Tories hit by new Brexit in-fighting as Philip Hammond demands an apology

The Conservative Party was hit by new in-fighting after Philip Hammond demanded an apology over accusations that he and other ministers leaked secret Whitehall documents on the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.

The Chancellor registered his complaint in a letter to the Prime Minister in which he said he was writing on behalf of all the ministers sacked by Mr Johnson upon arrival in office.

Downing Street responded by taking a swipe at Mr Hammond’s claim to represent former ministers.

The furore centred on last week’s leak of the so-called “Operation Yellowhammer” papers which outlined the scenario of food and fuel shortages and huge delays at Channel ports following a no-deal Brexit.

Documents dismissed

The documents outlined the potential problems the country could face in a no-deal Brexit (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Number 10 sources dismissed the documents as “out of date” and blamed disgruntled ex-ministers such as the former Chancellor for leaking the paperwork as a way of undermining Mr Johnson’s negotiations in Brussels.

Mr Hammond wrote: “I am writing on behalf of all former ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity, acknowledge that no former minister could have leaked this document, and apologise for the misleading briefing from No.10.”

He said the confidential assessment was dated August 2019 and said he could not have been released by ministers who had resigned or been dismissed when Mr Johnson announced his top team on 24 July.

A Downing Street source said: “I’m sure the Prime Minister will reply in due course. I’m sure he will be interested to learn that Philip Hammond represents all former ministers.”

The source disputed the suggestion it had been drawn up under Mr Johnson’s premiership. “It doesn’t reflect the changes made by the Government in terms of preparing for no-deal.”

Mr Hammond is emerging as the potential leader of Conservative rebel MPs attempting to thwart a no-deal Brexit when the Commons returns next month. Between 30 and 40 Tories are said to be ready to work across party to try to stop a Brexit no deal.

More Brexit

The post Tories hit by new Brexit in-fighting as Philip Hammond demands an apology appeared first on

Read More

Iain Dale: Were the Prime Minister to pull the plug on HS2, would he call time on Heathrow expansion too?

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio, and is the author of the forthcoming book ‘Why can’t we all just get along’.

I have very mixed feelings about HS2. I am usually all in favour of visionary transport infrastructure projects. I rather liked the idea of the Boris Island Airport, and still regret that he didn’t make it part of his leadership campaign. I also think high speed rail is a good thing.

However, I still don’t think the business case for HS2 has really ever been properly made.  Capacity is clearly an issue on parts of the West Coast main line, but it seems to be the Manchester trains which suffer, rather than the Birmingham ones.

The Prime Minister is clearly minded to cancel the whole project, and hopes that the review announced this week will give him political cover. Quite how he will explain the waste of upwards of £7.2 billion I don’t know, but presumably the saving of a further £80 billion will be used to show how other parts of our transport system could be improved.

Of course, if HS2 is cancelled, one would quite reasonably wonder whether the third runway at Heathrow might be next on the list for a prime ministerial cull.

– – – – – – – – – – –

A new Kantar poll puts the Conservatives on 42 per cent, with Labour trailing on 28 per cent and the Brexit Party on only five per cent. The Liberal Democrats were constant on 15 per cent.

So, a 14 per cent lead for Johnson. Is this a “Boris bounce”? None of the other polls have shown a lead anything like this big, so everyone should treat with a huge degree of scepticism. But since it is widely believed that there will be a general election by the end of November, this is not a bad place to start from.

But as ever, a Conservative election success surely relies on us leaving the EU on October 31st. If we don’t, quite a few of those per centage points will be shaved off by Nigel Farage.

– – – – – – – – – –

Talking of Farage, he has made clear that, if the Prime Minister signs up to any form of deal with the EU, the Brexit Party will stand candidates against every Conservative candidate up and down the country. The only way to avoid that would be for us to leave on 31 October with no deal.

That outcome seems ever more likely as each day and each exchange of letters with Donald Tusk takes place. But as with Farage, I have a feeling in my water that the prospect of a last-minute deal hasn’t entirely disappeared. Yet.

The purists may hate it, but in the end, we have surely to remain of the view that a good deal is better than no deal. The trouble is that few can see what would actually constitute a good deal from the UK viewpoint. We can all see what a bad deal looks like, of course. But how we get from that to a good deal is anyone’s guess. –

– – – – – – – – –


The ‘N’ key to my laptop has come ustuck. Makes me thik a ew computer may be i order. I could stick it o agai , I suppose. But where’s the fu i that?

– – – – – – – – – –

This is my first and only week’s holiday of the year. I’m spending it in Norfolk doing nothing at all – apart from writing this, and two other columns.

And watching box sets. I’ve finished Designated Survivor on Netflix and have now started the Korean version. I’m quite used to watching programmes with subtitles, but normally I can pick up a few words of the language. Not Korean. It’s almost impossible to follow.

I’m also reading Andrew Roberts’ brilliant thousand page biography of Winston Churchill. I always find these doorstops of books incredibly intimidating, mainly because I normally only read before I go to sleep, and therefore only manage three pages a night. So I’m pleased I’m already on page 200. Right, time for another chapter…

Read More

Virginia Crosbie: A Conservative victory depends on women voters

Virginia Crosbie is Director of Women2Win, Deputy Chair of Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives and the Conservative Policy Forum’s Champion for Social Mobility.

Losing the women’s vote – a trend or a one off?

In 2017, for the first time ever, a smaller proportion of women voted Conservative than men. In the last six decades women have tended to support the Conservatives slightly more than men, and as a Party we have come to rely on the women’s vote.  Was 2017 a one off or is this the beginning of a very worrying trend?

This problem is getting more acute among younger female voters. In the 2015 and 2017 General Elections women, especially those under the age of 40, were more likely than men to vote Labour. In 2017, 73% of women aged 18-24 – nearly three times the figure in 2010 – voted Labour compared to 52% of men.

The trend does not seem to be improving; a poll recently by the think tank Onward found that only 8% of young women (compared to 20% of young men) say they will vote Conservative.

Losing the women’s vote made a significant difference to us in 2017; the Conservatives were only nine seats (excluding the Speaker) short of an outright majority, and a large number of seats were only narrowly lost. In 2017, 97 seats were won by a margin of 5% or less. A small improvement in women’s voting would have meant a lot more Conservative seats.

