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Send in the clowns – how comedy ate British politics

Something funny is happening in this country. Our comedians are becoming politicians and our politicians are becoming comedians — and public life is turning into an endless stream of jokes. Last week, the comedian Al Murray announced that he would be standing at the next general election in the constituency of South Thanet, the same

Blame Tony Blair for Labour’s new stupidity about wealth

Peter Mandelson’s famous quote about New Labour being intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich has a suffix that is often mischievously omitted: he added ‘so long as they pay their taxes’. But there are a few more things which many Labour members would have put on the end: so long as you don’t earn

The war on frat culture

 New York It’s a new semester and a new start at the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, the university’s founder, once encouraged America’s youth to ‘come and drink of the cup of knowledge and fraternise with us’. But this term, any student who fancies a swig from the cup of knowledge had better be sure

How Marine Le Pen is winning France’s gay vote

A week before the attack on Charlie Hebdo, France’s leading gay magazine, Têtu, announced the winner of its annual beauty contest. His name was Matthieu Chartraire, and he was 22, doe-eyed and six-packed, with perfectly groomed hair, stubble and eyebrows. A pin-up in every way — until he started talking. To the anger of many

How to stop being scared of full stops

Typical mother-to-mother email, January weekday, 2015: ‘Thanks so much for helping out yesterday, Jamie had a great time with you all, thanks also for bringing his games kit home, let me know if you need me to help tomorrow… xx’ Emails and texts like this, flitting across the ether in their thousands, demonstrate the free-flowing

Notes on...

On the Yeats trail in Galway

The Go Galway bus from Dublin sounds an unlikely pleasure, but it is both comfortable and punctual. There is free Wi-Fi if you want it, but it would be criminal to do anything other than gawp at the view. Two and a half hours pass quickly when you are travelling at sunset, passing between rain