NET ZERO BY 2050: A ROAD MAP FOR THE GLOBAL ENERGY SECTOR:

mai 27th, 2021

The Hydrogen Challenge – by Rodney Harper, British Conservatives in Paris

At the UK government’s request, as host for the UN Climate Change COP 26 conference in November 2021, a 224 page study has been prepared by the International Energy Agency (IEA), targeting net zero CO2 emissions & a 1.5 °C global temperature rise by 2050. This article positions the application of “green” hydrogen in the challenging energy transition to “net zero” outlined below.

KEY MILESTONES FROM STUDY  

  • 2021: No new coal plants, oil or gas fields
  • 2025: No new fossil fuel boilers
  • 2030: New buildings zero-carbon ready; 60% electric car sales; large scale-up of solar & wind
  • 2035: 100% electric car sales; 100% net-zero emissions electricity (advanced economies)
  • 2040: 50% existing buildings retrofitted; net-zero electricity emissions globally; phase-out coal & oil plants
  • 2045: 50% of heating by heat pumps
  • 2050: 90% heavy industry low-emissions; over 85% buildings zero-carbon

ENERGY WORLD IN 2050

By 2050, 90% of energy generation will be from renewable sources (mature solar & wind 70%), with around 10% nuclear generation and solar power the single largest source of energy. The remaining 20% includes other energy sources such as Hydrogen & Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) with Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS), new technologies still requiring proven economies of scale.

THE HYDROGEN CHALLENGE

Current production from natural gas is mainly “grey” hydrogen and the cheapest (excluding carbon costs), with China the largest producer & user. Cleaner hydrogen energy is called “blue” (“grey” plus CCS) & the most expensive “green” (via electrolysis & renewables), with water waste only.  There is a need for electrolysis economies of scale and hydrogen gas storage under pressure in heavy duty tanks, but ammonia is a stable, zero carbon, hydrogen carrier in liquid form. Hydrogen storage can act as a “battery” for intermittent & seasonal sources of energy but Hydrogen under pressure also infiltrates metal pipelines/gas distribution networks, the latter allowing only some 5 – 6% hydrogen blending in current infrastructure without upgrading. Gas turbines would require +30% blending for economies of scale.

UK GOVERNMENT POSITION

Currently some 75% of UK public hydrogen investment has been in industrial decarbonisation using “blue” hydrogen (and CCS), with a scaling-up transition to lower cost production of “low carbon hydrogen” (both “blue” & “green”) foreseen.  A pilot “green hydrogen” project is the Humber industrial cluster with a 100 Megawatt electrolyser powered by the 1.4 Gigawatt, Hornsea off-shore wind farm. For the proposed replacement of fossil fuel boilers for home heating from 2025 (IEA target) by e.g. “hydrogen ready” boilers, the government has pressure from environmentalists saying that electric heat pumps will be a better option for most homes. More densely populated Europe will likely have less space for renewable energy installations, suggesting future imports of “green” energy from cheaper sources with plenty of space and sunshine e.g. the Middle East, Africa, Australia, USA…..

Must Labour lose?

mai 20th, 2021

by Matt Goodwin

A version of this essay appeared in the Sunday Times

Labour’s humiliation at the recent by-election in Hartlepool is a powerful reminder of a simple point: there is no guarantee that a political party will live for ever.

Reduced to its lowest number of seats since 1935, plagued by infighting and now losing one cherished heartland after another, the strange death of the Labour Party is unfolding before our eyes.D o not let anybody tell you that Hartlepool does not matter, that it is “only” a by-election in the middle of a pandemic. The last time a Conservative was elected in this area, Cliff Richard topped the charts with Living DollBen-Hur was in the cinema, Winston Churchill was still alive and Tony Blair was six. The Conservatives not only captured the seat after being in power for more than a decade but did so with the sharpest increase in the vote for any incumbent government at a by-election in Britain’s postwar history. Hartlepool is now the 55th seat that the Conservatives have taken directly from Labour in the past two years, 51 of which voted for Brexit.

