26/11/2016
26 Nov 2016

May's winning hand

26 Nov 2016

May's winning hand

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James ForsythJames Forsyth
Britain’s winning hand

On the morning after the European Union referendum, Britain looked like a country in crisis. The Prime Minister had resigned, Scotland’s first minister was talking about a second independence referendum and the FTSE was in free fall. In several EU capitals, there was an assumption that, when the Brexit talks began, Britain would be the new Greece: a country that could ill afford to reject any deal offered by the EU, no matter how humiliating.

Britain’s winning hand
Patrick Marnham
France’s new right

The result in France in the first round of the Les Républicains party’s primary elections marks the political death of one of the big beasts of French politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, widely known as ‘Sarko’, has been a volcanic presence on the public stage since he became Jacques Chirac’s minister of the interior in May 2002. Within two years he had become president of the right-wing UMP (forerunner of Les Républicains), defeating the favoured candidate of President Chirac, and from there it was but a short step to winning the presidency of France itself.

France’s new right
Anne Jolis
Permanent ink

 Brooklyn Shall I have my sister’s skin peeled off for display after she dies? Specifically, the tattooed bits — the swatches on either forearm adorned with foliate designs by her favourite artist, and the patch on her wrist inked in her own handwriting with transliterated Hebrew. I’ve always liked them, and not just because they annoy Mother. Should they be separated from her mortal remains, preserved through the wonders of mortuary science, and mounted in a shadow box to grace my bookshelf in her memory? I ran the idea by her the other day while lounging in her Brooklyn garden.

Permanent ink
Andrew Gilligan
No Khan do

Let’s try a thought experiment, shall we? If a senior adviser to my old boss, Boris Johnson, had celebrated John Smith’s heart attack, mocked Gordon Brown for talking about his dead son and referred to senior members of the Labour party as ‘scum’, how long do you think that person would have kept their job? Thankfully, however, this particular mini-Trump, the former reality TV star Amy Lamé, was appointed (as London’s ‘night czar’) by a Labour mayor, and her -targets were all Tories, so it’s fine.

No Khan do
Cosmo Landesman
Class act | 24 November 2016

I wish I could say that some of my best friends are working-class, but it’s not true. I do have Dave — my plumber and political sparring partner. Bright and well informed about politics, Dave loves to tease me because I live in Islington, I read the Guardian, I eat organic food and I was against Brexit. In the Dave scheme of things I represent Islington Man — one of those snooty, sneery liberal elitists who looks down on people like Dave.

Class act | 24 November 2016
Ysenda Maxtone-Graham
In praise of Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is 27 November this year. For those of us who prefer Advent services to Christmas ones, the earlier the better, frankly. I relish the frisson of gloom, foreboding and fear of judgment you get at Advent, alongside the hope. ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ is all very well, but it’s the minor chord at the end of ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ that I crave. So do thousands of others, it seems.

In praise of Advent
Colin Freeman
Exodus from Gambia

A ticket to paradise comes very cheap in Gambia — as long as you’re headed in the right direction. Thomas Cook charges just £230 for the six-hour flight from Gatwick to West Africa, and in the cheaper hotels along the cream-white palm beaches, a week’s stay costs even less. For the 100,000 Europeans who flock here each year — half of them Brits — it’s a much loved, if slightly tatty, African Benidorm, where donkeys can be found not in the souvenir shops but grazing rubbish on the streets outside.

Exodus from Gambia
Melanie Phillips
The devil they know

You will, by now, be familiar with the argument: that Donald Trump’s triumph in the American presidential election represents a kind of social and political apocalypse. That his victory came at the hands of fundamentally irrational, bigoted, disgusting extreme right-wingers beyond the pale of civilised values. It is axiomatic that there can’t be any good reason behind voting for him, so it is assumed that 60 million Americans were duped by ‘fake news’ which must now be suppressed altogether.

The devil they know
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