The women’s vote is becoming increasingly important due to demographics. Women currently make up 54% of the UK electorate reflecting the fact that women have a longer life expectancy than men, and turnout amongst older voters is higher. As the population ages and with women living on average 3.6 years longer than men – the women’s vote is becoming more and more important. Based on statistics from 2017, men and women are equally likely to vote, therefore with the proportion of female voters growing, we have a natural advantage if we can recover our appeal to women.

Winning back the women’s vote

It’s not clear why we are losing the women’s vote, and why we have failed to connect with younger women. Is it because women have been disproportionately affected by austerity? Is it because women are more worried than men about crime, the NHS and the future of the next generation? When I’m out campaigning I’m keen to ask people why they are not voting Conservative. Please can you share the feedback you have had on the doorsteps.

With over 15 million women now working, and with more than 500,000 women giving birth each year, we have an opportunity, an opportunity to ensure that we have the policies in place to support every woman and her family. As a party we have made great strides to improve the workplace for women with gender pay gap reporting, flexible working and greater maternity and redundancy protection. We need to shout about these successes so that young women know these are Conservative successes.

We also need to face up to some difficult questions. With more female MPs and more female MPs driving policy decisions, does this mean that Labour’s policies are more likely to appeal to women? Almost half of Labour MPs are women, whereas only one in five Conservative MPs are women. Labour has forced this figure through with ‘All Women Shortlists’ – something that is against our core Conservative values of hard work and merit. But does the number of women MPs matter? Has this given Labour an advantage? And if this has, what do we propose to do about it?

Increasing political engagement

Women are more likely to be politically engaged if they can vote for candidates they can relate to.  Has this been the key to Labour’s success? In the 2017 General Election the Conservatives fielded 184 women candidates (28.4% of their total) versus 256 for Labour (40.6%). Labour fielded a significantly higher number of women candidates than the Conservatives in seats that Labour already held. In safe seats where Labour had a majority of 20-30% the difference was even more marked with over 50% of candidates being women. Since 1979, an average of 86 seats in each election became available as MPs stood down. As 2017 was a snap election only 31 MPs announced they would not stand for re-election.

Women are significantly under-represented among Conservative candidates, MPs and also councillors. After the 2019 local elections just 30% of Conservative councillors are women. Since local government has a disproportionate impact on women’s lives it would make sense for women’s voices to be better reflected in decision-making.

A higher number of female councillors, candidates and MPs can be interpreted as a sign and driver of political engagement for women. The AskHerToStand cross-party initiative by 50:50 Parliament has been successful in increasing the number of women coming forward to get involved in local politics or Parliament. Has your local association thought of hosting an AskHerToStand event to motivate more women to get involved? If not, then they should do so urgently.

Also, the ‘Make It Your Business’ initiative encourages and supports women entrepreneurs. I’ve hosted four ‘Make It Your Business’ events, and found it a great way to recruit women who do not appreciate that their entrepreneurial values are aligned to Conservative values. Get in touch if you would like to arrange one.

I’m keen to hear your thoughts and what has worked for you. I would especially like to listen to our younger members as to how we can broaden our Conservative base and deliver our message.

Encouraging more female members – a good place to start

I’m keen to help and I am regularly asked by Conservative Associations how they can attract more young members and particularly more women members. Seven out of 10 of our Conservative Party members are male, and we have a long way to go to achieve the parity that Labour, the Lib Dem’s, Greens and the SNP achieve. A good place to start is by supporting women to become association officers. The Party already has so many great initiatives and groups to attract new voters – the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF), the Conservative Women’s Organisation (CWO), CWO Diversity, Conservative Young Women (CYW) and the Young Conservatives (YCs).

Another initiative is for associations to build stronger relationships with universities, and encourage more students to join through student campaigns. I saw first hand how the students from Winchester University Conservative Society worked exceptionally hard to deliver leaflets in the recent local election.

If we are to win a majority in Parliament at the next General Election it is critical that we win the women’s vote. It’s going to take soul- searching and hard work, not just words. I hope this paper opens up the debate and helps us focus on how we can do this. We are missing out on a huge pool of voters and talent for our party. This is not political correctness this is political common sense. By working together to address the gender disparity of voting intentions I hope that it will help us succeed as a party.

Read More

WATCH: Rifkind – enough Tory MPs “might” vote against Boris Johnson

Read More

I’m a GNU. How do you do?

Let’s start by returning to the Fixed Terms Parliament Act.  Under its terms, a general election will not automatically follow if Boris Johnson’s Government is defeated in a vote of no confidence,   Instead, there will be a 14 days window in which to form a new administration.  If during these a putative one emerges, it will be subject to a vote of confidence.  Only if that fails will an election take place.

Now let’s look at the current Commons in that light.

It is by no means certain that the Prime Minister would lose a no confidence vote as matters stand.  This is because his opponents cannot be sure that enough Conservative backbenchers and opposition MPs would combine to force him out.  ConservativeHome will look more closely at the numbers later this week.

But if he did, the odds of him then losing a second Commons vote are longer.  To understand why, imagine the following.  Johnson loses a no confidence vote.  The Queen permits him to have a go at forming another government within the 14 day window.  Johnson’s defeat in the vote of confidence that follows would bring about an election, under the terms of the Fixed Terms Act, as described above.  Some MPs willing to oppose Johnson in the original vote of no confidence might therefore be willing to support him in the vote of confidence.  Why?  Because they don’t want to face the voters in a general election.

Of course, the Queen might not allow Johnson to have another go.  But that possibility makes our point in a different way.  The only other plausible Prime Ministerial candidate is Jeremy Corbyn.  And some MPs willing to oppose Johnson in that original vote of no confidence would be unlikely to support Corbyn in a vote of confidence.

In short, they might be willing to turn Johnson out, but not to put Corbyn in.  Again, this site will probe the numbers in detail later this week.

And Corbyn is the only other feasible Prime Ministerial candidate.  Take the talk of Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman as Prime Minister with not so much a pinch as a spoonful of salt.  The J.Alfred Prufrock MPs of the Tory benches aren’t going to back Harman.  And their Labour equivalents won’t support Clarke.  And since Conservative and Labour MPs together form a large majority in the Commons, either outcome lies at the very edge of possibility.