The questions that now face Labour have been summarised by one senior figure, who told Times Radio’s Tom Newton Dunn: “To be honest, the party is so f***ed it’s not really a question of what leader. It’s more existential. What’s the point of the Labour Party?” Increasingly, the idea of Labour winning the next election looks implausible while theoretically the entire rationale for the party appears to be slipping away.

For Sir Keir Starmer to win the next election he will need about 125 seats, eclipsing the swings that Clement Attlee and Blair achieved in 1945 and 1997. Labour needs to be 12 points clear in the polls, surging through England. Today, it is 10 points behind and losing England.This would leave Britain with the longest period of Conservative dominance since the early 1800s, before the onset of mass democracy, and cement the party’s reputation as the most electorally successful party in the Western world.

Ever since the successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme Labour has slumped in the polls and Starmer’s personal ratings leave much to be desired. After everything — coronavirus, Cummingsgate, cronyism, wallpaper — if you ask people who they think would be the best prime minister, Starmer trails Boris Johnson by an astonishing 15 points. Only this week, his approval rating slumped to the lowest since he became leader while Johnson still holds a 15-point lead among the working class.Yet leadership is only a small part of the story. Starmer, like Jeremy Corbyn before him, is the latest victim of a much deeper realignment of British politics, which is also unfolding across many Western democracies. Hartlepool is merely the latest episode in a much longer story in the restructuring of politics that is leaving Labour on the wrong side of change, staring into the abyss.

The Labour Party was built for organised labour, for a politics that was based neatly on “left” versus “right”, where people’s class loyalties did much of the heavy lifting. But even then, it struggled to connect with a country that remains instinctively conservative. Only three Labour leaders have won majorities at elections and only one was born in the past 100 years. Take away Tony Blair and Labour has not won a solid majority for more than half a century.This is why, in the 1960s, one unknown academic — Frank Parkin — suggested that the real puzzle in British politics was not why one third of the working-class consistently voted Conservative but why so many people voted for socialism, which was fundamentally at odds with Britain’s conservative roots. The only Labour leader in recent history to buck the trend was the only one who accepted and worked with this basic reality: Blair, who also shed Labour’s socialist clothes. And so its election record over the past 40 years, as Peter Mandelson pointed out last week, reads: lose, lose, lose, lose, Blair, Blair, Blair, lose, lose, lose, lose.

Today, Labour’s disconnection from the wider country is being amplified by a new fault line separating “cosmopolitans” and “traditionalists”, which has little to do with class and much more to do with people’s age, level of education and also their geography: it is values that are now doing the heavy lifting.Cosmopolitans are the young, university-educated, middle-class Londoners and university-towners who think that Brexit is disastrous, support rising diversity, are passionate advocates for Black Lives Matter and other worthy causes and lean toward feeling ashamed, rather than proud, of Britain’s history. Traditionalists are older, working-class, lack degrees, live in small towns and industrial heartlands and want to see a far more robust defence of the nation, its history and culture.

This rift is giving rise to things that we have simply never seen before in British politics. Just look at the last election: 77 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old “zoomers” voted for socially liberal parties while two thirds of the older baby boomers voted for pro-Brexit parties. Johnson had a 30-point lead among people who left school after their GCSEs, while had only graduates been allowed to vote then Corbyn would currently be prime minister.The Conservatives are more popular than Labour among people on low incomes while Labour is more popular among people on high incomes. The right is no longer the party of the rich and the left is no longer the party of the poor.

This shift has thrown Labour into chaos, not only because it has cut across the old left-right split but because the party spent the past 20 years investing in only one side of the culture divide. Cosmopolitans flooded Labour’s parliamentary party and membership.The much larger group of left-leaning traditionalists in the Labour tent, people who lean left on the economy but right on culture, were pushed aside. New Labour walked into the casino of British politics and pushed all of its chips behind middle-class graduates. It paid off in the short-term but set the stage for the revolts of the past decade: populism, Brexit, Johnson, Hartlepool. All of them were driven primarily by workers, non-graduates and hacked-off traditionalists.“Labour have taken people in Hartlepool for granted too long,” said the new Conservative MP Jill Mortimer last week, the first woman ever to be elected as MP for this town. “I heard this time and time again on the doorstep. ”There is no easy way out. As I explained to demoralised Labour MPs after the 2019 election, they are haemorrhaging blue-collar votes in the small towns and industrial heartlands to apathy or a Conservatism that leans left on the economy and right on culture, and liberal graduates and professionals to the Greens and Liberal Democrats.

