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 →
It’s official. Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London who until recently was the favourite to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister, is Britain’s new Foreign Secretary.
It is his voice, not that of the more sedate Philip Hammond, which will now shape British foreign policy, and it is his visage which will be increasingly associated with the British nation, by allies and friends as well as enemies the world over. Continue reading →
This last week has felt terribly strange. It was – at least in domestic terms – the first time in my politically aware life that things have seemed tremendously, dreadfully significant. I have lived through many wars and revolutions in foreign countries (and I have followed many of them with interest), but the current chaos overtaking Britain’s political system seems different again; it is both less severe and in a way worse, not least because it is entirely self-inflicted. Ministers have resigned; shadow ministers have been fired; and every political party (with a few exceptions) now faces real internal turmoil. This is not the stuff of stable government; it is not the ideal breeding ground for a generation of sensible, pragmatic leaders and statesmen. Continue reading →