The so-called Government of National Unity or GNU – actually, a Government of National Disunity, since it would exclude all those who want Brexit now – looks like a wildebeest, in the manner of its namesake in the old Flanders and Swann song.  I’m a GNU.  How do you do?

For all these reasons, a no confidence vote will surely be a weapon of the last rather than the first resort for the Prime Minister’s opponents.  They would get a better return by seeking to pass a Bill compelling him to seek a further extension, aided and abetted by the Speaker.  Could anti-No Deal MPs draw up a legally watertight text?  Would Johnson seek an election if such a Bill looked likely to pass?  Would the Commons grant him one?  We may be about to find out.

Read More

Boris Johnson criticised for editing out a broken promise from Facebook video

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘misleading the public’ after claims he doctored footage of his first speech as Prime Minister to omit any reference to a ‘broken promise’.

The ‘Vision for Britain’ speech, delivered on the steps of Number 10, saw the Prime Minister pledge a new NHS funding package, widely seen as a nod to plans for an Autumn general election.

But he has been accused of editing footage of the speech to remove two words that amounted to a promise he failed to fulfil.

In a clip posted to his official Facebook page on Friday, Mr Johnson says: “My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP.

“And we start work… with 20 new hospital upgrades and ensuring that the money for the NHS really does get to the frontline.”

Two words changed meaning

Jon Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Jon Ashworth, shadow health secretary, criticised Mr Johnson’s edited video (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

But in the original speech, made on 24 July, he said: “And we start work this week…”.

In fact, he announced his £1.8bn funding pledge for the NHS three weeks later, on 4 August, and it emerged much of it was money already saved by hospitals.

Labour shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth criticised Mr Johnson for “trying to take the British people for fools”.

Downing Street have declined to comment.

New money or old

The Prime Minister announced the £1.8 billion cash injection including £850 million for funding vital upgrades to 20 hospitals, each of which have been allocated funds for specific infrastructure projects.

The Labour Party and a number of high profile think tanks said much of the money was coming from savings hospitals had previously been forced to make by the Government rather than being “new money”.

Read more:

NHS bosses urge Boris Johnson to end escalating crisis in social care

Mr Ashworth said: “Boris Johnson has misled the public and our NHS staff. You cannot trust a word he says and his claims are unravelling.”

Sally Gainsbury, senior policy analyst, at the Nuffield Trust thinktank said: “News that £1bn will now be available this year is a welcome reprieve, but it’s the equivalent of giving someone cash then banning them from spending it, only to expect cheers of jubilation when you later decide they can spend it after all,”

Downing Street has insisted the money was new, with £850m going to 20 hospital upgrades and £1bn for capital spending.

More health

The post Boris Johnson criticised for editing out a broken promise from Facebook video appeared first on

Read More

Analysis: Alarm in Downing Street as all sides for no-deal Brexit begin organising

Harriet Harman and Ken Clarke had both long harboured ambitions to be Prime Minister, and yet, for these two veterans of British politics, those ambitions had, until this summer, looked set to be unrealised.

Yet the Mother and Father of the House have suddenly become principal candidates to lead a caretaker administration if Boris Johnson loses a confidence vote in a little over two weeks’ time. While the two were – separately – on holiday this summer, new Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was contacting them to see if they would be open to heading up a government of national unity as a way of stopping a no-deal Brexit.

As with the appeal by Jeremy Corbyn for cross-party support for his bid to lead an interim government, the Swinson plan has been ridiculed by Conservative ministers and others in Westminster. And yet the positive response by Mr Clarke and Ms Harman – and that of hardened Tory rebels – will be causing alarm in Downing Street.

The Labour leader’s letter to fellow leaders and senior rebel Tories, and the fact that, save for Ms Swinson, it has not been rejected out of hand, is significant because it sketches, albeit roughly, a road map to stopping both Mr Johnson and a no-deal Brexit in their tracks.

Majority of one

Could Harriet Harman unite a coalition (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Prime Minister, in his first three weeks in Downing Street, has behaved like he has a majority of 101 rather than one, supported by the DUP. He has appointed an all-powerful adviser in Dominic Cummings, and treated European leaders, with whom he says he wants to strike a deal, with lofty disdain.

Just as his victory in the Conservative leadership contest had carried a relentless inevitability, so too had a no-deal Brexit carried over the finishing line by Mr Johnson. Until this week.

Mr Corbyn remains a divisive figure in Westminster among even his own backbenchers. And yet what those who have engaged with his letter can see is an alternative to no-deal Brexit.

Just because there is disagreement among the opposition and rebel Tories about the means to get there – and who will lead the way – they do all agree on the ends: a government of national unity headed by someone who isn’t Mr Johnson. For them, engaging with Mr Corbyn is a staging post to get to a unity government, not necessarily the end product.

Since the 2016 referendum result, so much has been said for Brexit realigning party politics. We have had the breakaway Change UK and independents since February, and, in the Commons, MPs voting along Brexit, rather than tribal party, lines.

Yet this bid for a government of national unity, in whatever form it takes, is the first time MPs are putting an issue over party unity in order to change government itself.

It is a framework for a genuine and lasting realignment of British politics. There is alarm in Downing Street because the opposition and rebels are getting organised, and, for the first time, everything is in play.

More Brexit

The post Analysis: Alarm in Downing Street as all sides for no-deal Brexit begin organising appeared first on

Read More

Cross party support developing for a Government of National Unity – but no unity over its leader

Jeremy Corbyn should be given the first chance to try to form an interim government to stop a no-deal Brexit before an alternative caretaker prime minister is found, Harriet Harman believes.

The former Labour deputy leader’s name has been proposed by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson as the head of a government of national unity if Boris Johnson is defeated in a confidence vote next month.

Ken Clarke, who has also been suggested by Ms Swinson, said he would be willing to head an interim government.

Both veteran MPs are willing to step forward if they can command enough cross-party support to wrest control of Mr Johnson’s Government and extend Article 50 to prevent no deal.

Yet Ms Harman believes that, as leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn has the right to go first to try to form an interim government, the i understands.

Blow to Swinson

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has suggested Conservative veteran Ken Clarke as the leader all sides can rally around (Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters/File)
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has suggested Conservative veteran Ken Clarke as the leader all sides can rally around (Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters/File)

If he cannot command the confidence of the House, then it is for whoever can do so, and that the most important thing is to stop a no-deal Brexit, her allies say.

