A strong green and mutual vision can help Labour engage new voters

May 6, 2017

For the past few months I’ve been out campaigning as Labour and Co-op Party candidate in the Oxfordshire county council election in the Oxford suburbs of Kennington and Radley. The division is just outside the City boundary and has no Labour tradition. It is a Lib Dem seat and I won’t win this time round. […]

A ‘gig economy’ or walking a tightrope?

January 3, 2017

The ‘sharing economy’ has become a popular concept recently. It is a term with multiple meanings  and depending on  one’s viewpoint is one of the positive outcomes of the digital economy and globalisation, or one of its most negative and destructive manifestations.  Essentially it is a term applied to a range of short term part-time […]

New Lanark: the ‘great experiment’

October 14, 2016

I visited New Lanark, social reformer Robert Owen’s experimental village on the banks of the upper Clyde in the summer. It is almost forty years since I was last there. The magic of the place hasn’t changed but the ‘visitor experience’ certainly has.  New Lanark now gets almost half a million visitors a year – […]

Cycling data helps cities

August 15, 2016

Have you heard of Strava? Nor had I until a couple of months ago and I’m a fairly keen cyclist. In truth if you are familiar with it you are likely to be young, tech savvy, and a keen runner or cyclist.   Strava is an app developed, where else, in San Francisco, for athletes, runners […]

An accidential exit

July 12, 2016

So David Cameron was caught on mike humming, as he returned to Downing Street after announcing that he would step down as Prime Minister on Wednesday. The commentators have been unanimous in describing his Premiership as a failure that will be remembered for the loss of the EU referendum. Quite rightly so. But how did […]

Brexit: why was it such a surprise?

June 25, 2016

Over the past few week I have been sending out notes to friends abroad on the way the Referendum campaign has been shaping up. They weren’t very long, detailed  or analytical because I’ve spent a lot of time on street stalls, handing out leaflets, delivering posters and leaflets, canvassing households, and ‘knocking up’ known ‘Remain’ […]

Britain’s western powerhouse?

April 26, 2016

The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has caught the political imagination even if there is some debate about whether the financial resources to turn it into reality are really going to appear from the Treasury. The English devolution agendas post the Scottish referendum, and the desire to create poles of economic, cultural and political influence in England outside […]

John Henry Brookes: the man who inspired a university

February 25, 2016

I recently came across a book that had been presented as an end of year prize to a student at the Oxford School of Technology, Art and Commerce. It was signed by the principal, one JH Brookes. Although I recognised the name, it made me realise just how little I knew about the person or […]

Telling stories for the Earth

December 24, 2015

The climate march in London on 29 November, coinciding with the opening of the Paris climate talks, attracted over 50,000 people, a record for such an event and it was by turns colourful, joyful, passionate and serious. The weather played the ‘bad cop’ though, showery rain, strong winds and thick cloud making the day extremely […]

Climate change as a moral issue

October 16, 2015

Until recently the connection between the Catholic Church and sustainable development hasn’t seemed very obvious. Indeed Catholic doctrine on birth control has perhaps been its most important intervention and that has not been seen by many, including Catholic’s, as very helpful. So the papal Encyclical on global climate change Laudato Si’,  published in June has […]