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. 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. 

I have also made available here the three articles I wrote in late 2017 about Damian Green MP, which formed part of the #metoo movement and eventually led to his resignation as First Secretary of State. Originally published behind paywalls, they were widely reported in more sensationalist terms and it is important to me that my own words on the matter are publicly available.

Like most people who write for newspapers, I have no control over the headlines added to my articles. So I sometimes post articles here with my own choice of headlines, when I feel strongly that the published headlines are inappropriate.

Michael Portillo: My Teenage Poster Boy

Posted on May 8, 2017 | 0 comments

written as part of a panel at The Guardian, 8 May 2017:  ‘what political hero graced your bedroom walls as a child? Our writers confess’ Kate Maltby: Michael Portillo’s hopelessness appealed to me. On 2 May 1997, I was 11. New Labour had just won a landslide victory. I went into primary...

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Row over BBC royal play ignores its subtle message

Posted on May 6, 2017 | 0 comments

written for The Financial Times, 6 May 2017 For many years following the 1534 Treason Act of Henry VIII, it was a capital offence in England not merely to “compass” the death of the monarch but to predict, foretell or plan for it. This caused some consternation among the doctors ordered to give Henry a...

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Philip Hammond’s budget – our writers give their views

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 | 0 comments

written as part of a panel at The Guardian, 8 March 2017 Kate Maltby: This could be 2017’s pasty tax Within a few days of Theresa May’s election as Tory leader, Hammond’s main role as chancellor became clear. He toured the City, giving speeches to business executives, reassuring them that the...

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Should MPs follow Jeremy Corbyn’s example and release their tax returns?

Posted on Mar 6, 2017 | 0 comments

written as part of a panel at The Guardian, 6 March 2017 Kate Maltby: This is gesture politics – and futile anyway As a rule, the British left is suspicious of the rituals of US politics – the American game is a showy media circus, easily manipulated by cynical millionaires. Even by British standards....

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The Tory failure to take on Trump is not just shameful: it’s bad politics

Posted on Feb 10, 2017 | 0 comments

  written for The Guardian, 10 February 2017 Nazi comparisons are two a penny these days, but when they come from self-loathing Tory MPs, they still carry a certain flair. On Wednesday, amid Brexit votes and rumours of a Labour leadership challenge, the British government quietly announced it was...

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‘Hamilton’ hype highlights our transatlantic differences

Posted on Jan 27, 2017 | 0 comments

written for the Financial Times, 27 January 2017 The Founding Fathers may have been American, but this week, with no apparent sense of irony, Theresa May made them British. Speaking to Republican leaders in Philadelphia, the prime minister had only praise for the signatories of the US Declaration of...

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