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Tory austerity caused misery – and now they want to make it worse

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Deaths are what can be counted most easily – bodies can’t be hidden from the statisticians or denied by those responsible for the figures. It was predictable, and predicted, that many more would die when the governmen...

Sajid Javid’s threat to sack NHS chiefs is doomed to fail

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A long, low groan echoes around the NHS. Not again, please? The new health secretary, Sajid Javid, pledges far-reaching reforms and the most comprehensive review since the 1980s. Too many new health secretaries start ...

The Conservative conference shows a party in denial while all around is crisis

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The Tory party conference seems to be floating along in a sea of delusion. Outside their cocooned security zone, in the real world of petrol shortages and soaring energy prices, a cost of living crisis is “flashing re...

Labour should be approaching its party conference with hope, not despair

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Ahead of the Labour party conference this weekend, many are hoping for a magic leader’s speech to turn the tide overnight. Orthodoxy decrees that a midterm opposition should be polling far ahead, not in Labour’s curre...

We’ve had a reshuffle, but no change of direction for this hapless government

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Will this reshuffle make a scrap of difference? Of course not. The most damaged of the prime minister’s dented shields of inadequates are out, to be replaced mainly with other willing obedients. This noisy grinding of...

If Johnson is serious about ‘levelling up’, he needs to look at what Labour got right

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No one knows what “levelling up” is, but now Boris Johnson wants 10 more years to do it. A white paper on the grand strategy is promised but, in the meantime, take a good look at this week’s report from Onward – a cen...

Boris Johnson’s care victory shows he can get away with sham policies – for now

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He does it again, he pulls it off. The figure David Cameron once called the “greased piglet” has slipped from the grasp of his angry party and the Tory press, all incensed by this new levy. Boris Johnson trounced them...

After Afghanistan, Britain can no longer pretend to punch above its weight

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After humiliation, here ends hubris and surely the “global Britain” delusion. No more fatuous boasting, no more “world-beating” and “world-leading”, but time for an honest audit of who we are, what we can do, and what...

End-of-life care should not simply be about prolonging a painful death

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Of all life’s seven ages, which do people value most? Surely no one puts their final few months at the top, when all that’s left is the hope of avoiding departure through a torture chamber. Yet the UK spends most on t...

The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan has laid bare the magnitude of western hubris

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Here ends the west’s grotesque delusion that it could use its military might to turn Afghanistan into a stable democracy, a shining path of moderate Islam. In the shadow of New York’s burning twin towers, I was one sw...

Saved by the bell, Boris Johnson’s government flip-flops off for the summer

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On the last day of term in parliament, there’s a bad tradition of governments sneaking out a host of unwelcome reports and decisions they hope to hide amid the great Westminster summer escape. Not this time. Anziché, ...

Boris Johnson’s ‘freedom day’ isolation tells us the virus is everywhere

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How was “freedom day” for you? On the stroke of midnight a photogenic few leapt on to the dancefloor and raved into the small hours; but the NHS, social care, schools, supermarkets, hauliers, hospitality and transport...

The European ruling on headscarves opens the way to rank discrimination

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It’s a puzzle that so many religious people identify themselves by what they wear. Among Christians I find it macabre that they choose to wear, in gold around their neck, an instrument of one of the cruellest tortures...

The NHS bill is political dynamite – and a gift to Labour

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It’s no surprise that the new health secretary has balked at a gigantic new reorganisation bill before he had even got his feet under the NHS operating table. Five million people waiting for treatment, a workforce cri...

Priti Patel rattles the handcuffs – but the Tories have lost control of law and order

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Justice is grinding to a halt. The handcuff-rattling home secretary, Priti Patel, likes announcing draconian new sentences – but without adequate police, prisons and, above all, law courts to hear cases, her bombast i...

The pension triple-lock is an insult to the UK’s young people

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Here’s a tale of two generations, the pensioners and young workers. As the pandemic furlough winds down this week, one generation is destined for a mighty windfall from the government while the other gets nothing. Il...

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