Tag Archives: Theresa May

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

Permanent Election TV Debates Help Broadcasters and Politicians, Not the Public

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

Gavin Williamson’s Ambition Would Be Funny If He Weren’t so Serious

Gavin Williamson is an ambitious man. He is, after all, a politician. People in that line of work are hardly immune from ambition’s siren call.

Political careers are often embarked upon with the highest of hopes, sometimes accompanied by the most outlandish of expectations. Even the most parochial of political figures cherish some secret ambition. Continue reading

The Chlorine and the Bombs

Before the chlorine came the bombs. And before the bombs came the siege. Douma, the largest settlement in in eastern Ghouta, part of the surrounds of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had suffered greatly in the country’s civil war, which is in its eighth year.

Along with the rest of eastern Ghouta, Douma had been under siege for more than five years, its population cut off, unable to access medical supplies and food, unable to leave the area. For years, an outpost of opposition had remained a few miles from the seat of authority in Damascus, a reminder of the limits of the power of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the hereditary president. Continue reading

Where Next for the West in Syria?

The United States and its allies, Britain and France, launched over 100 missiles at the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in the early hours of 14 April. This was retaliation for the regime’s use of poison gas in the town of Douma, east of the capital, Damascus, exactly a week earlier, which massacred at least 43 people and wounded 500 more.

The military strikes were an important signal and will likely be some deterrent against the future use of chemical weapons, but ultimately this was another missed opportunity by the West to meaningfully affect the course of the war. Continue reading

The Coalition That Could Have Been

Foreign policy undertaken unilaterally is disdained and feared. It meets vast, instinctive criticism. Action, especially military action, which is seen to be arbitrary elicits the same response. When democratic states seek to act on the international stage, they desire not only to succeed in their chosen course of action, but also to be seen to be acting justly, within limits, and without caprice. Continue reading

‘Business as Usual’ Brutality

When something happens which is deeply necessary and long-awaited, it is all too easy, even briefly, to give in to relief.

So it was when, last Friday, Britain, France and the United States joined together to strike the regime of Bashar al-Assad in response to the regime’s probable use of chemical weapons on the besieged city of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. Continue reading

Living in an Age of Extremity

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