Abuse in Politics


The boundaries between legitimate protest, abuse and intimidation are again in the spotlight. It is not the first time this has been an issue. I wrote about this subject in 2016 when I was an MP. Those of us who rightly call for the carnage in Gaza to stop – and stop now – must certainly reject intimidatory abuse in support of that cause. But nobody should pretend such abuse has ever only come...

Memories of York University


Great evening last night at the Guildhall in York where the University of York was hosting a dinner for current and former students union officers as part of the university’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Having been President of the Students Union 1976–77, I was one of the “oldies” there. Lovely to catch up with my immediate successor, Phil Harris (President 1977–78), in person for the first...

Remembering Jack Dromey


I’m struggling to take in the heart­breaking news that my good friend, Jack Dromey, has died. I knew Jack for the best part of half a century. I first came across him back in the 1970s when I was a student activist. He was leading action in support of women striking for trade union recognition at the Grunwick film processing company in London. It summed up Jack’s outlook and work ever since...

When Frank Met Dennis


Celebrity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As a lifelong motorsport fan, I have been lucky enough to get to know some of the key figures in F1 over the past twenty years or so and to be at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix most years. Even so, I still get a bit star-struck when I am in the F1 paddock. Part of me still feels like the 13 year old me who was at a Grand Prix for the...

Anniversary of 9/11


I was on a driving holiday in north Italy and southern France. On 9/11 we were caught up for hours in what seemed like an endless traffic jam outside Nice. Having finally given up on that day’s journey, we checked into a small hotel in Sanary-sur-Mer. Turning on the TV, shocked doesn’t begin to describe our reaction to seeing CNN footage of the plane hitting the South Tower under headline...

“A Little Less Rich”

Still overwhelmed and so grateful to Amy Watson, Rebecca Debenham, Sue Allen, Max Shanahan, Dave Tubby, Lesley Shedwick, Arron Stuart Blake-Knight and Giovanni Spoz Esposito for last night and for the lovely messages from those who could not be there. Thanks for the gifts too. I feel really privileged that you have written this poem for me, Spoz. You are all amazing and it has been great working...

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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