Politics & Economics

Photograph of the Supreme Court Justices, November 2018.

RBG’s Big Mistake

Frederick Wilmot-Smith

25 September 2020

Should Trump’s nominee be confirmed, the Supreme Court will shift to the right, probably far to the right, and will remain there for a generation. Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the lion’s share of the blame for this – though Stephen Breyer will split it with her if he doesn’t survive until the next Democratic president is elect­ed. But it is wrong to dwell on individuals and not the institution: citizens’ rights and the state of a democracy should not depend on the health (or decisions) of a ­single person.

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At the Mexican Border

Carlos Dada

8 October 2020

Last​ October I was in Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, investigating new migrant routes from Central America to the US. Donald Trump had been putting pressure on the Mexican government to . . .

Woke Conspiracies

William Davies

24 September 2020

In July​, BBC Music Magazine carried a column suggesting some punchy ideas for reforming the Proms, given the unique circumstances presented by coronavirus. ‘With massed choirs and a packed . . .

Bye Bye Britain

Neal Ascherson

24 September 2020

In​ 2019, Boris Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 2020, he shrank into being prime minister of England. For the second time in less than . . .

The Women’s Liberation Movement

Jenny Turner

24 September 2020

Iwas​ washing up or something ten years ago when an episode of The Reunion with Sue MacGregor came on the radio, the one about the Women’s Liberation protesters who stormed the Miss World competition . . .

Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Perry Anderson, 7 February 2019

By comparison with the scale of the upheaval through which Brazil has lived in the last five years, and the gravity of its possible outcome, the histrionics over Brexit in this country and the conniptions over Trump in America are close to much ado about nothing.

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Let Them Drown

Naomi Klein, 2 June 2016

Environmentalism might have looked like a bourgeois playground to Edward Said. The Israeli state has long coated its nation-building project in a green veneer.

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Where will we live? The Housing Disaster

James Meek, 9 January 2014

The government has stopped short of explicitly declaring war on the poor, but how different would the situation be if it had?

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What I Heard about Iraq: watch and listen

Eliot Weinberger, 3 February 2005

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying...

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Moderation or Death: Isaiah Berlin

Christopher Hitchens, 26 November 1998

In​ The Color of Truth*, the American scholar Kai Bird presents his study of McGeorge (‘Mac’) and William Bundy. These were the two dynastic technocrats who organised and...

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Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Edward Luttwak, 7 April 1994

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth...

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The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and,...

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Maastricht and All That

Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992

A lot of people throughout Europe have suddenly realised that they know hardly anything about the Maastricht Treaty while rightly sensing that it could make a huge difference to their lives....

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John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster

John Hume, 2 February 1989

In recent times in Ireland we have been reminded of a lot of anniversaries. Remembering the past is something of an obsession here. The future, discussing it or shaping it, doesn’t seem...

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Johnson’s reputation has fluctuated along with historians’ views of Reconstruction. Long celebrated as a heroic defender of the constitution against the Radicals, he is today a leading contender...

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I need money: Biden Tries Again

Christian Lorentzen, 10 September 2020

Joe Biden seems to have got into politics simply because he could: for the fuck of it, not out of any ethical commitment or bracing ambition. Unlike most recent Democrat and Republican nominees for president...

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Short Cuts: Ofqual and the Algorithm

Paul Taylor, 10 September 2020

Ofqual is not an independent agency; it is a government department and acted on the instructions of the minister. The problems with the algorithm aren’t technical but a consequence of the political...

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The US had other ideas: The Pipeline Project

Tom Stevenson, 10 September 2020

Europeans can gripe about having to do business with the Russian state and Russian planners may complain about being beholden to the European market, but geography conspires against them. The gas is where...

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One reason the EU has been so keen to tie the UK to level playing field conditions, and is so reluctant to believe the UK’s repeated assurances that it has no intention of cutting regulatory standards,...

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Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne, 13 August 2020

In a time of crisis, the public sees governments as being like lightbulbs: when they stop working, they need to be changed, and the most important thing to consider about the new bulb is whether it will...

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When bystanders approach shouting ‘Get off,’ he glances up, pulls out a con­tainer (possibly mace) and points it to­wards them. Then he looks back down and continues to watch Floyd...

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The East India Company’s relat­ions with the British state had always been ambivalent. Its increasing territorial and military pretensions after 1750 attracted growing attention and demands for...

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Reconstruction was under attack from the outset. There was never a consensus on its legitimacy, and in the end it sank under the weight of racism, indifference, fatigue, administrative weakness, economic...

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It’s not only that cultural and political polarisation makes it harder for different ‘sides’ to understand one another, although that is no doubt true. It makes it harder to understand...

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Whose century? After the Shock

Adam Tooze, 30 July 2020

One has to wonder whether the advocates of a new Cold War have taken the measure of the challenge posed by 21st-century China. For Americans, part of the appeal of allusions to Cold War 2.0 is that they...

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Short Cuts: Thanington Without

Patrick Cockburn, 30 July 2020

Thanington​ is a deprived area beside the River Stour on the western outskirts of Canterbury. Before the pandemic many people here were working on zero-hour contracts as cleaners or supermarket...

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Where Bolton’s most deep-seated desire is to lay waste to America’s enemies, Trump is absorbed by the prospect of abandoning old friends, or at least extorting them with the threat of abandonment....

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Anglo-America’s dingy realities – deindustrialisation, low-wage work, underemployment, hyper-incarceration and enfeebled or exclusionary health systems – have long been evident. Nevertheless,...

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He was a heretic who remained on the left, never a Cold War renegade who sang the virtues of capitalism or colonialism. Had he done so, many avenues would have opened up for him in the West. His books...

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Some streets in Charles Booth’s maps were black at one end and pink at the other; blue and pink – ‘poverty and comfort mixed’ – were fused to produce a purply brown; a blue...

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The past decade should have taught governments to beware of hasty large-scale remodelling. But it seems only to have emboldened the Johnson apparat to go flat out for more of the same. It may still seem...

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The true significance of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s election, and of Trump’s attack on the WHO and China, may be as markers of how radically the world has changed since the WHO was founded,...

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