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Why Labour may no longer be the only alternative

Last week I outlined how I felt factional in-fighting within the Conservative Party was putting the business of governing the UK on hold. The last person on the planet I expected to back that view was Welsh tory leader Andrew RT Davies. You’ll have to read his Sunday Times article yourself to decide. As it happens, last week’s piece was the first of a two-parter. This week I ask the elephant in the room question as to why Labour has been remarkably unable to capitalise on such disorder within tory ranks. Keeping pace with the party’s pronounced leftw ard direction has been a confusing journey one for those on the outside. Some of the dynamics haven’t been that much clearer for the membership

Not just broken but probably unfixable

Old-style politics came to town last week as former chancellor Ken Clarke shared some telling insights with a packed Swansea Bay Business Club event. The tory grandee had wise words to offer. Yet as he himself cheerfully admitted, most of it fell on stony ground as the Conservative party becomes increasingly riven by the age-old argument of Europe. Making his conference speech last October, David Cameron promised sweeping changes to fix a broken Britain. Six months later, he and George Osborne stand accused of being the men largely responsible for splitting both the nation and their own party. Nowhere has the discontinuity caused by internal argument been more acute than in the UK government

Time to start thinking in circles

The invitation over the phone by a colleague to a “euro-techy thing” sounded less than enticing. If he’d mentioned that the subject was a concept called the “circular economy” then I’d probably have made some excuse or other. As it happens, I spent a large chunk of the day hearing how Unilever, Philips, Google, Ikea and BT are all rethinking their approach to manufacturing. If you’ve never heard the phrase “planned obsolescence” my advice is don’t worry as it’s about to disappear from our vocabulary anyway. The underlying principle is that Earth's finite natural resources will not be able to meet ever-growing demand, driven by population growth and wealth creation. Our current linear approac

The night when nothing much happened

As the ballot boxes were stacked away into storage last Friday morning, it became apparent that the biggest smiles in Wales belonged to the pollsters. After all, the nature of elections these days means that it’s not just political reputations on the line but also that of the people who make the predictions. As things turned out, everyone stuck to the suggested script, more or less. If anything, an overall lack of surprises left headline writers scrambling a little. Eventually they settled on Carwyn Jones failing to win an overall majority - even though he was never actually projected to get one. The advent of five-party politics spurred efforts to snatch winnable Labour seats. It was an emi

Democracy is what you make of it

Winston Churchill is supposed to have once commented that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." It could be argued almost seventy years later that not much has changed – other than election turnouts have almost halved. Nowadays, it sometimes feels that we’d be a lot happier with democracy if we didn’t have to actually participate in the process. This is a bit strange when you consider that a devolved Welsh Assembly was supposed to bring governance closer to the people – well, geographically at least. Political parties are in despair that Thursday’s election will see less people than ever cast their vote. Few however would admit that polit

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