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The three things progressives must do to defeat the Tories in the next election | Tim Farron 17 Jan 7:51am The three things progressives must do to defeat the Tories in the next election | Tim Farron
A path to victory in 2024 does exist, but it won’t be an easy one to followBack in the 1980s, my A-level politics essays were all about whether we would ever see another Labour government. Then Labour won three general elections. In the early 2000s, the Tory party was called a busted flush … now the Conservatives have a
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My six-point plan to restore trust in politics | Jess Phillips 14 Jan 10:33am My six-point plan to restore trust in politics | Jess Phillips
Public faith in the UK’s system is at an all-time low. With this blueprint, Labour can change thatWe’ve all heard it. I’ve heard it – on doorsteps, in the back of cabs and in cafes. “Politicians,” people will say, “you’re all the same.” Now, I balk at anyone who compares me to
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10 years on, David Cameron’s toxic net migration pledge still haunts the UK | Daniel Trilling 14 Jan 1:00am 10 years on, David Cameron’s toxic net migration pledge still haunts the UK | Daniel Trilling
Announcing a measurable target suggested a sensible technocratic solution – but it poisoned politics for a decade Almost exactly 10 years ago, David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, appeared on the Andrew Marr Show to
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The gap between young and old has turned Britain into a dysfunctional family | John Harris 12 Jan 12:13pm The gap between young and old has turned Britain into a dysfunctional family | John Harris
When generations lead such separate lives, it damages everyone. We need deliberate initiatives to bring them together Travel around the periphery of any British town or city, and you will quickly behold a symbol of one of the most painful modern divides. The average residential care home will be set well back from the road, seemingly silent and apparently cut off from most of the life of the surrounding community. When people who know nothing of those inside glimpse such sights, what passes through their minds? Empathy, perhaps, with a family member living in such a facility; mounting awareness, maybe, of the rising care crisis and our collective failure to solve it. But what such sights could also embody is the widening divide between generations, and people leading completely separate lives. Generation gaps are hardly new, but right now age arguably separates us as never before. The difference between the generations on Brexit is so familiar as to be a cliche, and the same division seems locked into politics generally. Only a decade ago, the
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Beware a closing of the British mind if we abandon European endeavours | Nick Cohen 11 Jan 1:30pm Beware a closing of the British mind if we abandon European endeavours | Nick Cohen
Post-Brexit, we should be wary of spurning joint projects in science and educationLeaving the EU will produce the greatest loss of freedom since the Second World War. The freedom of businesses to trade with Europe dominates politics. But I suspect the loss of the freedom of the individual to live and work where they want in the EU, to fall in love and bring home whoever they choose and, above all, the freedom to think and study what they will and where they please will be the hardest to bear. You can see Britain’s horizons shrinking. The Liberal Democrats attempted to force ministers to commit to keeping Britain in the
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It’s tempting to see India as a place apart. But it offers lessons for us all | Kenan Malik 11 Jan 1:00pm It’s tempting to see India as a place apart. But it offers lessons for us all | Kenan Malik
Modi’s chauvinist rule is a reflection of wider global trends of brutal repressionIt’s the largest democracy in the world. It’s also one of the most fragile, one in which dissent has often been curtailed and communal divisions inflamed. At no time have the vulnerabilities of India’s democracy seemed more exposed than they are now. The return to power last year of the Hindu nationalist BJP, under the leadership of prime minister, Narendra Modi, has polarised politics. Modi clearly now feels empowered to pursue unyieldingly reactionary policies. The
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Back to politics as usual. Or as it’s also known, total farce | Marina Hyde 10 Jan 12:21pm Back to politics as usual. Or as it’s also known, total farce | Marina Hyde
As Westminster creaks into life again, we have an absent Johnson, an all-too-present Cummings, and as for Labour …Parliament sat again this week, and there was a real back-to-school feeling in Westminster. Private schools have much longer holidays, of course, which is why it was fine for Boris Johnson
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Anyone who thinks they understand Boris Johnson could be in for a surprise | Martin Kettle 8 Jan 1:35pm Anyone who thinks they understand Boris Johnson could be in for a surprise | Martin Kettle
To the Brexiter right he’s a conquering hero. To the left he’s a Trumpian villain. The truth is rather more complexHow much does the British political world really know about Boris Johnson? It certainly thinks that it knows a lot. After all, Johnson has been around for a long time. He has always courted publicity. He possesses a mega-wattage personality. Many will feel that they know too much about him rather than too little. But there is a danger that politics may not be keeping up with the way he is evolving as prime minister. On the right, Johnson is still the conquering hero. He won the Brexit battle, trounced the liberal establishment and has led the Conservatives back to a level of power they have not known for 30 years. On the left, Johnson is the villain of the era. He has hitched his ambition to a rightwing nationalist deregulatory project, and he is a Trump admirer who does not care what gets in his way, or who suffers, as long as he wins.
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Owen Jones on toxic politics and becoming a target of abuse – podcast 7 Jan 10:00pm Owen Jones on toxic politics and becoming a target of abuse – podcast
Guardian columnist Owen Jones describes the way political debate in Britain has become increasingly divisive and how abuse is now a daily occurrence for most people involved in it. Plus: Helen Pidd on the sentencing of Britain’s most prolific rapist Last August the Guardian columnist
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The Tories now face a dilemma: change, or lose your new voters | John Harris 6 Jan 1:00am The Tories now face a dilemma: change, or lose your new voters | John Harris
‘Get Brexit done’ will not be enough, and the demands of working-class leavers will jar with the party’s deepest beliefsIts work has barely started, but the government led by Boris Johnson has already transformed British politics. It was all clear by 5am on 13 December, in that great swath of once-safe Labour seats
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The only way Labour can win is by ditching ‘Labourism’ | Jeremy Gilbert 31 Dec 2019, 2:00am The only way Labour can win is by ditching ‘Labourism’ | Jeremy Gilbert
The next leader must take an imaginative leap that Corbyn didn’t – and accept the need for progressive coalitions The general election was not just a crushing defeat for Corbynism. It was a resounding verdict on the entire history of “Labourism”. Labourism is the name of a specific political ideology – a habit of political thought and action – that is almost unique to the British left. According to this belief, there is only one true vehicle for progressive politics, the Labour party. Trade unions have their place – to represent their members at an “industrial” level, in workplaces and on shop floors – but actual political campaigning must be delegated to the party, and the primary focus of the party must be winning elections. No other party can ever represent the working class, and any political movement that is not subservient to either unions or party is to be treated with the greatest suspicion.
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This was the decade America’s self-serving myths fell apart | Aziz Rana 30 Dec 2019, 8:28am This was the decade America’s self-serving myths fell apart | Aziz Rana
The country’s beliefs in exceptionalism and meritocracy came up against Donald Trump and his politics of exclusion
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The Guardian view on politics in Wales: a brewing crisis? | Editorial 27 Dec 2019, 12:45pm The Guardian view on politics in Wales: a brewing crisis? | Editorial
What the country is, who represents it and how it articulates its ‘not-England-ness’ after Brexit are questions that this parliament must answer Our starter for 10: who is the first minister of Wales? Got it? Labour’s Mark Drakeford, of course. If you did get it right, well done, because the understated Mr Drakeford would be the first to admit that he does not have quite the same profile as the Scottish first minister,
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The union survived this decade. But only just | Ian Jack 27 Dec 2019, 11:34am The union survived this decade. But only just | Ian Jack
In 2010, Labour’s hold on Scotland looked unshakeable. Ten years on, the SNP dominates and the union is in crisisDespite the rise of nationalism, Scottish politics in 2010 could still resemble old and familiar patterns. I remember the response that Labour canvassers got in a council estate on the outskirts of Coatbridge, a constituency that the sitting MP, a 69-year-old local man, Tom Clarke, had every expectation of winning for the eighth time. Despite every dismal thing that had happened to Coatbridge, where any prospect of prosperity vanished with most of the iron industry in the 1930s, Clarke’s door-knockers generally got a friendly welcome. Perhaps faith had something to do with it. “He’s a fine Christian gentleman,” said an elderly woman, suggesting that she and he both belonged to the Catholic community that Irish immigration in the 19th century had established as a strong presence in the smelters, rolling mills and mines of North Lanarkshire. In 2010, the Catholic vote may have begun to fracture and fragment, but Labour could still count on it to form a core of support that had its more secular foundations in Labour’s ancestral promise, often fulfilled, to provide working-class voters with decent houses, hospitals and schools. With 42% of the Scottish vote,
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Our response to Tory promises? Credulity, deference and short memories | Andy Beckett 24 Dec 2019, 8:30am Our response to Tory promises? Credulity, deference and short memories | Andy Beckett
They break their word and govern erratically. Yet Britain’s misplaced faith in the Conservatives keeps them in powerBeneath the surface disorder of modern British politics, there are steadier patterns to be found. One of them is so regular, and so central to the workings of the whole system, that it’s rarely noticed, let alone challenged. This pattern is hugely to the advantage of the Conservatives. Here’s how it works. When the Tories are in power, as they have been for 27 of the last 40 years, they often
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In a world of online everything, a real #PeriodOfReflection could benefit us all | John Harris 23 Dec 2019, 1:00am In a world of online everything, a real #PeriodOfReflection could benefit us all | John Harris
Our lives are increasingly dictated by the frantic pace of social media; it’s time to reclaim the space to slow down and thinkHe didn’t get to nationalise the railways or dish out free broadband, but right at the year’s end Jeremy Corbyn made one undeniable contribution to politics, culture and human understanding. In the wee hours of 13 December, as the scale of Labour’s drubbing became clear, he said he would be stepping down after the start of a “
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The Guardian view on social care: time for Boris Johnson to prove his one-nation credentials | Editorial 22 Dec 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on social care: time for Boris Johnson to prove his one-nation credentials | Editorial
The prime minister’s healthy majority gives him the breathing space to raise the revenues needed to tackle a national scandalBritain needs the coming break. If the December election provided a splenetic denouement to a dangerously polarised period in public life, Christmas offers a chance to relax and reset the dial of the national mood to a more sustainable level. When politics does return to a divided country, which badly needs to unite and agree on something, the crisis in social care must finally be given the attention it deserves. Over the past two decades, there have been five independent commissions, four government white papers and two green papers addressing the care funding crisis, which becomes more urgent every year as people live longer. No progress has been made, for reasons primarily to do with political cowardice and cynicism. With Brexit no longer consuming all energies, 2020 must be different.
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Labour failed to engage older voters – and after 100 hours doorstepping, I know why | Luke Pagarani 21 Dec 2019, 5:00am Labour failed to engage older voters – and after 100 hours doorstepping, I know why | Luke Pagarani
In a generation used to transactional politics, Corbyn’s values failed. But the party can rebuild trust with local socialismKnocking on doors for Labour for more than 100 hours in London, Bedford and Milton Keynes showed me the stark difference in voters’ attitudes by age. Among a section of older, white voters in both more and less affluent areas, I saw a visceral hatred of Jeremy Corbyn, and sometimes Diane Abbott. How did the demonisation of Corbyn and the Labour party under his leadership – as documented by media analysis conducted at the
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Labour’s lost working-class voters have gone for good | Chris Bickerton 19 Dec 2019, 8:16am Labour’s lost working-class voters have gone for good | Chris Bickerton
British politics post-Brexit will be no kinder to a party that has taken supporters for granted, particularly in the northIs the Labour party dying? It’s a question that commentators have asked since the devastating election defeat last week. But in fact, as a party of working-class self-representation, Labour is already dead. Throughout much of the 20th century, there were parts of northern England where jobs came with firm expectations about Labour party membership. Labour, the unions and the nonconformist churches were the great social institutions of 20th-century working-class politics. Secularisation in the 1960s saw the decline in the role of the church. Then the unions were dismantled in the 1980s. Now the Labour party, as we once knew it, is gone. Constituencies that had been held by Labour almost since the modern two-party system was born – such as
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In 1958 we in Labour felt sure of victory. It taught us a lesson that’s still relevant | Dick Taverne 19 Dec 2019, 3:00am In 1958 we in Labour felt sure of victory. It taught us a lesson that’s still relevant | Dick Taverne
A shock election defeat led to the party’s renewal, while the Tories disintegrated. Brexit could yet end Boris Johnson’s honeymoon In 1958 a group of us interested in Labour politics invited the MP
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The Case for the Green New Deal by Ann Pettifor; On Fire by Naomi Klein – review 19 Dec 2019, 2:30am The Case for the Green New Deal by Ann Pettifor; On Fire by Naomi Klein – review
Two excellent, inspiring calls for a new politics as the only solution to our climate catastropheLike many political neologisms, “Green New Deal” became de rigueur so fast that it had multiple variations, passionate disciples, critics (some measured, others fierce) and endless namechecks before anyone had said definitively what it meant. The “why” was clear: after decades of the business-as-usual answer to the climate crisis, the environmental movement was more or less united in its conviction that more profound change was needed than awareness-raising and intergovernmental target setting. The precedent was Franklin D Roosevelt’s
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The Liberal Democrats’ place in progressive politics | Letters 18 Dec 2019, 11:42am The Liberal Democrats’ place in progressive politics | Letters
Readers respond to opinion articles by Vince Cable and Simon JenkinsI would not be averse to being described as “centre-left, social democratic, liberal and moderate”, but I am unable to agree with Vince Cable (
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First past the post warped the election. Progressives need to fight it together | Jenny Jones 18 Dec 2019, 11:27am First past the post warped the election. Progressives need to fight it together | Jenny Jones
Voters were in favour of a second referendum and climate action, but you’d never guess from the resounding Tory victoryImagine it is 2024 and Boris Johnson is running for another term as prime minister. He is up against the fourth Labour leader to try to win an election since Tony Blair resigned 17 years before. A combination of boundary changes and the loss of Labour heartlands in Scotland give the incumbent an edge. But why is everyone certain that the Conservatives are going to lose? The answer is a united opposition, not just of Labour politicians but of people across the centre and left of British politics. United by agreement on a package of democratic reforms, including an elected second chamber – with proportional representation (PR) as the cornerstone of a transformational agenda. This wouldn’t be simple expediency but a reaction to the divisive, bickering politics of the Brexit years that had been fed by
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The Guardian view on a workers’ party: the country needs one | Editorial 17 Dec 2019, 1:25pm The Guardian view on a workers’ party: the country needs one | Editorial
Boris Johnson will have to do more than steal Labour’s clothes. He must wear them with prideBoris Johnson’s capture of the north suggests a realignment in British politics. Key to holding that territory will be delivering on higher wages and better jobs for blue collar workers. That is why official figures showing that, on average,
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The red wall is only half the story – Labour must rebuild in the south too | Gaby Hinsliff 17 Dec 2019, 12:41pm The red wall is only half the story – Labour must rebuild in the south too | Gaby Hinsliff
Constituencies such as Swindon and Hastings have no love for Boris Johnson. The left must face up to why it didn’t get their votesWhen everyone is looking one way, in politics sometimes it pays to look the other way. And that’s what makes the towns that absolutely nobody is talking about in the wake of this election – Swindon and Reading, Watford and Milton Keynes, and Hastings and Rye – fascinating. For perfectly legitimate reasons it’s the collapse of Labour’s ancient
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Barack Obama is going after old men. His real target is Bernie Sanders | Jessa Crispin 17 Dec 2019, 6:16am Barack Obama is going after old men. His real target is Bernie Sanders | Jessa Crispin
Obama accused old white men in politics of ‘not getting out of the way’. The comments seem pointed at one old man in particular: Bernie Sanders While you won’t see former president Barack Obama appearing at any town halls or any public events as the Democrats seek to oust Donald Trump from the White House, you can, if you can afford it, see him in a series of rooms – ballrooms, conference rooms, small theaters – talking to donors about what he thinks everyone else is doing wrong. His exasperation has found several targets at these private events, from the young activists he accused of just being mad online to the old white men running for office he accused of “not getting out of the way”. At this latest event in Singapore, Obama announced that women were “indisputably” better leaders than men. If the whole world was run by women, Obama speculated, “you would see a significant improvement across the board on … living standards and outcomes”.
