Politics & Comment


I comment regularly on British and American politics, with a broad focus on foreign policy. I also maintain a particular expertise in the internal workings of the Conservative Party. I have contributed columns to most major British newspapers, starting my career at The Spectator, and am currently most likely to be found at The Financial Times and The Guardian, as well as number of US outlets. I have recently joined the Board of Index on Censorship.

In addition to my perspective as an intellectual historian, I also have a strong hinterland in the Anglican church, and write regularly on issues of faith and ethics. Much of my insight into British politics has been shaped by my time as part of the team responsible for establishing Bright Blue, the think tank associated with the Tory modernisation agenda, where I remain an Associate Fellow. In 2014, I published a collection of essays with Ryan Shorthouse on the future of the Conservative Party, entitled The Modernisers’ Manifesto, for Bright Blue. 



Theresa May rejected the Tory detoxification project. That’s what’s behind this mess.

Posted on Jun 9, 2017 | 0 comments

an edited version of this column appeared in The Guardian, 9 June 2017, the day after the 2017 General Election. Most people have heard of the term “detoxification”; it’s a familiar entry in the lexicon of food fads. Detoxing your body isn’t a pleasant process. Like Michael Gove, I recently went...

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This campaign has proved it: the Tories are still the nasty party

Posted on Jun 7, 2017 | 0 comments

written for The Guardian, 7 June 2017 We are one day away from polling day. Theresa May called this snap election to capitalise on the lead of 24-point that some polls gave her, and crush Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. Now, that lead has declined to the point where one poll even predicts a hung parliament....

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Question Time leaders’ special: panel verdict

Posted on Jun 3, 2017 | 0 comments

written as part of a panel at The Guardian, 3 June 2017 Kate Maltby: ‘May never seemed to have a convincing case to offer’ For Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, the debates could have gone worse. I’m not sure the country, faced with two such unappealing leadership prospects, will be feeling the same...

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Manchester’s tears are in a long tradition of public mourning

Posted on May 27, 2017 | 0 comments

an edited version of this column appeared in The Financial Times, 27 May 2017 Only a few days on from Monday night’s atrocity in Manchester and social superiority has set in. A few days removed from the shock of death and no longer are we mourners but each an expert; on Islamist terrorism, on the mental...

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Protests push much-needed philanthropy away from the arts

Posted on May 20, 2017 | 0 comments

written for the Financial Times, 20 May 2017 If you went down to the British Museum last weekend, you were in for a big surprise. Activists from the Art Not Oil group popped up in the museum’s Great Court to stage a performance protest against BP’s sponsorship of its exhibitions. Sporting glittering...

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The Conservative manifesto: our writers on how the party’s pledges stack up

Posted on May 18, 2017 | 0 comments

written as part of a panel at The Guardian, 18 May 2017 Kate Maltby: If the Tories move to the left, what happens to party identity? Jeremy Corbyn talks a good talk about repealing Thatcher’s legacy. But today Thatcherism was finally killed off, and not by the Labour party. The Oedipal blow wasn’t even...

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