Saturday, May 25

Business News

On Change UK’s inadequacies, political agreements and missing Scots<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-10080" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On Change UK’s inadequacies, political agreements and missing Scots No ratings yet.

Business News
I WAS much impressed by Heidi Allen’s first speech when she left the Conservative Party to join the Independent Group, now known as the Change UK Party. How could the Conservative high command have ignored such a prodigious talent? But I’m afraid I was very much underwhelmed by her performance at a Beer and Brexit debate on May 14th, organised by King’s College, London. Ms Allen is now the acting leader of Change UK. But even as her job title has grown she seems to have shrunk as a politician. Gently interrogated by Anand Menon, the reigning Brexit guru at King’s, she produced a succession of bland and vague answers that suggested that she’s not capable of either rigorous thought or vigorous organisation. Ms Allen regurgitated a splattering of good-government platitudes about how Britai
On “Fleabag”, a Corbyn government and Kenneth Clarke’s tandoori moments<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9955" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On “Fleabag”, a Corbyn government and Kenneth Clarke’s tandoori moments No ratings yet.

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I FINALLY GOT round to watching a few episodes of “Fleabag” to see what all the fuss is about. A few good scenes, I thought, and a magnificently disgusting character with a beard, but apart from that underwhelming. The breaking of conventions (addressing the camera, graphic sexual references, sleeping with a priest) was tediously conventional; the sentimentality, particularly about a pet hamster, was cloying….“Fleabag” and the “Fleabag”-related hype is nevertheless interesting for sociological reasons: it demonstrates the annexation of yet another area of British life by the self-worshipping upper-middle classes.Comedy used to be a pretty working-class affair. In the Victorian and Edwardian era the upper-classes (including Edward VII) went to music halls to listen to working-class songs
On “Game of Thrones”, Conservatism, Israel and Lidl<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9910" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On “Game of Thrones”, Conservatism, Israel and Lidl No ratings yet.

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“GAME of Thrones”, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, returned for its eighth and final season this week, has already had a profound impact on the television industry (if you’re a TV producer with an idea for a multi-series drama your chances of getting a green light have skyrocketed). Let’s hope it has an equally profound impact on the history industry.Over the past few decades academics have focused on history from below—hence all those university seminars on bastardy in 15th-century Nottingham and hand-loom weavers in 18th-century Lincoln. They have done this for obvious intellectual reasons: Karl Marx’s contention that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle” is undoubtedly a powerful insight. Added to this is a sociological reason: the vast
On parliamentarians talented, vainglorious, entertaining and anarchic<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9840" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On parliamentarians talented, vainglorious, entertaining and anarchic No ratings yet.

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Our Britain columnist considers the best and the worst of MPs in a lively week in the House of Commons and beyond Source link
On political caricatures, “real” policies and the idea of public service<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9644" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On political caricatures, “real” policies and the idea of public service No ratings yet.

Business News
THE PARADOXES of Brexit multiply by the day. Brexit was supposed to allow Britain to take back control of its destiny. This week a British prime minister sat in a windowless room in Brussels while 27 European countries debated the country’s future in the council chamber (though Donald Tusk, the European Council’s president, did nip out halfway through the meeting to keep her updated). Brexit was supposed to restore the sovereignty of parliament. This week a British prime minister, borrowing the language of demagogues down the ages, berated MPs for not enacting the “will of the people”. Brexit was supposed to force the political class to venture out of its bubble and rediscover the rest of the country. The political class—journalists as well as politicians—is more navel-gazing than ever.
On democracy, Sir Lewis Namier and the struggles of the super-rich<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9612" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On democracy, Sir Lewis Namier and the struggles of the super-rich No ratings yet.

