06/04/2019
6 Apr 2019

A losing game

6 Apr 2019

A losing game

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Features
James ForsythJames Forsyth
The losing game

Iraq, the financial crisis, the expenses scandal — all of these undermined trust in politicians. They created an impression of a governing class that was devious, inept and venal. But the damage they did to public faith in politics is nothing compared with the damage that will be done by a failure to deliver Brexit. Brexit is the result not just of a referendum but of two general elections. The Tories would not have won a majority in 2015 without their pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

The losing game
Katy Balls
The model Tory

A few weeks ago, Johnny Mercer spoke in Westminster on the future of conservatism. At the end, the audience was asked by the host who should be the leader capable of delivering all this and a voice from the back shouted: ‘Johnny!’ It was his wife, Felicity. She’s not alone in her admiration. Throughout parliament, there’s talk of Brexit having been messed up not just by Theresa May but a whole generation of career politicians.

The model Tory
Cosmo Landesman
With friends like these

There was a time when you couldn’t walk down your local high street and not be set upon by a succession of ‘charity muggers’ — those relentlessly cheery and chatty young men and women who want your money for worthy causes like Cancer Research UK, Greenpeace, Oxfam or Age UK. These days the high streets are relatively free from their presence and their sales pitch is more restrained. But there’s a new breed of brazen ‘charity muggers’ who want your money — and they’re called your friends.

With friends like these
Chris Daw Qc
Blurred lines | 4 April 2019

It is late, on a wet Tuesday evening in November, and I am driving home, listening to endless talk of Brexit on the radio. The phone rings in the car and cuts off the news. It’s an unknown mobile number; I press the answer button on the steering wheel. A moment’s hesitation and a woman’s voice comes over the speakers; middle-aged, well-spoken. She’s almost in tears and struggles to get her words out.

Blurred lines | 4 April 2019
Andrew Watts
Have I got talent?

The contestants for the 13th series of Britain’s Got Talent, the variety show which starts on Saturday, certainly showed variety: next to me in the queue underneath the London Palladium are small children, a singer boasting about knowing Robbie Williams’s dad, and a Chelsea Pensioner in full Scarlets. A young researcher tries to put us at ease: ‘Have you come far?’ The Pensioner stares at her. ‘From Chelsea,’ he barks.

Have I got talent?
Robert Hardman
Bonne chance, Ireland

Seventy years ago this month, a prime minister led a divided nation towards the exit from what was then one of the world’s most important organisations. On that occasion, Ireland was the country wanting to leave and there was no backstop to hold things up. Despite the pleas of the other member states, the Irish walked out of the Commonwealth. I was reminded of that moment this week as the budding bromance between the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and France’s President Emmanuel Macron unfolded.

Bonne chance, Ireland
Douglas Murray
Salvini’s common touch

While Britain continues to try to struggle its way out of the EU, perhaps it is wise to consider what is happening inside the bloc itself, not just in Paris where the fumes from burning cars fill the apartments and approval ratings for Emmanuel Macron continue to slide as he engages in a national listening exercise (which actually consists of him delivering Chávez-length lectures to the French public).

Salvini’s common touch
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