Plans to move the Lords up North whiff of gimmickry 

The Government is thinking of relocating the House of Lords to York in a bid to “connect” better with the North. The intention is good and there is no strict constitutional argument against moving; South Africa has three capitals, dividing its legislature, administration and judiciary.

But is a York Lords necessary, what are the costs and is it practical? People want modern government to be close to them, for sure; but they also want it to be efficient. Why York? It’s a beautiful city, but others will demand to know why they were overlooked. “And why”, York might ask, “do we only get the House of Lords and not the Commons?” One answer might be the strain on York’s infrastructure if the whole…

With these 10 bold reforms, Boris Johnson can transform Britain

A sizeable majority allows the PM to dodge political short-termism and bring lasting change by 2030

Short-termism is one of the great afflictions of modern British politics. Governments rarely think strategically, only tactically – how to get through to the next election without frightening too many horses.

Yet it is possible for a bold administration to take a more strategic approach if it knows it will be in office for at least two parliaments. Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievements, privatisation and curbs on trade union power, only came after her 1983 landslide followed by another in 1987.

With Labour in disarray, then as now, and sustained by a sense of purpose underpinned by unassailable…

How could the BBC get A Christmas Carol so wrong? 

You know what’s been really good this Christmas? Immersive telly. But not Gavin and Stacey plus Call the Midwife. Mostly, I’ve been gravitating to a station that, as far as I can make out, is a father and son outfit run from the equivalent of the family spare bedroom.

It’s Talking Pictures, which is available on Sky and Virgin, seems to fund itself from advertisements from a mattress company, and screens films from the twentieth century which include any amount of the things you actually want to watch. On Christmas Day, it had A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim as Scrooge; the perfect version, better than the one with Kermit the Frog.

Which brings me to the immediate reason why I can’t feel…

The five lessons Labour must learn from history to be a credible party again

To make a political comeback, the opposition must ditch bad policies and grasp the appeal of the other side

The creation of a commission, by “Labour Together”, to analyse why their party has lost four successive general elections is an excellent idea. Much as we Conservatives might wish our opponents to stick with unelectable leaders and policies, we know that this is not good for the country. A well-functioning democracy needs more than one party that could realistically provide a government.

The last time a Conservative Government won re-election by an increased margin after nearly a decade in power was in 1959, under Harold Macmillan. This was followed by a serious study entitled “Must…

Why I’m with the Beckhams on the joys of a late christening

For years I told people the reason my younger son remained un‑christened was because I’m a terminal procrastinator who never does today what they can put off for a decade. Now, thanks to David and Victoria Beckham, who celebrated the christenings of their two youngest sprogs, Cruz, 14, and Harper, 8, on Saturday, I can change my narrative. I’m actually at the vanguard of fashionable society, waiting until my 11-year-old’s old enough to boogie at his own baptism.

I’m even considering postponing for another five years, so he can DJ. If only I’d made this case last week at our local church’s carol concert when I promised our vicar once again that this year would be the one in which I took my little…

Letters: Boris Johnson’s energy and vision have won disaffected Conservatives back to the cause

SIR – It was quite something for me to cast my vote for my Conservative candidate on Thursday. The last time I had done so was very reluctantly in 1992; since then, as a campaigner to leave the EU, I was not inspired by a single Conservative leader – until Boris Johnson arrived.

Back in the dark days, when John Major was destroying the Conservative Party, I wrote to him many times, warning that he would lose my vote – and that, if lifelong Tory voters like me deserted the party, he was in trouble.

Mr Johnson has clearly won back many traditional Conservative voters, and we look forward to a return to true Conservative principles, getting out of the EU 
and restoring our standing on the world…

Woke activists 
of the art world need to learn that life isn’t fair

The Turner. The Booker. The Nobel. Name any prize for creative endeavour and with the pleasure of hindsight it’s clear where they got it wrong or at least could have done much better. It’s also evident how politics and fads have always played a part.

But this year’s Turner Prize is something else entirely. At their insistence, it has been shared by the four shortlisted artists in an act of “solidarity”. Pitting migration, patriarchy, civil rights and torture (the predictably worthy subject matters of their entries) against each other would be divisive, they claimed.

You might call that sportsman-like, but where will the solidarity end? Will the Turner take to heart the mania of inclusiveness…

Far from leaving Brexit unsettled, Boris’s deal will shut down this tedious debate for good

Shortly after the House of Commons confounded the wider world by actually voting for something – an early general election – Remainers started to get very worried indeed. So they activated Plan B.

Technically, it’s Plan C, since Plan A – securing a victory in the 2016 referendum – has long since been despatched with. The original Plan B was to block any withdrawal deal in Parliament and then to claim that this impasse demanded a rerun referendum. Even that was looking like less than a remote possibility by the time the Tantrum Parliament was put out of our misery. 

So Plan C it is: to capitalise on Remainers’ previous warnings of a no-deal Brexit. Previously this scenario of tariffs, lorry queues…