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How Labour went from near-breakthrough in 2017 to disaster in 2019 | Tom Kibasi 16 Dec 2019, 9:31am How Labour went from near-breakthrough in 2017 to disaster in 2019 | Tom Kibasi
Those who entirely blame Corbyn or Brexit are partly right. Here’s the full picture of how the election collapse came about In the days that have passed since Labour’s historic defeat, the party has descended into bitter recriminations. A battle is now under way to define it along factional lines: to his critics, the defeat was a rejection of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and his politics; to his cheerleaders it could all be explained away by the party’s support for a second referendum on Brexit. The truth, of course, is far more complicated than either of those explanations, though each play a part in that defeat. The purpose of any analysis must be to understand what went wrong so it can be put right. That’s why it is futile to focus on factors outside the party’s control. Yes, there was a ferocious assault from the press, the Liberal Democrats and the Green party stood in seats that they could not win, and the Tories ran a campaign of dirty tricks. But these are not new phenomena. Labour needs the serenity to accept the things it cannot change, the courage to change the things it can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
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The Guardian view on Labour’s defeat: an existential crisis with no easy solution | Editorial 15 Dec 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on Labour’s defeat: an existential crisis with no easy solution | Editorial
The party’s traditional coalition of voters has collapsed. A comeback is only possible if it develops a new, more subtle politics of placeAfter the Labour party’s disastrous election defeat in 1983, at the hands of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives, Tony Benn famously found a silver lining in the almost unbroken cloud of gloom. Writing in this newspaper, Mr Benn noted that though Labour had been routed, winning only 27.6% of the vote, millions of people had nevertheless voted for an authentically socialist manifesto. This time round, after
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The sick boy, the ‘punch’: the local can still capture the national picture | Kenan Malik 15 Dec 2019, 1:30am The sick boy, the ‘punch’: the local can still capture the national picture | Kenan Malik
From regional papers to national TV, fact checking has never been more important in speaking truth to power In the maelstrom of debate about Boris Johnson’s victory, and amid the acrid “self-reflection” now facing Labour, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the wider issues raised by the election campaign. One of the most important, perhaps, is the relationship between journalism, politics and truth. Cast your mind back to the days when the election still seemed to many, including pollsters, to be in the balance. Last Monday, in fact. The somewhat surreal day began with Johnson refusing to look at a photo of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr lying on the floor of the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), captured by the Yorkshire Post, continued with leading journalists promoting a false story about Labour activists punching a Tory adviser, and ended with a concerted fake news campaign on social media to show that the photo was in fact fake news. At the heart of all this lay fundamental issues about political scrutiny, journalistic ethics and the creation of news.
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This Labour meltdown has been building for decades | Aditya Chakrabortty 14 Dec 2019, 12:59am This Labour meltdown has been building for decades | Aditya Chakrabortty
The party has no God-given right to expect votes, let alone to govern. It needs to renew its contract with its base On the really painful days in politics, most commentary isn’t worth the name. It’s not analysis, it’s score-settling; party political broadcasts for the I-told-you-so brigade, rushed out by people who won’t admit to ever getting a single thing wrong themselves. So it will go this weekend. You’ll read that Labour’s wipeout was only down to Brexit, by those who won’t admit a flaw in Jeremy Corbyn and his
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This is a repudiation of Corbynism. Labour needs to ditch the politics of the sect | Jonathan Freedland 13 Dec 2019, 11:41am This is a repudiation of Corbynism. Labour needs to ditch the politics of the sect | Jonathan Freedland
A 1970s hard-left clique led the party into a dead end – and it’s the poor and vulnerable who will pay the priceWe can skip the first stage of grief. A result like this leaves no room for denial. Let’s move instead to the next stage: anger. We can feel a deep and bitter fury at what five more years of Boris Johnson will mean – at what his government, armed with such a mandate,
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Don’t despair: a practical guide to making a difference – from food banks to fighting fake news 13 Dec 2019, 10:21am Don’t despair: a practical guide to making a difference – from food banks to fighting fake news
If the election result has left you concerned about services already stretched due to cuts or where politics goes from here, how can you get involved? It’s natural to feel hopeless today. A decade of deep cuts have already caused incredible pain, with growing poverty and crumbling services across the country. There are many people who will undoubtedly have woken up today and felt fear about the future. I have spoken to many over the past decade, from disabled people who have lost their disability benefits to those on low wages choosing between eating and heating. It is heartbreaking to think about what another five years of Conservative government will do to those who can’t take a further squeeze.
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What happened on election night? Politics Weekly Extra – podcast 13 Dec 2019, 4:51am What happened on election night? Politics Weekly Extra – podcast
In this Politics Weekly Extra episode, Anushka Asthana discusses the political reactions as the results of the general election came in across the UK. The Conservative party won a large majority, giving Boris Johnson a historic victory
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If the exit poll is right, this election will transform British politics | Martin Kettle 12 Dec 2019, 5:41pm If the exit poll is right, this election will transform British politics | Martin Kettle
It looks like a triumph for Boris Johnson, and an epochal collapse for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour
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Whoever wins this election needs to show some humility | Gaby Hinsliff 12 Dec 2019, 12:23pm Whoever wins this election needs to show some humility | Gaby Hinsliff
New prime ministers invariably reach for unifying words – but few live up to themYou lost. Get over it. Nothing sums up the sour mood of post-Brexit politics like that nasty little mantra, which erupted online immediately after the 2016 referendum and has lingered ever since. When leavers won their surprise victory they had a chance to respond magnanimously, inviting a bruised 48% into the process of deciding how to manage the departure and addressing their fears. But too many simply sneered at remainers instead, and so the divide hardened. Our toxic political culture is the price we have paid ever since for failing to secure losers’ consent.
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Talking about political ‘tribes’ can be unhelpful. Valuing passion isn’t | Alan Finlayson 12 Dec 2019, 6:13am Talking about political ‘tribes’ can be unhelpful. Valuing passion isn’t | Alan Finlayson
The metaphor of tribalism is hindering the way we think about politics. But voters need to be closely involved to make it workIn this election, no one has a good word to say about tribalism. The Economist
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The truth about Labour leavers: they feel locked out of politics | Aditya Chakrabortty 12 Dec 2019, 1:00am The truth about Labour leavers: they feel locked out of politics | Aditya Chakrabortty
They are the voters who could decide the future course of the country, but they’re not the stereotypes we’ve been soldA few weeks ago I met a couple of the stereotypes who could decide which way this country turns tomorrow. And guess what – they were nothing like you’d expect. You know the caricature I mean: the working-class Brexiter. The exact people the two big parties are battling over in the very last hours before the polls close. The mythical group pundits say stands at the heart of what Sky News bills as “
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Boris Johnson’s record of bigotry, antisemitism and far-right politics must not be forgotten | Letters 11 Dec 2019, 1:20pm Boris Johnson’s record of bigotry, antisemitism and far-right politics must not be forgotten | Letters
A group of Jewish academics and campaigners voice their concerns about the prejudices of the Conservative leader, while residents of Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency express their full confidence in their representativeBoris Johnson has invoked some of the oldest and most pernicious antisemitic stereotypes in a book he wrote when he was a Conservative shadow minister. He describes “Jewish oligarchs” who run the media, and fiddle the figures to fix elections in their favour. He portrays a Jewish character, Sammy Katz, with a “proud nose and curly hair”, and paints him as a malevolent, stingy, snake-like Jewish businessman who exploits immigrant workers for profit. There is nothing subtle about this. We know what antisemitism looks like.
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Protecting society’s most vulnerable | Letters 11 Dec 2019, 1:18pm Protecting society’s most vulnerable | Letters
Readers call for more compassionate and caring politics and urge voters to back Labour on 12 DecemberRhiannon Lucy Cosslett unfurls a travesty of wanton dereliction perpetrated by Conservative party governance regarding disability care services (
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If you want a more equal society, you have to choose Labour | John McDonnell 11 Dec 2019, 10:17am If you want a more equal society, you have to choose Labour | John McDonnell
If Boris Johnson isn’t defeated, Britain faces a political dark age dominated by extreme rightwing populismIf Boris Johnson gains a majority tomorrow, we are at risk of entering a political dark age dominated by extreme rightwing populism. We will face a Johnson government – with its establishment allies owning most of our print newspapers, with a proven ability to bully and dominate broadcast media, and a capacity to buy up dark ads across social media – that is able to manipulate our politics on a scale we have never seen in this country.
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From Booths to Greggs: six food heroes that shaped the decade 11 Dec 2019, 7:13am From Booths to Greggs: six food heroes that shaped the decade
Food culture in the UK has shifted radically in the past 10 years, and these people and companies had a huge hand in itAt the end of any decade, it is customary to reflect on what changed within it and who was responsible. This can be a vexed and controversial enterprise when you’re thinking about politics and trying to argue that it was all, say, Sarah Palin’s fault, but it needn’t tear us apart if we’re talking about food. The obvious place to start is with restaurants. The London-based foodie/entrepreneur Jonathan Downey recently
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My government did not collapse – it was torn down | Letter from Kevin Rudd 10 Dec 2019, 1:31pm My government did not collapse – it was torn down | Letter from Kevin Rudd
The Australian people lost faith in politics on the day of the coup, when they witnessed a government fall prey to the backroom wheeler-dealers guided by personal ambition, writes
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The Guardian view on Finland’s new PM: a different type of leadership | Editorial 9 Dec 2019, 1:23pm The Guardian view on Finland’s new PM: a different type of leadership | Editorial
By becoming the world’s youngest prime minister at the head of a coalition of female-led parties, Sanna Marin reminds us that another politics is possibleThe world’s
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The Observer view on who to vote for in the general election | Observer editorial 8 Dec 2019, 1:30am The Observer view on who to vote for in the general election | Observer editorial
After a tawdry campaign of lies and racism, the choice is clear – anyone but JohnsonThis is a historic election, the most important choice voters have faced in decades. The result will determine whether Britain as we know it exists in a generation or whether the union will have splintered beyond repair. It will shape the nation’s economic wellbeing: whether we make countless lives harder by cutting ourselves off from our biggest trading partner or maintain our close relationship with the EU. It will influence the type of society we are: whether the number of children who grow up in abject poverty and the number of people sleeping rough – stains on our collective conscience– will continue to rise. It will decide the sustainability of the world we bequeath to our children and grandchildren. Yet there is no disguising that this is an election of last resort, the product of an unedifying journey through months of parliamentary gridlock. None of the options inspires enthusiasm; the campaign has been underwhelming and uninspiring. But the gloomy sense it leaves – that our politics is unequal to the tests that lie ahead – must not obscure the momentous nature of the decision voters must make on Thursday.
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Politics makes Liberal allsorts of us all | Letter 6 Dec 2019, 12:38pm Politics makes Liberal allsorts of us all | Letter
Michael Heseltine’s support of the Lib Dems does not represent his return to liberalism, writes
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British Hindus voting for Labour are not ‘traitors’ to India | Shami Chakrabarti 6 Dec 2019, 7:20am British Hindus voting for Labour are not ‘traitors’ to India | Shami Chakrabarti
There’s no room in UK politics for the hatred being promoted by a group tied to the BJP, India’s ruling partyWe children of migrants all have family legends. Mine is of a young man on a ship in 1959. He had £5 in his pocket and a sweetheart who could only join him a few years later, once he had worked and saved enough to make them a home. The less romantic story is of racism and violence. First there was the horrific brutality between fellow Hindus and Muslim neighbours that my parents witnessed before they left India. Then they were attacked by far-right skinheads as they pushed me in my pram in north London. Still they believed in the power of democracy, of votes inspired and earned with ideas and policies; not those bought or demanded on the basis of faith, race or hate.
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The polls are ignoring a crucial factor in this election: minority voters | Omar Khan 5 Dec 2019, 1:58pm The polls are ignoring a crucial factor in this election: minority voters | Omar Khan
There are more black and Asian voters than Scottish or Lib Dem voters. Yet there is a startling lack of interest in themWhat would happen if all the analysis of this election omitted Scotland? Or if the polls that increasingly inform our understanding and analysis of politics decided it wasn’t worth examining the views of those aged 18-24? How about if journalists decided that they should ignore Liberal Democrat supporters, irrelevant as we know how they’re going to vote? There would be some outrage, surely.
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An overhaul of Westminster politics is long overdue | Letter 5 Dec 2019, 7:44am An overhaul of Westminster politics is long overdue | Letter
On Democracy Day, leading campaigners for electoral reform urge parties to make transforming the political system a top priorityFor all the divisions on display in this election campaign, there’s one point nearly all voters agree on: the desperate need for reform in Westminster. Yet despite many parties commenting on the need for change in their manifestos, the issue of political reform has been dangerously absent from the campaign trail.
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How Boris Johnson and Brexit are Berlusconifying Britain | William Davies 4 Dec 2019, 1:00am How Boris Johnson and Brexit are Berlusconifying Britain | William Davies
The divisions between politics, the media and business have dissolved, eroding integrity. It’s not bad news for everyoneIf this election campaign has a distinctive mood, it is a mix of bewilderment, outrage and exhaustion. The public sphere has been engulfed by a war of attrition in which every poll number, media statement or policy announcement must be treated with suspicion. What is it concealing? Who paid for it? What is it distracting us from?
