Posts by Alan Simpson

Men (and Women) in Dark Times

In her book Men in Dark Times, the philosopher Hannah Arendt coined the notion of inner emigration. What was it that stood in the way of so many prominent/influential people challenging the rise of Hitlerism or organising escape routes from it? From the biographies she explored, Arendt concluded that many found the external realities of…

Read More

Are local authorities equipped to reach net zero?

Are local authorities equipped to reach net zero? “Only rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in this decade can prevent climate breakdown” – Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Advisor. This Inquiry could not be more timely or important. Before the last election, I set up scientific briefings for MPs calling for a step…

Read More

Willing the Ends, Willing the Means

The ‘Sun Ship’ (Das Sonnenschiff) is a small community in the Vauban district of Freiburg. Built in 2004, it is one of the earliest examples of ‘energy-plus’ housing; developments that generate more electricity than the community itself consumes. Powered entirely by solar energy (and storage), and designed to high standards of natural heating and cooling,…

Read More

The Turning Point

Something big is happening; really big. All the pillars of smug certainty are beginning to crumble. Nothing captured this more than the ‘waste’ sculpture taunting the G7 Summit in Cornwall. The ‘Mount Recyclemore’ sculpture – made from dumped e-waste materials – symbolised far more than the 53 million tonnes of electronic goods the world throws…

Read More

Net-zero, not-zero and ground-zero

What a mess we are in. Labour loses the Hartlepool by- election with a 16% swing to the Tories. A new North-South divide is opening up. With the exception of London, Labour no longer holds the hearts and minds of its conventional heartlands. So much for new leadership, new vision. What on earth is going…

Read More

Antigonish Labour?

Labour is lost. I say this in sadness more than anger. Anger is no substitute for answers. It clouds the fact that the Left could be just as lost as the Right. Boris Johnson has bought himself some ill-deserved credibility; slowly loosening the lockdown rules and stepping up the vaccination programme. Both are welcome. But…

Read More

Tony Benn: Still our Man for all Seasons

I find it hard to accept it is 7 years since Tony Benn died. I miss his wisdom, foresight, kindness and humour. Worse still, whether the country realises it or not, we are all the poorer for the loss of Benn’s political acumen and vision. Faced with some of the biggest existential challenges in human…

Read More

Bert versus the Dismantled State

We do ourselves no favours by treating the current Policing Bill just as an outrageous assault on a public right to protest. It is…Of course it is. But the violence targeted towards the police in Bristol (and the preceding violence by police themselves towards peaceful protesters) masks the scale of the assault on civil liberties…

Read More

We, the People – The case for Radical Federalism

Radical constitutional reform is no longer an option, it is an unavoidable necessity. The internal conflicts within the structure of the UK must be resolved. This paper is a contribution to the start of that debate, and sets out the reasons for reform, the principles upon which any future reform should be based, and the process for getting there.

Read More