This position is a further blow to Ms Swinson, who initially rejected the Labour leader’s cross-party appeal on Thursday to open talks about a caretaker government as “nonsense” before backtracking on Friday and agreeing to have talks with Mr Corbyn.

The Labour leader took a swipe at his Lib Dem counterpart’s rejection of his caretaker bid, saying: “It’s not up to Jo Swinson to choose candidates, it’s not up to Jo Swinson to decide who the next prime minister is going to be.

“Surely she must recognise she is a leader of one of the opposition parties who are apparently opposed to this Government, and apparently prepared to support a motion of no confidence.”

He said Ms Swinson and other politicians should allow “normal precedent” to take place and give him the first opportunity to form a new government.

It’s ‘not inconceivable’

But former Tory Cabinet Minister Mr Clarke said he would be happy to take on the role.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “If it was the only way in which majority of Commons opposed to no-deal could find a way forward, I wouldn’t object.

“Government of national unity is not inconceivable. We are in a similar situation to 1931 and the two World Wars.”

He later told the BBC he was “happy to follow Harriet, happy to follow Yvette [Cooper, another senior Labour backbencher]”.

The Labour leader is considering using legislation to extend Article 50 to prevent no deal Brexit, if a no confidence bid fails. Mr Corbyn also had talks with the SNP over how to pull together legislation to delay the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Labour leader is also preparing to hold talks with a handful of rebel Conservative MPs who want to stop no-deal Brexit. They believe Mr Corbyn remains a divisive figure but are willing to open up talks as start of a process.

More Brexit

The post Cross party support developing for a Government of National Unity – but no unity over its leader appeared first on

Read More

Nicola Sturgeon: I’d back Jeremy Corbyn to stop no deal – but I don’t really trust him

Nicola Sturgeon said she would be prepared to help install Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of an emergency government to avert the “catastrophe” of a no-deal Brexit.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn has urged other opposition parties to oust Boris Johnson in a vote of no confidence and make him a caretaker Prime Minister until a general election is held.

His surprise plan was rejected out of hand by the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who argued that he was the wrong person to unite a deeply divided Commons.

But some pro-Remain Conservatives said they would meet Mr Corbyn to discuss tactics.

‘Explore any opportunity’

Ms Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, also refused to exclude the strategy if it was needed to prevent Mr Johnson leading Britain out of the European Union on 31 October without agreement.

The SNP leader admitted she did not “particularly trust” Mr Corbyn, but said: “We will work with anyone and we will explore any opportunity to stop Brexit. It’s no secret that I’m not the greatest fan of Jeremy Corbyn but we won’t rule out any option if it helps avert what is a looming catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit.”

Jeremy Corbyn made the surprise offer on Thursday (Photo/Matt Dunham, AP)
Jeremy Corbyn made the surprise offer on Thursday (Photo: Matt Dunham, AP)

She also took a swipe at Ms Swinson for rejecting the Labour leader’s plan, saying: “I think that’s daft, frankly, for somebody who professes to be so against Brexit.”

The Green MP Caroline Lucas has also urged Ms Swinson to reconsider her hostility to the proposal.

The Liberal Democrat leader has floated an alternative blueprint in which either Kenneth Clarke or Harriet Harman serves as temporary Prime Minister in an “emergency government” to find a way out of the “national crisis” over Brexit.

She argued that there was “no way” the Labour leader could unite the Commons – not least because of hostility to him on his own backbenches.

First speech

Making her first major speech since succeeding Vince Cable, Ms Swinson instead recommended placing either the Father or Mother of the Commons – titles given to the longest-serving sitting male and female MPs – to lead a time-limited government.

“They are hugely experienced and, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, or indeed myself, they are not seeking to lead a government in the long term,” she said.

She disclosed that she had been in contact with both Mr Clarke and Ms Harman and believed that either would be happy to take on the role.

“I’m confident that if that’s what the House of Commons resolves then– those individuals will be happy to take on that role to try to steer our country through these difficult waters.”

Ms Swinson was speaking after welcoming the former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who has been sitting as an independent, to the party, bringing the total number of Lib Dem MPs to 14.

More politics

The post Nicola Sturgeon: I’d back Jeremy Corbyn to stop no deal – but I don’t really trust him appeared first on

Read More

Andy Street: Making connections to change our region

Andy Street is Mayor of the West Midlands, and is a former Managing Director of John Lewis.

When the Prime Minister gave his first speech at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum on July 27, he spoke of the “basic ingredients of success for the UK”.

He spoke about culture, liveability, responsibility in power and accountability – but the subject that resonated most with the experiences of the West Midlands was his belief in the power of connections.

He said: “Inspiration and innovation, cross fertilisation between people, literally and figuratively, cannot take place unless people can bump into each other, compete, collaborate, invent and innovate.”

The West Midlands provides a case study for the UK in how connectivity can transform an area by linking its communities, its geography, its businesses and its people. In the UK’s most diverse region, this commitment to connection is a key part of the new Urban Conservatism we are building here, which is winning support.

In a region spread across the seven boroughs of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, connectedness has been vital in building a sense of unity. Most obviously, huge investment in our transport network is allowing our communities to physically meet.

But as the Prime Minister said, connectedness isn’t just about tramlines and buses, it’s about encouraging the sharing of ideas to drive growth – and it’s as old as the hills.

Successful city states – going back to the Italian Renaissance and beyond – flourish by bringing people together to drive social and economic progress through greater understanding and innovation. The lesson of history is that places that unite different cultures to distil their ideas and harness their ambition are successful, be it 18th century London or 20th century New York.

Here, that ambition means connecting an increasing number of economic hotspots. From the cluster around the NEC known as ‘UK Central’ to the massive Phoenix 10 brownfield reclamation scheme in the Black Country, the resurgent economy in the West Midlands is creating jobs that require connectivity. Investment in public transport is building an arterial network taking people – and their ideas– into these centres of opportunity.

