Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

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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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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Put ‘When This Is All Over’ out of Mind

A perennial and increasingly fevered subject of conversation in this fractured moment is what, precisely, each and every one of us expects to do ‘when this is all over’. By ‘this’, of course, people mean what they are slightly incorrectly terming ‘quarantine’ and not, per se, the disease which may yet still end the lives of millions. Continue reading

Between Two Stools

Four weeks ago, I was wide-eyed and crazy. I was accused by people who try to love me of isolating myself from society for no good reason, emerging periodically to talk in overexcited terms about this virus from China, and the duplicity of the Chinese state, and to be making entirely outlandish predictions about death tolls and the necessity of preparation for what was about to come. Continue reading

The Right Thing to Do?

Review – For the Record by David Cameron

The premiership of David Cameron was dominated by stories of radicalisation, be it political or religious. While he was prime minister of the United Kingdom, Cameron did not experience an emblematic terrorist attack or series of outrages by jihadists, unlike his predecessor Tony Blair and successor Theresa May; but his term in office did see the rise and apogee of the Islamic State, the debate about British Muslims who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight in those countries’ wars, and more of the perpetual debates Western societies have about radical religion and radical politics, far-right and far-left, immigration and the suitability of various divergent cultural practices. Continue reading

The Brexit Party Crack-Up

At the start of the year, the Brexit party didn’t exist. When it roared to success a few months later in the European parliamentary elections, much was made of how unlike a normal party it was. Nigel Farage was fond of telling audiences that his MEPs included Tories and former members of the Revolutionary Communist party. What else could unite them, he would ask, but the need to leave the European Union? Yet that common cause is now proving to be the party’s undoing in the wake of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. Continue reading

Britain Has Little Room for Manoeuvre in the Strait of Hormuz

Britain’s next prime minister was never likely to have enjoyed an easy start. With no majority in the House of Commons, and having reached a point with Brexit which proved impassable enough to end the career of Theresa May, Boris Johnson will not have the strongest of hands upon assuming office. Continue reading

Past Glories

All nations look to their pasts, often as much as to their futures. National history combines elements of myth with the familiar, and provides stories which animate and galvanize. History can unify. It can awe. And the lustre of civilization past can obscure or beautify a present which is less edifying. Contemporary improprieties can be well hidden among ancient stones. Continue reading

It Couldn’t Happen Here

Fears of a European Bannonism

Steve Bannon is not as clever as he thinks, but he is good at attracting attention. At Breitbart News, Bannon fashioned effective propaganda, becoming an essential aspect of the right-wing media system – in America and, latterly, across the world. Continue reading

Foreign News

And, just like that, Boris Johnson is no longer foreign secretary. The initial appointment of one of the most prominent advocates for Britain leaving the European Union to Theresa May’s cabinet was seen by some to be a stroke of tactical skill from the prime minister – this when she was still an incipient titan in the process of dominating British politics for a generation, rather than the dead woman so many now see walking. Continue reading