All posts filed under “Cuttings

Some of my recent published work.

Book review: The French Exception

The French Exception: Emmanuel Macron – the Extraordinary Rise and Risk (updated edition), by Adam Plowright. Icon Books, 300pp, £8.99

If you want to be French president, you usually have to be good at waiting. It’s a job for which even political giants, like Mitterrand, de Gaulle and Chirac, spent decades preparing before landing the prize. For others, like Michel Rocard and Alain Juppé, the prize never quite materialised.

The gift that keeps you guessing

The government’s NHS funding settlement brings some welcome relief for struggling services, but leaves many tough questions unresolved. Craig Ryan reports.

The NHS’s 70th birthday present from the government was a bit like one of those gift cards from posh shops that don’t tell you how much they’re worth – when you finally get to the till, it’s always a bit less than you need. We know quite a lot about what the “long-term funding settlement”, unveiled on 18 June, is not. It’s obviously not, as Theresa May suggested, a “Brexit dividend” – that claim has been so comprehensively rubbished that there’s not need to go over it again here.

Book review: Doughnut Economics

Doughnut Economics: How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, by Kate Raworth. Random House Business, 384pp, £9.99.

Oxford academic Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics, now out in paperback, caused quite a stir when it was first published last year, with Guardian eco-warrior George Monbiot comparing it, somewhat fancifully, to Keynes’s General Theory. That seems like a misreading of the book’s purpose, as revealed by its subtitle: Raworth isn’t offering a a theory or a model, but a well-grounded appeal for us to think differently about economics.

Talking heads

Last year’s Stevenson-Farmer report set out an ambitious agenda for improving mental health and wellbeing in the NHS. Craig Ryan explores the deep culture changes needed to make sure all NHS staff can thrive at work.

After another punishing week and a “frantic” 24-hour period on call at the weekend, Paul, a manager for an NHS trust in the South West, found himself unable to get out of bed. He’d been experiencing stress and feelings of anxiety for months, but knew this was different. “I just couldn’t move. My head felt like lead, I couldn’t even contemplate the things I had to do to get into work,” he recalls.

All in the mind

Last year’s Stevenson-Farmer report set out an ambitious agenda for improving mental health and wellbeing in the civil service. Craig Ryan explores the deep culture changes needed to make sure all civil servants can thrive at work.

In January 1974, at the height of the three-day week crisis, the head of the civil service, Sir William Armstrong, suffered a stress-induced mental breakdown. According to several accounts, Armstrong was found naked on the floor of the Downing Street waiting room, chain smoking and raving about the end of the world.