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 →
Sky News as today begun a campaign to make TV debates a permanent feature of future general election campaigns. The broadcaster has come up with an imperative hashtag (#MakeDebatesHappen) and an endorsement from Sir Nick Clegg himself. Continue reading →
Since the start of February, reports have surfaced of several chemical attacks in Syria, apparently undertaken using chlorine gas. Among these, chlorine is said to have been used in Douma, in besieged East Ghouta, and Saraqeb, in Idlib province. Continue reading →
We used to live in uninteresting times, as much as that can ever be said.
Things did not seem to happen. And if they did happen, they happened to other people. The rest of life and the business of living passed easily, dreamily, and the world was always at arm’s length. Continue reading →
The Assad regime has been in peril since the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Cities, towns and entire governorates have been free of its authority for more than half a decade. It has lost control of great tracts of the country. And many people in areas no longer within its compass would do everything they could to avoid being ruled over by the regime ever again. They would fight back. Their recapture may be impossible, or at the very least inordinately costly. Continue reading →
It was thought that Theresa May had played the perfect game. She managed to win the Conservative leadership election without the thing turning into an election. She managed to do it without lifting a finger. Everyone seemed very impressed. Continue reading →
The election of Donald Trump is a stunning, if potentially salutary, event. Ever the outsider, Trump seemed incapable of capturing enough support nationally to defeat Hillary Clinton at the polls. But now he has, and his policies, unencumbered by opposition in either Congress or the Supreme Court, are soon going to become those of the United States. Continue reading →
After the British electorate voted to leave the European Union last June, things began to change rapidly. The prime minister speedily resigned and was replaced. His successor brought in a host of ministers – some new people and some rather old ones – to take account of this dramatic shift in public opinion. Those who had been on the fringes of the governing Conservative party – for example David Davis, an archetypal antique face – are now in the cabinet. Continue reading →
For the first time in years, things can be said to be changing in Britain. For over half a decade, during the Cameron era, politics in this country had exhibited a particular sort of inertia. Though the ordinary stuff of government – and the attendant challenges involved with governing – took place, change never seemed to be the order of the day. Continue reading →