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Trust in politics has evaporated, now it offers only fantasy | Suzanne Moore 2 Dec 2019, 12:36pm Trust in politics has evaporated, now it offers only fantasy | Suzanne Moore
Members of the public are well-informed and opinionated. It’s time journalists and politicians acknowledged thatThere are the politicians – depressing, I know. There are “the people” – that movable feast that includes the lost souls in retail parks who “don’t trust any of them” and the passionate public sector workers who occasionally break through in phone-ins or Question Time to talk expertly of their experience. Then there are the journalists, apparently as untrustworthy as the politicians, dictated to by our evil overlords. Add to this bonfire of the vanities the spark of social media, where everyone lives in their own cocoon of self-righteousness, cancelling, blocking, or piling in on someone who must be evil since they vote differently. It often seems as if this election is happening elsewhere. I did get a leaflet but, outside of the media, I don’t hear much talk about what everyone knows is so important. The disconnect between knowing about the election and feeling it is what interests me.
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Labour’s ‘red wall’ is looking shaky. But the problems started decades ago | John Harris 2 Dec 2019, 1:00am Labour’s ‘red wall’ is looking shaky. But the problems started decades ago | John Harris
Some kind of Brexit must happen before progressive politics has a chance again in post-industrial EnglandAcombination of long-term cultural shifts and the fallout from the 2016 referendum have disrupted the electoral map in this general election, and two kinds of English places stick out. In one group – exemplifed by such recent Labour wins as Canterbury and
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Influencers pose a threat to democracy | Letters 1 Dec 2019, 1:24pm Influencers pose a threat to democracy | Letters
Rightwing thinktanks are tarnishing British politics, writes
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Politicians and cultist supporters are in cahoots. Avoiding scrutiny is their aim | Nick Cohen 1 Dec 2019, 2:00am Politicians and cultist supporters are in cahoots. Avoiding scrutiny is their aim | Nick Cohen
The Tories menace Channel 4’s future, while Labour recruits the tame and the credibleThe corruption of journalism and the corruption of politics march together. On the right, the former columnists Boris Johnson and Michael Gove threaten to
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SNP’s Scotland is no progressive paradise | Letters 29 Nov 2019, 12:07pm SNP’s Scotland is no progressive paradise | Letters
Some London-based progressives have mistakenly connected with Nicola Sturgeon’s politics of national identity, says
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Given Britain’s history it’s no surprise that racism still infects our politics | Gary Younge 29 Nov 2019, 1:00am Given Britain’s history it’s no surprise that racism still infects our politics | Gary Younge
Our nation was built on slavery and colonialism, the legacy of which lives on in the Windrush scandal. Yet some people believe we’re a ‘beacon of tolerance’ As Labour foreign secretary in 1951, Herbert Morrison
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The Guardian view on Italy’s ‘Sardine’ movement: politics with panache can defeat the hard right | Editorial 27 Nov 2019, 1:51pm The Guardian view on Italy’s ‘Sardine’ movement: politics with panache can defeat the hard right | Editorial
Spontaneous rallies opposing Matteo Salvini’s divisive rhetoric have captured imaginations. They offer a model that could be emulated elsewhereFor over a decade, the dominant theme in European politics has been the emergence of movements that seek to dramatise and exploit social divisions through crude and aggressive sloganeering. One of the trendsetters in this regard was the comedian Beppe Grillo, who in
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Labour, antisemitism and the chief rabbi | Letters 27 Nov 2019, 1:46pm Labour, antisemitism and the chief rabbi | Letters
Readers respond to a rare intervention in politics by Ephraim Mirvis, the spiritual leader of the UK’s 62 orthodox synagoguesThe chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, is entitled to take the Labour party and its leadership to task over its track record on dealing with antisemitism (
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The treatment of antisemitism in our politics should fill us with despair | Rachel Shabi 26 Nov 2019, 2:28pm The treatment of antisemitism in our politics should fill us with despair | Rachel Shabi
A dangerous prejudice that demands our serious attention and analysis has become the subject of escalating partisan conflictAt Labour’s conference in Liverpool last year, I bumped into two acquaintances – both Jewish Labour supporters who were standing outside the main entrance to the hall. They had been inside but now were lingering on the pavement – drawn in by the political energy of the occasion and yet simultaneously repelled, as though by an invisible force.
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My generation has benefited hugely from ‘politics’. We can’t become apathetic now | Stewart Dakers 26 Nov 2019, 7:00am My generation has benefited hugely from ‘politics’. We can’t become apathetic now | Stewart Dakers
I understand the appeal of “just get on with it” – but older people disengaging from democracy forget how much we’ve gained from itI simply cannot be bothered with all this politics.” Our crumbly group is becoming increasingly grumbly of late and it’s not surprising. Joyce’s words summed up a collective tristesse generated by the Neverendum that has deteriorated into a sort of Brenda from Bristol mantra at the prospect of a general election, and has become commonplace among my generation – in the community centre, at the checkout and on the streets. The conduct of what should be the lodestar of parliamentary democracy will be a repeat of the same tired themes and immoderate memes that have dominated political discourse for the past three years and have led to the sort of civic fatigue betrayed by her outburst. I understand the sense of exhaustion; I feel it too, but it nevertheless scares the daylights out of me. It expresses a renunciation of responsibility, a cop-out that is probably a greater threat to democracy than any political ideology. Today’s world is the outcome of yesterday’s politics, and no generation has gained more advantage from “politics” than ours. Our longevity can be traced directly to the political priorities that gave us access to health, education, care, housing, security, the social cloth that feather-bedded our lives and, in defiance of the Darwinian paradigm, continues to support our increasingly “unfit” survival. Those priorities were and will continue to be the outcome of politics. And of course it is politics that will determine whether the planet on which our grandchildren will depend for food, air and water remains habitable.
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This isn’t a Conservative manifesto. It’s a Boris Johnson manifesto | Simon Jenkins 24 Nov 2019, 1:17pm This isn’t a Conservative manifesto. It’s a Boris Johnson manifesto | Simon Jenkins
The prime minister has jettisoned traditional Tory values in a bid for voters of all persuasionsThere is no Conservative manifesto. There is just a Boris Johnson manifesto. As he rollicked round the stage in Telford on Sunday, the prime minister had only one message to the electorate: whatever your supposed party loyalty, forget it. Vote me. I will promise you anything. We both know I don’t mean it, but you will still love me for it. The past week’s manifestos mark the effective end of traditional party responsibility in British politics. They may not have meant much in the past, but they were a sort of conscience for a future government, subject to at least a cursory budgetary discipline. Their degeneration into fiscal promiscuity marks the arrival of raw populism.
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Once, politicians treated voters as adults. Now they are contemptuous | Kenan Malik 24 Nov 2019, 4:15am Once, politicians treated voters as adults. Now they are contemptuous | Kenan Malik
A 40-year-old debate on the Common Market points up how debased UK politics has becomeTwo men go head to head in a TV debate. They wrestle with Britain’s relationship to Europe, the meaning of sovereignty, the nature of global influence, the question of job losses. They listen carefully to each other and respond to the other’s points, fierce in defence of their arguments, but reasonable towards their opponent. It’s an illuminating discussion that makes one appreciate the issues more deeply. No, not last week’s
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Even after two world wars we rebuilt Britain. We must recapture that can-do spirit | David Olusoga 24 Nov 2019, 3:00am Even after two world wars we rebuilt Britain. We must recapture that can-do spirit | David Olusoga
Housing crises are nothing new and have been solved before. But now we seem paralysed by fatalismWhen does healthy scepticism towards politics and politicians begin to look more like a crisis of national confidence? The reaction to Labour’s manifesto commitment to
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Labour’s electrifying manifesto should jolt this election into life | Polly Toynbee 21 Nov 2019, 9:01am Labour’s electrifying manifesto should jolt this election into life | Polly Toynbee
The ambition is breathtaking. Now Corbyn needs to seize the time he has left to confront the politics of despairHere it is, a great cornucopia to lift this miserable election to a higher plane.
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Finally, the public wants action on the climate crisis. Now politics must catch up | Stephen Buranyi 21 Nov 2019, 2:00am Finally, the public wants action on the climate crisis. Now politics must catch up | Stephen Buranyi
A cosy consensus among politicians allowed lofty targets to be set, and then ignored. But now voters want actual solutions
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How to bring about a new and improved style of politics | Letters 20 Nov 2019, 12:56pm How to bring about a new and improved style of politics | Letters
Readers respond to an article by Suzanne Moore in which she questioned the value of voting at all in the forthcoming general electionI could not agree more with Suzanne Moore (
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Don’t dismiss the ‘other’ political parties: they might be the future | Alan Finlayson 20 Nov 2019, 9:31am Don’t dismiss the ‘other’ political parties: they might be the future | Alan Finlayson
Groups that existed on the fringe of British politics a generation ago have recently become key playersIn the 1970s, when I was still at primary school, I was convinced that Britain had four parties: Conservative, Labour, Liberal and Others. Those were the parties listed by the BBC when it showed the running totals of seats on election night. When I realised my mistake, the word “others” continued to intrigue me. And I’ve come to think that one way of understanding the last quarter-century of British politics is as the slow reveal of what lay behind that label. In our fragmented political culture, parties that once didn’t warrant a namecheck now help make the running.
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The Guardian view on the TV election debate: political theatre needs a new script | Editorial 19 Nov 2019, 5:06pm The Guardian view on the TV election debate: political theatre needs a new script | Editorial
The UK requires an alternative to the mean-spirited and sterile political conversations that have dominated political life since 2016Jeremy Corbyn rose to power on the back of the incontestable argument that Britain needed a kinder, more decent politics. Boris Johnson promised to be an inclusive “one nation” Conservative. There was little of either sentiment on display in the first televised election
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Labour’s programme is reasonable, not radical – more Scandinavia than Venezuela | Tom Kibasi 19 Nov 2019, 4:00am Labour’s programme is reasonable, not radical – more Scandinavia than Venezuela | Tom Kibasi
Utilities and rail are public-owned across Europe. South Korea has full-fibre coverage. This is a plan to mend capitalism, not end it In the turbulence of British politics of recent years, the old rules appear to have been shattered. They were, it turns out, mere articles of faith whose origins were mystic rather than objective, reflecting the biases of their proponents more than the reality of politics. From the Brexit referendum to the popularity of public ownership to the 2017 general election result, the public confounded the pundits. Under such circumstances, a degree of reflectiveness might have been called for. Yet humility remains in short supply. Many commentators continue to scoff at any signs of progressive ambition. Programmes of privatisation are common sense whereas any
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We all say things we regret. Trawling young activists’ tweets denies them a chance | Ilyas Nagdee 19 Nov 2019, 3:00am We all say things we regret. Trawling young activists’ tweets denies them a chance | Ilyas Nagdee
Penalising young people entering politics for ill-thought-out social media posts is short-sighted and bad for democracy I remember growing up in Old Trafford, Manchester, seeing the poverty and the overpolicing in the community around me, and trying to make sense of the world. Without any meaningful political education at school, many – including myself – turned to the internet as a source of information during our formative years. Here many of us were confronted with seductively simplistic – yet in hindsight, deeply problematic – “explanations”, which at the time seemed coherent and appeared to knit together our experiences. Looking back, I can laugh at how stupid and misguided many of those opinions were, whether it was thinking that secret societies ran the world, or that perhaps communities like my own were predisposed to crime or tax-dodging. It was only later in life that I would become more politically aware and be provided with the tools to understand and articulate the issues of an unjust economic system, institutional racism and so on.
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Election 2019: is Brexit reshaping politics in east Belfast? - podcast 18 Nov 2019, 10:00pm Election 2019: is Brexit reshaping politics in east Belfast? - podcast
The Guardian’s Ireland correspondent, Rory Carroll, visits east Belfast, where a majority of the protestant and unionist population backed Brexit. Is there an opening for a new kind of centrist politics? Plus: Suzanne Moore on the questions that remain for Prince Andrew The largely protestant community in east Belfast traditionally votes for the Democratic Unionist party. Many of these voters backed Brexit in the referendum but they are now facing a conundrum: how to protect the union while leaving the EU with the current deal offered by the government? The Guardian’s Ireland correspondent,
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It’s not just Boris Johnson’s lying. It’s that the media let him get away with it | Peter Oborne 18 Nov 2019, 1:01pm It’s not just Boris Johnson’s lying. It’s that the media let him get away with it | Peter Oborne
The prime minister’s falsehoods are mostly left unchallenged. If this goes on, the integrity of our politics faces collapse It’s Friday lunchtime and Boris Johnson is in Oldham. He’s live on Sky News, speaking to supporters in front of his Tory battle bus. During a speech lasting no more than 10 minutes, viewers learn that he is building 40 new hospitals. Sounds good. But it’s a lie that has already been
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Gordon Brown: We are becoming a United Kingdom in name only. Politicians must heal the divide 18 Nov 2019, 9:57am Gordon Brown: We are becoming a United Kingdom in name only. Politicians must heal the divide
With hate on the rise, along with competing nationalisms, the election risks tearing us apart even further. Here’s what our parties must doDecember’s general election can resolve some of the great and most immediate challenges facing our country – our relations with Europe, the fate of austerity and the future of the NHS – and for that we urgently need a Labour government. But something else, something fundamental to the character of our country, now tests us at a more profound level. For it will take far more than an election to heal our country’s deepening divisions and to eliminate the poison that is increasingly contaminating our public discourse and politics. Increasingly, we are becoming a United Kingdom in name only.
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This election may be the end of Farage, but not of Faragism | Daniel Trilling 18 Nov 2019, 1:00am This election may be the end of Farage, but not of Faragism | Daniel Trilling
The politics of the Brexit party leader, fuelled by the myth of the ‘white working class’, has already colonised the mainstreamIt’s always been easy for liberals to mock Nigel Farage: for his posturing against the “establishment”, despite being a privately educated City trader; for his affected tweeds and boozy bonhomie; for his endless failure to win a seat in parliament. And now, for his latest bumbling retreat. After loudly proclaiming that his Brexit party would stand general election candidates across the country, he was forced to make an awkward U-turn last week, announcing that they would
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TThe Guardian view on political turbulence in Germany: can the centre hold? | Editorial 17 Nov 2019, 1:26pm TThe Guardian view on political turbulence in Germany: can the centre hold? | Editorial
The country’s traditional powerhouses on the centre-left and the centre-right face a moment of reckoningPostwar German politics has a reputation for being moderate, consensual and a touch on the dull side. But there have been moments of high drama. In November 1959, for example, the Social Democratic party (SPD)
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Win or lose, Labour’s radicalism has redefined what’s possible in British politics | Andy Beckett 16 Nov 2019, 3:20am Win or lose, Labour’s radicalism has redefined what’s possible in British politics | Andy Beckett
The party hasn’t even published its manifesto yet – but already it’s changed the notion of what elected politicians can achieve In today’s troubled Britain, it is commonplace to say that the political parties need to come up with some fresh ideas to transform the country. But what happens if one of the big parties starts announcing radical new policies and yet most people don’t seem to be listening? That sobering question hangs over Labour’s hugely ambitious but so far only moderately successful election campaign, judging by the slow improvement in its poll ratings.