Many Labour insiders have feared this nightmare scenario ever since the 2019 elections to the European parliament, when Labour was battered by the Liberal Democrats on one side and the Brexit Party on the other. The party, pushed on by Starmer, made the fatal mistake of falling in behind a second referendum and prioritising Remainia over Brexit Country. And by standing as Remainer in Hartlepool they showed they have still not grasped the lesson.

For the past year, Starmer and his advisers thought they could sidestep this deeper shift by downplaying Brexit and talking up the economy, competence and Tory sleaze. But Hartlepool has blown a big hole in the strategy. Johnson, the Old Etonian and Oxford graduate, is the beneficiary of the realignment, tapping into the “C2” skilled workers — factory workers, mechanics, plumbers and the “Greggs Guys” — who desperately want to believe in Britain and not be told on a daily basis they are ignorant racists.

The quietly impressive performance by the Greens this week is a big hint that we may well be heading in the same direction as our European neighbours, such as Germany, where cosmopolitan parties are eclipsing the old centre-left. Fast-forward ten years and I’d not be surprised to see the Greens or Lib Dems as a much bigger force, rallying zoomer graduates, middle-class professionals and city-dwellers in the face of a Labour Party that looks bewildered and lost.This is why some argue that Labour should cut the cord with blue-collar Britain now, rip off the plaster and turn instead to the emerging “Blue Wall”, more than 40 seats that are filled with millennial and zoomer graduates becoming more liberal over time and trending away from the Conservatives.

But while this strategy might be viable in 20 years, it would be a fatal mistake today. There are nowhere near enough of these seats to compensate for Labour’s losses in northern England. The reality is that Labour is stacking votes in places where it does not need them, such as London, while losing votes where it desperately does, such as Hartlepool. Here is one statistic that every Labour activist should keep in their heads: of the 44 most vulnerable Labour seats today, 39 are outside of London and the south. These are what I call the “Red Wall 2.0” seats and there is no route back to power for Labour that does not run through them and England, where Labour has still not won the popular vote since 2001.

The fall of Hartlepool, made possible by Brexit Party voters decamping to Johnson, suggests that at least another two dozen blue-collar seats could also fall to the Conservatives at the next election, such as Yvette Cooper’s Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford, where her majority has been slashed from nearly 15,000 votes in 2017 to barely 1,000 today, or Dan Jarvis’s Barnsley Central, where his majority has crashed from over 15,000 to barely above 3,500.To hold them, Starmer needs the modern-day equivalent of Blair’s “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, a message that can cut through with traditionalists while not alienating cosmopolitans.

Yet spend five minutes on Twitter, where Labour’s “woke” progressives deride such moves as “racism”, and it becomes clear why Starmer is in a fundamentally different position from Blair. As Labour’s organisation has veered left, the flexibility that it needs to meet the existential challenge has diminished.There are simply no easy answers for a Labour Party that was formed in a world defined overwhelmingly by economics and class, but which now finds itself in a world that is shaped far more by culture and values, leaving many voters like those in Hartlepool asking the same question: what’s the point of the Labour Party?

Best wishes,
Matt Goodwin
Twitter – Website – Speaking
Copyright © *2019* *Matthew Goodwin*, All rights reserved.

“And be a nation again” – an independent Scotland is now inevitable.

mai 9th, 2021

As a Scot who grew up and spent much of his adult life in England and as a former British diplomat who has worked on European Community affairs, I read with great interest the two articles by Richard Pooley and Stoker about the merits or otherwise of a possible Scottish Independence.

