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At the British Museum

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent’

11 October 2018
... or it would have been included in I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent (until 20 January 2019) as Hislop’s personal contribution. In May 1989 Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, was awarded record-breaking libel damages of £600,000 against Private Eye. Standing outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the ...
21 February 2019
... On​ 23 January – the anniversary of a revolt that toppled the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 – the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, declared himself interim president. But the crisis has been long in the making. Most of the Venezuelan opposition boycotted the presidential election held last May, in which Nicolás Maduro was standing for a second term, and refused to recognise his victory or the legitimacy of his new term in office ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019

2 January 2020
... 1 January 2019, Yorkshire. The New Inn, the village pub, always lays on a quarter of an hour of fireworks at midnight, which we can see if not actually from our bed then certainly from the bedroom window. Brushing my teeth this morning, I catch a glimpse of my New Year self and am depressed to see how depleted I’m looking, though not quite as much as Raymond Briggs, who’s pretty much my age, and a good documentary on whom we watched earlier yesterday evening ...

At Manchester Art Gallery

Inigo Thomas: Annie Swynnerton

27 September 2018
... the portrait isn’t among the Swynnerton paintings now on show at Manchester Art Gallery (until 6 January 2019), the first exhibition of the artist’s work since 1923, when the gallery celebrated her election to the Royal Academy. She was the first woman to be elected to the RA (Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser were founding members and appointed not ...

Short Cuts

Benjamin Kunkel: The Amazon Burning

12 September 2019
... the better to increase beef exports. The logic isn’t new, and it’s not as if the incêndios of 2019 are unprecedented; according to Global Forest Watch, this year’s fires in the Brazilian Amazon are no more numerous than those of 2016. What’s changed is the short-term political calculus on which the lifespan of the planet’s most crucial ecosystem ...


Nick McDonell: A Friendly Fighting Force

5 March 2020
... a different patron: the Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was assassinated in January by American drones while travelling in a convoy with his patron, Qasim Soleimani. Swiping further, and with a certain amount of pride, she showed me pictures of herself torturing people and desecrating the bodies of her enemies. In one, she raised a fist ...

Bloody Furious

William Davies: ‘Generation Left’

20 February 2020
Generation Left 
by Keir Milburn.
Polity, 140 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 5095 3224 7
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... When​ Britain left the EU on 31 January, led by a prime minister commanding a fresh eighty-seat majority in the House of Commons, a line (of sorts) was drawn under the most turbulent period in the country’s recent political history. The past four years have witnessed one historic referendum, two general elections, two major upsets at the ballot box, three prime ministers, the birth of the Brexit Party and multiple anti-Brexit groups, a Supreme Court judgment that the prime minister had behaved unlawfully, and much else along the way ...

Cash Today

Andrew McGettigan: Who profits from student loans?

5 March 2015
... has made clear that under a Tory government ‘fiscal consolidation’ will be maintained until 2019 at least. Where further savings and cuts – roughly £55 billion over the next parliament, ‘cuts on a colossal scale’ according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – are to be found hasn’t been made clear, still less where the money will come from ...
5 March 2020
... sterilised. He cited budgetary concerns and the likelihood of more frequent hurricanes.In November 2019, in a statement published in the journal BioScience, more than 11,000 scientists working in fields other than climate science declared a climate emergency: ‘The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected … It is ...
21 March 2019
... week of December the executive caved in on fuel tax. Philippe announced that the rise, due in January, would be put on hold for six months. The news was greeted with contempt by the gilets jaunes and the following day word came down from the president’s office that the fuel tax hike was no longer part of the ...
3 January 2019
... shares in Ryanair had fallen by 12 per cent over the previous quarter and by 29 per cent since January 2018.Passports: By the end of October, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs had recorded 158,763 applications for Irish passports from citizens of Northern Ireland and Great Britain since January; in 2012, there ...

Which is worse?

Adam Tooze: Germany Divided

18 July 2019
Die Getriebenen: Merkel und die Flüchtlingspolitik – Report aus dem Innern der Macht 
by Robin Alexander.
Siedler, 288 pp., €19.99, March 2017, 978 3 8275 0093 9
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Die SPD: Biographie einer Partei von Ferdinand Lassalle bis Andrea Nahles 
by Franz Walter.
Rowohlt, 416 pp., €16, June 2018, 978 3 499 63445 1
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Germany’s Hidden Crisis: Social Decline in the Heart of Europe 
by Oliver Nachtwey, translated by Loren Balhorn and David Fernbach.
Verso, 247 pp., £16.99, November 2018, 978 1 78663 634 8
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Die Schulz Story: Ein Jahr zwischen Höhenflug und Absturz 
by Markus Feldenkirchen.
DVA, 320 pp., €20, March 2018, 978 3 421 04821 9
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... been thought of as both the pace-setter and the anchor of European politics. But in the summer of 2019, the political scene in Berlin is in greater flux than at any time since the Second World War. The right-wing Alternative für Deutschland, founded in April 2013 in reaction to the Eurozone crisis, surged into the Bundestag in the 2017 election with 12.6 per ...

Akihito and the Sorrows of Japan

Richard Lloyd Parry: The Anxious Emperor

19 March 2020
... the palace grounds. ‘The emperor collected their droppings every Sunday afternoon between January 2009 and December 2013,’ the Kyodo news agency reported, ‘and examined plant seeds contained in them through a microscope.’The imperial family enjoy almost none of the perks of royalty: this is the greatest contrast with the British royal ...

After the Fall

John Lanchester: Ten Years after the Crash

5 July 2018
... Then the book came out, and I was giving talks about it all over the place from its publication in January 2010 through the spring and summer, and there was this mysterious lack of rage. People seemed numb and incredulous but not yet angry. In July 2010 I was in Galway for the arts festival, giving a talk in a room where, I later learned, a former taoiseach ...


James Meek

5 April 2018
... they were unable to take breaks. Memos between managers at Southmead Hospital in Bristol in early January, leaked to the local press, warned that beds were ‘104 per cent full’: ‘Patients are admitted to any available bed,’ the hospital’s clinical director wrote. ‘Speciality patients are scattered.’ At that point, with all overflow beds ...

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