On the Other Hand: State of the Nation

In the final instalment of his column, On the Other Hand, Hayden Barnes examines Dominic Cummings’s testimony in light of Matt Hancock’s resignation, and more broadly analyses the lack of accountability in government. Illustration by Rachel Macnaghten.

CW: racism, Islamophobia

Current Affairs

Electoral Commission to investigate Boris Johnson flat renovations

The Electoral Commission has launched a formal investigation into the renovations made by Boris Johnson and Carrie Simmonds to their Number 11 Downing Street flat.  An assessment has been conducted on the information provided by the Conservative Party in the last month, leading to the Electoral Commission’s statement that there are “reasonable grounds to suspect” an offence has occurred. It added that “the investigation will determine whether any Read More…


A year on, what does the UK’s Covid story say about the government?

“Having now spent more time in my childhood bedroom than in Oxford since starting my course, I can’t help but ask: should we forgive the government’s initial mistakes and errors in light of the new vaccine success and limited knowledge we had of COVID a year ago?”

Sebastien Roberts analyses the UK government’s performance over the whole of the coronavirus pandemic so far.


Why Hartlepool matters

Jade Calder explores the political consequences of the fast-approaching Hartlepool by-election.

“Whilst the ‘Red Wall’ of traditional Labour heartlands may be a media creation lacking historical provenance, if one must refer to the idea, Hartlepool would probably be a prime example. It certainly checks all the tick boxes created by the London-based media: de-industrialisation and economic decline from the 1980s, consistent return of Labour MPs, a 70% vote in favour of Brexit in 2016, and of course, its ‘up North’. This port town in the North East (and a solid Labour seat since the 1960s) is set to hold a by-election for its constituency on the 6th of May following the resignation of Mike Hill, and the results could well serve as a sobering assessment of the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s project to make Labour more electable following the Conservative landslide at the last election.”

Current Affairs

Brexit trade deal with EU passed in Parliament, with support of 5 out of 6 Oxfordshire MPs

After almost four years of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU, the bill on future relationship between the world’s fifth largest economy and the third largest trading block was passed by parliament this afternoon.