On the way to interview Michael Gove, we meet a government minister, an Old Etonian, who suggests we ask him, ‘How can anyone trust you ever again?’ Just a fortnight ago, proposing such a question would have been unthinkable: the Justice Secretary had a reputation for being one of the most consistent, decent and honourable men in the cabinet. When Gove agreed to back Boris Johnson’s leadership bid, the pair seemed a dream team.
We are living through the most intense political drama in modern British history. The vote to leave the European Union is the greatest act of defiance against the establishment since the coming of universal suffrage. It has triggered leadership challenges crises in the three most popular political parties: Labour, the Conservatives and Ukip. As Tony Blair might have put it, the kaleidoscope has been shaken and the pieces are in flux.
In my novel Three Daughters of Eve, a well educated housewife with kids looks at her motherland, Turkey, and thinks: ‘They are not that different. My own life and this land of unfulfilled potentials.’
I wrote this novel in English first. It was then translated into Turkish by a professional translator, after which I rewrote it with my own rhythm and vocabulary. It’s a bit crazy, this constant commute between English and Turkish.
Early on the morning of Friday 24 June, Darren Gratton went into his butcher’s shop in Barnstaple and changed his wall signs, which at this time of year are mostly about barbecue packs. Emboldened in the Brexit dawn, he deleted all references to ‘kg’ and replaced each one with ‘lb’. Tempted to do the same to the labels inside the display cabinets, he decided not to, for fear of a threatening call from Trading Standards.
Last year, I found a pair of trainers in our communal recycling bin: Nike Air Max in black and grey size 10, very smart and hardly worn. I’d been wearing them a week when the teenager who lives in the flat below pointed at them and laughed. He told me that he’d discarded them because they were scuffed. This is where I’ve got to, I thought: wearing trainers that I found in a bin on a council estate.
As Boris Johnson will know from his love of Greek tragedy, hubris leads to nemesis. And it is Boris’s own hubris — in playing cricket with Lord Spencer the weekend after Brexit, and not finishing his leadership speech on time — that supposedly led to his downfall.
I well know from working with Boris at the Telegraph that prompt timekeeping is not his forte. For five years, my Wednesday nights were destroyed as Boris regularly missed the 7 p.
In France, Brexit has provoked resentment and shock. For many years-Britain has been seen in both Paris and-Brussels as the European ‘bad boy’, out for what it can get and intending to give as little as possible in return. The first news was greeted with headlines such as ‘Can Europe-survive?’ but there was also a note of relief: ‘End of 40 years of love-hate’. Even before the referendum, Emmanuel Macron, the finance minister, had denounced the British record in Europe, claiming that the-United Kingdom had hijacked the great project and diverted the Union from its political destiny in order to reduce it to a single market.
Sooner or later, no matter where you are travelling on Italian railways, you are likely to pass through Bologna Centrale. The city is the main junction between the north and south of the country, close to the route through the mountains. It always has been. The teenage Michelangelo stopped off while journeying between Venice and Florence, and — after a contretemps at the customs office, since Bologna was then a city state — carved some small sculptures for the Basilica of San Domenico.