• Counterpart-calibre strategies
    In the run-up to the 1989 privatisation of the water industry in England and Wales, the magazine where I then worked sent a colleague to cover an obscure industry conference on the subject. One of the speakers was the head honcho at one of the soon-to-be-privatised water authorities. And, mindful of his forthcoming status as head-honcho of a multi-billion pound […]
  • While ministers push up house prices, the very poorest must foot the bill
    It’s now clear the pandemic has hit businesses and peoples’ jobs hard. Some market sectors have suffered huge damage from which many companies will not recover. But it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good. Launched in July last year, the Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday was officially intended to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs in the housing […]
  • Slipping Further Behind the Curve
    Confirmation can come from unexpected places. In February 2021, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and PRAXIS at the University of Leeds hosted a convention on “Biocultural Heritage and Landscapes: Linking Nature and Culture”. Participants came from over 30 countries. Don’t be put off by the title and the global context. The Brief Report that emerged from this convention has […]
  • Was this the day that planning was kippered?
    It’s now 17 years since chancellor Gordon Brown and deputy prime minister John Prescott were spotted by the press walking and talking in the car park at Loch Fyne restaurant car park in Argyll, after being told the restaurant was full. But it feels politically like a different age. The two ministers were returning from a memorial service on Iona […]
  • Dark days ahead
    One of the most tiresome and inaccurate things to be told during a crisis is that: “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. As we slowly, and hopefully, emerge from the pandemic, Sir David Attenborough recently reminded us that, horrific as Sars-Cov-2 has been, the coming climate and biodiversity crises will be worse still unless we take very swift action. So […]