But the real lesson of the West Midlands story is how we are learning to connect people, not places. The Mayor’s Community Weekend, for example, brought tens of thousands of people together over 165 events through a partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority and the National Lottery Community Fund. A hundred workplaces joined in with the Mayor’s Giving Day, encouraging charity in all forms. My Faith Action Plan brings together different faiths. We are even connecting the generations through my Cricket Cup at Edgbaston on September 8, which will see grandparents and grandchildren take the field together.

In such a diverse place, these soft social initiatives solidify to bind the connections we make, simply by getting involved. The alternative to connectedness is isolation, which breeds intolerance. It’s critical to stand against intolerance of any kind, whether it’s racial, religious or the kind of schools protest against equality teaching we have seen in Birmingham.

We are also making great strides in closing divisions in our communities to improve social mobility. In 2007, 20% of our young people left school with no qualifications, a figure that has been brought down to 11% through retraining in areas like digital and construction, and growth in modern apprenticeships.

That’s being helped by a unique feature in the West Midlands – the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme, which allows us to spend the unused apprenticeship levy paid by big firms more sensibly. Closing skills gaps like this is another way that we promote connectedness across and within our communities.

Connectivity in a more literal sense can be achieved through technology. I was encouraged by the PM’s commitment in his candidacy to speed up the roll-out of Fibre Broadband across the country. This kind of quick expansion is vital if we are to ensure that no areas are left disconnected from digital opportunities through under-investment.

However, with 5G coming first to our region, we aren’t prepared to wait for connections to spark innovation. Just a few weeks ago a ground-breaking trial here hinted at what can be achieved with 5G, when we linked local ambulances to doctors in A&E in real-time. The same technological connectivity is driving our automotive sector in its ambition to become the UK capital of driverless vehicles.

Sitting as we do at the heart of England, the West Midlands is positioned to benefit from the Prime Minister’s ambition to better connect the nation and rebalance the economy. As the PM said, “We need to literally and spiritually unite Britain, and that means boosting growth and bringing our regions together.”

To me, there is no greater instrument for this ambition than HS2 – the single piece of investment that will unlock millions of pounds of transport and housing infrastructure our region desperately needs.

Sites like the new tram line from East Birmingham to Solihull are indelibly linked to HS2. We have a target to ensure local people are never more than 45 minutes from a HS2 station, and schemes such as reopening closed railway lines and the impressive Sutton Coldfield Gateway have been meticulously planned around this major investment by the Government to sew our country together. Without it we are definitely poorer.

Connections need to be international too. As Michael Heseltine pointed out in this report ‘Empowering English Cities’, which was commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the underperformance of our major cities on the world stage is a critical problem that must be solved if we are to balance our economy.

However, this does not mean adopting an adversarial position to competing city regions like Rotterdam, Lyon, Frankfurt, Milan, Chicago and Sapporo, it means ensuring that we have the global connections to take in the best ideas and turn them to our own advantage.

This crucible of cultures concept is the very purpose of the civic university, and you will not find a better example than Chamberlain’s University of Birmingham – which is why our universities must, post-Brexit, continue to welcome International students. They literally connect us to the world and the ideas developing beyond our shores.

Travel opportunities are also important in nurturing our global position. Birmingham Airport has its sights set beyond the Brexit horizon with continued growth in passenger numbers. Work is due to start on its T18 project – named because it will create a terminal that can handle 18 million passengers a year, a rise of nearly 40% on the previous record, achieved in 2017.

HS2 makes this project even more important, as the airport will only be 38 minutes away from Euston, much quicker to get to from North London than both Heathrow and Gatwick.

Finally, I consider my own role as Mayor of the West Midlands to be one of connectivity. Overseeing a region where Labour control the majority of local authorities has meant that my job has often been about providing the glue that holds us all together, encouraging teamwork. In the UK’s youngest, most diverse area, this Urban Conservative approach is paying dividends politically as we attempt to make more of our constituent authorities Conservative.

This kind of inclusive Conservative leadership is where the party must be – and we are looking to Prime Minister Johnson, as the former Mayor of Britain’s mega city, to understand this and follow it through in Government. The Prime Minister will know what a Conservative Mayor in an urban region can achieve through physically connecting people – whether it’s through social connections, transport connections or digital connections – and I hope he will be considering how we can replicate this across the country.

Read More

John O’Connell: Cuts to inheritance tax could help the new government

John O’Connell is Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance

The cost of dying is going up. The TPA published work yesterday detailing the taxes and charges involved when someone passes away. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is the obvious money spinner – in 2019-20, the government is projected to receive £5.35 billion from grieving taxpayers, the highest amount ever.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is unpopular. Some polls put it ahead of other taxes as distinctly unloved – it’s often followed by Council Tax and the Licence Fee. That won’t come as a surprise to many ConHome readers, but it possibly is surprising to left-wing campaigners – who believe that inheritances entrench inequality, and that we must punish an imagined ruling aristocratic class.

Simply, IHT goes against a natural human instinct to make sure your family is looked after when you’re gone. To that end, it’s anti-aspirational – why work so hard to look after your children if the taxman guzzles it all up anyway?

But this is only one of the many ways that the government extracts money from the dead. These charges also include the cost of death certificates, land registry fees, probate and VAT.

All of that means a homeowner living in London, without a spouse or children to pass assets on to, who purchases a coffin and is cremated, faces a cost of death of up to £60,773.

This could rise to £61,308 if the newly proposed probate fees come into force. Under the innocuous sounding ‘Non-contentious Probate (Fees Order)’, Philip Hammond’s Treasury looked set to push ahead with a plan to hike the fees charged for a grant of probate from the current flat rate of £215 (£155 if a solicitor is used) to a sliding scale of fees ranging from £250 to £6,000, based on the value of the estate.

That ignores the fact that the probate service is not optional for many households. Receiving an inheritance is often unexpected and so families may not have had an opportunity to plan. This will often be the case for households on lower incomes, who do not have the resources to consult expensive solicitors. They are the people who will be most unfairly impacted.

Perhaps the cost of dying all seems rather small fry, in relation to delivering Brexit by October 31. But there is likely to be a Budget ahead of the deadline, which will need to encourage investment and win back support for the Conservative Party potentially embarking on a No Deal and General Election. So there could be three interesting elements to consider:

1. Help everyday families.

Philip Hammond’s proposal to whack up probate fees on families that may not have expected an inheritance, and may be cash poor. It is also a disproportionate increase. The level of service involved in a grant of probate is roughly equivalent, regardless of the size of the estate. Therefore, increasing the fees all the way up to £6,000 is extremely difficult to justify. As Guido reported at the time, the Lib Dems had issues with the move, as do the Law Society. It should be immediately junked.

