The Labour candidates’ problems are their values, not their accents

A working-class persona won’t mask the scorn the party still feels towards the traditional voters it has lost

Like a rejected spouse disputing a divorce, Labour knows its working-class voters are leaving. But the party cannot admit that it is responsible for the breakdown. It refuses to accept that it had the chance to change, but blew it. And now somebody else is on the scene.

The writing was on the wall in 2017. Then, the Tories won 44 per cent of the working class vote, to Labour’s 42 per cent. But in Boris Johnson’s December triumph, the winning margin was massive. Working-class voters backed the Tories 48 to 33 per cent. The result confirmed that Labour – the party founded to protect working-class…

Police inaction has enabled a wave of mugging in schools

Every parent’s nightmare is to see their offspring head for school each day fearful that they will be mugged on their way home. This has become the reality for thousands of families across the land as they come to terms with a spate of daylight robberies on children. These are no longer taking place in known crime areas or inner cities but in leafy suburbs and rural towns.

As we report today, the country is in the grip of a crime wave of children preying on other children, usually to steal their smartphones.

More than 500 children a day are victims, but just one in eight reports the offences fearing reprisals. Most worryingly, the numbers are rising after a period of decline and muggings are…

The Christmas message of hope’s triumph over darkness is more relevant to our world than ever

Rembrandt kept returning over decades to the depiction of the Flight into Egypt, in oils and in etchings. In some, the tired progress of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and the Child Jesus, fleeing the massacre loosed by Herod, is shown in the huddled shape of the figures and even the flopped-forward ears of the donkey.

One small panel, 18 inches across, shows the refugees resting by night. A work of the painter’s middle years, it explores the depths of darkness, in the shadow of firelight, the glassiness of water at night, the mottling of moonlit clouds. This painting figures in the exhibition Rembrandt’s Light at Dulwich Picture Gallery until February 2.

Such small panels by Rembrandt invited…

After 20 years in Brussels, even I feel a bit wistful now about the thought of leaving

You know that awkward moment when you say a long and involved goodbye to someone only to find that the two of you are then walking the same way? Well, my past 10 months in the European Parliament have been like that.

It keeps happening. A Brexit date is announced. I pack my office, hold a farewell dinner, do my best to see that my amazing Spanish staff have good jobs to go on to – and then, with thundering bathos, find myself slinking back again.

First we were leaving in March. Then in June. Then in October. Then in January. Even my German colleagues, rarely the first to see the funny side, began to have an amused twitch around their mouths. “Ach, Hannan, you are back again? You love it here…

Jo Swinson is no feminist – she’s thrown women under the bus in her pursuit of the woke vote

On the Today programme this morning, Jo Swinson, in her bumbling, inarticulate and irritating fashion suggested that biological sex does not exist. Yes, that’s right. A woman who has said, on many an occasion, that her female sex has given an unfair advantage to the male party leaders during the election campaign due to sexism, has effectively undermined her own argument. Because, for sexism to exist, so too must biological sex.  

The Today presenter, Justin Webb, then pointed out to Swinson that male-bodied people (also known as ‘men’) could do "enormous damage" to women. This is why, he pointed out, women need safe spaces to escape male violence. Swinson responded by arguing that refuges constantly…