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John Watson

Editor of the Shaw Sheet

John Watson is the editor of the Shaw Sheet, a free online weekly magazine which comes out on Thursdays ( Originally a maths graduate, he spent many years in the law specialising in taxation before moving on to publishing. He has an ongoing interest in political reform where his work includes papers on how to tackle international tax avoidance and the reform of police recruitment..
Kicking The Can Down The

Kicking The Can Down The Street

Two years more? Just what will it achieve? That is the question which Mrs May will be asked about her proposal in Florence that there should be a two-year transitional period after Brexit in which nothing much changes.
28/09/2017 11:18 BST
Money And

Money And Spires

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, just when it was going so nicely for the vice chancellors of British Universities, the politicians have to jump in and spoil the party. And what a lovely party it was too. More money flowed into the system via university fees so it obviously makes sense to pay more to those responsible for spending it. As anyone who works in the City of London will tell you, the big profits are made by those who handle the big sums.
15/09/2017 10:34 BST

Flexible Government

It is the same point really. Expect to see the government re-tying the knot very frequently over the next few months.
03/08/2017 11:44 BST

Tick Tock

It is an odd world where lengthening timetables does not provide more time and where only your opponents can deliver your agenda. Still, we are going to have to live in it until Brexit day. That in itself must be a good argument for pushing it all through as quickly as we possibly can.
20/07/2017 12:43 BST
Who Owns The

Who Owns The Enquiry?

Tragedies have stakeholders, and if you need evidence for that, just look at the protests against the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick as the chairman of the public enquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster. Let's begin by identifying some of them, so that we can decide whether or not there is anything in the objections which have been put forward. Who owns this enquiry? In whose interest is it being called? There are quite a lot of answers to that.
14/07/2017 11:45 BST
Policies On

Policies On Terrorism

A balance has to be struck each time. What cannot be right is that we should regard our short term safety at home as paramount and judge our foreign policy solely by reference to whether it increase or decreases it. It is a much larger game than that.
02/06/2017 11:15 BST
Pledges And

Pledges And Promises

Off goes the roundabout - pledges, promises, red lines and their equivalents, streaming in the wind. It is a pattern which we are well used to. The difference this time is that it is only the Conservatives who currently believe that their pledges may be called and that the current popularity of the Prime Minister means that they can include fewer than usual. In view of the flexibility they will need in negotiating with the EU, they should keep them to a minimum.
11/05/2017 11:40 BST
BoJo Misses The

BoJo Misses The Party

It is always wise to be careful what you wish for and the reason normally given is that you might just get it. In the bowels of the Kremlin they must be pondering that at the moment as they wonder whether their support for Mr Trump assisted him to power and reflect on how quickly it has all blown up in their faces.
13/04/2017 10:53 BST
The Brexit Negotiations - A Matter Of

The Brexit Negotiations - A Matter Of Timing

Okay then, what happens next? The press is full of guidance as to the steps which follow the giving of notice under Article 50. First there will be a White Paper. Then Mr Tusk will send out guidelines regarding the structure of negotiations. The rest of April will be spent by the EU producing a mandate, completed at a summit on 29 April. From then on there will be negotiations, summits, walkouts and all the rest of it with a view to having an agreement ready for ratification in the autumn of 2018.
31/03/2017 11:42 BST
EU Renewal - A Shaft Of

EU Renewal - A Shaft Of Light

Just suddenly, between the gathering crowds, a shaft of light. Some will think that Guy Verhofstadt's suggestion that British Nationals should be able to belong to the EU by paying an individual subscription, much like belonging to a club I suppose, is a good idea. Others will think that it is a bad idea. The important thing about it though is that it is an idea.
02/12/2016 13:07 GMT
When Racism Stalks The

When Racism Stalks The Streets

We need something similar now. Not just big sentences for really serious crimes. Those are merited in any case. The courts also need to take a few minor offenders and send them down for substantial periods.
25/11/2016 10:15 GMT