Alys Denby, CapX

Alys Denby


United Kingdom

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Past articles by Alys:

Weekly briefing: How Boris strayed from the herd

If his downfall played out like a Shakespearean tragedy, then Boris Johnson’s rhetoric didn’t exactly match up. In an ungracious resignation speech, he blamed the ‘herd mentality’ of his parliamentary colleagues, and made the shrugging claim that ‘them’s the breaks’. But the manner of his departure also helps to explain why it happened. Johnson has […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Boris got done

Just last week Boris Johnson was bestriding the world stage, joking about showing his pecs to Putin at the G7 and Nato summit. Today he is Prime Minister in name only, having reluctantly agreed to leave office after more than 50 of his ministers resigned. It’s an ignominious ending to a dramatic premiership, In just […] → Read More

There's no such thing as a 'right' to an abortion

I’m sorry, I know it’s a betrayal of my sex, but there’s really only one word to describe aspects of the British response to the repeal of Roe v Wade: hysterical. Look, I get it. America is the shining city on a hill. Never mind its moral leadership in recent decades has been questionable, nor […] → Read More

Judgement day for Boris?

Anything that’s had this much hype was bound to be disappointing. For months, ministers have been telling us that we must await the Sue Gray report like it was the opening of the seventh seal. In the end it was less Revelation than a bunch of stuff we already knew. Yes, there’s more detail about […] → Read More

Angela Rayner and the state of the Oxford Union

Politics is never a walk in the park, least of all for Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, who came under attack over the weekend simply for having legs. I don’t wish to dignify the pervy claims by anonymous Tory sources, reported in the Mail on Sunday, that Rayner ‘likes to put Mr Johnson ‘off his […] → Read More

201 babies have died – the NHS should be ashamed of itself

Numbers are no way to express a human tragedy, but those in the Ockenden Report into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust are nonetheless devastating. The inquiry examined 1,592 incidents since 2000. It found that poor care led to the deaths of 201 babies and nine mothers; 94 babies suffered avoidable brain […] → Read More

Failed EU policies have harmed the environment – it's time to take back control of nature

Britain is no longer such a green and pleasant land. Almost half of our species are in long term decline and 1 in 6 are threatened by extinction. The government has committed in law to halt the decline of nature by 2030. But achieving this will require bold reforms to how we manage our land and […] → Read More

Djoke's aside – anti-vaxxers aren't the biggest problem in the pandemic

It will come as a no surprise to students of Novak Djokovic’s career that he ‘has always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body’. Here, after all, is a man who eschews gluten but is happy to eat the grass at Wimbledon. But it’s not the tennis player’s unusual diet that’s […] → Read More

Gill stands – but attacks on statues make us smaller, meaner and uglier

BBC bashing is something of a national pastime (just ask Nadine Dorries), but it found new expression last week when a protester scaled Broadcasting House to knock chunks off a statue with a hammer. The perpetrator apparently objected to the depiction of Shakespeare’s Prospero and Ariel because the artist who created it, Eric Gill, was […] → Read More

Why wearing your clothes twice won't save the planet

What does a red blazer have to do with climate change? When Carrie Johnson met other G20 leaders’ wives in Rome wearing a jacket that she’d previously sported at the Conservative Party Conference, it was interpreted in some quarters a sign of her ‘eco-credientials’. Cue Twitter wags claiming they must be Greta Thunberg because they […] → Read More

Pregnant women are the forgotten victims of the pandemic

Picture a world in which Covid killed children and pregnant women. Questions about schools, social distancing and personal responsibility would be framed completely differently, and the cost/benefit calculations radically altered. It’s difficult to imagine a slogan as drily institutional as ‘protect the NHS’ if thousands of babies were dying. We’re now getting a harrowing glimpse […] → Read More

'Free' childcare is making everyone poorer

Petitions are one of the bluntest instruments in politics. Two of the biggest petitions ever to appear on the UK Parliament website called for Britain to stay in the EU and Donald Trump to be banned from a State visit to the UK – both were demonstrable failures. Likewise unweighted surveys are a good way […] → Read More

Weekly briefing: Bordering on chaos

Usually it’s only the keenest Westminster watchers who complain about ‘the comms’. Most people take little notice of the content of government announcements, let alone the manner in which they are delivered. But when it comes to travel restrictions, the effect of changes at the border on thousands of families will be immediate and tangible […] → Read More

It will be a long hot summer for health lobbyists – let's hope a better bill emerges from it

Schools have broken up for their summer holidays, confusion reigns over overseas holidays, and Parliament has gone into recess so that MPs and Peers can ostentatiously take a staycation to show their support for the British hospitality industry. But, there are 17 members of the House of Commons for whom the next two months will […] → Read More

Weekly briefing: freedom day confusion and the concept of personal responsibility

Tomorrow is ‘freedom day’ or, as the Government has rebranded it, ‘personal responsibility day’. For those of us who’ve argued that continued constraints on our freedoms were not justified given the success of the vaccine rollout, the end of legal requirements on masks and social distancing couldn’t come soon enough. So why doesn’t it feel like a […] → Read More

Not every part of the NHS deserves a medal

A day after the NHS was given the George Cross, a report found that two in five maternity services in England are not safe enough for mothers and babies. So that’s a gallantry award for East Kent NHS Trust, which plead guilty to causing the “wholly avoidable” death of baby Harry Ritchford at just seven […] → Read More

A free pass for plutocrats to skip quarantine is as impractical as it is hypocritical

If football does come home, it will be met with at the border with restrictions so bafflingly arbitrary it may wish to turn back. Amid the ongoing confusion and uncertainty around international travel, the Government has quietly introduced an exemption that will allow business leaders coming in from ‘amber list’ countries to leave quarantine for […] → Read More

Let's hope June 21 brings an end to pointless 'Covid theatre'

Imagine watching the past 15 months back in montage. There’d be plenty of moving footage of NHS workers, people looking plaintively out of windows and the heroic vaccine effort. But there’d also be certain scenes that made you think the nation had lost its mind. Roped off toys in Welsh supermarkets, police tape on park […] → Read More

How worried should the Tories be about 'box office' Starmer?

Westminster’s take on Keir Starmer’s tear-strewn appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories seems to be that it will make absolutely no difference to his political fortunes. The viewing figures weren’t particularly impressive – 1.6m people tuned in compared to the 3.7m who watched Coronation Street immediately before it aired. In other words 2.1m people switched […] → Read More

Is the BBC really the people's public service broadcaster?

No one who’s actually watched Princess Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir could doubt that she was saying exactly what she wanted to. The brutal honesty with which she spoke about her troubled marriage, her post-natal depression and her bulimia was the opposite of the stiff upper lip we expect from the Royals. In this Oprah […] → Read More