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2,797.00 0.04%
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Jonathan Freedland


Aggression, abuse and addiction: we need a social media detox

It’s August, when the talk is of holidays looming or just gone — and yet the question I find myself asking is not where, but whether.I’m less interested in where friends or colleagues are going than whether they will fully unplug. Will they stay off their phones and, specifically, off Twitter and Facebook?I’m filled with admiration for the pal who stayed off the tweets a full month, only now gradually re-entering that realm, blinking into the darkness. That took some serious willpower. How funny to think that we once regarded the humble email device as addictive — the CrackBerry, we...

The will of the people? These Brexit ideologues are destroying democracy

First, a confession. One that relates to the current threat facing Britain’s democratic way of life and which involves a decision I made nearly 15 years ago. It turns on the unlikely name of Brian. In January 2004, I had covered for the Guardian the publication of the Hutton Report into one of the most vexed aspects of the Iraq war: The death of the scientist and weapons inspector David Kelly, and the accusation by the BBC that former British prime minister Tony Blair’s government had “sexed up” its dossier on the threat supposedly posed by Saddam Hussain. Lord Hutton...

Britain must hug Europe close

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, must be dreading Monday’s edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia’s big and breezy tabloid. It will doubtless splash on an explosive interview with United States President Donald Trump ahead of his visit to Moscow, in which Trump will slam Putin’s handling of the war in Syria, suggest US-Russia relations are doomed and lavish praise on the Russian leader’s “very talented” rival. Poor Vladimir must be quaking in his boots.Oh wait. No interview like that is coming, and not only because Putin would never allow it. Trump himself wouldn’t dare speak so harshly of his Russian counterpart,...

Trump’s Republican party hits a new low

To the serial dishonesty, overt racism and jaw-dropping sexism, we can now add a new, more subtle layer of shame to Donald Trump’s campaign to be the president of America: The relentless exploitation of genuine grief and heart-breaking pain. The first night of the Republican convention in Cleveland was devoted to a simple theme: Make America Safe Again. But that idea was pursued not by the presentation of a new law-and-order policy or a fresh military doctrine, but by a procession of grieving parents and siblings, telling of the soldiers or victims of crime they had lost over the past...

Cameron the true heir to Blair: Both were totally reckless

So painful was the loss of the city across the Channel, Mary Tudor predicted that anyone gazing upon her heart after her death would find engraved there a single word: Calais. When the day comes, we surely know what word will be etched into the heart of Tony Blair. It will be Iraq. And for David Cameron: Europe.For both of these prime ministers — and, remember, one liked to see himself as the heir to the other — a single decision brought catastrophe.The word is not metaphorical in Blair’s case. As last week’s Chilcot report laid bare, at least 150,000...

A warning to Gove and Johnson — we won’t forget what you did

It’s gripping, of course. Game of Thrones meets House of Cards, played out at the tempo of a binge-viewed box-set. Who could resist watching former allies wrestling for the crown, betraying each other, lying, cheating and dissembling, each new twist coming within hours of the last? And this show matters, too. Whoever wins will determine Britain’s relationship with Europe.And yet it can feel like displacement activity, this story of Tory MP Michael Gove, former London mayor Boris Johnson and MP Theresa May — a distraction diverting people from the betrayal larger than any inflicted by one Tory bigwig on another....

The young put Jeremy Corbyn in, now they should push him out

Let’s get one thing straight. The blame for last week’s Brexit vote rests with British Prime Minister David Cameron — both for calling a referendum for which there was no widespread public demand, purely to manage internal strife within the Conservative party, and for the way he timed and framed that vote. Blame belongs too with the Leave campaign, who won their mandate on a false prospectus — dishonestly promising that a British departure from the European Union (EU) would bring a £350 million (Dh1.69 billion) weekly windfall to the National Health Service (NHS) and would halt EU immigration. Bogus...

Waking up in a different country

Britons have woken up in a different country. The Britain that existed until June 23, 2016, will not exist any more. For those who ran the Leave campaign — and for the clear majority who voted to leave the European Union (EU) — that is a cause for celebration. This, they insist, will be remembered as Britain’s “Independence Day”.From now, they say, Britain will be a proud, self-governing nation, unshackled by the edicts of Brussels. But for the 48 per cent who voted the other way, and for most of the watching world, Britain has changed in a way that...

We have woken up in a different country

We have woken up in a different country. The Britain that existed until 23 June 2016 will not exist any more.For those who ran the Leave campaign – and for the clear majority who voted to leave the European Union – that is a cause for celebration. This, they insist, will be remembered as our “independence day”. From now, they say, Britain will be a proud, self-governing nation unshackled by the edicts of Brussels.But for the 48% who voted the other way, and for most of the watching world, Britain is changed in a way that makes the heart sink...

If you inject enough poison into the political bloodstream, somebody will get sick

For weeks, months and years, “politician” has been a word more spat out than said. MPs have been depicted as a form of pond life, routinely placed on the lowest rung of the ladder of esteem, trusted less than estate agents and journalists, the butt of every panel show gag, casually assumed to be venal, mendacious, vain, stupid or malevolent.“They’re all as bad as each other,” we say. “They’re only in it for themselves.” “You can’t believe a word they say.” These complaints are repeated so often, we barely notice them. They’re like moans about the weather, presumed to warrant...

Which would be worse, President Trump or Brexit? It’s no contest

What if the devil came to visit you in the dead of night? What if, dressed in a fine suit, his tail and pitchfork artfully concealed, Lucifer himself offered you a deal? Knowing the anxiety that was keeping you — a good, progressive type — up at night, he promised that he would grant you one, but only one, of your two deepest current wishes: you could either be sure that Donald Trump would lose the US presidential election or you could be guaranteed that Britain would vote to stay in the European Union. You could have one or the...

A plea to Hillary’s Democrat critics

Maybe it’s a mistake to worry too much about Susan Sarandon. But her recent musings on the United States presidential election make me anxious. Not because I think she has huge influence — if celebrity endorsements swung elections, we’d all be reading Neil Kinnock: The Downing Street Years — but because I fret that others might think like her. And if enough do, we need to brace ourselves for President Donald Trump. Last month the film star, who’s been a loud advocate of Bernie Sanders, was asked what she’d do if he failed to win the Democratic nomination and it...