James Butler

James Butler is a contributing editor at the LRB. He co-founded Novara Media in 2011 and hosted its weekly radio show for several years.

What’s a majority for?

James Butler, 18 July 2024

Keir Starmer​ is now the central fact of British politics. He has achieved an extraordinary majority. His preferences and commitments will shape the country. He has ridden a wave of revulsion at Conservatism into Number Ten. Desire for change wore social democratic dress, but disgust is also anti-systemic: the depressed turnout and the success of pro-Gaza independents, Greens and Reform...

From The Blog
27 June 2024

The gambling scandal seems likely to poison the last days of the election campaign and the end of Rishi Sunak’s tenure. It is an appropriate scandal for the last rites of this government: tawdry, sloppy and – most characteristic – small-time. 

From The Blog
19 June 2024

The intractable sense of exhaustion which attends British politics – not only in this election – is a signal of crisis in its institutions and ideologies. 

From The Blog
14 June 2024

Labour’s manifesto at least looks like a real programme, though it is in places evasive, unclear or underpowered. Starmer promised ‘no surprises’ between its covers: it is a conservative document, cleared of any potential traps on the way to Downing Street. Its cover promises, simply, ‘change’, but raises the question: how much?

From The Blog
5 June 2024

If the ITV debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer was exceptional, it was only for its inanity. Two men, neither of them with much stage presence or prone to thinking on their feet, traded prepared barbs and crowbarred in their key messages. Each made sure to name audience members, Janet – or was it Paula? – as an empathetic consolation prize for dodging their actual questions. Be honest about when – or if, or how – we’ll fix the NHS? Not on your life.

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