One Moment in Time: the other 9/11 and how I fell in love with Berlin


On the evening of 9th November 1989, I was at a trade union lesbian and gay conference at the Swallow Hotel in Peterborough. It was long before gay marriage was anywhere near the political agenda and the only other guests at the hotel were people attending a big straight wedding with all the trimmings. The […]
Why Generalissimo Cameron is the wrong response to child abuse


Another week, another brief media frenzy or two about child abuse and sexual exploitation. This week it was Oxford. Next time it might be Rotherham again. All too often we get a news spike when something happens to the perpetrators or the authorities; or when the home of an alleged celebrity culprit is raided. And […]
The aspiration debate: why inequality matters too


Aspiration is back at the top of the left’s political agenda. Apparently Labour lost because people have it in spades and the party didn’t reach out to them. And yet not so long ago it was poverty of aspiration that was all the talk. Onlookers could be forgiven for thinking that people should make their […]
After the Named Person judgment


The debate about the Named Person scheme hasn’t been pretty for a while. But it took a new ugly turn this week. And it’s one that should concern us all. The debate has long been a noisy one, not just loud, but shrill. You could be forgiven for not knowing that the scheme was actually […]
Transformational change: It’s the people, stupid


The practice of hoarding is a bone of contention in our house. I try not to do it but my partner is a self-confessed hoarder. However in my case there some exceptions, the most obvious of which is books. The other, which takes up rather less space, is a variety of old papers including my […]
Making sense of Manchester


When the news started filtering through from Manchester 24 hours ago I feared the worst. Like so many of us, I hoped first that there wouldn’t be fatalities. Then I hoped that the numbers wouldn’t keep rising. And all the while I hoped that it wouldn’t be terror.
Sprinklers: find the money and start on Monday


What a wretched week. In a year where tragedy has hardly been in short supply, Grenfell Tower has marked a new low. An accident waiting to happen born out of a scandal hidden in plain sight. These are clichés and yet they are for once entirely apt. Their very paucity seems to capture the most […]
Good Work: glass half empty or half full?


It was a wet morning in Edinburgh. Much like many others these past few weeks. As I scurried off to work, it was hard to keep curmudgeonliness entirely at bay. And as I started to hear trade union responses to Matthew Taylor’s much anticipated report on Good Work, it felt as if they were determined […]