By Michael Carberry

https://www.only-connect.co.uk/post/and-be-a-nation-again-an-independent-scotland-is-now-inevitable

Brexit limps on.

avril 24th, 2021

An April 23rd, 2021 « Brexit & Beyond » blog posting by Chris Grey , Emeritus Professor of Organization Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.

https://chrisgreybrexitblog.blogspot.com/2021/04/limping-on.html?fbclid=IwAR1P9AoEA0wQqIXtlANXMIqXNR3BFdi7KpnjrQxV_kqhtl85ChRiRzmRrfs

HOMAGE TO PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH, PRINCE OF GREECE AND DENMARK – by BCiP member Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

avril 19th, 2021

In the words of the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage’s in his ElegyThe Patriarchs :

The weather in the window this morning is snow,

unseasonal singular flakes,  

a slow winter’s final shiver.

On such an occasion to presume to eulogise one man

is to pipe up for a whole generation.

Husbands to duty

But for now a cold April’s closing moment…

On the 9th of  April  2021, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Greece and Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II’s consort for 73 years, drew his last breath aged 99 years old.

 Prince Phiiip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1964, The National Portrait Gallery

 A door was closing on Europe and England’s past, as one of the most famous witness and protagonist of the twentieth century’s turbulent and tormented history had gone, a cycle was ending. It was poignantly brought to bear this Saturday 17th of April 2021, at the St George’s Chapel at  Windsor Castle, when the small and frail black-clad figure of the Queen walked out alone of the funeral ceremony, having laid to rest her Beloved husband, with whom she had shared all of her reign, leaving a letter on his coffin signed Lilibeth.

This man was a born leader, strong in mind and body, made to rule, Prince Philip, wrote his teacher and mentor  Kurt Hahn, will make his mark in any profession where he will have to prove himself in a trial of strength,  a Royal Prince of Greece and Denmark who chose for the love of a woman to remain in her shadow and to serve both his Queen and her country, which became his.

He was born in a privileged world still steeped in the 19th century, yet his world was shattered as a babe, and when his family was made exiled and destitute, after a loving infancy he knew solitude and poverty. His life circumstances taught him early self-reliance, and it was reinforced by his Spartan  upbringing under the guidance of the  educational pioneer Kurt Hahn at Schule Schloss Salem in southern Germany, then at Gordonstoun in Scotland, where Hahn as a Jew had to flee from the Nazis.

Prince Philip was a stoic, Mens sana in corpore sano, which he expressed in a speech in 1958 in Ghana : The essence of freedom, is discipline and self-control.  Princess Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952 meant the end of all his personal ambitions as a naval commanding officer in Malta.  He would have to let go of his first love, the sea: It is an extraordinary master or mistress, it has such extraordinary moods, and of the privacy of his married life. From then onwards his life would be public, at the service of the Queen   and of England. By Royal Warrant he would have precedence after the Queen in all occasions, but no constitutional role.

At first he threw himself in a very active social life. His task as Prince Consort was not an easy one, his foreign origins, half German from his mother, his lack of fortune, his strong virile personality used to command, clashed in the hushed, privileged atmosphere of the English Court. His aura was that of a dashing adventurer not of a subservient cautious courtier. His equerry recalled: Philip was constantly being squashed, snubbed, ticked off, rapped over the knuckles… I felt Philip did not have any friends or helpers.  Yet he learnt to channel his creative energies in the defence of the principles inherent to his nature and enforced by his education, with honour and steadfastness, never looking back : There’s never been ‘if only » except perhaps that I regret not having been able to continue a career in the navy. His philosophy of life was thus resumed: The ability we have as humans to make our own moral and ethical decisions.

Beside his constant presence at the Queen’s side in her official engagements, state visits and world tours, spurred on by a high moral sense, he dedicated his life to causes close to his heart. His concern for the welfare of young people led in 1956 to the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, on the educational lines of his own mentor Kurt Hahn: community service, teamwork, responsibility and respect for the individual. He explained it to the BBC: If you can get young people to succeed in any area of activity that sensation of success will spread over into a lot of others. It encapsulated all his own beliefs and life experience in allowing young people the world over to involve themselves physically, mentally and emotionally in a range of outdoor activities designed to promote a sense of self-reliance, developed team work and respect for nature.  Over six millions 15 to 25 years old, some disabled, benefited from it over the years.

