by Iain Martin

When the next crisis hits, and it will, that frustrated public is likely to turn, not just on politicians who have been negligently lavish with public funds, or on bankers, but on the market system. What is at stake now may not just be the future of finance, but the future of capitalism.

This quote, by Professor John Hay from 2009, is quoted in the afterword of Iain Martin’s book (full title: Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the men who blew up the British economy). Martin is primarily a political journalist rather than a financial one, and so it is unsurprising he turns towards the political implications of the banking crisis. Continue reading Book review: Making it Happen by Iain Martin

Will Donald Trump make or break Europe?

Angela Merkel Donald Trump 2017-03-17 (cropped)

This is an article I wrote back in March, which was shortlisted for the Nico Colchester Journalism fellowship. A few months on, I think the thrust of the analysis remains relevant, and I feel more sure of my argument.

Henry Kissinger once famously asked “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe,” supposedly illustrating the American desire for a single European voice on the world stage. Except, he didn’t. According to an anecdote published in the Financial Times, the master of Realpolitik did not like dealing with the President of the Council of European Union as the spokesman for the entire organisation, and rather seemed to want to divide and rule in Europe. Continue reading Will Donald Trump make or break Europe?

Can Macron bring back the extremes?

Macron supporters' group in Lens

This article is part of a series I wrote between the presidential and legislative elections in France.

It was the defining moment of the campaign. Marine Le Pen had set up Emmanuel Macron, but the soon-to-be president got his own back. Macron was talking to union representatives from a tumble-dryer factory threatened with closure in Amiens, in the north-east of France. Le Pen visited workers on the picket line and told them Macron was showing “contempt” by failing to visit them. Continue reading Can Macron bring back the extremes?