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Democracy is on the Ballot – watershed US midterms this week.

Written By: - Date published: 1:46 am, November 7th, 2022 - 3 comments

At a campaign event last week President Biden said that in these mid-term elections “democracy is on the ballot”. This is absolutely true, and the outcome will be decided by those who show up to vote.

The politics of high inflation – can governments do anything?

Written By: - Date published: 10:46 am, May 19th, 2022 - 13 comments

It is clear that we will continue to face these economic challenges with tools that are ill-equipped to face the problems. Only a truly international response can create an economy that delivers for all.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine – an act of aggression

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 pm, May 3rd, 2022 - 140 comments

The invasion that began just over two months ago will have a profound impact on global politics for many years. The conflict is unlikely to end quickly and will take a toll on everyone involved.

How is Boris Johnson still in Number 10?

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 am, February 21st, 2022 - 10 comments

Johnson and Cummings

 

Boris Johnson, should not on balance still be Prime Minister and in the long term, the Conservatives risk being severely punished for not removing him. But despite everything, he remains in post and still, we cannot write him off.

The US withdraws from Afghanistan and the inevitable happened

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 pm, November 29th, 2021 - Comments Off on The US withdraws from Afghanistan and the inevitable happened

The withdrawal in August of US and allied troops from Afghanistan saw the return of the Taliban in control of that country. This sadly was always going to be the outcome once the US and its allies withdrew.

British identity and The Second World War

Written By: - Date published: 2:53 am, November 27th, 2021 - 1 comment

With regards to Johnson’s own leadership to date, his government’s apparent support of herd immunity as the response to COVID-19 in early 2020 had much more in common with Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy in the 1930s than the Battle of Britain.

What the recent elections tell us about British society

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 pm, May 17th, 2021 - 35 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s Blog In a nation that has suffered over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, one may be somewhat taken aback to see the latest YouGov Poll where The Conservative Party enjoy a 15% lead over the Labour Opposition. 17 months after the Conservatives won the 2019 General Election, it would be easy to […]

The European Super League – a proposal that has united Britain

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, April 20th, 2021 - 28 comments

There are few issues where UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn see eye to eye, yet this proposal has achieved just that. Rarer still to have the Second Heir to the Throne comment on such matters saying it would be “damaging.”

UK COVID-19 death toll hits 100,000 and The PM offers an insincere apology.

Written By: - Date published: 6:11 am, January 29th, 2021 - 21 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s Blog In late March 2020, the medical director of the NHS Stephen Powis said that keeping the UK COVID-19 death toll to under 20,000 would be a good result. Ten months later, almost to the day, the UK’s official death toll from COVID-19 hit 100,000, a few days after an […]

The ugly finale of the Trump Presidency

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 am, January 9th, 2021 - 150 comments

Wednesday’s insurrection further tarnishes America’s reputation as a credible democratic nation. Significant changes will be needed before this reputation can be restored and it is hard to be optimistic that the US political system is capable of reforming itself in the way it needs to.

Assisted dying law in New Zealand and the UK

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, December 9th, 2020 - 65 comments

Assisted Dying

There is now growing recognition internationally that the right to a dignified death is a fundamental human right. Assisted dying is not about reducing health care costs or pressuring those who are frail, old or disabled to end their life prematurely. It is about allowing those with a terminal illness the choice to die rather than face a period of significant physical decline and suffering before the end of their life.

Trump loses the presidency, but Trumpism lives on

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 am, November 19th, 2020 - 8 comments

The reality is that the United States is a poor example of a functioning democracy in 2020.

NZ election 2020: Labour win is a watershed moment in the country’s history

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 am, October 20th, 2020 - 47 comments

The 2020 election was more than just a victory for Labour and more than a crushing defeat for the National Party (New Zealand’s main centre-right political party). This result marks a significant watershed in New Zealand politics which will likely have implications long after this parliamentary term.

Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Government: Style over substance or a guiding light for progressive politics?

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, August 10th, 2020 - 33 comments

Critics have dismissed the Jacinda Ardern government as being one of style over substance. This is unfair given the challenges this government has faced and the policy achievements it has had. However, it is a government that has much work to do if it wins a second term. And its over-reliance on Jacinda as party leader is a huge strategic risk, especially when the governments front bench is perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be lightweight.

Trade Unionism: Does it have a future

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 pm, July 27th, 2020 - 19 comments

There is no blueprint for building a stronger more effective trade union movement. There are many, who each and every day wake up and do exactly that.

Union peak bodies: a beacon of hope for all workers

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 pm, July 11th, 2020 - 21 comments

My view is that neither big nor small unions function particularly well in the modern-day workforce. There are many notable exceptions to this where both do very good work. But few have found the balance of good local support for members, tackling national and international issues and crucially not wasting considerable time and resource fighting another rival union encroaching on their patch.

Local Government: crucial and undervalued

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 am, July 11th, 2020 - 4 comments

On the day of the council vote, we organised for the effected Citi-Ops workers to sit in the public gallery in the Council rooms wearing their High Viz’s and work gear. I was one of three speakers for the union, expressing opposition to axing these jobs. The Council debated the issue for about 30 minutes. Those councillors in favour of making the workers redundant argued that they should not interfere with management decisions. Those against the decision felt that management did not have the mandate to make this decision. The vote ended up being 7-7, so Green Party Mayor Celia Wade-Brown used her casting vote to uphold management’s decision to outsource these workers jobs. The Citi Operations staff were sitting in the room, so Celia and the councillors were looking at these workers as they made them redundant.

