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Leave or Remain? A 2019 Spotter’s Guide to MPs

Leave or Remain? A 2019 Spotter’s Guide to MPs

I had a conversation this week in which I referred to MPs as being Remain or Leave supporters, based on their 2016 vote. That person said, very reasonably, “Shouldn’t we be base things on their current positions, not on what they did in 2016?” That’s fair enough. People change their minds. And their are some MPs, such as Ben Bradley who may have voted Remain in 2016 but whose words and voting record since have been strongly pro-Brexit (though I’m…

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How to win broad support for green taxes

How to win broad support for green taxes

Three word answer: cut other taxes. Traditionally, Green parties sit on the left of the political spectrum. But environmentalism, in its broader sense, enjoys genuine public support across political boundaries. Care for the environment has deep roots in conservative political traditions, both religious (Genesis 2:15) and secular (Teddy Roosevelt creating National Parks). You don’t need to be a socialist to recognise that global warming is one of the major global challenges and that cutting carbon emissions would be a good…

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It would be folly for either side to count on victory in a second referendum

It would be folly for either side to count on victory in a second referendum

In my latest piece for Conservative Home, I argue that the febrile politic climate makes the result of a second Brexit referendum inherently unpredictable. This was actually written two weeks ago, but due to local elections and other matters, I’ve only just got round to linking to it. Read the full piece below. https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/05/iain-mansfield-neither-remain-nor-leave-could-assume-victory-in-a-second-referendum.html

Thoughts on the Local Elections

Thoughts on the Local Elections

This may have been the election in which the Lib Dems finally put tuition fees and the Coalition years behind them. Despite their success, it’s worth noting they still won fewer councillors than in any local election between 1993 and 2010 – but they made big gains from a very low base, and won a national equivalent vote-share of 19%, all of which points to them being back as a significant player. It was a terrible night for the Conservatives….

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My local election result

My local election result

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempt to be elected as a Conservative Councillor for my local ward of Panshanger in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield. Last year the Conservatives lost this ward to the Liberal Democrats by 37 votes. After a very hard-fought campaign I actually managed to secure more votes than the previous Conservative candidate. Unfortunately, the winning candidate, Liberal Democrat Jane Quinton, did even better, extending the Liberal Democrat lead to nearly 200. National issues clearly played…

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Twelve posts from my first year of blogging

Twelve posts from my first year of blogging

A year after this blog (re)started, I thought I’d share a dozen of my favourite posts. A mixture of those that were most read and most commented on at the time (on here or on Facebook/Twitter) as well as a few of my personal favourites. In chronological order: “Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground A look at why Leave voters may legitimately share a sceptisism in some cases of experts who have very different backgrounds…

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Ten Things I’ve Learned From Canvassing

Ten Things I’ve Learned From Canvassing

With postal votes for the local elections landing on people’s doorsteps today, I thought I’d share 10 things I’ve learned from canvassing over the last few months, while I’ve been campaigning to be elected to the Borough Council as the Conservative candidate in my local ward. Nearly everyone is polite. I’ve counted, and it’s fewer than 1 in 100 houses where someone is actually rude. Even people who don’t want to talk to you usually just say so, politely. This…

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Rights vs Freedoms

Rights vs Freedoms

Note that these are not new ideas; they have been discussed extensively in academia and elsewhere. But it is a lens that I find can be helpful. In some recent reading and discussions a concept that has come up is the distinction between freedoms and rights. Broadly, this states that traditional liberalism focuses on freedoms – for example freedom of speech, religion and association – whereas the modern social progressive movement focuses on positive rights, such as the right to…

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On Leaving the Civil Service

On Leaving the Civil Service

Almost a year ago today I formally left the civil service. Handing in my notice was one of the hardest things I’ve voluntarily done. I’d joined the civil service immediately after leaving university and loved it. I’d done incredibly exciting things, from meeting ministers, working on policy as it was formed, going to No. 10 and to the House of Commons and even working overseas in the Philippines. The work was meaningful, enjoyable and interesting; I’d worked with some of…

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Poll: What’s the best term for the cultural left?

Poll: What’s the best term for the cultural left?

One of the things I oscillate on is what to call what the ‘cultural left’, ‘progressive’ or so-called ‘socially liberal’ political ideology. By this I mean the ideology which puts a strong emphasis on issues such as race and gender, LGBT rights, the environment, safe spaces and trigger warnings, is pro-immigration, pro-EU and so forth, as opposed to the more traditional economic left, which typically focuses on concerns such as class, economic redistribution, unionisation, nationalising industries, taxing the wealthy and…

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