John Ashmore, CapX

John Ashmore



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Recent articles by John:

The CapX Podcast: Madeline Grant on the age of 'vibes politics'

This week we were delighted to welcome one of the stars of the centre-right media landscape, Madeline Grant. After starting out in thinktank world at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Madeline has since forged a path in journalism as a comment editor, columnist and latterly sketch-writer at the Daily Telegraph. There was plenty for us […] → Read More

Rishi's green belt-tightening is no solution to the housing crisis

In my last couple of pieces I’ve complained that the candidates haven’t said enough about arguably our biggest public policy failure, the planning system. After reading the latest press release from Rishi Sunak’s team, I’m starting to wish they had carried on saying nothing. Sunak will, he has today announced, ‘guarantee that the green belt […] → Read More

The BBC debate left plenty for both candidates still to answer

If you wanted to find out what the next version of Conservative government holds for the nation, last night’s BBC debate might not have left you much the wiser. ‘Our Next Prime Minister’ was a slightly strange spectacle, with host Sophie Raworth firing questions at the candidates, interspersed with quips and follow-up questions from her […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Dr Jade McGlynn on Putin's memory-makers

While most of us in the West are pretty unequivocal about Vladimir Putin’s brutal campaign against Ukraine, in Russia itself a sophisticated infrastructure of deceit conditions the public to see and believe in a very different conflict. Few people are better placed to understand how this war came about than our guest this week, Dr […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Owen Polley on Protocol politics

. Too often neglected and misunderstood by both politicians and commentators on this side of the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland has in recent years been thrust into the spotlight by the intense wrangling over post-Brexit trade arrangements,. Just this week, the Government’s bill to change that arrangement passed its second reading in the House of […] → Read More

Does the census really prove we don't need to build more houses?

One of the few things people across the political spectrum can agree on is that the rent is too damn high. As are deposit requirements, mortgage payments, house prices…you name it – just about everything in the British housing market is deformed and dysfunctional. Most people interested in this area put the price crisis down […] → Read More

The servile relationship: why do we put up with American nonsense about Ireland?

British Atlanticism is cringe. I’m sorry to say it, because I know it remains popular in Conservative circles – part of the intellectual package of nostalgia for Thatcher is nostalgia for Reagan. But for those of us born too late to remember the Cold War, the ‘special relationship’ is pure Boomer cope. Under its auspices, […] → Read More

Weekly Briefing: A lot of local difficulty

What should Conservatives make of these local election results? A catastrophe? A ‘bruising’ defeat? A wake-up call? Or perhaps a mixture of all three. That these results weren’t written up as a disaster is mostly down to canny expectation management and the fact they weren’t defending that many councils. Even the most gifted spinners would […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: John Penrose on escaping the poverty trap

Should poverty be defined by how much you earn, how much less money you have than the average household, or something altogether more holistic – the myriad of interlocking factors, from health to social capital to transport links, that define someone’s quality of life? That’s the question that Conservative MP John Penrose grappled with in […] → Read More

Does anyone still seriously believe the NHS is the 'envy of the world'?

Over the last few years the phrase ‘envy of the world’ has gone from an annoying cliche about the NHS to an epithet most often employed ironically by its detractors. Today’s report from the thinktank Civitas, authored by former CPS director Tim Knox, makes for a difficult read for anyone who still honestly thinks ours […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Sam Ashworth-Hayes on party politics, Rwanda and the 'Granny State'

It’s been quite a few weeks in British politics. After a brief Easter respite, the PartyGate saga reared its head again for Boris Johnson, who now faces a parliamentary probe on whether he misled the House of Commons. Equally controversial was his government’s announcement last week of a deal to ship asylum seekers 5,000 miles […] → Read More

Do we really want 70% of school leavers going to university?

Not content with New Labour’s target of 50% of school leavers going into higher education, Tony Blair has now declared that we should be boosting that figure to 70%. A report out this week from the Tony Blair Institute says doing so would ‘significantly’ boost productivity and economic growth by increasing the number of skilled […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Rosa Maria Paya on setting Cuba free

Few countries on earth are as politically and economically repressed as Cuba. For all its brutality and illiberalism of six decades of one-party rule, the communist regime has somehow managed to sell an image of itself as a brave holdout against Western imperialists, rather than a despotic economic basket case, allied to the world’s very worst […] → Read More

Our awful planning laws risk squeezing the life science out of Britain

We’re used to railing against the iniquities of the planning system on these pages, more often than not when it comes to new homes being scrapped for some pathetic reason like the need to save a car park (or, indeed, a marginal Tory MP). Just last week we had the bizarre spectacle of the Lib […] → Read More

Sunak's family finances are far from the Chancellor's biggest problem

Hell hath no fury like the Government’s opponents in the throes of a ‘Hypocrisy!’ scandal. In this case it’s not even a politician who is under the spotlight, but Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murthy. The first thing to say is that Mrs Murthy’s ‘non-dom’ isn’t actually news, in the sense of being unknown. Private Eye […] → Read More

Russia's massacre of Ukrainian civilians is appalling, but not surprising

Where does one begin? Mass graves, dead bodies strewn across the street, some discovered with gunshot wounds to the head, others with signs of rape and torture. You don’t need many adjectives to convey the horror of what has happened in the towns north of Kyiv; simply listing what the Russian army left behind does […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Will Storr on The Status Game

From the lowest prison cell to the grandest palaces, human beings are engaged in age-old battles for status and recognition. In his latest book The Status Game, acclaimed science writer WIll Storr brilliantly unpacks just how human societies are steeped in the search for status, how it leads to conformity, hysteria and violence – but […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: War in Ukraine – victory over Covid

This week’s topical podcast is understandably dominated by Vladimir Putin’s all-out assault on Ukraine, which has shocked and appalled most of us in equal measure, not only for the brutality of Russia’s aggression, but the impotence of the Western response. To discuss what the UK and its allies should do next, we were very glad […] → Read More

Weekly Briefing: Politics and the Kremlin's language

When it comes to the defence of Ukraine, language matters. First, there are the all too common slip-ups – referring to ‘the Ukraine’, or calling a state that’s been independent since 1991 a ‘post-Soviet republic’. To some these may seem innocuous, even pedantic, but they reinforce the perception, keenly felt by many Ukrainians, that their […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: John McWhorter on 'Woke Racism'

Our guest this week, John McWhorter, is a man of many talents: a Columbia University professor, prolific author, music historian, New York Times columnist and one of America’s leading authorities on linguistics. Beyond his academic career, McWhorter has also found a following as a prominent critic of the language-policing, statue-toppling, academic-cancelling brand of anti-racism that […] → Read More