podcast Audio Britain Culture wars 

The cultural chasm over Britain’s place in the world

I took part in a “Brexit breakdown” podcast discussion with Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk, and Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s college, London and director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative. Chaired by podcaster James Millar, our discussion quickly developed from the eponymous issue of Brexit which so divides us. After we talked about what it meant to us and how we saw it developing, we moved into wider and deeper cultural issues. These opened up before us as an unbridgeable chasm.…

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Frost Britain Europe 

David Frost’s reflections on the revolution in Britain

Wow. The speech delivered yesterday evening at Brussels university by David Frost, who is now leading the UK’s negotiations with the EU over the post-Brexit trade deal, was a belter. Straightening his country’s spine from its five-decade scoliosis as a demoralised supplicant at the European table, Frost reclaimed, on behalf of the British government, the moral and intellectual high ground for Britain’s departure from the EU – and for doing so entirely on the UK’s terms. This magnificent speech, which deserves to be read in full (as you can mostly…

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speaking Britain Europe 

Goodbye to the demoralised past. Hello, world

At 11 pm this evening, the United Kingdom will have left the European Union. These are words that, throughout the nightmare of the past three and a half years, those of us who were solid Brexiteers feared we might never be able to say. From the moment in 2016 that Britain voted by 52-48 per cent to leave the EU, the political, intellectual and media Remainer establishment threw everything they had into stopping Brexit and reversing that people’s vote. The issue itself bitterly divided families and sundered friendships. The unprecedented…

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The View Britain 

The British working-class saves Britain – and its Jews

The relief was overwhelming. When the exit poll on Thursday evening correctly predicted a large majority for Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, British Jews allowed themselves to breathe again. Overcome by the sense of deliverance from a great evil, some wept. Immediately before the election, both Labour and Conservative party hierarchies had been seized by the belief that Britain was heading for a hung parliament and a coalition led by Labour’s hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn. Many British Jews were gripped by a deep sense of dread and panic. In the event,…

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no-deal Britain Videos 

Magical thinking by British politicians – again

I was on BBC TV’s Politics Live, where a series of politicians from all three main parties said a series of extremely silly and unbelievable things. They were grilled by presenter Jo Coburn, assisted by myself, Matthew D’Ancona and Miatta Fahnbulleh. You can watch the show here, if you can access BBC iPlayer. The Tory on the show, Paymaster-General Oliver Dowden, tried to insist that, assuming Boris Johnson would gain a workable majority in next week’s general election, the Conservatives would finally end Britain’s Brexit nightmare by bringing the UK…

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UK Britain 

A numbed electorate between devil and deep blue sea

In this most dismal and dispiriting general election, a numbed British electorate desperate to end the Brexit nightmare is instead being corralled with its hands tied behind its back towards the likely continuation of that nightmare. One of the many fundamental negotiating errors made by Theresa May in trying to settle the terms of the UK’s Brexit withdrawal deal with the EU was to rule out leaving with no deal. At a stroke, she thus guaranteed that any terms agreed with the EU would not be in Britain’s interests. That’s…

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no-deal Britain 

Nigel Farage’s agonising calculation

Anthony Wells, director of political research at YouGov, says: “Nigel Farage is sending a message that you can trust Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit”. This is untrue. Farage is not sending that message at all. Yesterday he repeated that “the direction we are going in is simply not Brexit”. He has not retreated from his opinion that the Johnson deal is a trap for the UK which, after it has left the EU will remain remain bound to it by destructive ties. Although Farage said he was encouraged by Johnson’s…

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Britain Culture wars 

National identity is the key to life and liberty

The former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband, now head of the International Rescue Committee, last month delivered the Sir Martin Gilbert lecture at Highgate synagogue. Under the title “Brexit and the anti-liberal moment”, he argued that Brexit was both cause and symptom of the destruction of the “liberal democratic idea”. First, cards on the table. I am a staunch, clean-break Brexiteer. I nevertheless respect many who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum out of their anxiety about the costs of leaving the EU which, although I disagree with them, is…

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Israel 

Britain’s deepening political nightmare

So here’s how things appear to stand at this point, 34 days before the Brexit general election which is being fought principally on the issue of whether or not Britain wants to get Brexit done. The Labour party is imploding, with Labour loyalists saying Labour voters should vote Conservative in order to save the country from the unconscionable threat of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. The Brexit party is disintegrating, with even a number of its own former candidates backing the EU deal done by Boris Johnson. This although their…

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Britain 

The blue-on-blue onslaught on Nigel Farage

The last few days have seen the eruption of a ferocious, no-holds-barred, blue-on-blue onslaught on Nigel Farage by Conservative party Brexiteers and others including members of his own Brexit party. See, for example, here, here, here, here, here and here. The essence of the Tory Brexiteers’ case against Farage is that his strategy is likely to stop Brexit by depriving Boris Johnson of a workable majority, and that the split it may cause in the Conservative vote could let Jeremy Corbyn achieve power. The latter scenario is a real possibility…

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