Writing

Gove has basically admitted the Tory attack on human rights is dead (Politics.co.uk: 2/2/16)

For once, we learned something in a committee hearing. Firstly, that the consultation paper on the repeal of the Human Rights Act will be published soon. And secondly that it will be, to all intents and purposes, dead on arrival.

Arrested, humiliated, detained: How Britain treats foreign students (Politics.co.uk: 26/01/16)

How one Shakespearian scholar was dragged away in front of his neighbours and locked up in a detention centre.

Supporting Corbyn is honourable – but it’s becoming a conspiracy theory cult (12/01/16)

The press might be out to get him, but Corbyn supporters can’t afford to fall into a paranoid conspiracy ghetto.

Britain’s prisons are failing us all (Little Atoms: (18/11/15)

Carl Cattermole, author of HM Prison Service: A Survival Guide, knows the UK penal system inside out. He spoke to Ian Dunt about a regime that actively encourages drug use and destroys any chance of rehabilitation.

Can we all stop saying migrants move for welfare benefits already? (Foreign Policy: 11/11/15)

Benefits reform in Britain is a solution that won’t work for a problem that doesn’t exist. Makes for great politics, though

Free speech isn’t all about you  (Little Atoms 25/10/15)

Free expression is too important to be used as a bludgeon in the fight between libertarianism and identity politics

The growing Home Office panic over Britain’s detention centres (New Statesman: 08/09/15)

Catherine West MP is far from the only person to be denied permission to visit a detention centre. The increasingly mainstream campaigns against the likes of Yarl’s Wood have got the government rattled.

Dabbing: the ‘cannabis crack’ that makes skunk seem weak (Guardian: 31/08/15)

If smoking a joint is like drinking a pint of beer, doing a dab of concentrated cannabis oil is like necking a quarter pint of vodka. Time for the inevitable tabloid panic?

How the Lib Dems broke their promise on legal aid (Politics.co.uk: 20/02/15)

Simon Hughes quickly backed down on promises he made before his party conference

Religious groups’ war on sex education (Politics.co.uk: 17/02/15)

The battle to prevent sex education in school puts all children at risk

What media reports on the new cannabis study don’t tell you (Politics.co.uk: 16/02/15

Survey actually shows milder forms of cannabis are harmless, but press is lost in reefer madness.

Hung parliaments could break Labour-Tory stranglehold on drug policy (Politics.co.uk: 12/02/15)

Emergence of non-mainstream parties could push Wesminster towards a more liberal policy.

Safe space or free speech? The crisis around debate at UK universities (Guardian: 06/04/15)

The cancellation of comedian Kate Smurthwaite’s Goldsmiths show after protests against her politics is indicative of a wider battle for the nature of student life – should university be a ‘safe space’ for all, or a place where anything can be debated?

Not even the MoJ understands what it is doing today (Politics.co.uk: 02/04/15)

New measures are well publicised, but behind the scenes it’s a shambles

Grayling: I’m the first impartial lord chancellor in 400 years (Politics.co.uk: 21/01/15)

It’s hard to know where to start with Chris Grayling’s interview with Conservative Home today, but overall it’s probably the part where he suggests he is the first objective lord chancellor in the history of the job.

THE WAR ON PORNOGRAPHY (Erotic Review: 02/12/14)

Our Political Editor finds the Government’s most recent legislation on porn controlling and restricting – and not in a good way, either.

Without due process: How Britain deported 50,000 students (Politics.co.uk: 02/12/14)

The secret story of a mass deportation process which never gave its victims the chance to hear the evidence against them.

The night the Lib Dems gave up their last remaining principles (Politics.co.uk: 02/12/14)

A vote on judicial review sees the junior coalition partner give up on its deepest convictions.

Grayling’s prison regime goes on trial – and is found guilty (Politics.co.uk: 26/11/14)

The mutiny charges which blew up in the faces of the authorities

Prepare for the Ukip civil war (Politics.co.uk: 10/10/14)

Douglas Carswell presents an existential threat – not just to the Tory party, but also to Ukip – following the Clacton by-election

Home Office urged to use force against detained children (Politics.co.uk: 09/10/14)

Panel calls on Home Office to detain more children and use force against them to get them out the country

Clegg’s speech defended the very establishment he claims to despise (Politics.co.uk: (08/10/14)

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg used his conference speech to paint himself as Che Guevara, but he more resembles Sir Humphrey.

