From Trident to trans issues, what matters most can be the easiest to forget
Friday 30th October 2015,
, Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
I had forgotten that Britain still had Trident. Obviously had I been in Scotland, where the weapon system is based, I’d have been aware. But for the last decade I’ve been in the United States and, since the Labour party ditched its commitment to unilateralism a generation ago, arguments around nuclear deterrence gradually vanished from the public square. With a handful of exceptions, UK politicians stopped discussing it; newspapers stopped writing about it; pollsters stopped asking about it; nobody I knew was still debating it.
The Trouble With Jeremy Corbyn’s Mainstream Revolution
Thursday 29th October 2015,
—Six weeks after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in Britain’s Labour Party leadership elections, both the party and the nation’s political class have settled on a new abnormal. Labour’s abrupt lurch to the left after a generation of rightward drift (imagine if Bernie Sanders, only less strident and more radical, won the Democratic nomination) has forced a tectonic realignment. Former rebels are demanding party discipline, while the establishment of yore is in open insurrection. The media, which did not foresee Corbyn’s rise, is once again all-knowing and all-wise about his inevitable fall. All of the attributes that helped make Corbyn electable—including his reputation for being plainspoken, principled, and entirely without guile—are now considered liabilities.
Back in the UK, land of cooking on gas (and wine)
Wednesday 14th October 2015,
, Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian
Someone stole our gas meter. Quite who does that is a matter for the authorities; quite why someone does it is a matter of curiosity. Stealing gas I can understand. You can use gas. But stealing the instrument that measures gas usage? That is beyond me. Thieves steal people’s money; they don’t kidnap their accountant.
David Cameron’s conference speech – the Guardian writers’ verdict
Wednesday 7th October 2015,
, Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
“Do you know,” asked David Cameron, “that in our country today, even if they have exactly the same qualifications, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names?” This has, of course, been known, and widely reported for years.
No, Theresa May – immigration is not the real threat to national cohesion
Tuesday 6th October 2015,
In May a party dedicated to leaving the United Kingdom received 50% of the vote and 95% of the seats in Scotland; a report later that month revealed that the average house price in London was almost three times the price of an average house in the north-east. Meanwhile the fate of the Northern Ireland assembly remains precarious after allegations that the Provisional IRA has not fully disbanded.
America's gun massacre blues seem to play on an endless loop
Friday 2nd October 2015,
, Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Within the American polity there is a cyclical requiem in the wake of each mass shooting – a predictable collective lament for a calamity that ostensibly everyone regrets and nobody can resolve. Profiles of the victims emerge as reporters opine in front of police tape, wringing every last detail from tear-stained survivors. Gradually facts about the shooter emerge, followed by endless speculation about his (they are almost always men) motives before the president calls for prayer and healing.