What, no service culture?

by Stephen Tall on March 31, 2005

What follows is a personal rant cunningly disguised as political polemic. For this I apologise in advance. So what’s my problem, you ask (albeit silently)? Well, it’s the total lack in Britain of what is often termed a ‘service culture’. (…)

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How good or bad is Oxford City Council?

by Stephen Tall on March 21, 2005

You might think this is a simple question. Let me show you how naïve you are in 10 steps. 1. The City Council, like all local authorities, is subject to a huge amount of external regulation by the central government-created (…)

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Will the real Mr Brown please stand up?

by Stephen Tall on March 20, 2005

Just how does Gordon Brown get away with it? And, no, I don’t mean the budget. Our stern Chancellor has sky-high popularity ratings. Fiscal conservatives and soft-left socialists find common cause in their admiration of his reign at No 11, (…)

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Could 2005 be the new 1970?

by Stephen Tall on March 16, 2005

I don’t believe, pace Shirley Bassey, that history repeats itself. I’m pretty sceptical too of so-called historical parallels. But every now and then you read something, and catch a strong whiff of anticipated deja vu. This is precisely what happened (…)

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So what’s going to happen on 5th May, 2005?

by Stephen Tall on March 13, 2005

Though Tony Blair feigns bemusement that anyone could possibly think he’s yet set the date for the next general election, if it’s not the 5th May then I’m a banana. Unlike 2001, this election should be interesting – even if (…)

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Time for some metrosexual politics (please)

by Stephen Tall on March 13, 2005

Who let the attack dogs out? Peter Hain, Alan Milburn, John Reid… if they’re not hectoring away as you fall asleep to Newsnight, they’re grizzling aggressively on the Today programme the next morning. Enough already. We know there’s an election (…)

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“It’s the customer, stupid!” Why political strait-jackets are so last century

by Stephen Tall on March 10, 2005

“It’s the economy, stupid!” That was the sign placed on Governor Bill Clinton’s Little Rock headquarters desk in 1992 by his political strategist, James Carville. The aim was to keep the 40th President-to-be focused on the campaign’s key message. It’s (…)

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Is the ‘War on Turr’ winnable?

by Stephen Tall on March 6, 2005

Is it possible to be a decent, liberal Home Secretary, a staunch defender of civil liberties, and also protect your country from all possible security threats? Let’s be honest now: probably not. It’s a conclusion from which too many liberals (…)

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Good telly: too important to be left to the BBC

by Stephen Tall on March 2, 2005

Tessa Jowell today launched her Green Paper review of the BBC’s Royal Charter. It’s a shame the document’s colour indicates naïve assumptions rather than fresh thinking. All political parties, and many commentators, make the mistake of equating the BBC with (…)

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Headington traffic chaos: where next?

by Stephen Tall on March 1, 2005

Ask anyone in Headington, in Oxford, what they think is the key local issue, and you can be pretty sure the one-word answer will ring out loud and clear: traffic. Lots of it. All over the place. Throughout the day. (…)

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