The lord chancellor is dismantling the rule of law (Politics.co.uk: 02/10/14)

Chris Grayling has been cut down in a mesothelioma ruling and is about to launch a savage assault on human rights: he is not fit for the position of lord chancellor

How IDS’ plan will starve and stigmatise people on benefits (Politics.co.uk: 02/10/14)

The evidence is clear: paying benefits on a card punishes the most vulnerable. But Iain Duncan Smith will do it anyway.

Cameron speech verdict: Where is all this money suddenly coming from? (Politics.co.uk: 01/10/14)

David Cameron’s Conservative party conference speech was like watching a Robing Hood who refused to steal from the rich

Could Theresa May’s ‘extremism Asbo’ ban the Socialist Workers Party? (Politics.co.uk: 30/09/14)

Severe new legal sanctions from Theresa May at the Conservative party conference could include Communists, anti-abortion groups and Christian preachers

Osborne’s vision of the future is worthy of a Terminator movie (Politics.co.uk: 29/09/14)

George Osborne must be considered the most divisive chancellor in modern British political history following his speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham

Early indications say Morton Hall death was suicide (Politics.co.uk: 26/09/14)

Early reports suggest the death of a detainee in Morton Hall was the result of suicide, Politics.co.uk understands

Immigrant stories: The detention centre guard (Politics.co.uk: 25/09/14)

Speaking anonymously, a guard in one of Britain’s detention centres tells of the brutal reality of life away from prying eyes

Thin-skinned anti-racist protestors shut down an anti-racist exhibit (Politics.co.uk: 24/09/14)

The cancellation of the Barbican’s Exhibit B event last night marks a new low for censorship in Britain

 

Miliband speech verdict: The radicalism is gone, replaced by caution (Politics.co.uk: 23/09/14)

The intellectual daring of his previous speeches is gone, replaced by glib jokes and caution. It seems Ed Balls has censored Ed Miliband’s radical voice.

Where has Labour’s fire gone? (Politics.co.uk: 22/09/14)

With just eight months until the election, Labour looks as far away from power as ever at its party conference in Manchester

We have witnessed a total breakdown in political legitimacy (Politics.co.uk: 19/09/14)

Britain might feel relief, but the Scottish independence referendum is one of the most damning indictments of our country we’ve ever seen

Why would anyone still love Britain? (Politics.co.uk: 17/09/14)

It’s ignored and unloved in the Scottish independence debate – but are there still reasons to love Britain?

Thousands may be sexually abused behind bars – but MoJ still blocks the inquiry (Politics.co.uk: 15/09/14)

The Ministry of Justice continue to block efforts to speak to prisoners about sexual abuse behind bars, despite evidence that thousands of inmates may be subject to attacks

How did a detainee die in Morton Hall immigration centre? (Politics.co.uk: 11/09/14)

However Rubel Ahmed died, he was a victim of Morton Hall detention centre

Grey and hopeless: The grim reality of immigration tribunals (Politics.co.uk: 20/08/14)

The  unspoken humiliations which reveal, more than any law or ministerial speech, just how little respect the state has for those who wish to live here.

Grayling’s paranoid attack on charities shows he’s losing the plot (Politics.co.uk: 20/08/14)

As the prison crisis continues, Grayling focuses on a conspiracy theory about Labour spies in the charity sector

Grayling’s privatisation system comes apart at the seams (Politics.co.uk: 14/08/14)

Evidence shows the profit motive simply doesn’t work in the criminal justice sector

The invisible army: How they treat the worker who cleans your desk (Politics.co.uk: 13/08/14)

They arrive before dawn or after the sun goes down.

The Home Office’s campaign of lies and intimidation (Politics.co.uk: 04/08/14)

The story of how one Indian mother was interrogated, detained, shouted at, bullied, harassed, imprisoned and conspired against by British immigration officers.

How Whitehall neutered the Freedom of Information Act (Politics.co.uk: 28/07/14)

One of the most powerful pieces of transparency legislation this country produced has been neutered.

No sexting please, we’re British (Erotic Review: 27/07/14)

How teenagers and porn led the government to create a legislative monster.

Immigrant stories: The minister’s cleaner (Politics.co.uk: 23/07/14)

As Mark Harper was returned to government, his cleaner was put in a detention centre.

When the Home Office comes for you at your daughter’s wedding (Politics.co.uk: 21/07/14)

The sorry tale of the Home Office minister and his cleaner

Cameron and Clegg’s cynical surveillance trick (Politics.co.uk: 11/07/14)

They’re watching you: The emergency legislation actually expands state surveillance powers

Just how deep does Grayling’s hate of the Howard League go? (Politics.co.uk: 11/06/14)

Grayling’s department has now pulled down the blinds. He competes only with Iain Duncan Smith for closing down opposing voices and evidence.

