Trump and Brexit Are Symptoms of the Same Failure to Reckon With Racism
Saturday 31st March 2018,
When I left the United States for the United Kingdom in 2015, with Black Lives Matter at its height and my book on child victims of gun violence recently completed, some assumed that it was the racism that had pushed me away. But, as I would point out, if it was aggressive policing and racial disadvantage I was seeking to avoid, I would not be heading back to London.1
Fifteen years on, the Iraq war is still poisoning our national life
Thursday 29th March 2018,
, Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare
“You can tell a true war story by the way it never seems to end,” wrote Tim O’Brien in his novel about Vietnam, The Things They Carried. “Not then, not ever. In a true war story, if there’s a moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth. You can’t tease it out. You can’t extract the meaning without unravelling the deeper meaning.”
The poison in politics runs deeper than dodgy data
Thursday 22nd March 2018,
, Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
During the 2016 presidential elections Bill Clinton believed his wife’s team had failed to learn one of the lessons of Brexit: working people felt alienated and there was an anti-establishment mood in the air. But his suggestions were politely acknowledged and then discreetly shelved by the number-crunchers in charge. “He’d report back from the field on what he was hearing at campaign events,” Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. “[The] response was always a variation on the same analysis: the data run counter to your anecdotes. Bill liked data, but he believed it was insufficient … He felt it was important to talk to voters and get a real sense for what they were feeling.” In the battle between raw numbers and raw emotion, the numbers won and Hillary lost.
Trump’s presidency is unravelling. But he won’t fall without a push
Thursday 15th March 2018,
, Photograph: Ben Jennings
Even by Donald Trump’s standards, Tuesday was extraordinary. First came the tweet that he had fired his secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Then a state department spokesman issued a statement claiming Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” for his dismissal, and had heard about it on Twitter. A few hours later the spokesman had been fired too. Meanwhile the lawyer of porn actor Stephanie Clifford (stage name: Stormy Daniels), who allegedly had an affair with Trump, warned the country to “buckle up” as Clifford sought to extract herself from her non-disclosure agreement so she could “publish any materials, such as text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession”. Back in Washington, the Trump team announced it would be hiring John McEntee, Trump’s former personal assistant, as a senior adviser for campaign operations. The day before, McEntee had been escorted from the White House because he is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes.
The shambles of Brexit diverts attention from the EU’s democratic deficit
Friday 9th March 2018,
, Illustration: Nate Kitch
I considered voting for Brexit. After the referendum was agreed, but before the campaigning had begun, I could have gone either way. My issue was democracy. I didn’t like the fact that the European parliament could not initiate legislation; that turnout for European parliamentary elections had fallen 30% since the first elections in 1979; the way countries that voted “the wrong way” on EU referendums were effectively instructed to vote again (Denmark 1992; Ireland 2001, 2008) and get it right; the fact that Greece’s resounding democratic rejection of the terms of its bailout (2015) was treated with such contempt.
Boris Johnson’s white privilege: imagine he was a black woman
Friday 2nd March 2018,
, Illustration: Ben Jennings
To the outside world, Boris Johnson has become a faithful representation of Britain’s current foreign policy. Chaotic, implausible, blustering and incompetent, he is an honest reflection of the government’s strategic vision of Britain’s place in the world at this moment. At home he is an exemplar of an altogether different dysfunction.