Recent Comment

Ukraine reinforces the case for the Integrated Review

Ukraine reinforces the case for the Integrated Review

Military commentators have been quick to co-opt the war in Ukraine to their particular cause. In many cases that cause is a retreat from the modernising agenda of the Government’s Integrated Review (IR) in light of Putin’s deployment of traditional armoured forces. Supplying oxygen to these arguments are those not previously cheer-leaders for military spending, such as Jeremy Hunt, who call for a great increase in the defence budget but do not specify on what and why. These arguments are intuitive and seductive; combined, they build a momentum. They are also wrong.  

From energy to employment, how Sunak can draw up a blueprint for prosperity

From energy to employment, how Sunak can draw up a blueprint for prosperity

Rishi Sunak could not have guessed what was in store for the economy when he became Chancellor a little over two years ago. One thing is certain now: he could be one of the most consequential chancellors in the post-war period.

Faced with Covid-19 and now a land war in Europe, Sunak now has to deliver a Spring Statement; what was once intended to be a smaller intervention has grown in importance in the face of yet another geopolitical crisis.

Does Germany’s pledge to rearm signal fundamental change – or is it a temporary reflex?

Does Germany’s pledge to rearm signal fundamental change – or is it a temporary reflex?

The horror of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been shocking in so many ways. Much about what happens next is uncertain, but the crisis is clearly a pivotal moment, which the West and its allies will be grappling with for many years to come. Vladimir Putin’s appalling actions have upended long-held assumptions about the geopolitics of Europe and are leading to radical and fundamental changes in policy, most starkly in Germany.

Sanctions and the Economic Crime Bill: the backbench amendments

Sanctions and the Economic Crime Bill: the backbench amendments

The House of Commons is today considering the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill.  Ministers have tabled nine amendments to the Bill that would amend the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and are intended to streamline the process of imposing sanctions.  In an article published today on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog, I consider the amendments, arguing that while they may do some good they are an indirect, overly general way to address the particular problem of imposing sanctions on particular Russian oligarchs and officials.  My article comments briefly on two backbench amendments, commentary which this short post elaborates.

Will we celebrate our Elizabethan architecture?

Will we celebrate our Elizabethan architecture?

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession. What defined the architecture of Elizabeth II’s reign and what chance does it have of becoming a revered historic style of the future?
Since the Norman Conquest and with the singular exception of the Middle Ages, the stylistic classification of British architecture has always been inexorably linked to our monarchs or their dynasties: Norman, Tudor, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Stuart, Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian.

Legislating about sanctions

Legislating about sanctions

The UK’s delay in imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs and officials is verging on national embarrassment. The delay undermines the foreign policy imperative of acting swiftly to punish Russia for its aggression, raising the material and psychological cost to the regime and chipping away at the Russian state’s capacity to maintain its lawless invasion.

Sanctions on Russia are Unprecedented in Scope and Scale

Sanctions on Russia are Unprecedented in Scope and Scale

“We are inflicting devastating economic pain”. That’s how the Foreign Secretary introduced the UK’s sanction package last week.

On Monday this week, the Chairwoman of the Bank of Russia, Elvia Nabiullina – a woman famous for sending coded messages about the economy by her choice of dress and brooch – appeared in full black to announce a more than doubling of the interest rate, from 9.5 percent to 20 percent.

The United Kingdom – A Strangely Reluctant Nuclear Power

The United Kingdom – A Strangely Reluctant Nuclear Power

Owning nuclear weapons changes everything. Officers from militaries that are solely conventionally armed ask what it feels like in tones of awe. But, for the vast majority of British officers it is an almost impossible question to answer. Uniquely amongst our peers and allies we push our nuclear forces out into a specialist niche, cloak them with secrecy, and pretend they are nothing to do with ‘us’. 

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