Commons Confidential

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Rory Stewart’s CV would put most of us to shame. Still only fifty, he’s been a tutor to princes, a serving soldier, a British diplomat (and, some say, an intelligence officer), an acclaimed travel writer, deputy governor of an Iraqi province, a charity founder, a Harvard professor, a Member of Parliament, a cabinet minister and […]

From Colliery to Wing Collars

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

At the time of writing, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has a lead of more than twenty points over the Conservatives. All the available evidence points towards a Labour victory, potentially one of the most convincing in British history, at the general election that is likely to be held in the next twelve months. Labour and its supporters should

Brothers Grim

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

David and Frederick Barclay were two of the most consequential British business figures of their times. Yet until recently, surprisingly little was known about them, which was exactly how the obsessively secretive and highly litigious twins liked it. That began to change when the family turned their legal guns on themselves. The brothers had fallen out by the time David died in 2021, while later that

Broken Britain, the Sequel

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Danny Dorling begins his wide-ranging, entertaining, excoriating and slightly messy account of the fractures in British social and economic life with a claim many will find surprising: that living standards in Britain reached their high point in 1974. The now-demonised years of the postwar consensus saw health outcomes dramatically improve, living standards climb to their […]

How the Red Wall Turned Blue

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

In Broken Heartlands, Sebastian Payne, Whitehall editor of the Financial Times, takes a road trip around ten constituencies in the north and the Midlands to work out why traditionally Labour-voting areas switched to supporting the Old Etonian, Oxford-educated Boris Johnson en masse in the December 2019 election (‘beats me’, is the prime minister’s characteristically complacent […]

You Can Go Your Own Way

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

‘Brexit’ is a taboo word in British politics these days. Boris Johnson rarely talks about it, partly because he likes to say Brexit is ‘done’ but also because, eighteen months after Britain’s departure from the EU, there are no obvious economic benefits to boast about. Keir Starmer rarely mentions it because he doesn’t want to […]

The Miner’s Lament

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Coal used to be everywhere in Britain. Without it, there would have been no foundries, no trains and no gas lamps. Just after the First World War, there were over a million miners. They exercised a powerful influence on the labour movement even, and perhaps especially, after they had left the mines. Anyone looking at strikes in Birmingham factories will come across men who had started their working lives underground in South Wales and migrated to escape unemployment

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RLF - March