If I had to pick a single fact which has played no role in political discourse but which sums up the current position of the UK, it would be that most people in the UK receive more from the state, in direct cash transfers and in benefits such as health and education, than they contribute to it. The numbers are eerily similar to the referendum outcome: 48 per cent net contributors, 52 per cent net recipients. It’s a system bitterly resented both by the beneficiaries and by the suppliers of the largesse. More
What Lynsey Hanley remembers is people whose parents worked ‘in the more cuddly parts of the public sector’. She learned about being nice in her two years at college; about being what she is now; projecting an image to others of being pleasant and above all reasonable. By watching, she learned how to be middle class: her fellow students were ‘the nicest and most reasonable individuals I had ever met. I mean, I’m not reading the bloody news here; that’s what being-middle-class-in-the-world is about. Darkness is managed or hidden.’ More
They could have picked Ted Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas. Cruz may be unique among politicians anywhere in that every mention of his name is always accompanied by remarks on his loathsomeness. John McCain has called him a ‘wacko bird’, former speaker of the House, John Boehner, ‘a jackass’ and ‘Lucifer in the flesh’. Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator who was very briefly a candidate himself, joked: ‘If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.’ George W. Bush, with his usual rhetorical panache, said: ‘I just don’t like the guy.’ More
Since it would make it harder to obtain the support of cabinet and Parliament, and the public, Goldsmith’s advice – the 7 March document permeated with an understanding of the uncertainty and risk of going to war – was deliberately withheld from cabinet. The redacted and recast document of 17 March that went to Parliament, cabinet and the people, was an instrument of persuasion that aimed to create the impression that Goldsmith had advised that the war was unequivocally lawful. The document did mislead. It was the product of calculated manipulation enabled by silences and lies, a grand and disastrous deceit. More
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