Responding to Skripal: the benefits of a public inquiry

By Dr Robert Downes

In March this year, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was attacked with a Soviet-era chemical weapon agent in Salisbury, a bucolic town in the west of England. The official investigation is seeking to identify the perpetrators. Prime Minister Theresa May has been clear: based on the available evidence, either the attack was a ‘direct action by the Russia state…or the Russian government lost control [of a] catastrophically damaging nerve agent.’ Continue reading

Shortlists and Swagger: How can we increase the number of women in parliament?

By Laura Jones

As I wrote in my last blog, Britain continues to make only glacial progress in its number of female parliamentarians, something The Times columnist and former Conservative MP Matthew Parris puts down to women’s perceived lack of ‘swagger’ – they don’t match local party members’ idea of how an MP should act and talk, and so highly qualified candidates put forward by Party HQ fail to make it to the final candidate list. Continue reading

The end of roaming charges: the policy and politics in Brexit Britain

By Armida van Rij

With summer now firmly underway, and many people taking their holidays, our continental neighbours have a very timely present for the UK: as of yesterday, all EU citizens – including UK residents – will no longer pay roaming charges for using their mobile phones abroad in other EU countries, as well as being far less likely to face ‘bill shocks’ when returning from foreign trips. Unfortunately, however, there’s a big, obvious stumbling block for those of us who live in the UK: Brexit. So how will the UK’s departure from the EU impact British residents with regards to this policy? Continue reading

Lies tend to corrupt

By Professor Jonathan Grant

‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ as Lord Acton famously said in 1887. Perhaps today we can paraphrase this to ‘lies corrupt and absolute lies corrupt absolutely’.

In the EU referendum, the US presidential elections and now the early skirmishes of the UK general election, it seems that the winner is the side that can mislead the most effectively. Continue reading

The EU referendum campaign revealed the need for a fairer debate on immigration

By Bethany Peters

‘Record strain on the NHS leads to £2.45bn black hole’: This was the headline of the Daily Express on 20 May 2016 as the country was preparing to take to the polls to vote in the EU referendum. One could easily presume this to be a current headline in reference to the lack of government funding for the NHS, but the ‘strain’ was actually pertaining to the pressure that immigration was putting on the health service. A new report from the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, based at the Policy Institute at King’s, has analysed UK media coverage of last year’s Brexit campaign and found that migrant-blaming was rife in the run-up to the vote. After the result, hate crimes in London were said to have increased by 20%, and sadly, Home Office statistics have shown that a spike in hate crimes occurred across the rest of England and Wales too. As we head to the polls less than 12 months later, perhaps this time around the public should be questioning the way in which immigration is portrayed by the media. Continue reading