He was himself a great sportsman: he sailed, learnt to fly, swam and rowed, rode horses and drove carriages, he was President of the International Equestrian Federation, played polo, cricket and squash. He developed hundred of projects and patronages in relation to the education of youth, sports and the outdoors. He had a relationship to nature as a country born responsible gentleman farmer, fishing, shooting and stalking with a sense of preservation. He expressed it on the BBC: I think it’s marvellous we have such a fantastic variety of life on this planet, all interdependent, I think also that if we humans have the power of life or death – or extinction or survival – we ought to exercise it with some sort of moral sense. Why make something extinct if you don’t have to? And he became the World Wildlife Fund’s first President.

Early on a biographer wrote: He believes he has a creative mission, to present the monarchy as a dynamic, involved and responsive institution that will address itself to some of the problems of contemporary British society. His 60 or 80 speeches a year were thoroughly researched – his library counted over 13,000 volumes – and showed the wide spectrum of his interests, science and industry included, he was the patron of the Industrial Society, now the Work Foundation.  He was a visionary with encyclopaedic knowledge ahead of his time, denouncing in 1982 the greedy and senseless exploitation of naturea hotly-debated issue directly attributable to the development of industry… the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or greenhouse effect. He also foresaw the dangers of the white heat of the technological revolution, and the dangers of consumerism with its noxious effects on human spirit and integrity: ..;it is much more important that the human spirit should not be stifled by easy living, emphasizing the moral aspect of life, with the importance of the individual as the guiding principle of our society.

If he could on occasion be cutting and abrupt, certainly not suffering fools gladly, his sharpness was that of an acute observer with a wicked sense of humour, such as the British enjoy. He displayed it in 1957 on their first  Royal visit to Paris in perfect French – he had lived in France, and the Queen had been taught French with her sister Margaret by a Belgian aristocratic governess, Lady de Bellaigue – the Royal Family are great Francophiles. He talked about the French being grenouilles according to the British, but added that he would not say what the French called the British!   He was a very handsome man of considerable charisma endowed with great charm. He loved beautiful elegant women and enjoyed their company, having being surrounded by four loving older sisters as a child, even if deprived of his mother’s presence through her mental illness. He became the centre of the Royal family around which all revolved, a patriarch, my rock, would say the Queen, seeking to bring peace and harmony between all. During her painful divorce with Prince Charles, he tried to help Princess Diana as was later revealed in their exchange of correspondence.

And I owe to the Duke of Edinburgh the great privilege of being one of the very few women who have been allowed in the famously exclusive men only White’s Club in St. James’s in London. Prince Philip was a member, as was my husband, and on the occasion of Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding, the Duke had it opened for the first time in its history to members’ wives, at a reception on the eve of the wedding.  The second time I would see him was years later at an exhibition at the Royal College of Arts in South Kensington, when I could sense his eyes following me around the room…

Prince Philip’s ‘The Queen at Breakfast’ (1965). — Courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust.

The Queen at Breakfast, Windsor Castle, 1965, now in Her Majesty’s private rooms in Sandringham

Highly gifted and multifaceted, Prince Philip’s sensibility and creativity found expression in collecting works of art, developing his own photographs, but also as a designer and an artist.  He received tuition in oil painting from Edward Seago, a self-taught artist, and exhibited some of his works, among which many landscapes, as well as a famous 1965 intimate depiction of The Queen at Breakfast, Windsor Castle,  now in Her Majesty’s private rooms in Sandringham.

Prince Philip had a natural self-deprecatory style, another British trait, to make light of his position and achievements, put his public at ease and make it laugh, which is the hallmark of the British Royal Family’s simplicity and its utmost courtesy. He said with great sincerity and humility to the BBC what could sum up the exceptional life of this exceptional man: I’ve just done what I think was my best, I can’t suddenly change my whole way of doing things, I can’t change my interests or the way I react to things. That’s just my style.

