The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading
Emmanuel Macron, leader of France’s En Marche! and candidate for the country’s presidency, seems too good to be true. Intelligent, impeccably educated, charismatic, he is very different to François Fillon, who is officially ‘embattled’ – and certainly looks jaded – after the emergence of a financial scandal regarding the unorthodox (and state subsidised) employment of his wife.
And Macron is nothing at all like the far-right leader of the Front National, Marine Le Pen. Continue reading
Donald Trump is about to become president of the United States of America. As remarkable as this phrase still seems, it’s going to happen. As such, his pronouncements matter; his every utterance is newsworthy.
This is why Trump’s first interview with a British newspaper, conducted by Michael Gove for The Times, is notable. Alongside the expected comments on Brexit, which Trump greeted warmly and enthusiastically, the president-elect also discussed the usefulness of NATO, the situation in Syria, migration to Europe and, inevitably, Russia and Vladimir Putin. Continue reading
The phrase ‘post-truth’, a word of the year in 2016 (dearly departed and much missed), is already looking a bit clapped out. It’s a little on the nose, even obvious; it’s not all that insightful; and the thing is already entirely ubiquitous, on the lips of every lazy pundit and within easy reach of every angry guy on the internet. They all want to use it, as it conveys a kind of easily attained semi-intellectualism, just about enough for TV and Twitter. Continue reading
Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in last week’s presidential election took many by surprise, both domestically and around the world. There was always a chance he would win the keys to the White House, but many – including, it seems, almost all the pollsters – had convinced themselves that his opponent Hillary Clinton would be the next leader of the free world. Continue reading
Just like that, the US presidential election is upon us. After months of campaigning – after a turbulent primary process and an increasingly excruciating general election campaign – the results will soon be known. America will go to the polls, and its next president will be chosen. 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