09/05/2015
9 May 2015

Reflections on a revolution

9 May 2015

Reflections on a revolution

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Features
Sebastian Payne
The moment of Ruth

Unusually for a modern Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson seems to enjoy meeting voters. When I joined her on the campaign trail, she had been posing with a giant eagle in Kirkcaldy. Then she jumped on to a Harley Davidson in Stirling. Such props, she says, are a ‘springboard’ to talk about Scottish Conservatism — which, thanks to her, is no longer an oxymoron. Davidson’s sparkling performances in the various debates stood in welcome contrast to David Cameron’s.

The moment of Ruth
Alex Massie
The disunited kingdom

Never before — at least, not in living memory — has there been such a disconnect between north and south Britain. We vote together, but cast our ballots in very different contests. Scotland and England, semi-detached in the past, are more estranged than ever. The mildewed contest between David Cameron and Ed Miliband touches few hearts north of the Tweed; the battle between Labour and the SNP still mystifies many of those sent north to observe the strange happenings in Scotland.

The disunited kingdom
Hugo Rifkind
Scotland’s nasty party

You get bad losers in politics and bad winners, too, but it’s surely a rare business to get a bad winner who didn’t actually win. Yet this, since they lost last September’s referendum, has been the role of the SNP. Dismay, reassessment, introspection, contrition, resignation; all of these have been wholly absent. Instead, they have been triumphalist. Lording it, with cruel and haughty disdain, over their vanquished foes.

Scotland’s nasty party
Julia O’Brien
‘Mili-what? Who’s he?’

‘Are all of these questions about politics love — because I’m really not political?’ Oh dear. I’ve just lost another respondent two minutes into a three-minute survey and the chances of achieving my hourly target, and therefore continuing my employment in pre-election polling, are receding fast. Perhaps she didn’t hear my scripted preamble: ‘Could you spare a few minutes to take part in a survey on the upcoming general election?’ What sort of questions did she think I’d ask? ‘Do you think SamCam pulled off the midi-skirt?’ At least I can take pleasure in hearing a colleague struggle a few booths down.

‘Mili-what? Who’s he?’
Robert Philpot
Children of Gomorrah

In the early hours of 25 July 1943, nearly 800 RAF Halifaxes and Lancasters launched a 50-minute bombing raid on the Third Reich’s second largest city, Hamburg. The pilots used the neo-Gothic spire of St Nikolai’s church in the city’s historic heart as a landmark and killed 1,500 people. Three nights later, just after midnight, the bombers returned. What was to follow was immeasurably worse. The RAF’s target was the city’s overcrowded working-class districts, Hammerbrook, Hamm and Borgfelde, to which many of those who had lost their homes in the previous bombardment had fled.

Children of Gomorrah
Jane Kelly
Victim status

I was riveted to read about Ione Wells, an Oxford student, aged 20, who was savagely attacked on a London street. She then wrote about the experience for her university paper and has now hit the national news, prompting other students to write about their experiences too. Ione has kick-started her career as a journalist, and discovered that a woman reporter can often do well by cannibalising her own life, as long as she is a good writer, which Ione seems to be.

Victim status
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