He was one of the last Knights of Honour and Chivalric Duty, bearers of a European tradition that England seems to have preserved better than other countries. Much of it is of French origin and shows the strong historical and cultural links between the two countries. Such as the Order of the Garter’s motto, Honni soit qui mal y pense, or the sacred ritual of the Royal Coronation ceremony harking back to Charlemagne’s own coronation as Holy Roman Emperor and perpetuated by the French Kings in Reims Cathedral. And even the national anthem, God save the King, sung since 1745, comes from a hymn composed by Lully on words by the Duchess of Brinon to celebrate Louis XV’s return to health. It was sung by the Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr on the King’s visit :

Grand Dieu sauvez le Roy!

Grand Dieu vengez le Roy!

Vive le Roy

Qu’à jamais glorieux,

Louis victorieux

Voyez ses ennemis

Toujours soumis!

This motet by Jean-Baptiste Lully, was translated in latin Domine salvum fac Regem, and became the French royal hymn until 1792. It survives exalted in England to celebrate the British Royal family in its continuity Prince Philip has been one of its most eminent members, embodying in his long life the enduring virtues of altruism and dedicated service to a nation democratically governed by Consent.

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

Paris, April 18th 2021

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/monique-riccardi-cubitt/blog/180421/hommage-prince-philip-duke-edinburgh-prince-greece-and-denmark

Global Britons: Understanding the unique British communities in Brussels and Washington DC

avril 15th, 2021

This Foreign Policy Centre report focuses on two unusual but strategically important British communities overseas. It builds on the findings of 252 survey responses, interviews, a focus group and research to give a detailed summary of who the British communities in Brussels and Washington DC are, what their needs are and how the UK Government can better support them and other Britons around the world.

Keir Starmer – One Year In

avril 9th, 2021

By Matthew J.Goodwin <m.j.goodwin@kent.ac.uk>

Fri, 9 Apr at 09:00, 2021

[Some of this draws on recent talks at the Council on Foreign Relations, UK In a Changing Europe, Withers LLP and Atticus Communications.]

There are some leaders of the opposition who you always knew, in your heart of hearts, would never become Prime Minister. Michael Foot, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith are the more obvious examples. Keir Starmer might soon be another.
 
Starmer, in his defence, inherited a sinking ship. He was handed the lowest number of Labour seats since 1935, a bitterly divided party and a Labour brand that even today remains thoroughly discredited among a large swathe of the country. Many of these problems had been building for decades.
 
Labour’s fracture with the working class, its loss of credibility on crunch issues like the economy and growing dependency on social liberals who tend to congregate in the big cities and university towns where Labour no longer needs votes have all been a long time coming. This is why any recovery — if such a recovery is even possible — will be generational rather than cyclical. 
 
There is no doubt that Keir Starmer has made a good start. Over the past year, Labour has picked low-hanging fruit, winning back voters repelled by Corbyn. When Starmer took over his party was languishing on 28% and some 22-points behind the Conservatives; today, it is averaging 35% and trails by 8. But more recently this recovery has stalled, as can be seen in the chart below. Amid the successful rollout of the vaccines it is now the Conservatives who are pulling ahead. Of the last 50 polls, Boris Johnson and his party have led in 49.

[Refer Image 1 below]

 How much of Labour’s improvement is down to Starmer also remains unclear. While his supporters point to his strong leadership ratings relative to Corbyn, the fact remains that even today Starmer’s “net satisfaction” score still lags well behind Boris Johnson — while 33% of voters are satisfied with him, 42% are not. And when people are asked who would make the “best Prime Minister”, Boris Johnson still leads comfortably on 37%. His nearest rival is not Starmer but ‘Not Sure’. The Labour leader is trailing in third, ten points adrift from the man who has been in power for a year and is criticised by much of the media on a daily basis.
 
There are, of course, many who argue that Covid-19 dealt Starmer an unlucky hand. But critics might argue that it is precisely during moments of crisis, when the glare of attention is strongest, that leaders are made. It won’t be lost on Starmer’s team that it is precisely at the same time as the entire country has been sat at home, watching the news and paying attention to politics, that Starmer’s ratings have been falling. To put it simply, the more people have seen, the less impressed they have been.
 
Starmerites might respond that his ratings are better than Mr Corbyn’s. This is true but we should remember that Michael Howard’s ratings were better than Iain Duncan Smith’s. Yet In the end, neither saw power. And it appears that the British people can sense that, too. More than half of them told YouGov last week that they simply do not see Keir Starmer as a prime minister in waiting. This is a problem.
 
