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Labour’s paths to victory: the choices of Sir Keir Starmer

Labour’s paths to victory: the choices of Sir Keir Starmer

The wheel turns.  In 2005, Labour won 355 seats, a majority of 64.  The Conservatives got just 198.  But last year, the Conservatives took 365 seats, a majority of 80, while Labour secured just 202.  The two elections as close to exact reverses of each other as you’ll ever get for the major parties. Labour would like to turn the tables again.  In order to do so, they’ll need to decide how this is achievable.  In essence, they have three…

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Defence review

Defence review

The Integrated Review: Fighting the Last War But One Rather than actually deliver the 2020 Strategic Defense and Security Review the government took the innovative view that the nation’s strategic goals and security needs could be better met by delaying it a year and giving it the pithy title of The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Foreign Policy and Development. The review has now been scheduled, with a high degree of precision, to be delivered in ‘early 2021’. Part of…

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Predictions for 2021 from the man who tipped Sunak as next PM at 200/1

Predictions for 2021 from the man who tipped Sunak as next PM at 200/1

After the increasingly high drama of the past few years 2021 is going to be a year with a bark but less of a bite – with one notable exception. Covid – For obvious reasons need to start with Covid. Following approval of the Oxford vaccine the rollout of vaccinations happens relatively smoothly (with some disruptions much shared on Twitter). Because of the new variant January and February are not going to be pleasant but by Easter death tolls will be…

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2021: What lies in store from Alastair Meeks

2021: What lies in store from Alastair Meeks

Following in Robert Smithson’s footsteps, it’s time to nail my colours to the mast again. At the end of each year, I like to set out my expectations for the year ahead, not because I’m particularly accurate (I’m not) but because it is useful to see where my expectations went wrong at a later date. My starting point for the year ahead is always the finishing point for the previous year. Where do we start? The whole world has been hit by the…

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Speed reading

Speed reading

The UK-EU trade agreement has now been put up on the government website, all 1,246 pages of it. That is 486,549 words. It is marginally longer than Lord of the Rings. Its prose is still more turgid and some of it might as well be written in Elvish. The government is giving the agreement one day’s debate on 30 December.  That means that an MP who did nothing other than read the agreement from cover to cover would be able to give well…

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The annual StJohn PB Christmas Crossword (est 2007)

The annual StJohn PB Christmas Crossword (est 2007)

Across 1 Scandal of former Labour minister caught eating a roll (10) 6 Cut government without delay (4) 9 An election is awfully near. Stick around (7) 10 Ban traffic light signals after relocating A+E (7) 12 Reportedly a US statesman’s political tactic (10) 13 Large government tender (3) 15 Ignoring revolution, Pinochet is respected? (6) 16 Rabble-rousing party excited by end of rally (8) 18 Important Russian note Kim Philby initially sent (8) 20 Vision of Labour grandee (6)…

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Deal

Deal

Charles Hawtrey died an untimely death. The Carry On actor, famed for playing eccentric and effete characters, was in real life a cantankerous alcoholic so devoted to the pursuit of gay sex that he moved to a naval town to be close to the sailors. When he was advised by doctors that he needed to have both legs amputated if he was going to live, he refused, deciding that he would rather die with his boots on. The attitude of many Remainers…

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