Alan Simpson's Blog

The Prisoner

Are we the new Number 6? Don’t be under any illusions. This article offers no sanctuary for the advocates of ‘herd immunity’. As an answer to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s a price too high. A colossal increase in death rates, and overwhelming the NHS, does not even bear thinking about. All the same, the growing…

The Politics of Uncertainty

The government’s educational omnishambles is stealing all the headlines at the moment. It pushes political incompetence to new limits. But behind the debacle lies a bigger crime. Boris Johnson is killing parliamentary democracy faster than the pandemic is killing people. And though Labour is immeasurably more virtuous, the Party struggles to lay a glove on…

Robin Hood Dies: the legend lives on

Robin Hood Dies: the legend lives on As news hits the press about the imminent demise of Nottingham’s Robin Hood Energy company (RHE), I took a look at the plinth in front of St Mary’s church in the middle of Nottingham. The plinth offers a mythical version of Robin Hood’s demise; slowly being ‘bled’ to…

A crisis like no other

Tipping or turning: the choice is still ours We are in a bad place; a really bad place. The IMF predicts that the Covid pandemic will shrink the global economy by 5% this year, with a cumulative loss of around $9 trillion. Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) records a ‘lockdown’ economic collapse of over…

Who’s Lives Matter

(Freedom and Democracy) Across the world, sports men and women have been ‘taking the knee’ in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. What troubles me is the prospect of this becoming a trivialised gesture, wrapped up in processes that change nothing. Stripped of specific, disruptive, demands it could slip intothe trough of gesture politics.…

Energy and Equity

The images of motorway tailbacks, even before Britain’s lockdown period officially loosened, brought two things home to me. The first was that, without clear leadership, crises always take you perilously close to collective insanity. I’m sure none of the families who decided it was a good moment to nip off to the coast (or the…

Green New Deal – time for an ecological reboot?

Labour’s Green New Deal faces a torrid credibility test. The world, post-Covid, will be nothing like the one preceding it. There will be no ‘V’ shaped economic recovery. Britain will struggle to avoid further economic decline. No one will be queueing up to shop their way out the current crisis. Large numbers of consumption-based jobs…

The Great Unravelling: Part 4

The Portal: another world is possible “A sense of cosmic specialness is no guarantee of good stewardship.”  David Wallace-Wells “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to…

After the Apocalypse

“Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.” This call could have come from any of the Labour Leadership candidates,…

The Great Unravelling: Part 3

Escaping today, rethinking tomorrow Welcome to ghost-town Britain, a land none of us were prepared for. Barely 3 months ago, you’d have ridiculed anyone suggesting we’d be tuning in to the daily death count from a virus creating mayhem across the land. But this is where we are. However, beyond deserted streets, closed shops and…

The Great Unravelling: Part 2

Coronavirus: A Very British Cull The nation is at war. Peacetime production has slumped, foreign travel collapsed, casualties rise. In every part of the country, people anxiously worry about how to avoid the enemy. This time, however, it is germs, not Germans, that we fear. Even the Germans are under attack. Medically, economically and politically,…

The Great Unravelling – a system in meltdown

It didn’t have to be coronavirus. It didn’t have to be Storm Ciara (or Dennis, or Jorge). The delusions of neoliberalism stand at the edge of an implosion just waiting to happen. But, as with the Emperor’s New Clothes, global Leaders are too fearful to say that their economic model has been stripped naked. How quickly delusions crumble.

Après le déluge

Where does Labour go now? Parliament starts the new decade with Labour still in a state of grief…and anger…about its crushing election defeat. It’s a good place to start. If we’re brutally honest, the real grief is not rooted in the depleted number of Labour MPs, nor in the personal tragedy defeat meant for Jeremy…

The Sustainable Lives of Others

International lessons in decentralising Britain’s energy system Britain has to cut its carbon emissions in half within the coming decade to meet the IPCC and Paris climate targets. Decentralised energy will be a key to doing so. Since 2010, financial levers have been skewed in favour of the transnational, the unaccountable and e non-renewable. Smart…

While Rome (or California) burns

At a time riven by contradictions and confusion, it is important to celebrate what’s worth celebrating. Labour’s pre-manifesto pledges – to build only zero-carbon homes from 2022, and to make 27 million homes energy efficient by 2030 – could mark the beginning of a climate politics General Election. Not before time. It isn’t just that…