Rebecca Long Bailey is the worst choice Labour could make. So she’s bound to win

Funny how things turn out. In the leadership contest of 2020, the Labour Left find themselves in the exact same position as Labour moderates did in the leadership contest of 2015. Dazed from an unexpectedly heavy election defeat; devoid of new ideas; and with precisely zero stand-out candidates from their side of the party.

Which is why they’re having to make do with one as drab as Rebecca Long Bailey. Then again, maybe the drabness is the appeal. After all, many on the Left are convinced that Labour only lost the election because of media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s character. “Well, they won’t be able to attack Becky Long Bailey’s character! Because she hasn’t got one!”

Even more importantly,…

What are our national parks really for?

Attracting more visitors is a noble aim, but it raises potential conflicts with their mission to preserve our natural heritage

We have the Romantic poets to thank for the Lake District, as we understand it today. Previous generations had not cared much for mountain scenery. In the 19th century, the aesthete John Ruskin, a rhapsodic enthusiast for the Lakes who built a house on Coniston Water, poured scorn on classical authors for failing to appreciate natural grandeur. “As far as I recollect, without a single exception, every Homeric landscape intended to be beautiful is composed of a fountain, a meadow and a shady grove,” he wrote.

In the medieval period, Petrarch was the only writer to view…

My friend Andrew Bailey will be a sterling Bank of England Governor

On Friday a fellow journalist asked me: “Have you got any good anecdotes about Andrew Bailey?” She had heard that the new Governor of the Bank of England and I were at Cambridge together 40 years ago and have been friends ever since. When I told her I didn’t I feared I was making him sound like a humourless bore, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that Andrew is the type who doesn’t behave in the pyrotechnic way that breeds anecdotage; and that is why he will make a first-class Governor.

The important thing about him, from the point of view of the economy whose health or otherwise will rest on decisions that he will, from March, take the lead in making, is that he doesn’t get…

The sourdough storm in a bread tin shows the true face of tick-box Britain

It is possible that the row over the UK Baking Industry Code of Practise for the Labelling of Sourdough Bread and Rolls has passed you by. There have been other things in the news. But it’s worth paying attention to this storm in a bread tin – not just because it may affect what you eat, but because of what it reveals about the processes and pitfalls of regulation.

A consortium of five trade bodies – among them the British Sandwich and Food to Go Association and the Association of Baking Ingredients Manufacturers – wants the Government to introduce a new standard definition for sourdough bread. It argues that, although sourdough is enjoying a boom in popularity, “it is not at all certain that…