It's not about re-organising departments, it's about dedicated teams
According to John Stevens in the Daily Mail, the big re-organisation of government departments has been “scaled back.”
I hope so, because exactly where you put up the partitions in Whitehall is besides the point. However much you move them around you’re still going to end up with a departmental structure that gets in the way of effective government.
You could reduce the number of partitions by having fewer, bigger departments. But that way you’d get a different kind of disconnection — i.e. over-stretched Secretaries of State struggling to stay on top of their sprawling responsibilities. ...
Here are five alternative winners for 2019...
It’s awards season again.
Obviously, it makes sense for the entertainment industry to hold these ceremonies in the earliest part of the year; that way, the whole of the previous year can be considered. That’s one of the ways in which Britain’s Political Studies Association went wrong. By holding their 2019 awards in November they missed out on the most politically important event of the year — the general election on the 12th December.
The PSA is a ‘learned society’, an academic body from which one might expect a degree of objectivity. This was especially important in 2019 — the year that the battle to save/stop Brexit came to a head. However, there wasn’t much even-handedness in their choice of award winners, which overwhelmingly favoured the Remain establishment. ...
The Today programme should give a platform to someone like Michael Liebreich
Greta Thunberg was the “guest editor” on Radio 4’s Today programme his morning. Unfortunately, much of the ensuing debate will be about her, not what she said.
Indeed, we seem determined not to focus on the problem of climate change itself — and will seize upon any distraction in order not to do so. That applies as much to the ultra-greens as it does to the denialists — with the former peddling grotesquely exaggerated versions of the actual problem, which only serves to provide fuel for the latter.
Miss Thunberg, however, is assiduous in sticking to the mainstream science — and even then the most likely projections not the worst-case scenarios. She effectively communicates the fact that our best-available understanding on the subject is worrying enough. ...
Unhelpfully, social and cultural conservatives are often used interchangeably
The general election was less than two weeks ago — and in that time hundreds of articles have appeared claiming to explain the big result.
Luckily you don’t have to read them all. But if you do have a moment over Christmas, then you could do worse than UnHerd’s coverage. It’s been encouraging to see such interest in the pieces we’ve published since the 12th December, but I’m especially proud of what we published in weeks and months before the earthquake.
Time and again, our contributors have explained that, in Britain beyond the Westminster bubble, there are millions of voters who lean to the Left on economic issues, but to the Right on others. In other words they’re sceptical both of untrammelled free markets and excessive political correctness. ...
Cummings should bury nuclear, not praise it, in his vision for economic renewal
“Reinvigorate north with nuclear power stations, says Dominic Cummings.”
Or rather so says a headline in The Times today.
In fact, if you read the piece by Oliver Wright (who probably won’t have written the headline) the actual story is about a paper by the Sheffield University academic Richard Jones, which was mentioned favourably by Dominic Cummings during the election campaign. (UnHerd covered the story earlier this month).
A new generation of nuclear power stations is one just one of the advanced technologies that Professor Jones says that the government should consider as part of a massive investment programme. ...
The hard Left luminaries tell us more about Labour than the moderates
Right now politics on the Left is delicately poised between a post-mortem and a blood feud. I can understand why so many people, especially Labour moderates — are directing so much anger towards the Corbynites (or whatever they’re calling themselves now).
But there’s a slightly worrying edge to the blame game. It concerns the youthful stars of the hard Left firmament — luminaries such as Owen Jones, Ash Sarkar and Aaron Bastani. There’s nothing wrong with criticising what these individuals have said over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have had the opportunity to say it. ...
He may be 78, but the veteran socialist has a commanding vote share of young people
The last few polls are dribbling in, then it’s nothing until the exit poll at 10pm (oh, and the actual results). Not until 10pm, anyway. But to tide you over, here’s one from America.
It’s by Quinnipiac, and it’s mostly about the race for the Democratic nomination. The top line isn’t that exciting — Joe Biden is still out in front, despite everything. The interesting stuff is in the data tables, which reveal a chasmic generational divide.
Among the under-35s, Biden limps in third on just 11%. So who does find favour with young and young-ish voters? Is it Pete Buttigieg — who at just 37 is the youngest frontrunner by several decades? Er, no. He gets a humiliating 2% from his fellow kids. ...
This is a high stakes campaign — so why is it all so boring?
This is a high stakes election, but a low energy campaign. This week it finally flared into life, but with just three days to go it’s too little, too late.
Why was the rest of it so boring? Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I can’t help feeling that election campaigns used to be better. If so, here’s what’s gone wrong:
Election campaigns last forever these days. It’s not just the official campaign period, but getting the election called in the first place — a process complicated by the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Let’s hope the next government repeals it. That way we can go straight into the campaign without the endless run-up, and get the whole thing done in three or four weeks. ...