Is the new mayor of São Paulo Latin America’s answer to Donald Trump?

This article was published on CityMetric on 20 February 2017.

If you’re late to a meeting with him, you’re fined £50 for every 15 minutes you hold him up. In a city where traffic jams snake for miles and miles along fume-choked highways, it’s a formidable threat. “Everyone laughed at me, but they are all obeying now,” he once explained.

The new mayor of Brazil’s biggest city and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, doesn’t do things conventionally. And since he took office in January, the city’s collective eyebrows have certainly been raised.

A multi-millionaire mogul who used to host O Aprendiz – Brazil’s own version of The Apprentice  – João Doria Jr. has obviously drawn hasty comparisons to Donald J. Trump, erstwhile mogul and Apprentice host, latterly – for some unholy reason – president of the United States of America.

While he personally prefers his likeness to Michael Bloomberg, the stonkingly loaded former mayor of New York City, the Trump comparison is a convenient one. Critics paint him as a reckless irresponsible political outsider, who doesn’t know the ropes of the system and is now burning the sensible policies accumulated by his predecessors with the delicacy and expediency befitting of a media tycoon who used to be the publisher of a glossy magazine called Caviar Lifestyle.

Continue reading


What can Britain learn from Europe’s trains – and vice versa?

This article was published on CityMetric on 13 February 2017.

Ok, confession straight out of the gates: this is mostly a chance for me to brag at length about the fact that I just spent two weeks frolicking around Europe on trains whilst the world started turning out the lights and giving up in the face of the first fortnight of Trump’s presidency.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Armed with a large rucksack, an extended overdraft, and an Interrail pass, I set off across eight countries: Britain (definitely counts), France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Vatican City (definitely counts).

I hopped on trundling clapped-out regional chuggers, gleaming high-speed wonders, pitifully grimy and disorganised city underground networks (here’s looking at you, Rome), and also one erroneous €70 taxi after I got cocky about how late German trains would run.

Continue reading

Can free train tickets stop the EU from eating itself alive?

This article was published on CityMetric on 16 January 2017.

It’s that feeling. When you’ve broken up with someone, and it was all a bit messy and unpleasant, and then two weeks later they post an absolutely killer Instagram and you’re left thinking: “Why on earth did I do that?”

That’s what the EU’s trying to do to us now, the saucy minx.

In October last year, a wiry and slightly balding Member of the European Parliament put forward a rather daring proposal. Manfred Weber, a Bavarian MEP for the CSU party, thought all European 18-year-olds should get a free Interrail pass for their birthday.

Continue reading

10 things I hate about Cambridge: The NUS — and it’s so much worse than you thought

This article was published in The Tab on 4 May 2016.

Hear ye, hear ye! Here’s why we should be first in the queue to disaffiliate.

For anyone unfortunate enough to keep an eye on student politics, be it for personal so-called ‘interest’ or by tragic virtue of being a voting member of CUSU Council, the litany of bigotry is becoming straining.

Referring to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist Outpost’ because of its large Jewish Society.

Talking about a ‘Zionist-led media’ as if the tropes that caused millions of deaths in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries aren’t at all damaging.

Failing to apologise – by which I mean the simple act of saying “I’m sorry” and being done with it – when 57 JSoc Presidents from across the country send you a letter saying that they’re, um, kinda worried.

Continue reading


Hi! I’m Jack and I’m a freelance journalist with a particular focus on cities, politics, transport, LGBT issues, culture, and travel.

I’ve worked for The Times, The London Evening StandardThe Huffington Post, Metro, and The Week, as well as writing for The IndependentCityMetric, Reaction, Attitude, Winq, Gay TimesThe Spectator and Backbench.

I’m also a trained sub-editor, with experience across news and features subbing for Metro and the Daily Mail.

This blog is a rolling collection of all my writing work.

If you want to get in touch, email me.

Zoe Williams and the great Conservative stitch-up (Interview)

To the cynical, anti-establishment eye, Zoe Williams is the personification of the media elite. When we meet, she’s here for the annual Cambridge Literary Festival, an altogether lovely gathering of right- minded (read: left-minded) folk over the Easter break. She’s smart, quick- witted, and seems genuinely interested to talk to me, which is unusual.

As two private-school, Oxbridge- educated lefties sit on the steps of Trinity College’s fountain, it’s hard to avoid the question of elites. She doesn’t live in North London, land of Guardianistas and ‘liberal elites’, but admits “living in London at all now is like being part of that elite. Continue reading

Punting and voting: A manifesto

As a wise man once wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens has never been more appropriate than in this, the unhallowed, unnervingly delightful world of exam term in Cambridge.

The sun is out, flowers – carefullytended to and looked after by droves of tireless college staff – are blooming all over the place, and Cambridge is at peak Cambridge. This is Daily Mail season, when impeccably dressed Cantabs line lazy punts with their obnoxious talk of country houses and summers in their Languedoc chateaux amidst a symphony of popping champagne corks. Cambridge in late spring is something of the upper-class Briton’s vision of heaven.

Continue reading