April 10, 2027

The mid-April sun, bright but cool, beamed off the chrome railings outside the Innovation Centre on the banks of the river, as the world’s press queued up excitedly, checking cameras and audio recorders as the security men in hi-vis ponderously checked credentials.

The site had been chosen to showcase the Government’s much-trumpeted investment in science and research — a soft power play against the Chinese, but also an attempt to compete on the global stage economically in the aftermath of leaving the EU.

Judith Ryan climbed out of the ministerial car door being held open by a…

Harris stepped out of the slow-moving lift and onto the platform, sheltered from the pounding rain by a rusty steel awning. He leaned on his stick and hugged himself into his coat a little tighter. It had been his granddaughter’s idea of fun to do a day out in London instead of coming to visit him, but he suspected the price of the travel for her and her fiance had something to do with it.

He didn’t like long journeys, he didn’t like London, and he didn’t particularly like his granddaughter’s fiance, but he also knew this might be the…

Members of the Labour Party quite like to cite the statistic that it is the largest membership party in Europe (at least in the democracies), but anyone who’s been on a canvassing session will know that doesn’t always translate on the ground.

There’s no solid stats on how many members of parties are active in the sense of attending meetings regularly or going out campaigning, but it is surely less than 10%. …

In the strange 14-week hinterland between finishing my day job and leaving for the colonies, I’ve got a decent amount of time to write. And for the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve got enough life and work experience to be able to write from some authority, rather than just spewing my reckons onto a glorified blog and reaping the 20p a month in ad revenue.

As such, I’ve decided to write up some insight I’ve gained from the last five years I’ve spent working in and around Labour, Co-operative, and trade union politics. I’m hoping that…

In politics you encounter a certain kind of activist quite frequently — the single-issue obsessive. This is a person utterly convinced that there is one obvious solution to solve all immediate problems, and probably guarantee their party eternal victory into the bargain. What their obsession is varies; it might be proportional representation, or planning reform, or a Land Value Tax, or MMT. But for at least the last four elections, there’s been a clamour for a ‘Progressive Alliance’ which has consumed the attention of a good chunk of these characters.

The theory goes thus: The non-Tory parties regularly win a…

It might seem odd, in the context of my party losing their majority on Sheffield City Council, to write an article warning of the dangers for our main opposition. Indeed, on paper it would seem as though the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield had quite a good night, making a net three gains and finally removing the majority from Labour’s grasp.

But look below the surface, and Winning Here needs to be suffixed with a large, pointy asterisk.

The Liberal Democrats’ showing in Sheffield last Thursday was their worst performance since the end of the coalition. They secured just 20.7% of…

The well-known Political Spectrum website is, best as we can tell, the brainchild of an obscure Green Party supporter (which might explain why they consider Keir Starmer and Joe Biden to be on the authoritarian right). It’s also, as you’ll know if you’ve taken it, woefully inadequate for its purposes. You have to go out of your way to sound like a cartoonish villain not to end up with a result in the libertarian left quadrant (which is also where the creator places his own preferred politicians and parties).

For a while I’ve been interested less in the policy and…

Photo by Suganth on Unsplash

One of my recent joys has been the discovery of the concept of liminal space. This highly subjective term covers any place of transition — a non-place which serves to enable change without serving a function of its own. Think about an airport lounge, a long hallway crammed with closed doors, or a crossroads with no signs. Without realising it, I’ve found it covers so much of my artwork and writing — which hints at, but doesn’t make explicit, a world and a narrative far larger and more sweeping than that shown.

I now realise that I grew up in…

While I obviously have much to be grateful for compared to others, it’s been a year of frustrating, halting progress, with so much that I otherwise wanted to do curtailed or cancelled. So in the last few hours of (let’s hope) the worst year any of us ever live through, it’s worth pulling out some of the decisions and achievements that made this year a bit brighter.

This is the one I have, but mine’s currently in the bike repair shop so pretend I have a white room.

#1 — I bought an electric bike

My aversion to car ownership is uncertain in origin but pretty strongly held. I live in a good city for public transport infrastructure, with regular trains to most places I might want to…

I’ve never held down a full-time job for more than a few months, and most of my professional life has been made up of freelance work, usually augmented with enough part-time work to cover my rent and bills in case Twitter mistakes me for a racist or all my clients are hit by the same asteroid.

The ability to find a way to live comfortably without doing a 9–5 job is one of the aspects of my life I’m proudest of, but the enforced isolation of the last few months has forced me to interrogate why I work this way.

Robin Wilde

Freelance writer and graphic designer. Once worked in politics.

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