Centre Write
Centre Write
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 08:54

Gabriel Gavin: One Nation under May

In Cumbria, they don’t count Labour votes – they weigh them. Or at least they did. Trudy Harrison’s victory in Copeland looks to be the first sign that there are no no-go areas for the Conservative Party any more. Labour support is being eroded by worries over what Jeremy Corbyn would mean for working people in traditional industries such as the nuclear industry at Sellafield and in the shipyards of Barrow and Furness. The next few months and years will…
Monday, 24 April 2017 15:39

Kieron O'Hara: Infernal doctrines?

Shortly after the 1885 General Election, the young Joseph Conrad wrote to a friend, bemoaning the result: Where’s the man to stop the rush of social-democratic ideas? The opportunity and the day have come and are gone! Believe me: gone for ever! For the sun is set and the last barrier removed. England was the only barrier to the pressure of infernal doctrines born in continental back-slums. Now, there is nothing! The destiny of this nation and of all nations…
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:00

Edmund Flett: Say yes to legalisation

In a sense it is misleading to refer to a ‘liberalisation’ of drugs policy. If anything, what is proposed is the complete opposite. Anyone who thinks otherwise will falter at the question: what could be less regulated than a black market? The illegal drug market has no checks for adulteration or purity; products do not come with information on dosage, usage, and risks. The trade is associated with untold human misery, inflicted by cartels and traffickers. Europol estimates the annual…
Thursday, 13 April 2017 12:00

Philip Collins: Establishment in transition

The term ‘the Establishment’ is sometimes attributed, probably apocryphally, to the radical historian AJP Taylor. In a review in 1953 of a biography of William Cobbett in The New Statesman, Taylor wrote that “the Establishment draws in recruits from outside as soon as they are ready to conform to its standards and become respectable. There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the Establishment — and nothing more corrupting”. It’s a typically pithy thought, and it…
Nicky Morgan was right when she questioned the government's plans for new grammar schools: “We no longer live in a world where we need only the top 20% or 30% to be highly skilled,” she said. “We need everybody to have access to a knowledge-rich, excellent academic curriculum.” It’s this point that should be at the heart of the education debate. Grammar schools were created with a vision of academic excellence for 25 per cent of children. Those children were…
When it comes to UK aid, one area in particular has ennobled Britain and made the world a fairer, safer and more prosperous place: global health. On this day, World Health Day, there is no better time to celebrate, and also scrutinise, our legacy. Our record of saving lives in the world’s poorest countries is second to none. Working to boost global health systems around the world is the corner stone of international development, and the UK takes it very…
The Oxford English Dictionary has announced its international word of the year to be “post-truth”, defining it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” 2016 has indeed been the year in which the populace has talked back to the establishment. It started with Brexit, when the British public went against the grain and decided to fight their own corner. In America, Donald Trump…
Increasing renewable energy generation was one of the big environmental achievements of the Coalition Government. The share of Britain’s electricity generated from renewable energy increased from 9% in 2011 to 25% in 2015. By displacing polluting coal from the grid, renewables have contributed significantly to major falls in greenhouse gas emissions over that period. From being a fringe element, renewables now play a central role in powering Britain’s homes and businesses. And as renewable capacity increases, their costs fall. In…
I’ve got some good news for you, and some bad news. Let’s start with the good, because we need it right now. At the moment, we are witnessing the greatest improvement in living standards ever to take place. Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour and infant mortality are falling faster than at any other time in human history. Life expectancy at birth has increased more than twice as much in the last century as it did in the previous 200,000 years.…
Gordon Brown’s latest proposal for a “third option” in Scotland sounds suspiciously familiar. The more Brown and Blair keep talking, the more we are reminded of what New Labour and the “third way” got wrong, and a comparison with today’s politics is instructive. New Labour was the political superpower of its day, reaching into Tory heartlands with its soft left policies. They reigned supreme and made bad decisions: Blair’s failure to plan for post-war Iraq is exhibit A, while the…

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