Author Archives: Richard

Zone of Silence

The Belarus Free Theatre performed at the Young Vic this evening. This was in support of the campaign Zone Of Silence. They are asking sympathisers to sign a petition in support of human rights in Belarus. I signed and hope you will want to do the same.

Speed Matters

I have been involved in a lot of discussions over the last couple of years about the broadband speeds that most users need in the UK. This debate was given extra impetus with the Digital Britain report proposal for a universal broadband service at 2Mbps – To ensure all can access and benefit from the

Hospital Pass Reshuffle

The term ‘hospital pass’ is used in rugby for occasions when a colleague gives you the ball in circumstances where the opposition are immediately going to hit you hard. As we hear of more MPs wanting to stand down from Gordon Brown’s Ministerial team the term seems apt for those who will be offered the

Euro Influence

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time working on issues before the European Parliament. This experience has shown me just how powerful MEPs are in making laws that have a significant impact on life in the UK. My area of particular concern has been telecommunications where the great bulk of

Tower 09 – Talk on Power of Information

The Cabinet Office and Intellect organised a conference in London on Thursday May 14th 2009 on the theme of ‘Putting Citizens and Businesses in Control’. This brought together a large group of public sector officials and industry representatives. I gave a talk on the work of the Power of Information Taskforce between our sponsoring Minister,

Expenses Cloud Has Silver Lining of Sorts

It seems like every day now that we hear that a Conservative ‘Knight of the Shires’ MP has been required to retire by David Cameron following the revelation of an inappropriate expenses claim. This has the obvious merit of being a public demonstration of David Cameron’s resolve to deal firmly with Conservative MPs whose conduct


Following the stunning success of Barack Obama with his message of ‘Change’ last year, opposition parties everywhere are itching to claim the change label in their own contests. In the UK, the Conservatives have been moving into this territory with extensive use of the not-so-subtle slogan ‘Vote for Change’. This creates a challenge for the

An Allowance for MPs but not for Attendance

I have posted before on my thoughts about reforming the allowance system for MPs. While this involves a daily allowance, this is a very different system from the ‘attendance allowance’ system being proposed now by the Prime Minister which I think is a mistake. Any new system should still be regarded as a payment to

JG Ballard RIP

I was sad to hear yesterday of the death of JG Ballard as I have gained so much enjoyment from his books over many years. It’s always hard to pick favourites amongst an author’s work, but the ones that made most impression on me were probably ‘The Kindness of Women’ and ‘High Rise’.

McBride Downfall…

No sooner have I been tickled by one amusingly subtitled clip from Downfall than someone sends me another very topical one based on this week’s events (PARENTAL GUIDANCE: contains rude words in the subtitles and an evil ranting dictator). NB As an interesting future historical note, clips like this make sense now to those following