Alan Simpson's Blog

‘Get Back’ – alternatives to a better yesterday

It will be 55 years this month since the Beatles’ iconic, rooftop performance on Saville Row. This was the end of an era, end of a dream. With any luck, this year will see the end of a nightmare. The Conservatives have taken British politics to an all time low. The public are losing faith,…

In the Land of the Bland …

COP28 has been a retreat from nativity into pantomime. For the real world, it drifted closer to tragedy. As the deadline approached, climate activists held their breath but fossil lobbyists held the pursestrings. A host of good people worked their socks off in Dubai, all urging world leaders to grasp the existential emergency we face.…

Who will save Israel from itself?

The world breathed a sigh of relief at the ‘pause’ in the Gaza bombings. Most shared something of the relief expressed by families of the released hostages and of the aid getting into Gaza. Many connected with the anxiety of those still waiting for more. And many more just wonder what will follow. Inside Gaza,…

From the river to the sea – how global politics has abandoned the Middle East

I can barely decide whether to write or weep. The relentless bombing of Gaza is a tragedy of epic proportions. Nothing excuses the atrocities committed by Hamas. But as things stand, a Palestinian child is being killed every 10 minutes from the bombings in Gaza. Some 3,500 children in Gaza have died already; more in…

The Sound of Silence

A politics beyond breakdown It’s hard to focus on anything other than Gaza at the moment. Its incessant bombing won’t have had anyone celebrating Paul Simon’s 82nd birthday by singing “Hello darkness, my old friend…”. By margins that are difficult to comprehend, we are well beyond Israel’s credible limits of ‘legitimate self defence’. The collective…

The Unravelling

When systems break down, contradictions pour out everywhere. Just as the flood waters washed whole districts of Derna (Libya) into the sea, former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, claimed it was unreasonable to give the Bank climate duties. Mervyn lives on the wrong planet. Over 20,000 people remain unaccounted for in Derna.…

Broken Britain

What happens when everything falls apart? The roof is falling in on the British economy. For over 150 schools in England this is a literal as well as a figurative truth. On the eve of the autumn term, schools were notified they couldn’t re-open because defective concrete in their roofs put them at risk of…

The Battle of Hastings and beyond

August is the silly season in British politics but behind the scenes something important is happening. There’s a new ‘Battle of Hastings’ brewing. This has nothing to do with the Norman conquests. But its consequences will be just as profound as the spat between William of Normandy and King Harold. Today’s conflict revolves around coruscating…

A Feast of Fools

What happens when politics gets lost? British politics has lost the plot. Rishi Sunak isn’t a clever charlatan like Boris Johnson. He’s more superficial; a cartoon ‘bear with little brain’. His grasp of issues is mainly opportunistic. In climate terms, this makes him more dangerous. Sunak’s wooing of motorists is an attempt to turn the…

Bridge(town) Over Troubled Waters

Sometimes you have to look for inspiration elsewhere if you want to get out of a mess. Right now, Barbados would not be a bad place to start. Its Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, has successfully persuaded global leaders that it’s time to overhaul the archaic rules governing access to global finance. Dubbed the ‘Bridgetown Initiative’,…

Shadowlands: the next tsunami

Forget Boris Johnson. He is a sideshow in the disintegration of human values surrounding us. Greater self-deceiving dishonesties are to be found in the institutions that claim to hold society together. Of course Johnson lied to parliament. The government does so every day. With not a flicker of embarrassment, Ministers will now attempt to shower…

Sunak’s Hunger Games

Britain’s descent into dystopian democracy The government is desperate. Its latest attack on refugees is the pursuit of small minds not ‘small boats’. Division, distraction and prejudice are the only electoral cards the Tories have left to play. It doesn’t matter if their plans are incoherent and unworkable. The ploy is just an appeal to…

A (hospital) bed for the night

I hear that in New York At the corner of 26th street and Broadway A man stands every evening during the winter months And gets beds for the homeless there By appealing to passers-by. … A few people have a bed for the night For a night the wind is kept from them The snow…

Escaping the Matrix

a search for post-fantasy politics Few people would ever mistake former Tory Health Minister, Matt Hancock for Keanu Reeves. However, his involvement in the ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ TV series has become almost as mind-bending as ‘the Matrix’. Having discharged care-home patients from hospital, without any pre-screening for Covid, Hancock deserves…

All the King’s horses

…neoliberalism’s unstoppable implosion Don’t be distracted by the pantomime of Liz Truss’ resignation. A bigger game is in play; the complete implosion of the Conservative Party. Ever since the days of Margaret Thatcher, the Tory Party has been embroiled in an internal war between competing ideologies. Now the gloves are off. Neoliberal outriders stalked John…