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The Guardian view on Labour’s broadband nationalisation: radical and necessary | Editorial 15 Nov 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on Labour’s broadband nationalisation: radical and necessary | Editorial
Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to offer free high-speed internet across Britain is canny politics and an economic idea whose time has comeBritain is in the slow lane when it comes to the internet. Fewer than one in 12 premises in Britain have access to full-fibre connections capable of delivering speeds greater than 1 gigabit per second. By comparison in Spain more than 70% can connect via such networks. In South Korea the figure is close to 100%. So Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to give every home and business in the UK
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It’s Tory remainers – not Labour leavers – who are the real key to this election | Paula Surridge 15 Nov 2019, 11:03am It’s Tory remainers – not Labour leavers – who are the real key to this election | Paula Surridge
A third of 2017 Conservative voters also voted remain. Will fear of Jeremy Corbyn keep them away from the Lib Dems?The first week of campaigning is behind us and the shape of the election is emerging. The critical questions for the next four weeks and beyond are becoming clearer. Among these is whether this election will accelerate a realignment of British politics based on where voters stand on Brexit. The idea that
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The task of politics today is to scare the capitalists as much as communism did | Aditya Chakrabortty 14 Nov 2019, 1:00am The task of politics today is to scare the capitalists as much as communism did | Aditya Chakrabortty
The threat of the Soviet bloc forced western democracies to acknowledge the rights of workers and poor peopleAs the big day dawned last weekend, Berliners held a huge street party, with more than 100,000 revellers gathering in the cold to ooh and aah over an epic display of fireworks. Elsewhere, celebrants of the
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One in five British people are disabled. So why does politics continue to ignore us? | Anne Wafula Strike 13 Nov 2019, 5:00am One in five British people are disabled. So why does politics continue to ignore us? | Anne Wafula Strike
Brexit could be catastrophic for disabled people. Everything must be done to ensure we are included at the coming electionThe issue of disability rights has risen socially and culturally in recent years. Politically, however, disabled people remain in the shadows. Austerity has been brutal for disabled people. In 2017 the UN
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I’m a Liberal Democrat candidate – here’s why I’m stepping aside for Labour | Tim Walker 12 Nov 2019, 1:59pm I’m a Liberal Democrat candidate – here’s why I’m stepping aside for Labour | Tim Walker
Some things are bigger than party politics. And with the Tories in an unholy alliance with Farage, it’s time to do what’s rightWhenever I see Barry Gardiner or Mark Francois on television, I realise how much Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson have contributed to the zombification of British politics. Reason, logic and the capacity for independent thought are qualities now pretty much irreconcilable with party allegiance. In the Lib Dems there’s still, I hope, a home for an individual with a conscience. What’s more, ours has always been a grassroots organisation, where it’s ultimately the members who call the shots, which keeps us uniquely in touch with the national psyche.
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Shifting alliances that might swing the election | Letters 12 Nov 2019, 12:39pm Shifting alliances that might swing the election | Letters
Readers respond to Nigel Farage’s decision to stand down Brexit party candidates in Tory-held seats, and the possibility of Labour joining a progressive anti-Brexit pactIs this the new politics that Nigel Farage has been promising at successive elections: no consultation within the Brexit party before announcing the decision to stand down 317 candidates (
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Women with a #MeToo complaint are being silenced for the sake of politics | Gaby Hinsliff 12 Nov 2019, 11:18am Women with a #MeToo complaint are being silenced for the sake of politics | Gaby Hinsliff
Across the spectrum, from the Tories to People’s Vote, women are expected to keep quiet and campaign onLife moves fast in this general election. There seems barely time to digest one scandal before the next is upon us; disgraced candidate follows shady accusation without a break. But just occasionally, it’s worth rewinding for a moment and focusing on the human stories that are trampled in the rush. Women in politics understand the electoral imperative to move on quickly, but wonder why there never seems to be a right time to stop and examine these issues in detail
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Bosnia’s politics are in crisis. But that is reason for the EU to help us, not shut us out | Boriša Falatar 12 Nov 2019, 3:00am Bosnia’s politics are in crisis. But that is reason for the EU to help us, not shut us out | Boriša Falatar
A failed state on the edge of Europe is a bad outcome for everyone. The EU needs to show bravery and visionThe European Union’s recent decision to
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Sánchez’s hubris has smashed Spain’s brittle politics into even smaller pieces | Giles Tremlett 11 Nov 2019, 1:13pm Sánchez’s hubris has smashed Spain’s brittle politics into even smaller pieces | Giles Tremlett
Macho posturing may appeal to Vox voters, but most Spaniards want politicians who will listen and compromiseSpain’s long-running drama of political deadlock and confrontation hit a new register with the catastrophic elections called by acting Socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday. The results are disheartening. For the first time since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain has a far-right party, in Vox, with muscle to match its malice.
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Making up Labour spending figures may backfire on the Tories | Tom Kibasi 11 Nov 2019, 1:08pm Making up Labour spending figures may backfire on the Tories | Tom Kibasi
The numbers may be fictional, but the idea of a break from the old economic order will appeal to many young votersIf there is one lesson of British politics of recent years, it is that politicians underestimate the public’s appetite for change at their peril. So the Tories may yet come to regret dedicating the weekend to promoting a dodgy dossier from the Conservative research department that
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Online politics needs to be cleaned up – but not just by Facebook and Twitter | Lisa-Maria Neudert and Phil Howard 11 Nov 2019, 10:15am Online politics needs to be cleaned up – but not just by Facebook and Twitter | Lisa-Maria Neudert and Phil Howard
Social media platforms do have a role to play, but real change requires political parties to take responsibility
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Trust is a rare commodity in today’s politics. How can we rediscover it? | Rachel Botsman 10 Nov 2019, 2:30am Trust is a rare commodity in today’s politics. How can we rediscover it? | Rachel Botsman
If would-be MPs want to prove they’re worth voting for, they must pass four acid tests... On 12 December, I’ll walk into my polling station and put an “X” next to a candidate and party. It ought to be a potent moment – democracy at the end of a pencil – yet I suspect I’ll leave the booth feeling uneasy, disillusioned and powerless. Why? Because the forthcoming election should be about trust. Instead, it will be driven by fear. Lack of trust in politicians is hardly front-page news, but levels of distrust in Britain are at an all-time high. It leaves the country open to a dangerous “trust vacuum”, where manipulation, emotional truths and sleights of hand can flourish.
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Think you’ll dodge a painful political choice? You’re away with the fairies | Nick Cohen 9 Nov 2019, 1:00pm Think you’ll dodge a painful political choice? You’re away with the fairies | Nick Cohen
We don’t have to live in a NeverNeverLand of politics if we vote wisely at the electionCry #NeverCorbyn. Cry #NeverBrexit and you soon realise Britain is now a #NeverNeverLand of self-cancelling double negatives. The only way, it seems, to stop one extremist in #NeverNeverLand is to vote for another. The only way to save #NeverNeverLand from a rightwing disaster is to vote for a leftwing disaster. If you believe in fairies, Peter Pan says clap your hands and Tinker Bell won’t die. When set against what the British are being asked to believe in the general election campaign, belief in fairies sounds modest. In a plea that might have been made by the anti-fascists of the 1930s, the
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Let’s stop praising men who deign to date women almost their own age | Barbara Ellen 9 Nov 2019, 12:00pm Let’s stop praising men who deign to date women almost their own age | Barbara Ellen
Sexual politics hasn’t really evolved much if Keanu Reeves is hailed as a feministKeanu Reeves comes across as a sweetheart, but I’m not sure he actually deserves a sainthood for
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The Guardian view on electoral pacts | Editorial 7 Nov 2019, 1:43pm The Guardian view on electoral pacts | Editorial
The election agreement between the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru stems from an unfair voting system and the policy failure of the big partiesElectoral pacts remain rare in UK politics; but they are not new. The first Labour MPs arrived in parliament in 1906 after a pact with the Liberals. During the world wars, the main parties observed non-aggression byelection deals. In 1983 and 1987, Liberals and the Social Democratic party struck a general election seats pact. And there have been notable individual constituency deals too. These range from the Oxford byelection in 1938 over the appeasement of Hitler to the Batley and Spen byelection in 2016 after the murder of Jo Cox. In Northern Ireland, tactical withdrawals to give a nationalist or a unionist a clearer run at the other remain commonplace to this day. A slew of new arrangements of this kind are likely to have a big impact in
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Single people are an electoral force in the US. Is the UK following suit? | Gaby Hinsliff 7 Nov 2019, 1:00pm Single people are an electoral force in the US. Is the UK following suit? | Gaby Hinsliff
The trend away from coupledom may be pulling politics inexorably to the leftLately my friends and I have started joking that a commune is the answer. A big old rambling house in the south of France, maybe, with plenty of interesting people to talk to and a cellar full of booze. It’s not quite clear how we will manage the cellar steps, though, given this imaginary commune is for the hopefully distant day when we are old and frail but still desperate to avoid a nursing home. It’s only a daydream really, but for the singletons in our group it perhaps has a more serious side. When you’re young you worry about finding someone to love, but as time goes on the fear is more about who will look after you.
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Boarding schools warp our political class – I know because I went to one | George Monbiot 7 Nov 2019, 1:00am Boarding schools warp our political class – I know because I went to one | George Monbiot
Like Boris Johnson, I was sent away. These are institutions of fear, cruelty and trauma, and they create terrified bulliesThere are two stark facts about British politics. The first is that it is controlled, to a degree unparalleled in any other western European nation, by a tiny, unrepresentative elite. Like almost every aspect of public life here,
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Russian meddling: what has Boris Johnson got to hide? | Letters 6 Nov 2019, 12:55pm Russian meddling: what has Boris Johnson got to hide? | Letters
Readers state their views on the parliamentary report on Russian interference in UK politics that the government is refusing to publishDowning Street’s unexplained refusal to publish the intelligence and security committee (ISC) report on Russian interference in UK politics is not only an outrageous denial of information that voters need to make sound electoral decisions, but has chilling implications for our democracy after the election (
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The Guardian view on Britain’s broken politics: a people’s assembly can heal the wounds | Editorial 5 Nov 2019, 1:25pm The Guardian view on Britain’s broken politics: a people’s assembly can heal the wounds | Editorial
The next government should act upon calls for a constitutional convention to reform our flawed democracy“The world needs a wash and a week’s rest,” wrote WH Auden in his 1947 poem
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The monstrous ugly tangle of Brexit will be ignored in this ‘Brexit election’ | Rafael Behr 5 Nov 2019, 12:34pm The monstrous ugly tangle of Brexit will be ignored in this ‘Brexit election’ | Rafael Behr
British politics has created a situation so toxic that the public cannot bear to look at itThe Conservatives have been in government for nine years, but Boris Johnson seems not to feel the weight of that incumbency. He is seeking his first national mandate as prime minister, so doesn’t see himself as a shop-soiled candidate. But he is asking voters to return his party to office for a third time, and it wasn’t much loved to begin with. Labour has the opposite problem. There is plenty of hunger for a new direction in government, but the appetite is dulled by the sight of Jeremy Corbyn asking to be prime minister. It is risky to serve a dish that the electorate has sent back to the kitchen once already.
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Want an independent Scotland? Then vote for Boris Johnson | Tom Kibasi 5 Nov 2019, 10:05am Want an independent Scotland? Then vote for Boris Johnson | Tom Kibasi
A Tory election victory would cement Brexit grievances, giving heft to the SNP’s case for another referendumIn this election, the smaller parties will play a major role. Just how many voters desert Labour and the Tories for the Liberal Democrats and Brexit party could swing the result in either direction in England. All we know in advance is that volatility is up – and the consequences of four-party politics are hard to predict. But in Scotland things may be somewhat clearer: the nationalists are riding high, as beneficiaries of nearly four years of Brexit chaos in Westminster and the spike in English nationalism that it represents – all serving to advance the SNP’s cause.
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Elections used to bring us solutions. This one won’t | John Harris 4 Nov 2019, 3:49am Updated Elections used to bring us solutions. This one won’t | John Harris
In the confusion of today’s cynical politics, where scandal and lies seem to be priced in, nothing is ever achieved From the politicians who reluctantly voted for it, to the millions who must now make a choice and cast their vote, everybody surely knows it: this is a very, very weird election. I mean that not just in terms of the borderline absurd timing, nor the sense that it will not resolve the fundamentals of Brexit, but much deeper tensions and contradictions. Large chunks of the public seem weary, and ill-disposed to both main parties; to ask a lot of people who they might vote for is to invite long sighs and eye-rolls, and suggestions that the whole thing is ridiculous. It has always been the case that when politicians, party activists and the media dissolve in excitement and passion, most people tend to keep their distance. But now the gap is so big, and political outcomes seemingly so random, that there is a resulting sense of big events happening almost by accident.
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Abuse, threats, vile colleagues… why would you want to be an MP? | Catherine Bennett 3 Nov 2019, 2:30am Abuse, threats, vile colleagues… why would you want to be an MP? | Catherine Bennett
The current exodus of first-rate female MPs is an indictment of politics in Britain today Wanted: men – and women – who are comfortable around misogyny. We are looking for strong, confident, disagreeable characters who enjoy verbal abuse, exchanging insults, and predominantly male company. Must be able to point and shout and use a smartphone. A diagnosis of narcissism will be considered an advantage, a proven lack of empathy is essential. Are you an angry white person with a history of insulting and socially transgressive behaviour? Then a career as an MP is waiting for you, starting salary £79,468 basic + expenses. No qualifications, references or previous experience necessary. Start date ASAP. Apply to your local political party quoting ref #GE19. The abuse of female politicians by online persecutors is supplemented by more crafted insults from media professionals
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Johnson’s populism has given the Tories a lifeline – but they are running out of ideas | Andy Beckett 2 Nov 2019, 2:00am Johnson’s populism has given the Tories a lifeline – but they are running out of ideas | Andy Beckett
After almost a decade in government, the party has nothing left to offer but a tired conservatism Since Boris Johnson became prime minister there’s been a quiet dread on the left, and a less quiet excitement on the right, that the Tories have found a new magic formula – one that will renew their nine-year-old government. A cartoonishly charismatic leader, a shameless softening of austerity, populist attacks on liberals and the nationalist adventure of Brexit: all this has been carefully calculated, the fear goes, so that the Conservatives can sweep out of their southern English heartlands and into the electorally decisive north and Midlands. Predictions of an imminent Tory breakthrough and new ascendancy are familiar in British politics – it’s arguably the commentariat’s default analysis. Only two years ago, Theresa May’s combination of tut-tutting provincial conservatism and disapproval of the worst aspects of capitalism briefly persuaded many observers, from the editor of the Daily Mail,
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The Guardian view on political advertising: time to regulate it, Mr Zuckerberg | Editorial 1 Nov 2019, 2:30pm The Guardian view on political advertising: time to regulate it, Mr Zuckerberg | Editorial
Facebook’s power over what users see gives it potential for immense influence on politics. Democratic oversight must be strengthenedThe
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The bedroom tax is still ruining lives. Its victims need to know they matter | Frances Ryan 31 Oct 2019, 4:00am The bedroom tax is still ruining lives. Its victims need to know they matter | Frances Ryan
The cruelties of ‘welfare reform’ have not gone away. As the election looms, politicians must shift their focus beyond Brexit “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip papers” is a saying long used to soothe celebrities facing scandal, but increasingly it’s one that could just as easily describe British politics. In this era of Brexit-mania, a headline declaring major breaking news is barely published before a new turn of events makes it instantly out of date. But as the nation – and the media – prepares for what will be the most febrile election campaign in a generation, it means some of the most serious issues facing the country are being forgotten. I’d call it a kind of political amnesia. Millions of families endure turmoil at the hands of government polices – yet as the years pass, those policies barely get a mention in news reports any more.
