My online interview with Dame Vera Lynn, on the cusp of her hundredth birthday

Dame Vera Lynn, the so-called “Forces’ Sweetheart” from the Second World War, is 100 years old on Monday (March 20). For nearly eight decades, she has enjoyed fame as a singer, songwriter and actress.

During the 1939-45 conflict, she toured Egypt, India and Burma for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). Her most popular songs have included We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover and There’ll Always Be an England.

Her wartime popularity led to an astonishing career and in 2009, aged 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums’ Chart. Her charity work has gone hand in hand with her career: she has worked with ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer sufferers. (more…)

Eight keys to understanding the Trump administration

This article was first published at TIME.com on 09 March 2017.

One day, President Donald Trump speaks in a presidential tone at an address to Congress; four days later, he launches a pre-dawn Twitter blitz to accuse his predecessor of bugging his New York base during the election campaign, with no apparent evidence.

If you are feeling discombobulated by the new order, help is at hand. Over the last six months, I have polled some forty thousand Americans and spoken to voters across the country for my Ashcroft in America research. The findings give us some clues as to what is happening and what to look out for.

Read more …

See the March edition of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The March issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Commander Loftus William Jones, who was awarded the VC for outstanding bravery during the Great War. (more…)

Protesting against the state visit does Britain no favours, and Trump no harm

First published on ConservativeHome.com on 1st March 2017.

Last week, thousands of people took to the streets of London and other British cities in opposition to President Trump’s planned state visit to the UK. The weekend was rounded off with a predictable burst of celebrity sniping against Trump at the Oscars. No doubt this made everyone concerned feel better. But there are perhaps two things above all that reassure Trump voters that they made the right decision in November: squealing Hollywood liberals and noisy protesters – especially abroad.

This ought to be obvious to anyone who knows anything about voters of any kind, let alone American ones, but if not, my research last month confirmed it. “I’m tired of hearing what Hollywood has to say and what we should be thinking,” a Trump voter told us in Macomb County, Michigan – one of the places that switched from Obama in 2012. “I look at them as the carnival folk. They have their sheltered little lives in Hollywood where they live in gated communities, they really don’t live in the real world… And that’s another reason I liked Trump – he just tore Hollywood a new one.”

Read more …

Why Trump will need the art of the deal: my IDU lecture on the President’s challenges

This is the text of my presentation to the International Democrat Union Campaign Managers Meeting in Washington on 24 February 2017. It covers subjects including the reasons for President Trump’s election, voters’ views on his early weeks in office, expectations for the Trump administration, policy challenges including healthcare, and how the Democrats are reacting to defeat.

Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for inviting me. If you happened to hear my presentation in Munich last month, let me reassure you that this is an expanded and updated version, with new material.

Much of the research I am about to share is described in more detail in my book Hopes and Fears, which was published last month. I had hoped to be able to bring you each a copy, but I have to tell you that we have temporarily sold out, which goes to show just what indispensable reading it must be. You can still order it from Amazon, or direct from Biteback Publishing, and I hope you will all take the chance to help a struggling author.

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Why were these wise warnings on St Helena’s airport ignored?

First published on ConservativeHome.com on 21st February 2017.

Whatever the future holds for the island of St Helena – and I hope it is a long and happy one – there is no doubt that mistakes have been made relating to its new, but massively underused, airport (pictured in the background, right).

The errors are costly ones, too: if the problems of strong and unpredictable winds really cannot be overcome, then at least £285 million of taxpayers’ money will have been squandered. Even if these “wind shear” difficulties can be successfully managed, many islanders will have suffered great financial hardship as a result of gearing up to an influx of tourists who, as yet, have never arrived.

But could, and should, the issues caused by St Helena’s unique topography have been foreseen? In the aftermath of my revelations last June about why planes were not able to land at the airport, it emerged that Brian Heywood, a former British Airways pilot, had written to David Cameron as early as August 2010 to warn him that the planned airport was in danger of being untenable. (more…)

‘I got big hopes for that man’: Michigan voters on two weeks of President Trump

Earlier in the week I asked my Twitter followers what we should ask the voters who helped send Donald Trump to the White House. Many of the answers were along the lines of, “do you regret it yet?” Judging from my focus groups in Macomb County, Michigan – which backed Obama in 2012 but last year swung behind the Republican, helping him to win the state by just 0.3 per cent – the answer is a resounding “no”.

“He certainly is going down his list of promises and checking them off one by one,” one Trump voter told us. “He made promises and he’s going right at it right now.” No-one was surprised that he had taken his unorthodox style from the campaign to the presidency (which can’t make life easy for the press secretary, Sean Spicer: “he’s got some cojones too!”) – but if that sometimes made them uneasy, most accepted it as part of the package: “I think because he’s in office, that’s what you’re gonna get. Do I want that? No. Do I want the change? Yes.”

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Ashcroft In America podcast – President Trump’s first two weeks

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft In America podcast we hear from voters who supported Donald Trump on what they think of the new President and the controversies of his first days in office, and Hillary Clinton supporters on why they think she lost. I interview Jennifer Granholm, the former Democrat Governor of Michigan, on how her party can oppose the new administration and start winning again, and Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the state’s Republican Party, on what we can expect from President Trump.

Listen to PodCast …

See the February edition of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The February issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Acting Flight Sergeant Thomas Mottershead, who was awarded the VC for outstanding bravery during the Great War.

Mottershead, who was born in Widnes, Lancashire, enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in August 1914 and soon proved himself an excellent and courageous pilot. (more…)

So, no pressure: What America expects from President Trump

“Now we have to deliver,” President Trump told Republican colleagues yesterday. As my latest polling shows, his voters agree.

Last year my Ashcroft In America research – compiled in my latest book, Hopes And Fears: Trump, Clinton, The Voters And The Future – helped explain how the United States came to choose its new president. My new poll of more than ten thousand American voters, completed on the eve of the inauguration, shows what they expect from him.

Read more …

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