‘He can look like God’s gift to the Union Jack soccer hooligan,’ Karl Miller wrote of Paul Gascoigne in July 1990, ‘and yet he can look sweet … He is sure to suffer from the intensified media build-up and cut down that awaits him. But at present, in his early twenties, he is magic, and fairy-tale magic at that.’ The LRB dedicated a front cover to Gascoigne’s tears in Turin in 1990. This year the England midfielder Phil Foden seemed to have dedicated an entire haircut to Gascoigne in an attempt to re-create his ‘Euro 96 vibes’. Foden claims it was inadvertent but doesn’t seem to mind the nickname ‘Stockport Gazza’. Gascoigne has reminded everyone that he was a better player ‘even when drunk’.

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16 June 2021

Apparent Bias

Peter Geoghegan

At times it appears as if the courts are the only place an increasingly powerful executive can be held to account. As a leading Fleet Street reporter said to me shortly after the Public First ruling, ‘the opposition can’t lay a glove on the government. We struggle to, too. Only the courts seem able to stop Johnson.’

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15 June 2021

Peru in Limbo

Valeria Costa-Kostritsky

In the second round of the Peruvian presidential election on Sunday 6 June, the left-wing (but socially conservative) outsider Pedro Castillo was standing against the right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, currently serving a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and murder. The results from cities came in first. Fujimori appeared to be slightly ahead. In Lima she won 64 per cent of the vote. But at the end of Monday morning Castillo had overtaken her, and his advantage was further confirmed as votes from rural and Amazonian regions were tallied. Before the official count had ended, Fujimori accused her opponent of fraud, and, with the help of several law firms, called for 200,000 votes to be declared null and a further 300,000 to be scrutinised.

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14 June 2021

Whose England?

Natasha Chahal

As they kick off, I’m thinking about England. I’m thinking I don’t care as much as I used to. The game is slow. I’m trying to tune out a man at the table behind, loudly asking no one but excited at the sound of his own voice: ‘Why is Sterling playing? Bring on Jack Grealish.’

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11 June 2021

We go again

Natasha Chahal

Three weeks after the season ended, the Euros – postponed from last year and still confusingly branded as ‘Euro 2020’ – are about to start and the last couple of months have also seen the finals of the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League, and the announcement and rapid abandonment of a European Super League. If that last sentence leaves you exhausted, spare a thought for the players. Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t the only one missing the Euros because of an injury. The world stopped but football’s governing bodies barely took a minute. Money and greed, we go again.

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9 June 2021

Responsibility Claims

Steven Methven

‘I take full responsibility for everything that has happened,’ Boris Johnson told the House of Commons at the end of May, in answer to a question from the SNP leader Ian Blackford. He qualified himself in answer to Blackford’s next question: ‘I take full responsibility for everything that the government did.’ It’s a line he’s been peddling for a while. ‘As prime minister, I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done,’ he said at a press conference in January, on the day the official tally of Covid-19 fatalities in the United Kingdom passed 100,000. Since the pandemic began, there has been plenty of talk from the government about responsibility, though usually ours not theirs.

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8 June 2021

What do you call it?

Stuart Dombey

The Federal Drug Administration has given accelerated approval to aducanumab as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, while asking the manufacturer, Biogen, to conduct a phase 4 confirmatory trial. ‘There remains some uncertainty,’ according to the director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, ‘about the drug’s clinical benefit.’ 

‘Old age’, ‘senile dementia’, ‘cerebrovascular disease’ and ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ are all designations of a process of dementia that occurs in older people. The name has changed over time in subsequent editions of the International Classification of Diseases.

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