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Boris Johnson has inadvertently taught us the greatest skill in politics: compromise | Martin Kettle 31 Oct 2019, 2:00am Boris Johnson has inadvertently taught us the greatest skill in politics: compromise | Martin Kettle
The prime minister’s failure to get his way has been an inspiring case study in the limits imposed by a hung parliamentBefore we all charge off into the electoral unknown, let us remember some realities that are at risk of being left behind in the rush. In the 30 years before 2010, no British general election produced a hung parliament. In the nine years since 2010, two have done so. Nothing about this is predictive for 12 December. But it is clearly within the bounds of possibility that there could be a third hung parliament – and a fourth Conservative government in this decade without an overall majority. “Single-party government is the British norm,” wrote the political scientist David Butler in a 1978 book,
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People are passionate about politics again – and they want radical solutions | Owen Jones 30 Oct 2019, 1:28pm People are passionate about politics again – and they want radical solutions | Owen Jones
Labour needs to exude optimism in this election campaign, rather than focus on the misery of Tory austerityFor two and a half years, British politics has been a pantomime played out in the corridors and boardrooms of Westminster and Brussels. The electorate has barely managed to press their noses against the glass and peer in: much of the Brexit debacle has unfolded out of sight and scrutiny. Instead, ever since Boris Johnson’s ascent to the premiership, the country has effectively been treated to a one-sided general election campaign; the opposition has been all but squeezed out of media coverage. All of this now changes: the spectators can storm the stage. In the 00s, it was often claimed that
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Assisted dying laws are in need of review | Letters 30 Oct 2019, 12:42pm Assisted dying laws are in need of review | Letters
A cross-party group of more than 20 MPs calls on the Ministry of Justice to examine the effects of the ban on assisted suicideIn this time of divisive politics, we are rarely afforded the opportunity to support a proposal that cannot, or should not, be opposed by anyone of any political belief. When it comes to assisted dying, it remains a divisive issue that not even all the signatories of this letter agree on. But as parliamentarians we must make policy decisions based on robust evidence. MPs from across the House of Commons have repeatedly asked the Ministry of Justice to look at the effects of the current blanket ban on assisted dying and how it is enforced. This week we heard from a group of police and crime commissioners who have now also called on the government to examine the consequences of section 2 of the 1961 Suicide Act, which criminally implicates anyone providing assistance to someone to die. We know from cases such as
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Voters aren’t exhausted by politics, they’re eager to have their say in an election | Lawrence McKay 30 Oct 2019, 6:58am Voters aren’t exhausted by politics, they’re eager to have their say in an election | Lawrence McKay
Contrary to what Westminster seems to believe, Brexit has made the electorate more engaged with the issues of the dayIn politics, feelings are powerful. We are used to the idea that politicians can harness our anger, or our fear, to get us to believe certain things and behave in certain ways. But more and more, it is not our anger or fear that politicians appeal to, but our exhaustion. Exhaustion has become a rhetorical weapon for both sides of the Brexit divide: from some Brexiteers embracing the slogan
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The Guardian view on the politics of ageing: don’t let our towns grow old | Editorial 28 Oct 2019, 2:19pm The Guardian view on the politics of ageing: don’t let our towns grow old | Editorial
The average age in UK cities is getting younger, while in smaller places the opposite is true. This could create an unwelcome new divideBritain is ageing badly. Or at least without paying due care and attention to a demographic revolution that may be more destabilising than is generally understood. The fact that we are living longer is common knowledge. According to
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The long Brexit ordeal will finish off the break-up of Britain | Neal Ascherson 27 Oct 2019, 3:32pm The long Brexit ordeal will finish off the break-up of Britain | Neal Ascherson
The referendum didn’t so much create new divisions as rediscover old ones – but three years of wrangling have broken the bonds of unionThis is the sound of British politics. A crescendo rumble, a deafening crash, a four-letter word. The blond skateboard king from behind the cycle shed, his shirt-tails flapping, has fallen off yet again. Unfortunately, the cracked pavement under his wheels is called Britain, or optimistically the United Kingdom, and he and his mates have been pounding it to destruction for more than three years. In that time, the Brexit ordeal has changed Britain. Not as much as some think. Many of these changes, above all the English sense of powerlessness and resentment of elites, were already gathering speed 10 years ago, as Europe and the world crawled out of the banking disaster. Brexit disputes only accelerated them. The 2016 referendum didn’t so much create new divisions within England as rediscover old ones, especially in its aftermath. It was almost laughable that so few remain voters knew a leaver, or vice versa. England is still a country astonishingly segregated by class, by location, by attitudes towards power and privilege. Before the last war ended, the doomed fighter pilot
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The Observer view on Boris Johnson undermining British politics | Observer editorial 27 Oct 2019, 1:30am The Observer view on Boris Johnson undermining British politics | Observer editorial
The prime minister’s behaviour is doing a grave disservice to democracy All the laws, rules and procedures that govern our politics cannot disguise a simple truth. Democracy can’t simply be enforced by the courts, imposed with ballot boxes, fulfilled by the marking of a cross. It relies on an honour code: the tacit agreement by those who take part that they will cherish and abide by its principles; that the majority, if not all, of its participants will act in good faith, criticising their opponents on points of substance but not seeking to undermine democracy’s constitutional underpinnings. What is happening in Britain today shows how extraordinarily quickly the rot can set in. Our political honour code is breaking down, unleashing a race to the bottom that the good men and women who sit in parliament can only watch unfold with horror. The most frightening thing is that we do not yet know where this road ends; it is entirely conceivable that things will get worse before they get better. What started with the 2016 European referendum campaign, which unleashed a decades-long Conservative civil war into the open, has culminated in that party imposing a prime minister on Britain who thinks nothing of adopting the delegitimisation of our sovereign parliament as a political campaign strategy.
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The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s election demand: MPs should call his bluff | Editorial 24 Oct 2019, 2:16pm The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s election demand: MPs should call his bluff | Editorial
There is no good reason to commit to an early general election when parliament has not yet considered the withdrawal agreement bill in detail. First things firstBoris Johnson is the playground bully of British politics. He acts as if he is prime minister with a majority in parliament when in fact he has no majority. Because he cannot govern in that way with parliament, he has tried instead to govern against parliament. The delusion that he can do as he pleases led him to try to prorogue parliament this autumn – a bluff that was called by the supreme court. It then led him to concoct a fantasy legislative agenda by commissioning a Queen’s speech, though none of its measures will ever become law. Now he is trying to make his Brexit withdrawal bill conditional on the Commons agreeing to
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Johnson’s Brexit is in sight. But he’ll still have to make concessions to parliament | Martin Kettle 23 Oct 2019, 2:04pm Johnson’s Brexit is in sight. But he’ll still have to make concessions to parliament | Martin Kettle
Tuesday night’s chaotic votes show Johnson is wrong to berate MPs – in the end, they may deliver the deal he wantsIt is almost as easy to lose your bearings amid the furious churning of the Brexit crisis as it is to get lost in in the fog of battle. Fresh Brexit preoccupations succeed one another chaotically, and with dizzying speed. Tuesday’s votes at Westminster exemplified this mercurial and even hysterical quality in our politics. A
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The Guardian view on the Trump impeachment inquiry: he isn’t the only one lowering standards | Editorial 23 Oct 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on the Trump impeachment inquiry: he isn’t the only one lowering standards | Editorial
Testimony on the US president’s dealings with Ukraine reminds us that his enablers are just as culpable for the diminishment of the highest office in the landRepublicans push the bar ever lower. This president still cannot clear it. Even a month ago, Democrats were at pains to stress that a request for foreign interference in domestic politics was impeachable in and of itself, whether or not
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Yeah but, no but: Politics Weekly podcast 23 Oct 2019, 12:53pm Yeah but, no but: Politics Weekly podcast
Heather Stewart is joined by Polly Toynbee, Jill Rutter and Tom McTague to discuss what Boris Johnson will do after parliament voted to reject his timetable for the passage of the Brexit withdrawal bill. Peter Walker also reports on who’s in the running to be the next Speaker of the House of Commons Parliament giveth, and parliament taketh away. On Tuesday night, Boris Johnson managed to do something Theresa May never could – he got a Brexit deal passed by parliament. Almost immediately after, that same parliament voted down his motion to fast-track said deal through in time for next week’s 31 October deadline.
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Little by little, big tech’s veneer of invincibility is starting to crack | John Harris 21 Oct 2019, 1:00am Little by little, big tech’s veneer of invincibility is starting to crack | John Harris
Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are rattled. And two women, one on each side of the Atlantic, are leading the way Just for a moment, let us pull our eyes away from Brexit and focus instead on two interwoven stories about how the world has gone wrong, and what it might take to start to put it right. At the centre of each is a woman who has set herself against the male-dominated corporations we collectively know as big tech. What is happening is about high politics and the grind of government rather than street-level noise and mass activism, which is maybe why it still seems overlooked. The frontrunner in the US Democratic party’s crowded nomination contest seems to be the Massachusetts senator
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The spectre of Syria silenced Arab protest. But now it’s finding its voice | Nesrine Malik 21 Oct 2019, 1:00am The spectre of Syria silenced Arab protest. But now it’s finding its voice | Nesrine Malik
Dissent in the face of rampant corruption is no longer being dampened by pointing to the failures of the Arab spring There is a bogeyman that haunts the Arab world. Its spectre looms large and sinister over Arab politics. Its arrival is threatened, like a curse, as a warning by parents to precocious children when they misbehave. Its name is Syria. A suppurating wound that will not heal, the Syrian civil war continues to bleed lives, and draw in neighbours and allies involved in their own proxy battles. Just as it seems one front is closed, a twist restarts hostilities – the latest involving a capricious US president and an insecure Turkish one, with the Kurds in northern Syria
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We as MPs need to come together to get Brexit done – and move on 18 Oct 2019, 12:07pm We as MPs need to come together to get Brexit done – and move on
Pride needs to be swallowed and colleagues of all stripes need to vote for a deal on Saturday Last month, we came together with colleagues across the house to find a middle ground between the extremes of no deal and a second referendum. Our mission was to give a voice to the silent majority – both in parliament and across the country – a voice to those who respect the result of the referendum, and who want us to leave with a deal and move on. When our constituents tell us they are fed up of politics, and tired of Brexit, we can understand where they are coming from. They tell us we are focused on the wrong things, our priorities are all wrong, and that the issues they care about have been cast aside by the Brexit distraction.
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When it comes to politics, the UK suffers from a chronic disease. It’s called satire | Stuart Jeffries 18 Oct 2019, 9:20am When it comes to politics, the UK suffers from a chronic disease. It’s called satire | Stuart Jeffries
Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week invite audiences to laugh at what they don’t have the gumption to changeSatire props up what it should destroy. Chris Morris, a satirist himself, understands this as well as anyone. “Satire placates the court,” he told Jon Snow on
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Why China fears sending the tanks into Hong Kong | Howard W French 16 Oct 2019, 1:00am Why China fears sending the tanks into Hong Kong | Howard W French
A crackdown could alienate the mainland’s middle class and damage Xi Jinping’s standing Two decades ago, many scholars began predicting that as China’s creation of wealth continued to speed ahead, the country would cross a threshold. Once a substantial new middle class had been created, they reasoned, politics would tip decisively in a more participatory, possibly even democratic, direction. But while robust economic growth continued, the first decade of this century came and went with no severe challenge to China’s authoritarian model. And under China’s present leader, Xi Jinping, who took office in 2013, it has only become more entrenched: last year he changed the longstanding
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How Macron discovered the soft power of the working class | Christophe Guilluy 15 Oct 2019, 7:29am How Macron discovered the soft power of the working class | Christophe Guilluy
The French president has realised that those who have been ignored for too long are the ones pulling populists’ strings“Progressive politics is doomed if it exists only to promote the interests of the middle classes,” French president
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Invoking the spectre of rioting is an insult to those who voted Leave | Bridget Phillipson 13 Oct 2019, 5:30am Invoking the spectre of rioting is an insult to those who voted Leave | Bridget Phillipson
The tactics of the Johnson administration in its Brexit briefings leave a foul tasteUsing the threat of other people’s criminal violence to demand you get your way is despicable from anyone. It is the politics of the protection racket. It’s not, sadly, altogether unusual these days, but what’s new in recent weeks is threefold. First, these threats are coming directly from government. Not from the prime minister on the record, but anonymously, from “senior sources” and “No 10 briefings”. These threats are then being given credibility by widespread dissemination – in print, on broadcast and, above all, online – by journalists who might do well to question whether they should be broadcasting or printing such comprehensive statements to which no one is prepared to put their name.