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I SPENT MUCH of this week in the House of Commons press gallery not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Theresa May laying out the case for her deal on Tuesday, her voice so hoarse that it could hardly be heard and her body hunched, was a moment of both personal and national humiliation. The chaos on Wednesday, when Tory MPs were first told that they wouldn’t be whipped and then, at the last moment, that they would, sending them scurrying hither and thither, was a moment of high farce. And what are we to make of Thursday, when Stephen Barclay, the Brexit minister, spoke in favour of a government motion at the dispatch box and then marched off to vote against it?But before we lose faith in British democracy entirely it’s worth remembering two things. The first is that there were some fine s
On political paralysis, British intellectuals and the wisdom of Victorians<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9569" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On political paralysis, British intellectuals and the wisdom of Victorians No ratings yet.

Business News
THE AUGURIES for next week’s Brexit votes are not good, to put it mildly. The European Reform Group of hardline Eurosceptic MPs is divided into two camps: those who are willing to compromise with the prime minister on condition that they get everything they want; and those who are not willing to compromise even if they get everything they want with a cherry on top (one Leave-supporting politician I know tells me that about 30 of his colleagues are now clinically insane). The DUP, Northern Ireland’s largest party, is in high dudgeon—or perhaps I should say even higher dudgeon than usual—about being disrespected. The Labour Party shows no signs of putting country before party. So it looks as if we’re heading for yet further paralysis. The prime minister will suffer a heavy defeat in Tuesd
On protesting “nuns”, a Labour “defection” and a story about “Andre Previn”<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9533" >			<span class="no-rating-results-text">No ratings yet.</span>		</span>

On protesting “nuns”, a Labour “defection” and a story about “Andre Previn” No ratings yet.

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THE FIRST time I encountered protesters dressed as nuns was when I lived in the Bay Area of San Francisco in 1984-5. Sister Mary Boom Boom and her fellow Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were fixtures on the flourishing protest scene. This week I encountered another one protesting against Jacob Rees-Mogg’s appearance before a sell-out crowd of 2,300 at the London Palladium. This particular “nun” was a woman, rather than a man like the American sisters. But her worries were the same—that the right-wing was bent on depriving gays and women of their civil rights and restoring an oppressive patriarchal society. I know that because she told me in no uncertain terms. The nun-protesters’ diatribe set off two (contradictory) lines of thought in my mind. The first was that, despite his love of al
On Brexit films, Brexit books and Brexit television<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9499" >	<span class="mr-star-rating">			    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    </span><span class="star-result">	5/5</span>			<span class="count">				(1)			</span>			</span>

On Brexit films, Brexit books and Brexit television 5/5 (1)

Business News
I RECENTLY spent a happy few days in Los Angeles promoting my new book, “Capitalism in America: A History” (co-written with Alan Greenspan). I was driving down Hollywood Boulevard in a taxi thinking that all was right with the world—the sun was shining, the people were good-looking and, above all, I wasn’t on deadline to write something about Brexit—when I caught sight of a giant red billboard bearing a single word in huge letters: BREXIT. Worried that I’d finally gone mad—and it can only be a matter of time given both the pace and content of political news in Britain—I asked my taxi driver if I was seeing things. He assured me that the sign was in fact there and that it was advertising the new Benedict Cumberbatch film which was called “An Uncivil War” but is simply being called “Brexi
Britain’s government slides into chaos<span class="rating-result after_title mr-filter rating-result-9058" >	<span class="mr-star-rating">			    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    	    <i class="fa fa-star mr-star-full"></i>	    </span><span class="star-result">	5/5</span>			<span class="count">				(1)			</span>			</span>

Britain’s government slides into chaos 5/5 (1)

Business News
NOBODY CAN accuse Theresa May of an unwillingness to repeat herself. The woman who said, again and again, that “Brexit means Brexit” is now telling Britain that her version of Brexit is the only version worth having. This morning the prime minister spent three hours extolling her deal to the House of Commons. This evening she spent a mercifully shorter period addressing the country via a press conference. Mrs May claims that her version of Brexit does two hard-to-deliver things. It respects the result of the 2016 referendum by taking back control of Britain’s borders, ending the free movement of people. But it does so in a responsible way by ensuring frictionless trade with the EU. Mrs May is determined to talk to as many audiences as possible rather than just, as has often been her won