Frank Lawton, CapX

Frank Lawton


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Past articles by Frank:

Did eating out help out?

Ok, I admit it – when I first heard the Eat Out to Help Out policy, I scoffed. Turns out I was not alone. For in the first 3 weeks of the scheme, 64 million discounted meals have been demolished by the Great British public – and the Covid rate has not rocketed as many … → Read More

From Blockbuster to bust: a parable of hope

This is the CapX Weekly Briefing Once upon a time there was a company that rented videos to over fifty million members, from nine-thousand stores worldwide. This week, that company joined forces with Airbnb – to rent out a sofa in their only shop left. But the story of Blockbuster is not that of a … → Read More

Does Britain face a gathering storm?

This is the CapX weekly briefing For the past fortnight I’ve been working from the picturesque market town of Ross-on-Wye, which sits on the cusp of the Anglo-Welsh border. And while friends suggest London has been basking in a semi-sociable ‘new normal’ for some time, in Ross-on-Wye recent days have felt significant. Two weeks ago, … → Read More

'Cancel culture': in whose name?

This is the CapX weekly briefing As resignations go, it was blistering. The New York Times (NYT) has suffered some unfortunate mishaps in recent years, as us apparently boiled mutton-eating, swamp-‘cavorting’ Brits know only too well. But for outgoing Op-Ed staff editor and columnist Bari Weiss, the problems run deeper than some bafflingly blind articles. In her resignation … → Read More

Weekly Briefing: A tale of two 'wars'

It’s been a week of two wars – one metaphorical, the other almost literal. At home, the culture ‘war’ continues apace, with statues falling and absurd debates about the Prime Ministerial plane being painted red, white and blue. Abroad, the most serious conflict on the Indo-China border since 1962 led to dozens of lives lost … → Read More

Whatever you think of Colston's statue, street justice should not be cheered

It is easy to dislike Edward Colston, the 17th-century Bristol MP and wealthy slave trader. As an official of the Royal African Company, Colston was involved in the forced transportation of over 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas, making a large fortune from investments in the trade of human beings. His … → Read More

Living through history: coronavirus and the world tomorrow

It’s the dream that fires revolutions and hot-takes alike: tomorrow everything will be different. Sometimes it is; more often the dawn breaks while everything else remains largely intact. In the midst of a global pandemic moving at bewildering speed, it can feel as though there’s little to hold on to. Easy therefore to give up … → Read More

The economic front: weapons to fight coronavirus

‘I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary … → Read More

Sadiq Khan: the Mayor who can't

Sadiq Khan has a record that would embarrass even Justin Bieber. The ‘greatest’ hits London has suffered since his election in 2016 include: Robbery up 73% Street muggings up 56% Homicides up 34% Not everything is up of course. Transport reliability is down, TFL’s budget has tanked after some very effective self-sabotage, while rates of … → Read More

Why Britain must not allow China's Huawei to build its 5G network

Judging from our dealings with China, it can be hard to work out if Britain actually has a foreign policy. The way our stance on Beijing has spun so dramatically over the last couple of decades would have made a revolving door dizzy, as I’ve outlined before. There is, however, a charitable case to be … → Read More

Britain between the giants

Is the great trade war coming to an end? America and China have been making a show this week of having settled at least some of their differences as they inch towards signing ‘phase one’ of a new trade deal. Whether this proves to be a long-term armistice or simply a truce designed for domestic audiences remains to be seen. One … → Read More

Why a second referendum would be a first class mistake

One day I suspect we will see the campaign for a second referendum in the same light as Communism, the Reliant Robin and that tattoo of your Ex’s face: an obviously bad idea in hindsight, but one that exercised a baffling appeal at the time. When, in many years, Brexit is actually ‘done’ and we … → Read More

Free Exchange: Does Britain actually have a foreign policy?

Gisela Stuart is a rare figure in British politics – a Labour politician who campaigned wholeheartedly for Brexit. As an MP from 1997-2017, Gisela is perhaps best known for her role in the 2016 referendum, where she chaired the Vote Leave campaign and appeared in the TV debates. But her deep interest in constitutional and foreign … → Read More

The politics of hypocrisy

What do we want from our politicians? Often it can be hard to tell. We ask for honesty but rarely reward politicians who campaign on uncomfortable truths. Instead we vote for the most attractive offer in a manifesto arms race, which encourages a cycle of over-promising and under-achieving. And as the gap between promise and … → Read More

Will the Supreme Court ruling make any difference to Brexit?

Today the Supreme Court will give its ruling on whether the Prime Minister misled the Queen and unlawfully prorogued Parliament. Whether you think this will be the climax of ‘the trial of the century’ or a full stop to an interminably long legal sentence, the ruling will reveal much about the usually hidden mechanisms of … → Read More

The blame game

It took some hard negotiations, a shedload of paperwork and repeated deadline extensions, but the moment is finally here. No, not Brexit, but the publication of David Cameron’s memoir, For the Record, which hits the shelves this Thursday. The media focus has understandably been on Cameron’s decision to hold the Brexit referendum. But the narrative … → Read More

Free Exchange: Peter Riddell on good government and the brief life of a British Minister

Peter Riddell is one of the country’s most respected analysts of the workings of government, parliament and Whitehall. Prior to his current role as Commissioner for Public Appointments, Peter was the Director of the Institute for Government, and a journalist with over 40 years experience during which he has held editorial positions at The … → Read More

Life after Downing Street: What Prime Ministers do next

As she exits the political stage pursued by a blond bear, Theresa May’s mind will inevitably turn to the question of ‘what next’? As for the immediate future, she might follow John Major’s example. Hours after losing the top job in 1997, Major famously pottered down to the Oval to watch his beloved Surrey play … → Read More