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Brexit’s legacy for England will be politics as sectarian as Northern Ireland’s | Martin Kettle 10 Oct 2019, 1:00am Brexit’s legacy for England will be politics as sectarian as Northern Ireland’s | Martin Kettle
How people vote in a forthcoming UK election will depend almost entirely on whether they favour leave or remain You could call it Ireland’s sweet revenge, and both the timing and the irony would be historically exquisite. It would come just as Boris Johnson’s reckless government tries to bully Dublin on future Irish customs arrangements and as large parts of the Tory party salivate for a no-deal Brexit that will cast the
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The fantasy of a ‘national unity government’ is a gift to Brexiters | Tom Kibasi 7 Oct 2019, 1:22pm The fantasy of a ‘national unity government’ is a gift to Brexiters | Tom Kibasi
Remainers should be careful what they wish for: a government without public legitimacy will surely lose a second referendumAs politics descends into deeper chaos, more and more of those in Westminster have taken retreat in the imagination of their hearts. The unending speculation about a so-called “
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Britain is less polarised than the media would have us believe | John Harris 7 Oct 2019, 2:00am Britain is less polarised than the media would have us believe | John Harris
In Milton Keynes I found few signs of the Brexit culture war that supposedly defines our times Last week I spent four days in Milton Keynes, the Buckinghamshire new town that sits in the English imagination as a byword for modernist architecture, endless roundabouts, and the fact that many of us still think that anything remotely futuristic is best sniggered at. The Conservatives’ conference provided the mood music; in between nights spent in a short-let, new-build house in the neighbourhood of Bletchley, I drove and wandered around business districts and ever-expanding housing developments, trying to get a sense of where the country has arrived. Contrary to the received idea of the place as somewhere strange and almost unique, Milton Keynes reflects English politics in imperfect microcosm. Though it has two Tory MPs,
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Pork politics and the Spanish Inquisition | Letter 6 Oct 2019, 12:33pm Pork politics and the Spanish Inquisition | Letter
The Spanish prime minister is in trouble over ham, but in past centuries much more than political reputation could be at risk when it came to pork, says
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Boris Johnson is still gambling on winning his Brexit blame game | Andrew Rawnsley 6 Oct 2019, 3:00am Boris Johnson is still gambling on winning his Brexit blame game | Andrew Rawnsley
As he squirms in a trap of his own making, the prime minister is desperate to turn the fury of thwarted Leavers on to a divided oppositionVery often, what matters in politics is not how you play the game, but how you place the blame. No one knows this better than Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. His career would have been terminated long ago did he not possess a talent for wriggling out of responsibility for his behaviour in both his personal and political life. The biographer of Margaret Thatcher, Charles Moore, who once employed him as a journalist, sometimes refers to Mr Johnson as “the greased albino piglet”. We are now entering the most intense round of the Brexit blame game. For three years, Remainers have pointed infuriated fingers at Mr Johnson and the other frontmen of the Leave campaign for flogging a bogus prospectus that Brexit would be a painless “piece of cake”, not never-ending agony. Since it cannot be the Brexiters’ fault that their promises have not been fulfilled, they must find someone else to blame and that would be intransigent Europeans, obstructive parliamentarians, quisling civil servants and meddling judges. With less than a month to go before the Halloween deadline, and an election hovering on the horizon as well, the issue of culpability is going to become even more fiercely contested. We approach the endgame of the blame game.
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Why I’m backing the PM’s plan to break the logjam over Brexit | Nicky Morgan 5 Oct 2019, 2:55pm Why I’m backing the PM’s plan to break the logjam over Brexit | Nicky Morgan
The EU needs to take a serious look at No 10’s proposal, talk to us, and negotiate a deal that works If I’ve learned anything in the past three years, it is that many MPs seem to have forgotten that “politics is the art of the possible”. I know some people may have been surprised when I took a role in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, but what the critics miss is that there is nothing ultimately to be gained for our country or our constituents in any of us remaining stuck in our views from three years ago. It has been clear for months that the current Brexit situation simply cannot continue and that an end to this first phase must be found.
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Britain was complacent about the far right. Now it’s out in force 5 Oct 2019, 1:00am Britain was complacent about the far right. Now it’s out in force
Oswald Mosley was banned from the BBC. His modern successors have no such problems finding a platform Once upon a time, the BBC banned fascists from its broadcasts. In 1935, when Oswald Mosley’s British Union was near its peak of popularity, organising rallies and marches across the country, the corporation stopped allowing him to appear on its programmes. The ban, unofficially supported by successive Conservative, Labour and coalition governments, lasted 33 years. Its rationale was straightforward: Mosley’s views were too extreme, his supporters too threatening, and his admiration for foreign authoritarians too strong for him to be allowed a prominent place in the national discourse. A line was drawn between what was acceptable and unacceptable in rightwing politics, and Mosley was on the wrong side of it. By the time the prohibition was lifted, in 1968, he was a bitter old man.
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Hitchhiker’s guide to fixing global heating | Brief letters 1 Oct 2019, 1:08pm Hitchhiker’s guide to fixing global heating | Brief letters
Treating flu | Doorstep politics | Douglas Adams | Tea or dinner?Can David Cox advise on how I can time travel back to pre-2010? This would enable me to follow his advice to get a doctor’s appointment and an antiviral prescription within 48 hours of noticing flu symptoms (
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Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson’s rightwing populism | Chantal Mouffe 1 Oct 2019, 1:00am Centrist politics will not defeat Boris Johnson’s rightwing populism | Chantal Mouffe
Democratic politics always involves ‘us’ against ‘them’ – so the way to fight the populist right is to build a bigger ‘us’ In his determination to deliver Brexit “
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Boris Johnson groping a woman’s thigh? I can believe that | Suzanne Moore 30 Sep 2019, 12:41pm Boris Johnson groping a woman’s thigh? I can believe that | Suzanne Moore
The prime minister denies Charlotte Edwardes’ allegations. But his sexual incontinence is hardly a secretI believe Charlotte Edwardes had her thigh squeezed by the prime minister because I have been round the block myself. Not his particular block, let me hasten to add, although I have been on press trips with Boris Johnson when he was a “journalist”. Any woman who has reported on politics will have experienced the underhand leg manoeuvre. At one conference dinner, I had it from both sides simultaneously. I pulled their hands together under the table so that they were fondling each other. It was the least I could do. They both twitched slightly, and then everyone carried on discussing the decline of the “proper” family. Johnson denies Edwardes’ allegations, but his sexual incontinence is not news. We know full well how he treats the women around him; how easily he betrays them. He cannot tell us how many children he has. All of this is presumably “priced in” and part of his incomprehensible “charm”. Also accepted, somehow, by broadcasters is his whiff-whaff lies. We now need contemporaneous factchecking. Half of what Johnson said to Andrew Marr on Sunday was demonstrably untrue. Forty new hospitals? Patent rubbish.
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I used to think Boris Johnson could get a Brexit deal. Not after last week | Simon Jenkins 29 Sep 2019, 11:13am I used to think Boris Johnson could get a Brexit deal. Not after last week | Simon Jenkins
Under the spell of Dominic Cummings, he offers only robotic slogans. Now, like his predecessor, he may fail to leave the EUI cannot recall a more critical week in British politics. It will decide whether parliament, the law and public opinion can hold the prime minister, Boris Johnson, to account, or whether a new poison has entered public life. We need constantly to remember that Britain faces no menace to its security or prosperity. It could by now be outside the EU with agreed terms of trade. This crisis is entirely the outcome of one man’s device to seize control of his party. From the moment Johnson began his final climb to power, his appeal has been crudely populist. He has discarded the core Tory tradition of fiscal probity with a welter of
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We were told capitalism had won. But now workers can take back control | Grace Blakeley 29 Sep 2019, 10:52am We were told capitalism had won. But now workers can take back control | Grace Blakeley
Class politics is reemerging in response to the huge inequality caused by the 2008 crash. And it’s time to take on the CityBefore the financial crisis of 2008 it was widely assumed class politics was dead. A rising tide, we were told, would lift all boats. In fact, unprecedented levels of credit creation and rising asset prices obscured the growing gap between the 1% and the rest. Now the bubble has burst, it is obvious whose interests are served by our economic model – and the class divides are sharpening once again. In 1992, Francis Fukuyama declared that history had ended, and capitalism was the last man standing. Margaret Thatcher had already stated that “there is no alternative” to the
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To honour Jo Cox’s memory, we need new standards of behaviour 28 Sep 2019, 4:02pm To honour Jo Cox’s memory, we need new standards of behaviour
The murdered MP’s sister and the CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation respond to parliament’s week of toxic language We cannot go on like this. The poison and intolerance that has infected our national political debate has to be excised. If we cannot find a way to restore some respect and responsibility to our politics the implications will be serious, not just for those in and around Westminster but for all of us. MPs know this. From all sides last week we have been reminded how much distress and harm ill-chosen words can inflict. Not just to those in the thick of the debate, but to their families, their staff and volunteers.
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The Guardian view on Brexit divisions: a week that reset the dial | Editorial 27 Sep 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on Brexit divisions: a week that reset the dial | Editorial
Boris Johnson’s response to the supreme court’s verdict is designed to polarise British politics even further than beforeThis week British politics has been convulsed in ways for which there are few modern comparisons. So dramatic and polarising have these events been that an effort of will is required even to recall the political assumptions that applied before the supreme court changed everything on Tuesday. That effort is nevertheless necessary, because it helps to clarify what has happened and to understand its significance. Until Lady Hale delivered the supreme court’s
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The media find the drama in parliament irresistible. But real politics is happening elsewhere | Jack Shenker 27 Sep 2019, 1:00am The media find the drama in parliament irresistible. But real politics is happening elsewhere | Jack Shenker
News coverage of today’s political crisis begins and ends in Westminster. There’s a bigger picture that we’re missing At this year’s London Marathon, a runner dressed as Big Ben
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The Guardian view on language in politics: playing with fire | Editorial 26 Sep 2019, 1:46pm The Guardian view on language in politics: playing with fire | Editorial
With his contemptuous dismissal of colleagues’ fears of violence, the prime minister has sunk to a new lowThe risk that politicians, other public figures or ordinary people taking part in political activities could be physically attacked is the most urgent but not the only reason to be alarmed by the divisive stance adopted by the prime minister following the supreme court ruling against him. With every
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The Guardian view on Brexit politics: arsenic in the water supply | Editorial 25 Sep 2019, 2:02pm The Guardian view on Brexit politics: arsenic in the water supply | Editorial
The Conservative party must end its embrace of radical populism, which is pouring poison into the national debateBritain is five weeks away from the ruinous and dangerous position of leaving the European Union without a deal. There is no sign of the country having made any progress towards getting one. Boris Johnson did not meet the 30-day
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Party conferences are all that is wrong with politics | Suzanne Moore 24 Sep 2019, 2:00am Party conferences are all that is wrong with politics | Suzanne Moore
With the party system in collapse, conference season is a depressing spectacle. Couldn’t we just skip it? What happens at a party conference that can’t happen in real life? I often wonder. I’ve been to loads of the damn things, so you might think that, by now, I would have an inkling. In the olden days, I used to think the conferences were for the delegates. They work hard all year on their weird hobby: politics. Why should they not get a few days by the seaside? They deserve a hotel, a fling, a dance on a sticky carpet in the name of making the world a better place . Yet, apart from Brighton (London by the Sea), the seaside towns don’t have what slick party machines need any more. The conference halls are not big enough, the accommodation is too smelly and the food isn’t what many of our MPs have come to expect.
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If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them | Greta Thunberg 23 Sep 2019, 10:38am If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them | Greta Thunberg
We are in the middle of a climate breakdown, and all they can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growthThis is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
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She holds the key to the Brexit deadlock. But will Arlene Foster dare use it? | Katy Hayward 22 Sep 2019, 9:19am She holds the key to the Brexit deadlock. But will Arlene Foster dare use it? | Katy Hayward
Improbably, the DUP leader finds herself with the power to change the course of European historyYou may not realise it, but Arlene Foster is one of the most powerful politicians in contemporary Europe. In the bizarre and tumultuous state of British politics, this fact is one that will stand among the most historically significant. It is an extraordinary situation. Foster is a member of a regional legislative assembly that hasn’t sat for
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What is it about Britain that has produced such a litany of failed leaders? | Will Hutton 22 Sep 2019, 4:00am What is it about Britain that has produced such a litany of failed leaders? | Will Hutton
Today’s Tory and Labour politicians lack the will of their predecessors to reach out to others across the social divide Britain faces a crisis of political leadership. Neither the right nor the left of politics is capable of throwing up a figure who can bind their respective coalitions together and sustain parliamentary majorities best to navigate Brexit or Remain and their aftermath. Faith in parliamentary democracy is plummeting; belief in strongman politics is rising; the view that there is an elite, of which the political class is a member, intent only on feathering its own nest and pursuing its own sectarian interests, is widespread.
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Boris Johnson’s confrontation: don’t lose sight of the real story | Kenan Malik 22 Sep 2019, 2:00am Boris Johnson’s confrontation: don’t lose sight of the real story | Kenan Malik
The PM’s hospital encounter led to an online frenzy while the state of the NHS was forgotten ‘The problem with politicians and political activists is that they are trapped in their own little bubbles.” If there’s one complaint that defines our age, it’s the accusation that those involved in politics are too removed from “real” people. The trouble is, when political activists show that they have the same concerns as everybody else, the complaint gets turned on its head. “But that’s not a real person, that’s a political activist.” So it was with the confrontation last week between Boris Johnson and
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The Queen above politics? Not when Cameron and Johnson come calling | Nick Cohen 21 Sep 2019, 1:30pm The Queen above politics? Not when Cameron and Johnson come calling | Nick Cohen
She broke convention over independence for Scotland. She could do it again over BrexitThe Queen is a sham head of state. She cannot act as a constitutional president and force rival politicians to look for ways out of a national emergency. She cannot insist that the prime minister obeys the rules, because there are too few rules in Britain and too many woozy, unenforceable conventions. Elizabeth II’s strength came from being “above politics”. Now even that pose – how can a head of state be above politics? – has been exposed, as Buckingham Palace’s “
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We MPs know that Boris Johnson’s rhetoric is dangerous and divisive | Tracy Brabin and Jack Dromey 21 Sep 2019, 10:14am We MPs know that Boris Johnson’s rhetoric is dangerous and divisive | Tracy Brabin and Jack Dromey
The current loss of civility in politics is alarming because the repercussions will be felt in the real worldAs members of parliament, we have borne witness to a change in the way in which politics is conducted in this country that deeply concerns us. Of course, politics can involve heated debate and there is no doubt that we have both been involved in fiery and impassioned exchanges over the course of our political lives. Politics involves important decisions that can have life-changing impacts and it is unsurprising that such debates and discussions involve emotion on the part of those involved.
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The language of Brexit ‘betrayal’ is poisoning politics | Jonathan Lis 21 Sep 2019, 3:00am The language of Brexit ‘betrayal’ is poisoning politics | Jonathan Lis
A puritanical culture war has taken hold in which compromise is regarded as treasonFor a few weeks it was all going well for the so-called remain alliance. As Boris Johnson strained every sinew to facilitate the most damaging Brexit possible, bitter opponents Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson teamed up with other party leaders to force,
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Even bankers are starting to think Corbyn might be the safe choice now | Andy Beckett 21 Sep 2019, 1:00am Even bankers are starting to think Corbyn might be the safe choice now | Andy Beckett
Faced with the Tories’ no-deal extremism and a glaring crisis in capitalism, the financial establishment is losing its fear of a radical Labour government Beneath all the noise of Brexit, an unexpected question is being quietly asked in British politics as an election nears. Is a Jeremy Corbyn government actually the safe option? If you’ve been persuaded by the years of warnings from most of the media and countless politicians that such a government would be extreme, chaotic, authoritarian and doomed to failure, you may find this question ridiculous. If you’re still a Corbynista, then the notion of him as a stabilising premier for today’s turbulent Britain may be equally absurd. For many believers, the whole point of Corbynism has been the possibility that it might lead to “the most radical government in British history”, as the leftwing theorist and activist Jeremy Gilbert
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The EU takes back control – Politics Weekly podcast 19 Sep 2019, 12:07pm The EU takes back control – Politics Weekly podcast
Heather Stewart is joined by Polly Toynbee, Ryan Shorthouse and Stewart Wood to discuss the latest on the supreme court prorogation hearing and Brexit negotiations, as well as party conference season As the supreme court grapples with the question of whether Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was justified or not, the EU is still grappling with prime minister’s mystifying position on Brexit. Now it looks as though the EU’s patience has finally worn thin. On Tuesday, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, and Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, set a two-week deadline to table a plan for replacing the Irish backstop.
