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65 years of Tory Prime Ministers – their educational backgrounds

65 years of Tory Prime Ministers – their educational backgrounds

And EVERY LAB winner of a general election majority winner went to Oxford One of my little obsessions over the years has been the very narrow base from which political leaders come from in the UK. The table above shows the educational backgrounds of every Tory PM since Churchill stood aside in 1955 and as can be seen all but one of them went to Oxford – the exception being John Major who did not go to university. Labour doesn’t…

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Privileged lives matter: the British opponents of cancel culture and their very debatable motives

Privileged lives matter: the British opponents of cancel culture and their very debatable motives

Isn’t it a disgrace that you can’t express all your half-baked saloon bar prejudices without someone wanting to make a deal out of it? This is not the way that the self-declared opponents of cancel culture put their case of course, but then, they are being pretty incoherent. Let me help Sarah Vine and Adam Boulton, though both of them really should know better, being eminent political journalists and all that. A libertarian approach to this question would run as follows. Anyone could…

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Rewards for Failure

Rewards for Failure

John Bercow, Tom Watson and Karie Murphy should be feeling quite aggrieved, having apparently been blackballed from receiving peerages because of ongoing investigations into allegations about past behaviour. What is this novel concept of holding people accountable for their actions? It hasn’t been like this for ages – ever since lying, lustful Profumo went into the library with the metaphorical whisky and revolver. Soo unfair! Consider: Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in charge when the Met made a fool…

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Weeping angels. On moving statues

Weeping angels. On moving statues

“I met a traveller from an antique landWho said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stoneStand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:And on the pedestal these words appear:‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’Nothing…

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Can You Guess Which Country It is Yet?

Can You Guess Which Country It is Yet?

It is not as obvious as it seems Imagine a European country. A militarily successful one. One which, however annoying – and, oh, did it make a nuisance of itself in many varied ways – could not be ignored. One led by a self-regarding, popular leader (with a penchant for mistresses) around whom government revolved. A leader who, after a period of stasis, took action, to the delight of those around him. A leader who seemed set fair to revive…

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Amber Warnings – What might be the signals that all is not well in a democracy?

Amber Warnings – What might be the signals that all is not well in a democracy?

How much should we be concerned about extremism? Just as it is easy to be complacent about a country’s immunity to extremism (“If it didn’t happen before, it won’t happen now”), it is all too easy for any suggested change to the existing constitutional or political set up to be described as the first step towards whichever form of extremism most worries the commentator, especially if from a political opponent.  This focus on who is behind a proposal – rather than on what it…

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Political rights and wrongs

Political rights and wrongs

Worrying signs of moves towards illiberalism Opposition parties often complain about the unfairness of the rules of the political game. Until they win a majority. Even the Tories have sung this song. Given their attachment to FPTP – which has delivered Tory governments for 45 out of the last 75 years – they have presented self-interest in more technical (unfair boundaries) or high-flown terms. It was Lord Hailsham who popularised the phrase “elective dictatorship” to describe the ability of a…

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Almost all the front pages are about the virus

Almost all the front pages are about the virus

Is now the time to panic? This is probably the first big test for the Johnson government. How to handle the growing concern about the virus which is sweeping many parts of the world. So far this has been less in UK than in some other European countries particularly Italy. But we live in a world where people do travel and interact and things can happen so fast. It is starting to impact on things like the Rugby Six Nations…

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