Wellington buses now: how a local authority harmed public transport

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, July 6th, 2020 - 15 comments

Sure to form, Paul Swain along with Regional Council Chair and another former Labour MP Fran Wilde proposed tearing down the trolleybus wire and increasing the city’s carbon emission. This was to then promptly followed by re-tendering all the bus routes having redesigned all the bus network so that bus companies could then compete over routes and undercut each other. At one council meeting in mid-2016 Swain was questioned about the possibility of protecting drivers jobs and employment conditions. After a few questions, he lost patience, slammed in hand on the table and ended the meeting. This was the extent to which Swain and the Greater Wellington Regional Council considered supporting bus drivers during this process.

The 2008 Go Wellington Bus Lockout

Written By: - Date published: 5:44 am, July 3rd, 2020 - 6 comments

20 days after being elected President of the Wellington Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Employees Union (we just called it Tramways), drivers at Go Wellington were locked out. The City nearly ground to a halt with thousands unable to get to work and traffic congestion a nightmare. Certain journalists were quick to call this a communist conspiracy.

Black lives matter

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 am, June 6th, 2020 - 106 comments

The civil war may have ended slavery, the civil rights movement may have changed the legal framework ending segregation in the Southern States, but the idea that white people’s lives matter more has survived into the 21st century.

How Africa has weathered the COVID-19 storm

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, May 27th, 2020 - 14 comments

Ramaphosa has no doubt learnt from his predecessor Thabo Mbeki’s abysmal response to the HIV crisis in South Africa where inaction by the government caused the virus to spread quickly. Sadly it’s through these sort of deadly mistakes that politicians learn the importance of prevention in public health.

 

UK: Too soon to end the lockdown

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, May 9th, 2020 - 17 comments

First Secretary of State Dominic Raab has said that lockdown changes being announced this coming Sunday will be ‘modest’ and ‘small’. This is hardly surprising when earlier in the week the national statistician Professor Ian Diamond said that COVID-19 infection rates could be increasing. In particular, the number of cases being reported in care-homes appears to be increasing. Adding to the pressure both the Scottish and Welsh ruled out any significant relaxation of the lockdown rules.

UK Labour – the leaked report

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, May 7th, 2020 - 27 comments

In July 2019 BBC current affairs show Panorama did a report on antisemitism in Labour. Ironically many of the whistleblowers from this Panorama documentary were the people named in this leaked Labour report as having frustrated antisemitism investigations. Were it not for COVID-19, we can be sure the BBC would ensure this was properly reported on to ensure a balanced and factual news service had been provided. Or maybe not?

Has the EU failed during COVID-19?

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 am, April 10th, 2020 - 20 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s blog 

For global governance organisations, this is an important moment. This is the chance for them to demonstrate their worth and coordinate the response. In many ways how these structures respond becomes more important than the response of nation-states. This also is where the deficiencies and shortcomings of such organisations become very apparent. The noise coming from the EU in the last 48 hours is far from reassuring.

Pandemics are no a time for inward-looking nationalism

Written By: - Date published: 4:37 am, April 9th, 2020 - 41 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s Blog

Trump is focused on the November US Presidential Election. His anti-Chinese, nationalist, America First rhetoric is his go-to response to keep his political base onside. He is placing his political ambition ahead of millions of lives both in the US and globally. Trump has placed electoral politics ahead of leadership that could save millions of lives.

This result could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, February 10th, 2020 - 13 comments

Originally posted onNick Kelly’s blog

Nick is a Director of Piko Consulting and works as a Political Adviser in The House of Lords. 

Listening to the results being reported while driving on that California freeway, I recall thinking ‘this result could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom’. On hearing that both Northern Ireland and Scotland had voted to stay part of the EU, in contrast to the rest of the country, it was hard to imagine that this would not become a significant issue.

The BBC – a failed public broadcaster

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, February 3rd, 2020 - 26 comments

At the 2019 election the BBC had an opportunity to show the world what quality political journalism looks like in the 21st century. It failed. The consequences for this could be dire for the Beeb.

The Fourth Estate struggling in the social media world

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 pm, January 27th, 2020 - 30 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s blog

Ahead of the 2020 General Election in New Zealand, Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that her party is committed to run factual election and has signed up to a social media tool to help prove it. The 2020 NZ election will be an interesting case study of whether in the social media age there can be honest political debate free of misinformation and manipulation of facts.

Why UK Labour lost? Part 9: What the party needs to do now.

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, January 17th, 2020 - 12 comments

Originally post on Nick Kelly’s blog

The broader context of this defeat is that over the last century, UK Labour has won 8 out of the last 28 general elections. Overall the Labour Party is not a successful electoral force in the UK. What makes the 2019 loss harder, is that the party lost sections of its historical base in the North of England and the Midlands.

Why UK Labour lost?  Part 8: What it takes to win

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, January 16th, 2020 - 6 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s blog 

The UK Labour Party in the 2019 election assumed that like in 2017, the release of their policy manifesto would see their support increase significantly. Assuming that 2019 would be a re-run of 2017 was a foolish mistake.

Why UK Labour lost?  Part 7: Momentum and the Corbynistas

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 pm, January 15th, 2020 - 10 comments

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s blog 

Momentum and its supporters need to find a way of selling genuine social democratic politics to a conservative English public.

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