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The climate crisis isn’t just causing extreme weather. It’s fuelling extreme politics, too | Nick Lowles 19 Sep 2019, 6:54am The climate crisis isn’t just causing extreme weather. It’s fuelling extreme politics, too | Nick Lowles
The far right is exploiting divisions created by climate breakdown. This must be challengedIn the past three weeks, we took the pulse of citizens in eight countries in the Americas and western Europe whose governments will prove critically important to global efforts to tackle the climate emergency.
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How a parent’s bid to save their school exposes the rotten core of our democracy | Aditya Chakrabortty 18 Sep 2019, 1:00am How a parent’s bid to save their school exposes the rotten core of our democracy | Aditya Chakrabortty
This battle shines a light on the Whitehall takeover of our education system – a rehearsal for the trashing of parliamentary normsSome defenders of democracy tog themselves up in suits, joust over case law and star on the teatime news. Others raise two boys single-handedly in a market town in Essex, carry a smartphone with a perma-cracked screen, and do their best work in the dead of the night when the kids have gone to bed and there’s finally a bit of peace and quiet. Like Shaunagh Roberts. Roberts doesn’t hang out in courtrooms and can’t quote Latin, yet her battle shines as bright a light on our corroded politics as any case in the
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Why the EU should stick to the Brexit deadline and rule out any extensions | Cas Mudde 17 Sep 2019, 5:00am Why the EU should stick to the Brexit deadline and rule out any extensions | Cas Mudde
Brussels has been suffering from a London syndrome since the initial shock of the EU referendum in 2016. Now it is high time to move on British politics is in turmoil … again. Since 52% of the Brits who voted in the referendum opted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016, British politics has been essentially a single-issue game. But so has European politics. This is why, irrespective of whether and when new British elections will be held, the EU should reject any possibility of further extending the 31 October Brexit deadline. A new extension of another few months only makes sense if a clear and realistic solution is just a matter of time. However, more than three years after the referendum vote, the UK remains deeply divided, at both the mass and the elite level.
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Cameron may have fought Brexit. But it was his policies that made it happen | John Harris 16 Sep 2019, 1:00am Cameron may have fought Brexit. But it was his policies that made it happen | John Harris
Though he now styles himself as the failed pioneer of a softer politics, he can’t escape responsibility for austerityHere he comes, wielding the delayed memoirs that will finally go on sale on Thursday, about to star in the
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I left Russia to escape Putin’s assault on reason. Now I fear the UK is on the same path | Peter Pomarentsev 14 Sep 2019, 2:21pm I left Russia to escape Putin’s assault on reason. Now I fear the UK is on the same path | Peter Pomarentsev
We need to develop a more collaborative political discourse, built on facts, not spinNothing is true and everything is possible. That was my one-line attempt to sum up the politics and propaganda that enveloped Russia at the start of the 21st century. It was a world where politicians no longer cared whether they were caught lying; where old ideologies were dead and conspiracy thinking had become the new way to explain the world; where all the old political categories (socialist and liberal, conservative and communist) seemed utterly meaningless and it was unclear what political parties stood for; where warped nostalgia and vague emotive calls to “Raise Russia From Its Knees” had taken over from any rational idea of the future. The same pathologies of public opinion I saw in Putinist Russia are now prevalent here
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Students, this is your chance to get Boris Johnson and the Tories out. Here’s how | Laura Parker 14 Sep 2019, 6:30am Students, this is your chance to get Boris Johnson and the Tories out. Here’s how | Laura Parker
Momentum’s new website will help young people to make their votes count in target marginals British politics may feel like it’s in flux – with
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The Guardian view on a children’s manifesto: families need more from ministers | Editorial 12 Sep 2019, 1:31pm The Guardian view on a children’s manifesto: families need more from ministers | Editorial
Opening schools at weekends for sports activities is one of a list of demands to which politicians should pay attentionChildren, says the government-appointed commissioner charged with representing their interests in England, lack a voice in politics. As a result, their interests are too often “subjugated to the interests of others”, or lost down the cracks between departments. The
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The Lib Dems’ plan to revoke article 50 is as undemocratic as the race to no deal | Stephen Kinnock 10 Sep 2019, 1:24pm The Lib Dems’ plan to revoke article 50 is as undemocratic as the race to no deal | Stephen Kinnock
Jo Swinson’s position polarises politics further. Only a deal that represents the referendum result can break the deadlockToday the Liberal Democrats have moved from being a party supporting a second referendum on EU membership to one that simply wants parliament to
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‘The United States is broken as hell’ – the division in politics over race and class 9 Sep 2019, 2:00am ‘The United States is broken as hell’ – the division in politics over race and class
In the final part of our series on the American left we look at how marginalized groups in America are now asserting themselves “However rebellious children may be, they have their parents’ genes; American radicals are Americans,” wrote the late radical
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Politics should be about getting things done – not creating drama | Kenan Malik 8 Sep 2019, 1:00am Politics should be about getting things done – not creating drama | Kenan Malik
Boris Johnson may be more entertaining than the last PM but what is he achieving?A prime minister willing to die in a ditch. A machiavellian adviser snared by his own ambition. Bloodletting and purges. Brothers falling out. An opposition leader trapped by his own indecision. It’s been a week of high political drama. Journalists and politicians have revelled in the brinkmanship, the bluffs, the clash of characters, the arcane plots. There will no doubt be a TV drama. And probably a David Hare play, too.
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The law must step in to fill the gap left by a wounded parliament | Nick Cohen 7 Sep 2019, 1:00pm The law must step in to fill the gap left by a wounded parliament | Nick Cohen
Our politics, as it stands, seems to have no way to deal with an unprincipled leader In
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The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged | Editorial 6 Sep 2019, 1:30pm The Guardian view on demography and politics: nationalist narratives must be challenged | Editorial
Women’s autonomy and reproductive rights must be upheld as far-right ideas gain groundThe
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Boris Johnson has shown why Britain’s constitution must be reformed | Meg Russell 6 Sep 2019, 10:13am Boris Johnson has shown why Britain’s constitution must be reformed | Meg Russell
As the prime minister has abused the system, he has exposed its weaknesses, but also some of its strengthsRecent events in British politics have stretched the capacity of our constitutional norms to their limits. But what have they collectively taught us? They highlight worrying weaknesses – but also some less-discussed strengths.
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Britain is facilitating the slaughter in Yemen. Where is our outrage? | David Wearing 6 Sep 2019, 6:27am Britain is facilitating the slaughter in Yemen. Where is our outrage? | David Wearing
British planes and British bombs are spearheading the killings. Politicians and the media must raise their voices in opposition Nothing can diminish the threat of a disorderly Brexit, or the significance of Boris Johnson’s recent anti-democratic prorogation of parliament. That those stories lead the news is no surprise. But when our government provides crucial support to a campaign of indiscriminate killing in Yemen that has claimed the lives of thousands of people, and this is treated as a footnote in our politics rather than a national scandal, it is plain that something has gone badly wrong. This week a
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Johnson is acting like a winner. But reality may have other ideas | Martin Kettle 5 Sep 2019, 1:18pm Johnson is acting like a winner. But reality may have other ideas | Martin Kettle
Although the prime minister wants to frame any election as a people versus parliament battle, there’s no easy path to victoryWhen a football team loses its first four games of the season, the manager’s job is on the line. Could the same thing happen with Boris Johnson’s prime ministership? It seems unlikely, so soon after the ousting of Theresa May. And yet politics, like football, is a results-driven game. This week, Johnson lost four big votes in the Commons. Last week he lost Scottish Tory leader
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Brexit: crisis for Boris Johnson as rebel MPs set to debate bill blocking no deal – politics live 4 Sep 2019, 2:37am Brexit: crisis for Boris Johnson as rebel MPs set to debate bill blocking no deal – politics live
Prime minister threatened to seek snap general election after crucial vote passed on Tuesday in Commons
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Brexit: crisis for Boris Johnson as MPs set to debate bill blocking no deal – politics live 4 Sep 2019, 2:24am Updated Brexit: crisis for Boris Johnson as MPs set to debate bill blocking no deal – politics live
Prime minister threatened to seek a snap election if a crucial vote was passed on Tuesday in parliament
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The One where Friends is Analysed to Death is not an episode we need to see | Frances Ryan 3 Sep 2019, 2:00am The One where Friends is Analysed to Death is not an episode we need to see | Frances Ryan
There are, of course, valid criticisms to be made regarding the politics of the 1990s sitcom. But why argue over its quality? Ahead of Friends’ 25th anniversary this month, the website
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Parliament returns for Brexit showdown – podcast 2 Sep 2019, 10:00pm Parliament returns for Brexit showdown – podcast
Jonathan Freedland joins Anushka Asthana to discuss a pivotal week ahead in British politics. Plus Prof Liz Bentley of the Royal Meteorological Society on the destructive force of Hurricane Dorian, which has been battering the Bahamas and is heading for the US It’s another crunch week in parliament. As MPs return to Westminster after the summer recess, they will find themselves faced with potentially life-changing decisions to make – for the country, their parties and their political careers. The stakes could barely be higher as Boris Johnson and his team use every trick in the book, including
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Johnson wants us to feel outrage. Let’s take back control – starting with ourselves | Peter Ormerod 30 Aug 2019, 4:59am Johnson wants us to feel outrage. Let’s take back control – starting with ourselves | Peter Ormerod
Shutting parliament is the latest wheeze from the trigger-happy Vote Leavers in power. Don’t buy into their politics of divisionWhat did you feel? Maybe it was anger, fury, fear. Perhaps it was excitement, hope, a certain thrill. It is unlikely that you experienced the announcement of
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Ruth Davidson should have been Tory leader. Instead, she’s on the sidelines | Ian Birrell 29 Aug 2019, 9:47am Ruth Davidson should have been Tory leader. Instead, she’s on the sidelines | Ian Birrell
The former leader’s resignation is a grim blow for Tory moderates, who have lost their party to a fanatical cabalThe resignation of a Scottish Tory leader does not tend to be seismic political news. I doubt, for instance, many people south of the border could recall the name of the last woman to stand down from this post eight years ago. Yet Ruth Davidson has always been different, from her personal story to her style of politics – and this is why her
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Politics-as-usual can’t fix the climate crisis. Maybe it’s time to try a citizens’ assembly | David Farrell 28 Aug 2019, 9:56am Politics-as-usual can’t fix the climate crisis. Maybe it’s time to try a citizens’ assembly | David Farrell
Extinction Rebellion is calling for the approach that ended Ireland’s abortion deadlock to be used in the UKThe climate crisis demands an urgent, realistic and sustained response from governments around the world: such a response will inevitably require sacrifices from all of us. And there lies the rub for our systems of representative democracy. How can politicians facing short-term constraints (particularly the need to be re-elected every few years) be expected to take the necessary decisions that require long-term and, probably, quite painful change on the part of the citizens who get to vote for them?
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Populist parallels and points of difference in Britain and Italy | Letters 27 Aug 2019, 1:13pm Populist parallels and points of difference in Britain and Italy | Letters
Readers respond to Martin Kettle’s article on ‘the terrible twins of Europe’As someone who has written about the similarities between recent Italian and British politics, I welcome Martin Kettle’s attempt to interest a wider audience in this correspondence (
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Corbyn’s summit shows a no-deal Brexit is avoidable if MPs put tribalism aside | Jonathan Lis 27 Aug 2019, 12:16pm Corbyn’s summit shows a no-deal Brexit is avoidable if MPs put tribalism aside | Jonathan Lis
Today’s cross-party statement could be a watershed if our political parties can work togetherGood news from the bubble of party politics: Britain’s opposition leaders have today decided to
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Martin Rowson on the brave new world of trade deals – cartoon 26 Aug 2019, 1:02pm Martin Rowson on the brave new world of trade deals – cartoon
a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/picture/2019/aug/26/martin-rowson-post-brexit-trade-deals-pork-pie-licence-fee-cartoon">Continue reading...
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Dominic Cummings reminds me of Yanis Varoufakis – he could face the same fate | Duncan Weldon 26 Aug 2019, 4:00am Dominic Cummings reminds me of Yanis Varoufakis – he could face the same fate | Duncan Weldon
The hardline tactics of the No 10 adviser echo those of Greece’s finance minister in the 2015 crisis Covering the Greek crisis for BBC Newsnight in 2015 meant spending long days in a very hot Athens, eating too much room-service kebab and trying to stay on top of a series of twists and turns in Greek and European politics while all the time keeping an eye on the financial markets. The fundamental question was: will Greece do a deal or will it crash out of the euro? At the time, I had no idea that my crash course in European standoffs would prove useful to understanding what has emerged as the key question in British politics, Brexit: deal or no deal.
