It looks as if the Conservative party is already at war. Fifty or so Brexiteer Tory MPs openly meet to discuss deposing the Prime Minister — yet they have no strategy and (at present) no chance of defeating her in a confidence vote. On Twitter, Tory backbenchers and even ministers can be found threatening to destroy each other. This isn’t just about personality. In the last few months, the question of what Britain’s relationship with the EU should be and who should be Prime Minister have fused together — so the most divisive issue in British post-war politics has been combined with a drawn-out leader-ship contest.
There is a Tiger on the loose. It is stalking our high streets. It is prowling our train stations. It has cubs in every shopping mall. It is the Tiger of Tat. And when it roars, it roars: BUY. Tiger, a home accessories chain which opened its first UK shop in 2005, is an emporium of the ephemeral, a grand bazaar of the banal. Here is everything you never needed: oddments and sodments, party bits and barbecue bobs, plastic flotsam and cardboard jetsam.
When Boris Johnson compared Theresa May’s Brexit plan to wrapping a suicide vest around Britain’s constitution, the harshest response came from a fellow Tory MP, Tom Tugendhat, who tweeted: ‘A suicide bomber murdered many in the courtyard of my office in Helmand. The carnage was disgusting, limbs and flesh hanging from trees and bushes. Brave men who stopped him killing me and others died in horrific pain.
The customs man wore a white linen suit. He had a large moustache. His ample belly touched the edge of his desk. The scent of cardamom wafted over as a tiny cup of coffee was placed in front of him. I was not offered one. This was Beirut airport in the summer of 2011. We were travelling on to Syria, next door, where a civil war was beginning. The customs man lazily flicked through my passport and took another sip of coffee.
There has been much inconclusive speculation on the Queen’s views on Brexit. In 2016, the Sun asserted that she was in favour (later overruled by Ipso as ‘significantly misleading’). Last year, pro-EU commentators claimed that the blue hat with yellow stars she wore to open Parliament showed coded support for Remain. For now, we are none the wiser. What we do know, however, is that the monarch must be finding things a good deal easier on the way out than on the way in.
Republicans observing a rising wave of liberal and progressive candidates, policies and election results in the United States may wish to blame Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or billionaire donors like George Soros or Tom Steyer. They’re missing the mark. The real cause of political disaster coming at the GOP like a Cat 5 hurricane is none other than President Donald J.
‘I’d like a copy of the Times,’ said the visitor from the south. ‘Yesterday’s or today’s?’ the shopkeeper asked. ‘Today’s, of course.’ ‘Come back tomorrow.’
Life on Unst has its idiosyncrasies, but personally, I blame the weather forecasters for giving the nation the impression that the place may not even exist. Their London-centric maps of Britain, showing Scotland fading into the distance, leave us off entirely.