2. Win back support with tax cuts.

The Government should consider increasing the thresholds at which people pay IHT. Consider how this issue was weaponised by George Osborne in 2007 – he dared Gordon Brown to hold an election with a promise to raise the thresholds to £1million. Brown blinked. Popular tax cuts alongside a Brexit-friendly Budget might just help a party aiming to bring voters back onside.

3. Encourage investment.

Simpler taxes are better and in the long-run, IHT should be abolished. But for now, investment is crucial. Leftist groups such as the Resolution Foundation and the Tax Justice Network have been critical of IHT reliefs like Business Property Relief (BPR). In doing so, they argue that reliefs “cost” the Treasury money; that “the government is handing out” money. Such talk is nonsense – it assumes all money belongs to the government and they simply decide to give some of it back. But until we simplify IHT by abolishing it entirely, reliefs like BPR and the Enterprise Investment Scheme can help drive growth and encourage responsible saving. BPR has been a vital tool in helping smaller companies across the UK, via the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), and has a role in ensuring that companies aren’t broken up to meet IHT liabilities, as the government alludes to. So MPs and mandarins must ignore calls from leftwing Twitter hordes and ensure that investment continues apace after the 31st October.

The new government has come flying out of the blocks and looks set to deliver Brexit by October 31st. The cost of dying may not be top of the list of priorities, but a Budget could be upon us before we know it – now’s the time for good ideas and fighting off bad ones.

Read More

Lord Ashcroft: My new Scotland poll. Yes to Independence takes the lead.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. For more information about his work, visit and

In the wake of Boris Johnson’s visit to Edinburgh last week, I polled Scots to measure support for a second independence referendum and to gauge opinion on independence itself. I found a small majority in favour of a new vote – and the first lead for an independent Scotland for more than two years.

I found 47 per cent agreeing that there should be another referendum on Scottish independence within the next two years (Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a new vote by 2021), with 45 per cent disagreeing.

While more than nine in ten Conservatives oppose a referendum, a return to the polls is favoured by more than one third of 2017 Labour voters, more than half of EU Remain voters, and by more than one in five of those who voted No to independence in 2014.

Asked how they would vote in such a contest, 46 per cent said they would vote Yes to independence, and 43 per cent No. Excluding those who say they don’t know or wouldn’t vote, this amounts to a lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent for an independent Scotland. This is the first lead for independence in a published poll since an Ipsos MORI survey in March 2017, and the biggest lead since a spate of polls in June 2016, shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU.

One third of Labour voters, a majority of EU Remain voters and 18 per cent of those who voted No to independence last time round said they would vote Yes. Again, more than nine in ten Tories said they would vote No, as did just over one in ten of those who backed independence in 2014. A majority of voters up to the age of 49 said they would vote Yes, including 62 per cent of those aged 18 to 24.

Overall, a majority of Scots thought that if a second referendum were to be held, the result this time would be an independent Scotland. Only three in ten – including just two thirds of Conservatives and fewer than half of 2014 No voters – thought Scotland would vote to remain part of the UK. A further 18 per cent said they didn’t know.

More than six in ten Scots – including 38 per cent of 2017 Conservatives and two thirds of Labour voters – said they think Brexit makes it more likely that Scotland will become independent in the foreseeable future. Indeed, more than half of 2014 No voters think this is the case, with 32 per cent of them saying it makes independence much more likely.

Just over half – including a majority of Labour voters, nearly one in five Tories and two thirds of EU remain voters – say Brexit strengthens the case for Scotland to become independent.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of all Scots agree with Sturgeon’s claim that a No Deal Brexit would be disastrous for Scotland, including half of Labour voters and nearly one in five Tories. A further three in ten (including most Conservatives) think the risks have been exaggerated but there would be some difficulties.

Asked what their preferred Brexit outcome would be, most 2017 Conservative voters backed Boris Johnson’s position that the UK should leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal – though one in five said they would be prepared to wait longer than October for a better deal, and nearly a quarter said they wanted to remain in the EU. Remaining is the most popular outcome, though favoured by only half of all Scots.

Scottish voters are closely divided as to whether – if it were not possible to do both – it would be more important for Scotland to remain part of the UK, or to remain in the EU. While 43 per cent would prioritise the Union, 45 per cent would prioritise the EU. While Conservatives and SNP voters were leaned heavily as one would expect, Labour voters were split: 46 per cent would choose the UK, 40 per cent would choose the EU, and 14 per cent say they don’t know.

More than half of Scots said there should be a second referendum on EU membership, including 69 per cent of SNP voters, more than half of Labour voters and one in five Conservatives. Should this take place, 67 per cent of those giving an opinion said they would vote to remain.

As for Boris Johnson’s first week as Prime Minister, while nearly half of Scots said they expected him to do badly, a quarter of those said he had done better than they had anticipated.

While only just over one third of 2017 Conservatives they expected him to do well and he had, a further one in four said they had had low expectations but been pleasantly surprised.

Compared to other politicians, Boris Johnson ranks relatively low among Scottish voters – though still above Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn, and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard. He scores well below Ruth Davidson, both among Scots as a whole and, to a lesser degree, 2017 Conservatives.

Asked which of the two most likely candidate would make the better Prime Minister, 29 per vent of Scots named Johnson, 23 per cent said Corbyn, and nearly half said they didn’t know. Fewer than four in ten 2017 Labour voters said they thought Corbyn would make the best Prime Minister.

Despite this, when forced to choose, Scots said they would prefer a Labour government with Corbyn as Prime Minister to a Johnson-led Conservative government by 57 per cent to 43 per cent. A quarter of Labour voters said they would prefer the latter, as did the same proportion of SNP voters – perhaps calculating that this circumstance held out the best prospect of independence for Scotland.