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To beat Trump in 2020, Democrats will need to get down and dirty | Nesrine Malik 26 Aug 2019, 3:30am To beat Trump in 2020, Democrats will need to get down and dirty | Nesrine Malik
The president has made identity politics part of his vision – progressives must fight back on those same terms The 2020 US presidential election is going to be about native entitlement. It’s going to be about race and immigration and deportation and Israel and every other wedge issue Donald Trump can summon to split the vote into “us” and “them”. He will become Chief Native, swelling his supporters’ sense of dominion over others less white. The campaign has already started; his social media presence has gone from ungainly swiping to a more coherent regular punching. He has in effect launched a cyber-bullying offensive. Trump will reduce people to tears, from
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Boris Johnson will have us laughing all the way to the food bank | Will Self 25 Aug 2019, 5:00am Boris Johnson will have us laughing all the way to the food bank | Will Self
The dialectical relation between politics and comedy is taking us somewhere deeply unfunnyHello, I’ll be standing in for David Mitchell this week, and Stewart Lee next. I’d like to apologise for this in advance: regular readers of this column have become used to scintillating satire from these two, delivered via crisp, witty prose. What do I have to offer in return? Nothing but grim jeremiads about the dreadful state we’re in – and pretentious, jargon-laden analyses about how we got here. True, I too was once a well-known light entertainer on national television, but in recent years I’ve fallen victim to the worst character trait of the ageing farceur: a desire to be taken … seriously – an inclination that has, quite rightly, coincided with my gently smelly slide down into Stygian obscurity. Bobbing about down here, I’ve begun to suspect that my status in our septic, MRSA-ridden isle exists in an inverse correlation to that of Her Highness’s current first minister. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that, in search of his destiny as “world king”, Boris Johnson turned to television to build his base, and in particular to the satirical news show
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An election is coming – and only all-party cooperation can stop no deal 23 Aug 2019, 4:34am An election is coming – and only all-party cooperation can stop no deal
The Women’s Equality party believes in collaborative politics. Will other parties put aside self-interest to tackle this crisis? With a snap
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When calling out environmental hypocrisy is nothing but a cynical ploy | Zoe Williams 23 Aug 2019, 12:59am When calling out environmental hypocrisy is nothing but a cynical ploy | Zoe Williams
Those who would benefit from climate inaction try to sabotage green politics by criticising activists. We must resist themEver since Al Gore first
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Boris Johnson is playing politics with Northern Ireland’s ‘delicate balance’ | Matthew O’Toole 22 Aug 2019, 6:09am Boris Johnson is playing politics with Northern Ireland’s ‘delicate balance’ | Matthew O’Toole
By asserting hard UK sovereignty in Northern Ireland, the prime minister is risking the country’s painfully won consensusControl and consent are intimately related. Where consent exists and is freely given, statements of control are unnecessary.
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Britain and Italy are now the terrible twins of Europe | Martin Kettle 21 Aug 2019, 1:00pm Britain and Italy are now the terrible twins of Europe | Martin Kettle
Poles apart for decades, the similarities are now uncanny as populist governments produce ever more extreme policiesFor most of the time since 1945, the politics and government of Britain and Italy have seemed like polar opposites. True, both were important European powers. True too, each had a place among the world’s major economies. Even now, Britain and Italy will be among the select group of economically powerful nations whose leaders will gather in the Second Empire splendour of Biarritz’s Hotel du Palais this weekend for the latest
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‘Self-care’: how a radical feminist idea was stripped of politics for the mass market | André Spicer 21 Aug 2019, 6:34am Updated ‘Self-care’: how a radical feminist idea was stripped of politics for the mass market | André Spicer
Audre Lorde proposed a series of calming activities as a way to survive adversity. Now it’s just another form of ‘me time’What do professional golfers, radical queer feminists and Instagram lifestyle influences have in common? They are all devotees of “self-care”. While the earlier self-help movement focused on improving yourself, the relatively new self-care movement
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Ignore the sneering: young people’s rage is an age-old sign of failed politics | Fiona Sturges 21 Aug 2019, 1:00am Ignore the sneering: young people’s rage is an age-old sign of failed politics | Fiona Sturges
Like the rockers and ravers before them, this generation treats the choices of their elders with alarm In the documentary Everybody in the Place, the Turner prize-winning artist
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If you can’t abide Jeremy Corbyn, learn from the moral of Ed Miliband | Aditya Chakrabortty 20 Aug 2019, 1:29pm If you can’t abide Jeremy Corbyn, learn from the moral of Ed Miliband | Aditya Chakrabortty
A coalition making cuts, a Labour leader jeered as a zealot, a rabid rightwing press. But this time, the stakes are even higherIn that moment you could feel British politics lurching out of its rut. Labour was about to pick its next leader – and instead of choosing the favourite, the old Tony Blair tribute act, voters were throwing a giant spanner in the works. They wanted the slightly gawky leftwing underdog. They wanted a transformed party, a bigger politics.
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The Guardian view on Gamergate: when hatred escaped | Editorial 20 Aug 2019, 1:25pm The Guardian view on Gamergate: when hatred escaped | Editorial
Five years after an online movement based on male rage started, its destructive effects have leached into our politics and daily livesFive years ago a young woman broke up with her boyfriend, who was so offended by this that he posted nearly 10,000 words of misery and self-justification to the internet – and set in motion a
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The Observer view on Jeremy Corbyn and stopping a no-deal Brexit | Observer editorial 18 Aug 2019, 1:00am The Observer view on Jeremy Corbyn and stopping a no-deal Brexit | Observer editorial
Dislike of the Labour leader should not be allowed to get in the way of Britain’s need for a national governmentNobody in life gets everything they want all of the time. We have to live with the cards we have been dealt and the decisions we have made, good or bad. So it is in politics. The majority of MPs who have expressed their opposition to a no-deal Brexit have to live with two realities they may find unacceptable. Jeremy Corbyn is a committed socialist, careless of division and widely distrusted. Boris Johnson is a prime minister steering Britain full tilt towards a moment of national peril propelled solely by the exigencies of extreme rightwing politics. Yet it is Corbyn who has tried to break the deadlock. It is against this background that MPs beyond the rightwing English nationalist laager into which Johnson has locked his party must assess Corbyn’s offer to create a
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If Caroline Lucas truly wants to stop a no-deal Brexit, she must work with Corbyn | Phil McDuff 13 Aug 2019, 6:25am Updated If Caroline Lucas truly wants to stop a no-deal Brexit, she must work with Corbyn | Phil McDuff
As a Green party member I find this intransigence embarrassing. Remainers need Labour’s helpI’m old enough to remember when “Caroline Lucas should lead a national unity government” was just another fringe idea found in the hinterlands of Twitter. Alas, a week is such a long time in politics that Caroline Lucas has managed to
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Joseph Fiennes: ‘I’ve done my bit for society – I’ve illustrated the patheticness of misogyny’ 12 Aug 2019, 1:00am Joseph Fiennes: ‘I’ve done my bit for society – I’ve illustrated the patheticness of misogyny’
The star of The Handmaid’s Tale says he doesn’t like to equate Donald Trump’s politics with the show. But, he adds, sometimes you just have to point out the blazingly obvious …‘It’s alluded to in the novel … someday, something will happen to Fred. Quite soon.” In a neutral-looking cafe in central London, Joseph Fiennes is talking about the future of his role in The Handmaid’s Tale. “Why, though?” I plead with him. “Why does he have to die?” “It’s in the novel,” Fiennes explains very patiently. “He’s got to. Come on, there are some very angry women in red out there.” When The Handmaid’s Tale first appeared on our screens in 2017, it was a bit like having an anxiety dream about the new politics, your subconscious supplying the sharp contrasts and glorious Technicolor, the brutally formal sexual violence and the intricate dystopian detail. There was a watchful intelligence in all the performances – particularly Elisabeth Moss as June/Offred, Fiennes as Fred and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena, his wife – which was arresting, and left you vaguely unsettled for a long time after each episode.
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The very idea of a united kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism | Gordon Brown 10 Aug 2019, 4:00pm The very idea of a united kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism | Gordon Brown
Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy is imperilling centuries of common purpose. It can’t be allowed to succeedThe first step to solving a problem is to see it clearly. And if we are to understand why we are facing not only our most serious constitutional crisis since the 17th century but an unprecedented economic calamity precipitated by a no-deal exit from the EU, we must recognise that nationalism is now driving British politics. Having set almost impossible terms for any negotiation with Europe and preparing to renege on legal obligations to pay our debts to the EU – the economic equivalent of a declaration of war – Boris Johnson’s government is hell-bent on conjuring up the absurd and mendacious image of the patriotic British valiantly defying an intransigent Europe determined to turn us into a vassal state.
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I’m a Brexit party MEP. With the Lib Dems, we can reboot Britain’s politics | Matthew Patten 9 Aug 2019, 3:00am I’m a Brexit party MEP. With the Lib Dems, we can reboot Britain’s politics | Matthew Patten
The cooperation between me and a fellow MEP shows that we can challenge the broken two-party systemThis is a story of hope and optimism. During the last European parliamentary session in Brussels, I sat down with a fellow British MEP over a coffee to discuss how we might work together to encourage a peaceful solution to the crisis in the
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A signal failure in modern politics | Brief letters 8 Aug 2019, 1:34pm A signal failure in modern politics | Brief letters
Wheelchair users and sports grounds | Footpaths | Mass shootings | Interrail | Baked potato recipes | SpadsI have seen wheelchair user fans at below pitch level at Stamford Bridge (
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The Guardian view on Labour and Scotland: a wound born of weakness | Editorial 8 Aug 2019, 1:33pm The Guardian view on Labour and Scotland: a wound born of weakness | Editorial
John McDonnell has left Labour facing both ways on a second Scottish referendum. But he thinks that is a price worth payingIf the shadow chancellor had planned a bombshell announcement that would create maximum havoc in the Scottish Labour party, it would look exactly like what he said this week. A second independence referendum is the hottest question in Scottish politics. Scottish Labour opposes it. Its leader Richard Leonard has repeatedly said that Labour would refuse permission to the Scottish nationalists to hold such a vote. Yet John McDonnell went to Edinburgh on Tuesday and, without consulting Mr Leonard, said
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After El Paso and Dayton, the left needs to reach out to men, not condemn them | Iman Amrani 8 Aug 2019, 12:00pm After El Paso and Dayton, the left needs to reach out to men, not condemn them | Iman Amrani
A lot of young men seem to be lost and disenfranchised, but only the likes of Jordan Peterson are engaging with them A horrific act of violence takes several innocent lives, a frantic live-stream details the events, terrifying mobile footage spreads rapidly online. Then come the tweets of condemnation from world leaders, followed by an onslaught of outrage split down partisan lines. The way that shootings, or suicide bombings, or knife attacks are politicised depending on the backgrounds of the perpetrators and the victims shows how successful these acts are in deepening the divisions in society. And that is one of the intentions that the perpetrators share, no matter their race or politics.
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John McDonnell has offered the SNP more than necessary on independence | Jonathan Freedland 7 Aug 2019, 6:40am John McDonnell has offered the SNP more than necessary on independence | Jonathan Freedland
There’s no way the Scottish National party would vote down a minority Labour government and put the Tories back in power In politics, it’s possible to have logic, and even principle, on your side – and still get it badly wrong. John McDonnell’s
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How the world’s dirtiest industries have learned to pollute our politics | George Monbiot 7 Aug 2019, 1:00am How the world’s dirtiest industries have learned to pollute our politics | George Monbiot
The fossil-fuel lobby is threatened by public concern over the climate crisis. So it’s buying influence to get the results it wantsThe tragedy of our times is that the gathering collapse of our life support systems has coincided with the age of public disservice. Just as we need to rise above self-interest and short-termism, governments around the world now represent the meanest and dirtiest of special interests. In the United Kingdom, the US, Brazil, Australia and many other nations, pollutocrats rule. The Earth’s systems are breaking down at astonishing speed. Wildfires
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The Observer view on how the left can thwart Johnson and Trump | Observer editorial 4 Aug 2019, 1:00am The Observer view on how the left can thwart Johnson and Trump | Observer editorial
Rightwing populism is a threat to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic, but ‘politics as usual’ won’t stop itMuch has been made in recent days of the supposed similarities between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. On a personal level, it is said, both men are boastful braggarts, frequently untruthful and skilled at self-promotion, which is pretty much all they care about. In terms of policy, both are rightwing populists wedded to a recklessly destructive form of regressive, pseudo-nostalgic nationalism. Both Johnson and Trump inspire strong feelings, especially in their detractors. Max Hastings, who was Johnson’s boss at the
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The Guardian view on no-deal planning: stop this political lie | Editorial 1 Aug 2019, 1:31pm The Guardian view on no-deal planning: stop this political lie | Editorial
There is no economic case for crashing out of the European Union. MPs must stop the government’s plans in their tracksBrexit is both a political and an economic choice. But a no-deal Brexit would be an entirely political one. Boris Johnson’s blustering openness to no-deal derives from many things. Partly it stems from the fact that, to the keenest leavers, Brexit has always been an article of belief rather a policy programme. Partly it derives from the fear that only a decisive break will puncture the threat from the nationalist Brexit party. Partly it follows from the fact that he and many like him do not ultimately care about the Northern Ireland peace process, and are not bothered about the concerns of the devolved nations either. In the end, however, a no-deal Brexit is an act of faith-based politics and not a rational choice. It would also have very serious and perhaps destructive economic consequences. Some of those are becoming clearer by the day in response to the Johnson government’s prioritisation of politics. The most instantly destabilising is the fall in the
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Millions are in deep poverty. Meanwhile, Johnson splurges £100m on advertising | Frances Ryan 1 Aug 2019, 5:54am Millions are in deep poverty. Meanwhile, Johnson splurges £100m on advertising | Frances Ryan
Welcome to the land of warped priority, where the Tories can find money for ruinous policies – but not for hungry familiesYou can tell a lot about a person by their priorities. It’s true with friends – say, the mate who ditches your birthday drinks for a date – but take a look at British politics, and it’s increasingly the case with ministers, or even the country.
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Labour risks total wipeout if it fails to take Boris Johnson seriously | Aditya Chakrabortty 31 Jul 2019, 1:00am Labour risks total wipeout if it fails to take Boris Johnson seriously | Aditya Chakrabortty
For the first time in years a Tory leader has a clear strategy and open chequebook. Labour must wake up to the threat How to beat Boris Johnson? British politics has no question more urgent. The prime minister is mere weeks from crashing the country out of the EU, a feat for which he is even now buying public consent with £100m of
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Boris Johnson is channelling a punk ethos to force through Brexit. It could work | John Harris 28 Jul 2019, 11:29am Boris Johnson is channelling a punk ethos to force through Brexit. It could work | John Harris
The prime minister’s taboo-busting, provocative approach has potential popular appeal“How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power? Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century.” Those words were written by the Labour hero
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Motherhood is good prep for politics | Brief letters 24 Jul 2019, 12:34pm Motherhood is good prep for politics | Brief letters
Motherhood | Awkward teacher encounters | Sheep | NHSI was bowled over by Nell Frizzell’s honesty and common sense (
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The UK is at its most combustible. And now it’s led by a man who plays with matches | Aditya Chakrabortty 24 Jul 2019, 1:00am The UK is at its most combustible. And now it’s led by a man who plays with matches | Aditya Chakrabortty
As our economy stutters and our politics turns sour, Boris Johnson will be trying to outflank Nigel Farage and the hardcore Brexiteers Me, me, me. That’s always been the bottom line for Boris Johnson, hasn’t it? And it’s what we’re all going to get now. A whole summer season devoted to just one man. His debut speech outside his new home on Downing Street! His first set of ministers to play with! His very own poll bounce! Morsel after marvellous morsel shall be served up in the papers and on TV by Conservative MPs and commentators. For his boosters, there will be the first 100 days of speeches and photo ops, and endless bloviating optimism. For his critics, there will be his vast yellowing back catalogue of falsehoods and flubs. For Johnson, all of them wind around to the same fabulous end: him, him, him.
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