Decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee is good, but the Government must go further

In an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday, Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, wrote: "Twenty years ago Blockbuster, the then heavyweight of video rentals, turned down a £38 million merger offer from Netflix. Today Netflix is worth £50 billion, 1,300 times its offer to Blockbuster – which has gone from 3,000 stores to a museum in Oregon, for people who want to remember what video cassettes look like. Netflix now competes with the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple for dominance of the multi-billion-dollar streaming market. The result is that people now spend three times as much time watching subscription services such as Netflix than they do BBC iPlayer. More children now recognise the names Netflix and YouTube than they do the BBC. I believe, no matter how well-funded these international streaming giants are, UK public service broadcasters are vital". Continue reading

Listen to our new podcast 'Pies, Pints, and Politics'

In the latest of episode, Andrew Allison interviews former Maastricht rebel, Walter Sweeney. We talk about his life, his time in Parliament, Boris Johnson, and whether or not we will leave the EU on 31st October.

The siege of London: a capital at odds with its country over Brexit

The following was written for this series of essays, published in January of this year, by Daniel Moylan, a former adviser to Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, and who could take charge of Brexit policy if Boris becomes Prime Minister.  London has long shrugged off the brooding sense of resentment other parts of the country sometimes feel at its dominance of national political and economic life. After all, the capital, with over eight million people, is a social eco-system of its own, caught up in its own affairs and confident that its net contribution to the Government coffers (over £26 billion a year) is sufficient answer to any regional chippiness. Continue reading

The condescending Emily Maitlis just can't help herself

I gave up watching Newsnight on BBC Two years ago, pretty much at the same time as Jeremy Paxman hung up his boots. Rather like Channel 4 News, the presenters don't try to mask their metropolitan left-wing biases. Probably the most condescending (and humourless) of the lot of them is Emily Maitlis.  Continue reading

Sir Kim Darroch was right to resign, but there is a strong whiff of hypocrisy all round

The furore over Sir Kim Darroch's critical comments about Donald Trump have been polarised to such an extent that I haven't heard a sensible argument since the Mail on Sunday published his leaked missives. On one hand you have those saying that he in an embarrassment and has ruined the special relationship. Utter hyperbole. Then you have others saying that we shouldn't let Donald Trump dictate who our ambassador is and that Sir Kim should have stayed in post. The truth is somewhere in the middle.  Continue reading