Category Archives: Politics

No Senate, Please

Since the publication of Gordon Brown’s doorstop constitutional report for Labour Keir Starmer has been backed into a corner. Not only has he now committed to abolishing the House of Lords, which the report recommends, but he has also promised that he will do so in the first term of a Labour government.  

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Revenge of the Blob

All of Europe is haunted by a specter — or, more accurately, a Blob. 

The Blob gets its title from its namesake horror films, and was coined by perennial British cabinet minister Michael Gove, who used it to describe the vested interests in the field of education when he was the sector’s secretary of state. 

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Britain’s Broken Economy Broke Liz Truss

Liz Truss has announced her resignation after only a few weeks as Britain’s prime minister. Truss’ premiership has been on life support since the announcement of her mini-budget last month spooked the currency and bond markets. Truss sacrificed her finance minister, the former chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng, in order to delay her own departure, but it barely slowed down the inevitable. Once her successor is selected and in office before the end of the month, Truss will be left as the equivalent of a political trivia question: the shortest-serving British prime minister who left office alive. 

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Why Britain Is Broken

‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever.’  

That’s from George Orwell’s dystopian future Britain in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The words are spoken by the novel’s inner party inquisitor O’Brien, and they could be wryly altered to fit our times: ‘If you want a picture of Britain’s future, imagine waiting, unsuccessfully, for a doctor’s appointment— forever.’   

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Britain Is Falling Apart

There’s a macabre joke in Britain these days that my friends and family also play. We compete to see who has had to wait the longest for medical treatment. It starts relatively innocuously. People talk of the ordinary things: like having to wait days to get an appointment with a doctor. They call up in the morning at 8 a.m., only to be told that all of the slots are gone. Best of luck tomorrow.

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Boris Johnson Saved by His Hollow Party

Boris Johnson has survived the attempt by some in Britain’s Conservative party to remove him as prime minister. The margin not quite close. But by being so publicly called into question, both the prime minister and his party have been weakened. Dogged by real and performative public disapproval, Johnson will have difficulty remaining in power for the rest of the parliamentary term, and more performing to do in the next election to remain in office after it.

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Viktor Orban Remains a Thorn in Everyone’s Side

Viktor Orbán has just won another election. The Hungarian prime minister has secured a hefty majority in his country’s legislative elections, and in his victory speech, Orbán revealed once again that he is a thorn: in the side of Europe most obviously but, if need be, in the side of all.

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