[Refer Image 2 below]
 

And even if you put the question of leadership to one side, there remains little evidence that Labour is dealing with the deep-rooted structural problems that will make it very impossible for the party to win the next election. To do so would require a swing close to what Tony Blair and New Labour achieved in 1997 – with a leader who is nowhere near as popular as Blair was and a party that is nowhere near as popular as it needs to be outside of London and the university towns. Here is one fact to keep in mind; Labour has not won the popular vote in England since 2001 yet it is in England where the party needs to make up most ground. Today, Labour leads by 16-points in London -which it already controls- but trails the Conservatives by 26-points across the rest of southern England. In other words, Labour is stacking votes where it does not need them while failing to win votes were it desperately needs them. The broader realignment of British politics is reflected in the fact that while Labour’s Sadiq Khan’s will enjoy an easy victory at the London mayoral election next month, Labour will simultaneously struggle to hold its historic blue-collar fiefdom of Hartlepool.
 
This reflects how Britain’s new political geography, the first-past-the-post system and earlier Labour leaders have made life harder than it ought to be for Starmer. Over the past two decades, the Left essentially walked into the casino of British politics and put all of its chips behind social liberals whose support is concentrated in liberal enclaves rather than spread across the country. The cost of this strategy was not only reflected in the collapse of the Red Wall but is also visible in the polls today. Ask the working class who should lead Britain and they give Boris Johnson a 19-point lead. Starmer might win a few more seats around London, but he should remember that there are many more Red Wall seats that could yet fall. The assault on the Red Wall might just be starting.

[Refer Image 3 below]

 This reflects a broader point. At the heart of recent political commentary has rested one big assumption – that once Brexit was over and done with life would return to the traditional “Left versus Right” fault line that governed politics during the twentieth century. We would get back to debating the economic issues that play to Labour’s strengths and that would clear the path for the party to repair its relationship with workers and return to power.

But I was never convinced. For a start, this narrative completely ignores the extent to which the Conservatives have now also leaned left on the economy, variously promising to “level-up” the most regionally imbalanced nation in the industrialised world while moving institutions, civil servants and banks into northern England. This stuff matters -it will give the Conservatives a strong narrative at the next election.

The assumption that we are returning to the old world also underplays the extent to which cultural debates remain prominent in national life — as reflected in our intensifying debates over ‘cancel culture’, freedom of speech, the Royal Family and racism in British society. Boris Johnson is still holding a much more ‘aligned’ electorate than Starmer -while close to 70 per cent of Britain’s Leavers are with the Conservatives only 50 per cent of Remainers are with Labour. Put another way, Labour has still not fixed one of the big problems that ultimately cost it the election in 2019 -its far more fragmented electorate.

These problems are also being reinforced by the cultural isolation of many Labour MPs and activists, who as much research has shown hold a very different outlook on these issues than the average person. They are far more convinced that racism is endemic in British society, are far more focused on tackling historic injustices and are, put simply, far more socially liberal. There is nothing wrong with these views. It is just that they are often very far apart from the worldview of the average person. Every day that progressive activists are in the media screaming about racist Britain is, ultimately, a good day for Boris Johnson. As Ronald Reagan reminded Jimmy Carter, nobody wants to be told over and over again what is wrong with their country and people.
 
Put all of this together and you begin to see why it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for Starmer to chart a path to Number 10 Downing Street. While he might have steadied the ship, many (big) holes remain clearly visible and water is still gushing out – Labour’s broken bond with the working-class, its lack of economic competency in the eyes of voters, the cultural isolation of its MPs from the average voter and radical left activists who are cheered on in seats that Labour already holds but alienate people in seats that Labour actually needs to win. In year two, these are the areas where Starmer will need to act. Unless he does, he might find himself going down in the history books as the Labour Party’s Michael Howard -the man who brought stability but ultimately failed to win power.

Best wishes
Matt Goodwin

Twitter – Website – SpeakingCopyright © *2019* *Matthew Goodwin*, All rights reserved.

