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Simon says …

Since 2009, I have been writing a series of comment pieces for this website. Topics include:

I have also written extensively for the national press and professional journals.

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Hard Brexit is dead. Long live … hard Brexit

I keep hearing that last Friday’s agreement between the UK and the EU 27 means that a hard Brexit is off the table. Well, I’m looking at the table and I can still a hard Brexit resting atop it.  Read more …

Nothing new to see – unless you haven’t seen it already

Today, I am issuing a set of four collections of articles which have been published on this blog over the past eight years. Each collection is available here for download: Read more …

Reporters Sans Frontieres: not my idea of a knock out

I was disappointed to read recently that the UK has dropped to 40th place in the World Press Freedom Index. Among the 39 countries which are said to offer the press greater freedom than the UK are South Africa, Surinam and Namibia, according to the ranking body Reporters Sans Frontieres.  But then I noticed that the UK’s ranking was three places ahead of the USA which guarantees freedom of the press under its constitution. What’s going on here? Read more …

Marx out of ten for the attack on price caps?

When the Thatcher government privatised British Telecom in the 1980s, they created a regulator to cap prices. They did the same with the privatisation of water, electricity and gas. No one suggested then that Thatcher’s policy was Marxist or State intervention. So is there any justification for such accusations now that Theresa May is proposing that the energy regulator should reintroduce a cap? Read more …

Is that you, Bobby?

Like many people, I thought parts of 2016 had been something of a nightmare. It had been so unbelievable at times that, when I woke up on 1 January, a part of me even wondered whether I might find David Cameron back in Downing Street, Donald J Trump a rank outsider at the start of the Republican primaries and Bobby Ewing back in the shower. Could the whole year have all been just a dream? Read more …

A pressing need for regulation …

In 2012, when I clicked on a link in order to watch a family friend appear in front of the Leveson Inquiry, I little realised just how much the subject of press regulation would get under my skin. Sometimes in a good way. But, all too often, it’s more like formication. Read more …

A horse. A zebra. Or maybe it’s a fish?

Until a few days ago, I had never heard the expression: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”. A visiting US professor used it in conversation with me. Then I heard it again, last night. This time spoken by Patterson, an FBI agent (sort of). Read more …

Brexit: supreme logic required

Much has been written about the Government’s appeal to the Supreme Court in the Brexit case. Political commentators tell us that the appeal is very likely to fail. Many lawyers think otherwise. Read more …

Regulatory dreams and economic nightmares

In the early days of my career, I occasionally dreamed that I had failed my professional exams and was being summoned back for a re-sit. Since I never actually practised in the discipline in which I qualified, I’m not sure what game my subconscious was playing with me. But last week I dreamed I was back at university… only to wake up and find that I was. Read more …

Moses and the Culture Secretary

It has been a strange week for those of us who took a keen interest in press regulation as a result of the Leveson Inquiry. Read more …