For the Love of Cars: The Politics of Personal Transport

Messerchmitt KR 200, red three wheeled car.
My first car: Messerschmitt KR200

I have a confession to make: I have always loved cars. From my first Messerschmitt KR200 three-wheeler when I was sixteen to the ‘extended range EV’ Vauxhall Ampera I have now, I’ve pretty much always had one. Cars have played an important role in the liberation of the working class, and the broadening of working people’s horizons. But can we continue to justify the use of personal transport as we battle to tackle climate change? Does the motor car, whether fuelled by petrol or electricity, still have a role? Continue reading “For the Love of Cars: The Politics of Personal Transport”

Why I Remained in the Labour Party. And Why I Left.


Selection of Labour election materials, badges, leaflets and rosettes, laid out on a floor

It’s March 1981, and I’m in a tower block lift in Isleworth that smells of wee and despondency. I have just spent a fruitless hour canvassing for the GLC elections, for a local candidate whose name I can’t remember. Not a single person even answered their door.

And that was my introduction to the Labour Party, having just joined, enthused by the thought that Labour could take control of the Greater London Council and bring in some genuinely socialist policies. Continue reading “Why I Remained in the Labour Party. And Why I Left.”

In the Eye of the Beholder? The Planning White Paper Has Big Risks for Local Democracy.

A shorter version of this post appears on the Sussex Bylines news website

Archery Road housing development - picture shows housing and flats under construction.
The Archery Road housing development resulted from a controversial planning application with many objections. In the future, will such developments not need permission at all?

Earlier this month, the government published ‘Planning for the Future’, a consultation White Paper on the future of the planning system, promising the biggest shake up since 1948 with a ‘fast track for beauty’ through the planning system.  The proposals were immediately criticised by many, with the Royal Institute of British Architects branding them as ‘disgraceful’, and the Royal Town Planning Institute describing the White Paper as a ‘serious error’. So what exactly is proposed in the White Paper and how’s it different from the current planning system?

Continue reading “In the Eye of the Beholder? The Planning White Paper Has Big Risks for Local Democracy.”

Cost of COVID: Councils Can’t Cope

A similar version of this article is also published on the newly launched ‘Sussex Bylines’ news website:

Hastings Council street sweeping vehicles
How will councils continue to provide basic services with no money?

Dramatic cuts in income have left councils with big budget shortfalls, and no way to get the money they need to provide day-to-day services. Had the Covid-19 crisis happened back in 2010, there wouldn’t have been such a problem. Ten years of austerity have left councils in no fit state to cope. 

Continue reading “Cost of COVID: Councils Can’t Cope”