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mars 23rd, 2021

Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) – The Union & Constitution : BCiP response

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b254g5syv4v7gpx/CPF%2021-1%20Response%20-%20Response%20of%20BCiP%2021.3.21%20%281%29.pdf?dl=0

Season’s Greetings from Erika Angelidi

décembre 25th, 2020

My season’s greetings to all readers of this blog and a Happy New Year full of health and happiness.

I wish this New Year 2021 to be also full of positive developments for the UK!

Erika Angelidi, Conservatives Abroad Representative in Athens, Greece

What a Biden Presidency could mean for the Special Relationship

novembre 4th, 2020

If the opinion polls are to be believed, November 3rd should bring about a landslide victory for Vice-President Joe Biden, sweeping him to power and removing President Trump after just one term in the White House.

What could this mean for the ‘Special Relationship?’

If the mainstream media are to be believed, removing Trump from the oval office will strip Prime Minister Johnson of a natural ally across the pond; all but destroying a potential free trade agreement between the US and the UK once the Withdrawal Agreement ends later this year.

President Trump has been outspoken in his support for the UK and ‘Brexit,’ whereas Biden and the Democrats have a very pro-EU agenda. Indeed, Joe Biden as a catholic is very proud of his Irish ancestry. 

Boris Johnson’s recent move to amend the Withdrawal Agreement did not go down well with Biden and the Democrats. Biden himself cited the Good Friday agreement in his tweet on the subject and Nancy Pelosi stated that there was ‘no chance of the House passing a trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was undermined!’

It is therefore feasible that a Biden administration would be openly hostile to Britain regarding Brexit and less willing to help Britain flourish once it leaves the EU. Indeed, a new trade negotiator would be appointed, and this process could delay UK/US talks by months.

The UK Ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer, stated that Prime Minister Johnson’s actions regarding the Withdrawal Agreement were, ‘profoundly clumsy and stupid. It immediately ignited the Irish American lobby in Washington, which is second in power to the pro-Israeli lobby.’ Furthermore, ‘…The Democrats think Boris (Johnson) is a pea from the same pod as Trump!’

As such, in the eyes of many Democrats, the British version of Trump is as poisonous as Trump himself.

It would be unfair to say that Trump and Johnson have always seen eye to eye. There have areas of foreign policy disagreement between the two administrations concerning the Iran Nuclear Deal, the UK reluctance to sideline Huawei in the creation of Britain’s 5G network, as well as disagreements concerning the Paris climate change agreement.

Furthermore, many Democrats believe Britain lacks any global clout when it comes to tackling challenges such as China and Russia.

All of this negative rhetoric would make it seem that a Biden Presidency is not what the British government would prefer. 

However, Biden is not anti-Britain as many would have you believe. He backed Britain over the Falkland Islands, when President Reagan did not. His heritage is not solely Irish either. His father’s family come from Sussex.

Additionally, what has not been considered so much by mainstream analysis is firstly Britain’s support and respect for NATO. Whilst President Trump had to create waves amongst fellow NATO members who he felt were not pulling their weight when it came to respecting their NATO commitments, the US has always had a natural and powerful military ally in the United Kingdom. 

Finally, the UK is the single largest investor in the United States, with British companies having invested $560 billion in the US, accounting for 15% of all foreign direct investment, and the US is the largest investor into the UK.

With all this taken into account, it is likely that US/UK relationships will remain pretty much unchanged as a consequence of a Biden election win, resembling perhaps previous UK/US relationships when there was a Democrat administration.

However, with 24 hours to go, there is still all to play for and it is not over for President Trump just yet. Could we be waking up on November 4th to another shock? Well, 2020 has been a peculiar year, so don’t bet against it just yet.

Andrew Crawford. 2nd November 2020.

Source material:

1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/14/biden-victory-would-disastrous-boris/

2. https://www.theguardian.com/p/f8cxv/stw

3. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8878655/DOMINIC-LAWSON-Joe-Biden-not-anti-British.html4. https://www.uschamber.com/international/europe/us-uk-business-council/us-uk-trade-and-investment-ties