Air Mauritius in the dock: There was no directive to deport Yashika (Politics.co.uk: 23/04/14)

Yashika was deported last night, despite a campaign to keep her in the UK for her A-levels

Revealed: Iain Duncan Smith’s campaign of secrecy over universal credit (Politics.co.uk: 28/03/14)

The problems with the biggest welfare project since Beveridge are being kept from the public

A U-turn on the book ban is not enough (Politics.co.uk:

28/03/14)

The justice secretary isn’t talking about privileges at all: he’s talking about humiliation.

Why performance-related pay for teachers doesn’t work (Politics.co.uk: 26/03/14)

The data from around the world suggests it is a dead end. An idea which falls apart on implementation.

Anything that stands in the way of a prisoner reading is wrong (Index on Censorship: 28/03/14)

Why do some issues, which might ultimately be more trivial than others, go viral?

Prison book ban: The questions Chris Grayling must answer (Politics.co.uk: 25/03/2014)

The justice secretary’s argument is full of inaccuracies and irrelevance.

Bob Crow was a testament to what trade unionists can achieve (Politics.co.uk: 11/03/14)

What Crow was really doing was extraordinarily simple. He was doing his job.

Immigrant Stories: The secret deportation programme to Somalia (Politics.co.uk: 06/03/14)

One man speaks out as the returns begin

Immigrant Stories: Lenin and the fight for cleaners’ pay (Politics.co.uk: 06/03/14)

The Colombian who fights for cleaners’ pay

Comment: The UN’s bullying tactics on drugs show how scared it is of reform (Politics.co.uk: 05/03/14)

How the UN forces poor countries to stick with a policy which damages their security and criminalises their citizens

The court judgement on loving an immigrant (Politics.co.uk: 04/03/14)

Nestled away in the court of appeal today is a case which will decide whether British citizens are allowed to live with the person they love

It looks like drug reformers are about to get a foothold in policy (Politics.co.uk: 28/02/14)

We’re about to enter unprecedented territory in the drug law debate

Everything I know about liberty I learned in the British public school system (Liberty: 24/02/14)

Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile

Comment: The EU-US treaty which enforces privatisation (Politics.co.uk: 24/02/14)

Without a squeak from parliament or the press, a treaty is being negotiated which would make it almost impossible to reverse privatisation

Are we witnessing a tipping point in the drug debate? (Politics.co.uk: 13/02/14)

Drug law reformers have never had it so good

Comment: Harper’s resignation puts us in dangerous moral territory (Politics.co.uk: 09/02/14)

Even those who lead the charge against immigration must be struck by the type of country we are creating

Immigrant Stories: The nurse, the detention centre & the women with bruises (Politics.co.uk: 05/02/14)

“She’d been raped as part of her torture and she now had a guard coming in every night to check her room”.

Nudge nudge, say no more. Brits’ minds will be controlled without us knowing it (Guardian: 05/02/14)

Why is that wasp painted on the urinal? With David Cameron’s behavioural insights team part-privatised, we won’t be told

The Labour bill that could end equality under the law (Index on Censorship: 24/01/14)

If you want to know what a party stands for, watch its leader’s speeches. But if you want to know what they’re going to do, read their proposed legislation.

Comment: Miliband’s canny political attack provided a moral victory on Syrian refugees (Politics.co.uk: 22/01/14)

Amid the usual tedium and noise of PMQs, Ed Miliband scored a significant moral and strategic victory.

Immigrant stories: The psychotherapist and the letter of proof (Politics.co.uk: 17/01/14)

She had the proof of her right to stay, but she was already lost in a system which made no sense.

Comment: The Home Office admits it has no idea if the war on drugs is working (Politics.co.uk: 10/01/14)

They spend billions a year fighting drugs, but now even the Home Office admits it has no idea if it’s made any difference.

Blog: Why voter ID will disenfranchise minorities (Politics.co.uk: 08/01/13)

The Electoral Commission is taking significant democratic risks to solve a problem which does not exist.

Blog: The BBC’s political editor sounds like a government minister (Politics.co.uk: 07/01/14)

The job of the BBC is not to ‘reflect public concern’ about immigration. It’s to provide accurate information so the public can come to its own opinion.

Blog: Smuggled into the legal highs review: A glimmer of hope for liberals (Politics.co.uk: 12/12/13)

A subtle tweak in the approach to regulating legal highs could provide a glimmer of hope for campaigners demanding a more liberal approach to Britain’s drug laws.