3Those who voted SNP in 2017 are the most likely to say they will stick with their party in a new general election. They put their mean likelihood of turning out for the party at 88/100, compared to Conservatives’ 71/100 chance of voting Tory again; 2017 Labour voters put their chance of voting the same way in a new election at just 56/100. Some Tories were tempted by the Brexit Party (their mean likelihood of voting this way being 35/100), and some by the Lib Dems (26/100). The SNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all held some appeal for Labour voters. In terms of overall mean likelihood to vote for the party, both Labour and the Tories ranked behind the SNP, the Lib Dems and the Greens, whose score was boosted by an average likelihood of 55/100 among 18-24 year-olds.

Full data tables for the survey are available at

Read More

We need a more democratic Conservative Party to support Boris Johnson in delivering Brexit

The next three months are the most critical our country has faced for many decades. Since we voted to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016 with a clear mandate from the British people, we have made little progress towards the exit, other than triggering Article 50, which set us on a two-year negotiating deadline. We have now missed two deadlines and we cannot afford as a country to miss a third – and neither can the Conservative Party.

Let us be in no doubt: the two finalists in the Conservative leadership election achieved their places by promising to leave the EU with or without a deal. Boris Johnson won with an overwhelming 66% of the vote because he, over and above Jeremy Hunt, gave the certainty that we would leave on Hallowe’en. This is what Conservative Party members voted for, as did Conservative MPs – with over half of them backing Boris in the final round.

Add to this the fact that the House of Commons voted to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU with a massive majority of 384. Boris Johnson therefore has a clear message: not only do the British people want to leave the EU, but the Conservative Party, if he is forced, are prepared to back him to leave with no deal on 31st October.

Boris is ramping up ‘no deal’ preparations to help mitigate any problems and send a clear message. We should be in no doubt that Boris has a far tougher job than he would have done in the summer of 2016. Since then we have squandered a parliamentary majority, allowed the EU to put us on the back foot, offered to pay £39 billion (erroneously believing the EU would be honourable in return) and by taking ‘no deal’ off the table have shown that we did not want to leave without the EU’s permission.

This has all allowed the hardcore euro-fanatics to find a new voice wrapped up in calls variously for a second referendum and to take No Deal off the table and follow a policy of damage limitation; so rather than the UK leaving we would stay semi-detached, but still with the European Court of Justice holding sway. The election of Boris Johnson has changed all this. Conservative MPs and party members have spoken and they have said, either we leave with a deal that honours the referendum or with a clean break. 

We voted ‘to take back control’ and that meant for British democracy to be sovereign – not, as some Remoaners declare, that Westminster is now sovereign. They are behaving as anti-democratically as Brussels does. Parliament is there at the behest of the people and it is not for Parliament to ignore the people and decide they have made a mistake. Parliamentarians’ responsibility is to enact what we voted for. Nick Clegg would surely agree on this point, since it’s the reason in 2010 he knew he had to do a deal with the Conservatives as the largest party, rather than Gordon Brown’s Labour.

Why am I writing this? Because the Conservative Party owns Brexit and we need to deliver it, not a watered-down version which does not allow us to fully benefit from breaking free, but one where we can do trade deals with other countries and be free from the yoke of Brussels. If we do not, not only will we not be forgiven, but if the Remainer arguments of a second referendum or revocation take hold, our country’s future is of further integration to the EU, possibly joining the disastrous euro, a common army and certain decline in the world along with the rest of the protectionist, backward-looking, non-democratic European state.

With this in mind, it is therefore the duty of those of us who are Conservative Party members to ensure the Prime Minister has the tools to carry out his mandate. This is why we need to democratise the party, make it transparent and accountable to the members, so it is in a position to support Boris Johnson over the difficult next three months and beyond. Currently we have committees operating within the party that are not clearly accountable; crucially, a Candidates’ Committee and team that is opaque at best; a central membership system that has serious flaws; and a voluntary party that does not have the mechanisms to talk to each other in any meaningful way.

The voluntary party – the actual beating heart of the party – needs to hold our MPs to account and ensure they support Boris through this momentous exit from the EU. Local Conservative Associations need to be supported in doing this, not obstructed. This is why I am currently standing to be Vice President of the National Conservative Convention, on a platform of party democracy, accountability, transparency and empowerment of the Associations and members.

Our politicians need to be accountable to the activists who go out week after week, raise the funds, stuff envelopes and devote so much of their spare time to getting them elected to Parliament. We cannot be ignored, we need to have a platform and our views need to be listened to.

To stand up for Brexit and our mandate, I had to bring three motions to the National Convention. It was hard work and unheard of. If I am elected Vice President, I will ensure I demand the voluntary party has the tools it needs and deserves. I will drive through the reforms needed. We will work together as a party to deliver our instructions from the British people and our party members. My voice is your voice.

The post We need a more democratic Conservative Party to support Boris Johnson in delivering Brexit appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Read More

The seductions of Boris Johnson: hot air as political strategy

candida yatesBoris Johnson’s public persona has been carefully honed over the years, writes Candida Yates (Bournemouth University). Most male politicians have been paternalistic in style: the new PM has instead sought to resemble a fraternal figure, who conjures up a nostalgic irreverence for authority.

Last week, an inflatable ‘Boris blimp’ could be seen floating over London as thousands marched against Brexit and Boris Johnson. Now he has been crowned the Conservative party leader and Prime Minister. As with Donald Trump, who was also given the blimp treatment on a visit to London, there are similarities between the ‘real’ Johnson and his inflatable double – both signifying emptiness and plastic superficiality buoyed up by an inflated sense of self-worth. It is not surprising that Johnson, who resembles a kind of toy with whom the electorate can play, lends himself so well to the comical blow-up doll floating above the crowds, inflated by so much hot air.

boris johnson

Boris Johnson visits Birmingham on 26 July 2019. Photo: Number 10 via a CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

The performative, upbeat style of Johnson’s leadership campaign – as optimist, blagger and loveable rogue – represents a continuation of the public image he has built up over the years. His communication skills have been honed in various media and political settings, and his celebrity status is such that he is regarded as ‘political box office’ (Channel 4, 2019). Johnson continues to draw on the familiar, playful routines that worked so well for him during his time as London mayor (2008-16), a period which he regularly cites in interviews. Given his woeful record as foreign secretary (2016-18), one might even see that period in City Hall as his heyday – despite reports of his ‘baffling’ incompetence with regard to financial expenditure and other matters (Jenkins, 2019). While his charismatic public image enabled him to shore up his power base in his bid to become party leader and PM, it is not always easy to square his professional ambition with his comical masquerade and public reputation.

