Is self-loathing the British disease?

Whatever one thinks of the government’s plans to send refugees to Rwanda, it was amusing to see this country’s left suddenly finding all sorts of reasons why only the UK – ‘a cake-filled, misery-laden, grey old island’ according to Emma Thompson, patron of the Refugee Council – would do as a final destination for these poor people. It was especially ironic that the place which the great and the good decreed unfit for humane habitation was a country of which liberals have historically approved: France. The phrase ‘French flu’ was coined in the 1950s to describe the cultural cringe of British progressives towards France as the source of all things

Priti Patel is running out of excuses for the Channel migrant crisis

When immigration minister Chris Philp announced last summer that he was in the process of agreeing a ‘new operational plan’ with his French counterparts to stop the cross-Channel traffic in irregular migrants, it seemed as though the government was finally getting a grip on the crisis. In a statement to camera he declared:  ‘We had a very constructive meeting with our French colleagues in Paris this morning. We have reaffirmed our unshakeable shared commitment to making sure this route of crossing the Channel is made unviable…we have worked on a joint operational plan, with the objective in mind of completely cutting this route. We’re going to work at pace in the

The National Theatre’s live-streaming policy is bizarre

The National’s bizarre livestreaming service continues. On 7 May, for one week only, it released a modern-dress version of Antony and Cleopatra set in a series of strategy rooms, conference centres and five-star hotel suites. The lovestruck Roman was played by a louche, gruff, brooding Ralph Fiennes. Why is this man so watchable? He lacks the least mark of distinction. Face, height, physique and vocal ability are all in the middling range. In real life he could easily have assumed the role of the research assistant’s deputy. Perhaps it’s the Reggie Perrin ordinariness that makes his presence bewitching. Shakespeare was on unusually patchy form when he assembled this huge, rambling