Comment: MPs deserve a pay cut, not a pay rise (Politics.co.uk: 09/12/13)

The idea that MPs deserve a pay rise is as dangerous as it is laughable.

Blog: By being so relaxed, Tom Daley showed what sexuality is for young people (02/12/13)

Tom Daley just did more for gay culture by lying back on a couch than thousands of hours of diligent campaign work could ever hope to achieve.

Comment: Theresa May can’t even get moral failure right (Politics.co.uk: 02/12/13)

Theresa May has committed an act of barbarism with so little competence that it did not even succeed. So why have no MPs asked about Isa Muazu?

Blog: Censored – Why the media hides Cuba’s role in the end of apartheid (Politics.co.uk: 10/12/13)

The great whitewash of history ignores Cuba’s vital role in ridding South Africa of apartheid.

Comment: The case that tells us what kind of country Britain is (Politics.co.uk: 27/11/13)

He cannot stand or see, but this week we will deport Isa Muazu and dump him in Nigeria, where he fears being targeted by Islamic extremists.

Comment: Forget JFK – this is Aldous Huxley day (Politics.co.uk: 22/11/13)

John F Kennedy was a sex pest drug addict. Today we should remember a true titan of political thought.

Blog: Carey’s right: These are the final days of the Church of England (Politics.co.uk: 19/11/13)

Even the former Archbishop of Canterbury realises that the days of religion in Britain are numbered.

Blog: The word ‘gay’ is sometimes used disparagingly. Get over it. (Politics.co.uk: 18/11/13)

Stonewall and Mumsnet’s new campaign is neither desirable or achievable.

Comment: Iain Duncan Smith is no longer fit-for-work (Politics.co.uk: 07/11/13)

The personal flaws of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith are replicated with uncanny precision at the department which he runs.

Calls for an Ofcom investigation into Downton Abbey show how sensitive and entitled we are (Politics.co.uk: 04/11/13)

Are viewers now complaining to the regulator because TV dramas contain drama?

Column: God, porn and public sex: What exactly is going on with religious peoples’ sex lives? (Erotic Review: 01/11/13)

The science is inconclusive, despite a data set comprising of the entirety of human history.

Comment: The press is hypocritical and irresponsible – but we must defend it against the state (Politics.co.uk: 30/10/13)

The press paints bullying as principle and arrogance as saintliness. But the secret work of the Privy Council shows it’s better than the alternative.

Comment: Turning doctors into immigration police will cost more than it saves (Politics.co.uk: 10/10/13)

Theresa May is turning doctors into UKBA agents to fix a problem which does not exist.

Comment: Banning smoking in prisons is a threat to public health (Politics.co.uk: 20/09/13)

The anti-smoking movement has always been hysterical and unhinged. But now it has become a threat to public health.

Comment: If Britain really cares about Syria, it will open its doors to refugees (Politics.co.uk: 03/09/13)

If we plan on containing the Syrian conflict, we need to alleviate the burden on its neighbours.

Comment: A vote of tragedy and triumph for Great Britain (Politics.co.uk: 30/08/13)

We should celebrate the rupture of the special relationship – but not use it as an excuse to turn our back on the world.

Comment: The anti-war left’s response to Syria has been teenage and irresponsible (Politics.co.uk: 28/08/13)

This is not Iraq. Calling supporters of intervention ‘warmongers’ is totally inappropriate.

Comment: This is how the press breeds hatred for immigrants (Politics.co.uk: 08/08/13)

A new study shows how the press systemically associates immigrants with illegality.

Blog: Ian Tomlinson: The cover-up was worse than the crime (Politics.co.uk: 05/08/13)

The attack on Ian Tomlinson was appalling. But let’s not forget the disgraceful smear operation which took place immediately afterwards.

Comment: UKBA spot-checks are an abuse of power – but you can stop them (Politics.co.uk: 02/08/13)

Immigration officers are checking papers at Tube stations in London, but an educated civilian population can challenge their abuse of power.

Comment: Twitter, Facebook & Google are the scapegoats of the 21st Century (Politics.co.uk 30/07/13)

It’s much easier for politicians to attack Twitter, Facebook and Google than it is to admit that our problems have no easy solution.

Comment: This puritanical attack on electronic cigarettes will cost lives (Politics.co.uk: 13/07/13)

The government is intent on crippling an industry which has shown huge success in getting people off cigarettes.

Column: Three reasons not to ban rape porn (Erotic Review: 12/07/13)

Is yet another law controlling pornography either workable, desirable or ethical?

Blog: Why the ‘best people’ make the worst MPs (11/07/13)

Boosting MPs’ pay won’t get us better parliamentarians. It will just bring in more managers.