His seemingly authentic and spontaneous, unspun qualities as a fearless ‘can-do’ politician have been key to his ability to connect with the public, and his recourse to the language of ‘feeling good’ also reflects the close relationship between the performativity of celebrity politicians and the emotionalisation of politics today (Yates, 2019). The ways in which certain sections of the electorate relate to and identify with politicians such as Johnson provide further examples of such emotive processes at work. Deploying a psychodynamic analysis of the emotional investment in Johnson as a populist politician allows us to understand the structures of feeling that shape his appeal, and also the affective dynamics of contemporary political culture more widely.

As we know, Johnson has constructed a persona as a benign, old-school English eccentric, who refuses to identify with superego figures of authority – such as those labelled in pejorative terms as members of the out-of-touch ‘metropolitan elite’, or as faceless EU technocrats. He deployed a similar strategy when opposing Jeremy Hunt whose capacity to be ‘on top of policy detail’ was also spun as dull and technocratic. In the past, psychoanalytic studies of leadership have focused on the processes of fantasy around politicians as idealised parental figures, where the vertical structures of identification shape the relationship to them as objects of the psycho-political imagination. Today, however, Western democracies are influenced by a loss of faith in the old structures of authority: the hierarchical Oedipal identifications in public life have been challenged by the sociopolitical and cultural forces of late modernity. As an ambitious politician, Johnson is both a product of this wider context but also one who has been able to exploit the shifting patterns of identification to his advantage.

The increasing influence of social media across all levels of society often leads to more horizontal, ‘sibling’ structures of fantasy and identification. The popularity of Johnson’s playful persona with sections of the Conservative electorate – who are predominantly men – invites such fraternal rather than paternal identification, providing a perfect foil for perceptions about the ‘faceless authoritarian’ figures of the EU and the ‘elitism’ of its governing bodies. With his teddy bear looks and public gaffes that make people laugh, Johnson is, for some, a seductive figure; any notion of governance associated with his role as a senior politician is thus undercut and can be deflected elsewhere onto his opponents and the so-called ‘elite’, of which he is course a member. His apparent lack of deference to the establishment sits well with an electorate who are increasingly cynical and disenchanted with politics, and he manages to ward off any potential ressentiment of his position as an elite politician by representing himself as an un-impinging figure that people can enjoy.

Johnson often mocks the pomposity of those in the establishment who lack his ‘optimism’ and who too often call on the so-called ‘dull’ authority of ‘experts’. By contrast, Johnson’s very traditional English trait of celebrating amateurism and of refusing to take things too seriously taps into his populist appeal. It allows him to associate himself with a mode of English nationalism underpinned by the symbols of English cultural nostalgia, thereby appealing to his English base within the Conservative party membership – a generation raised on Jammie Dodgers and comics such as The Beano with cartoon characters that resemble the comical persona of Johnson himself. And yet, this nostalgic cultural imaginary also represents a retreat to a realm of psychosocial and political relations shaped by the values of empire and the injuries of racialisation, gender and social class.

The use of nostalgia as a defence against the losses and uncertainties of contemporary culture has been discussed at length, and the desire to turn back also taps into deep-rooted concerns about change and of being ‘left behind’ by the forces of modernity (Yates, 2015). For many, such anxieties played a key role in motivating them to vote to leave the EU, and Johnson’s image and leadership style resonates in that respect (Eaglestone, 2018). A cultural desire to look back – or at least to turn away from contemporary malaise and to identify instead with Johnson’s retro style – can be seen in this broader psycho-political and cultural context, but it is also framed by the experience of social and economic precarity. At the collective level, a fantasy of history is returned to and remains unmourned as, for example, in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s (2019) idealised account of Britain’s place in the world as a colonial power.

In contrast to figures such as the strangely serious and fastidious-looking Rees-Mogg, Johnson – like his hair – functions as a signifier of chaos and vivacity which, in the UK at least, is still unusual for high-profile politicians in public office. Johnson’s ‘Samson moment’ – having his hair cut in order to appear more convincing as a PM in waiting – is a reminder of his ‘as-if’ status as a boy in the public domain. However, as we have seen, there are a number of tensions between Johnson’s comical Just William persona and his new role as the PM who has set a course to sever ties with Europe. We are told that Johnson likes to be liked, and was shocked when he was heckled by Londoners as he left his house following the referendum result in 2016. Despite his current popularity with members of the Conservative party, the contradictions of his public persona will be tested, and the public may grow impatient with the vacuity of his performance as so much hot air.


Eaglestone, R. (ed.) Brexit and Literature. London: Routledge.
Rees-Mogg, J. (2019) The Victorians: twelve titans who forged Britain. London: Random House.
Yates, C. (2019) ‘“Show Us You Care!” The gendered psycho-politics of emotion and women as political leaders,’ European Journal of Politics and Gender (in Press).
Yates, C. (2018) On the psychodynamics of Boris Johnson and Brexit, New Associations, (25): 4-5.
Yates, C. (2015) The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Yates, C. (2014) Political Sport and the Sport of Politics: A Psycho-Cultural Study of Play, the Antics of Boris Johnson and the London 2012 Olympic Games. In: Bainbridge, C. and Yates, C. (2014) (Eds.) Media and the Inner World, Psycho-Cultural Approaches to Emotion, Media and Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 34-53.


My thanks to Iain MacRury for pointing out the Johnson ‘Samson moment’.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Brexit blog, nor LSE. An extended version of some of the themes raised here can be found in: Yates, C. (2018) ‘On the psychodynamics of Boris Johnson and Brexit’, New Associations, (25): 4-5.

Candida Yates is Professor of Culture and Communication at Bournemouth University, UK. She is a Director (with Caroline Bainbridge) of the research network Media and the Inner World and a Founding Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council. Her publications include: Political Leadership and the Psycho-Cultural Imagination (forthcoming, Routledge); The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity (2015); Media and the Inner World: Psycho-Cultural Approaches to Emotion, Media and Popular Culture (co-ed, 2014), Television and Psychoanalysis (co-ed, 2013) Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (co-ed, 2009); Culture and The Unconscious (co-ed, 2007) and Masculine Jealousy and Contemporary Cinema (2007). 

Read More