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The annual St John PB Christmas crossword

The annual St John PB Christmas crossword

Across   1 Labour MP declared bonuses (8)   5 Politician on god’s side? (6)   9 Opening up most of UK city – no way! (8)   10 Country with a European President (6)   12 Muse over a Tory stuffing! (5)   13 PM to strongly admire, not starting in political office (9)   14 Blair has expressed Churchill’s Cold War diplomacy ably (6,6)   18 Notes written in blue by a musical Tory (6,6)   21 Journalist by trade originally covers item honouring US President (5,4) …

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The View from South Africa

The View from South Africa

In a roseate African dusk a skinny teenager ignores the sliding pitch of the lark’s incessant call and shoulders a Mauser Model 1895 rifle. He squints down the crude iron sights, imagines himself to be Yevgeny Maximov and, between heartbeats as his grandfather has taught him, squeezes the trigger. The antique weapon bucks and roars in his hands leaving a choking cloud of white smoke and a ringing noise in his ears. The watermelon, placed on the corner of the…

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Swingers Club News

Swingers Club News

No, you haven’t logged on to the wrong forum (well, maybe – only you know for sure). Sometime next year I expect the broadcasters will be brushing the dust off their swingometers, giving them a fresh lick of paint, and oiling the needle pivot in readiness for the long-awaited General Election.  I have a tip for broadcasters: “You’re gonna need a bigger dial”. The current Labour lead averages about 18-19%.  At the last election the Tories won by 11.7%.  Unless…

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That he should be so lucky

That he should be so lucky

When I first moved into project management I asked my boss what he thought the top attribute of a successful project manager was. He said: ‘be lucky’, which is undoubtedly correct but hardly actionable. Was there ever a luckier Prime Minister than Rishi Sunak?   I think not, here’s why: At six key points the dice have fallen heavily Sunak’s way. Family.  Even before he was born, luck was on Sunak’s side.  His grandparents and parents were able to move from…

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Are We All Trussites Now?

Are We All Trussites Now?

LostPassword asks did Liz Truss end the Thatcherite consensus? One of the aspects of the Thatcherite consensus less often credited to the 1980s Prime Minister who looms large over British politics, was the practice of increasing the rate of Employee* National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and cutting the rate of Income Tax. In 1979, when Thatcher took office, the rate of NICs was 6.5% and the basic rate of Income Tax was 33%. When a tearful Margaret was ousted from Downing…

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Sweet Swingback’s Baadasssss Song

Sweet Swingback’s Baadasssss Song

Image: Opinium’s methodology change from February 2022 As we head into the final stretch before the General election, the polls loom larger in the minds of pundits and political punters. The basic polling question is a hypothetical one “If there was a General Election tomorrow, how would you vote?” When we all know that the real election is months away, and people will change their minds. As the wider public increases interest polls are likely to move, the fabled “swingback”…

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A land of many (black) waters

A land of many (black) waters

Picture: Thatched roofed houses in Guyana, credit Wikimedia Commons Guyana is a tiny South American country, perched on the Atlantic coast, with Venezuela to the northwest, Brazil to the south and west, and Suriname to the east. It has a population of just 800,000, and a GDP per capita of around $10,000 US.   Why is this insignificant little crumb on the world map worthy of interest? Because current events around Guyana may have larger geopolitical consequences, and could potentially…

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What will Reform voters do at the general election?

What will Reform voters do at the general election?

There are either 12 or perhaps fewer months to the General Election, and the Labour lead in the polls seems solidly in the mid to high teens. The recent Autumn Statement seems to be having no real effect on that lead. Is it possible for the Tories to close that gap? One possibility mooted is that Reform Party (REFUK) voters will switch to the Conservatives when that GE focuses minds. It does seem as if REFUKs predecessor The Brexit Party…

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