Comment: Salmond’s cheap Wimbledon trick shows the cynicism behind the smile (Politics.co.uk: 08/07/13)

Alex Salmond’s attempt to unfurl a Saltire following Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win shows the scheming politician lurking behind the bonhomie.

Comment: How Europe stops Theresa May splitting up British families (Politics.co.uk: 07/07/13)

Europe stands up for British people’s rights against our own government.

Comment: Don’t pay MPs a penny more (Politics.co.uk: 01/07/13)

If MPs live the life of the rich, they will have the priorities of the rich.

Comment: Discriminatory, immoral & damaging to British interests – just another Theresa May policy (Politics.co.uk: 25/06/13)

The home secretary’s immigration policy damages Britain’s trade relations and portrays an ugly image across the world.

Comment: Woolwich does not justify the return of the snoopers’ charter (Politics.co.uk: 24/05/13)

The security industry is politicising the Woolwich murder for its own commercial benefits.

Comment: Muslims must not apologise for terror – they are no more responsible than the rest of us (Politics.co.uk: 22/05/13)

Muslims must not apologise for Islamic terror. They are no more culpable than the rest of us.

Comment: The probation service is a success story – so why is Grayling privatising it? (Politics.co.uk: 09/05/13)

What do you do with a public service which is enjoying considerable success? Privatise it of course.

Comment: The conspiracy to privatise the NHS (Politics.co.uk: 18/04/13)

Conservative efforts to privatise the National Health Service are not Labour hype. They are very real – and they will be an unmitigated disaster.

Film review: The Gatekeepers (Politics.co.uk: 11/04/13)

A gripping and vital piece of film-making which will change the way you look at the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Comment: Critical voices silenced as the establishment comes out for Thatcher (Politics.co.uk: 10/04/13)

The silencing of dissent, a parliamentary debate and a monarch-approved funeral make for an inappropriate response to Thatcher’s death.

Comment: Gay marriage opponents should not be tolerated (Politics.co.uk: 06/04/13)

Opponents of gay marriage claim they should be free to discriminate. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Comment: We can pursue disarmament while renewing Trident (Politics.co.uk: 04/04/13)

Ignore the chest-thumping patriots and the muddle-headed pacifists – there’s a middle way on Trident renewal.

Comment: We didn’t hack phones – so why should we be regulated? (Politics.co.uk: 19/03/13)

A scandalous power-grab by Downing Street shows how little it understands digital journalism.

Comment: Chavez was a towering leader who deserved better critics (Politics.co.uk: 06/03/13)

Hugo Chavez was not the tinpot dictator described by his critics – he was a leader brave enough to use oil revenue to help the poor.

Review: Zero Dark Thirty (Politics.co.uk: 27/01/13)

Kathryn Bigelow issues a gripping and controversial account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Review: Lincoln (Politics.co.uk: 27/01/13)

Steven Spielberg’s labour of love to one of America’s greatest presidents will be catnip to political geeks but is likely to bore mainstream audiences.

Column: Groping for something dark (Erotic Review: 25/01/13)

A whiff of puritanism from one MP and authoritarianism from another: take your pick between the two new Mary Whitehouses in Parliament

Comment: How the government breaks up British families (Politics.co.uk 18/01/13)

Our pro-family government is forcing children to be raised without their parents.

Column: The Petraeus Secret (Erotic Review: 19/11/12)

You can trace a line from a dying child in Sudan to the president beating himself off in a White House sink.

Column: Party Conference Diary (Erotic Review: 11/10/12)

Risking sanity and wellbeing to send in a report on the horror that is the Political Party Conference Season

Column: My Threat To Cardinal Keith O’Brien (Erotic Review: 06/03/12)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien is free to carry on campaigning against gay marriage. But every time he does so, I’m going to masturbate over him. That’s the deal. You can’t say fairer than that.

Column: In Defence of Binge Drinking (Erotic Review: 15/02/12)

The aspiration towards excess is a grand triumph of the human spirit and one which must not be debased by the trivial insecurities of the new puritans.

Column: The Death of Obscenity (Erotic Review: 06/01/12)

We just won a little battle against the humourless.

Column: Three Rules for Successful Monogamy (Erotic Review: 08/09/11)

How to stay with your partner… and enjoy it.

Review: 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (Erotic Review: 22/08/11)

Mad, offensive, explicit and quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen

Column: Why We Don’t Fuck on the Streets (Erotic Review: 29/07/11)

Sex, drugs and the long-lasting economic implications of the Nixon Shock

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