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the implosion of the german political class | germany | politics

what was once called the ‘people’s party’ (volkspartei) appears to be on its last legs. the pressure has clearly told on schulz, who reacted aggressively throughout sunday evening’s traditional televised post-election debates, claiming merkel had brought about the rise of afd by leading a ‘scandalous election campaign’ and ‘systematically [refusing] to talk about politics’. so unhinged and defensive was schulz’s latest tv performance that german newspapers suggested he had ‘freaked out’.afd is not the only party to have gained from the decline of the political establishment. for the first time in postwar history, the bundestag will feature six parties, including: the liberal party (fdp), which managed a splendid comebac...




that lukaku chant: it’s open season on ‘football scum’ again

eton-educated poet musa okwonga said united fans were reducing lukaku to his ‘body parts’ and their supposed love for him could easily turn into ‘racist fury if he has a slump in form or scoring’: ‘their anger will be loaded with an extra venom.’ note the pre-emptive disgust here, the expectation that at any moment this horde, this mob, this crowd could turn, could switch, could become a venomous army of prejudice. look, you can dress this up in the garb of anti-racism as much as you like but it still amounts to an eton-educated poet telling football fans they’re scum. and that’s the thing about the so-called ‘anti-racism’ project in football: it is really just a means through which some very old, ugly prejudices against ...




trouble at the tate | arts & culture | museums and galleries

the tate’s collecting policy is not based on what it will display but on demonstrating its politically progressive credentials, using our money to do so. due to space restrictions, the art itself will likely never be exhibited.the tate’s fundamental problem is that it does not know why it exists; this will only get worse during balshaw’s era, with its promised blend of identity politics, populism, community events, pop culture and an influx of school parties, not to mention a massive acquisition drive.museums in the postmodern agewhen the existence of museums depends on popular consent and museum funding depends on reaching a mass audience, curators tend to make art as approachable as possible. yet the more art is presented as just ano...




uberphobia: when anti-capitalism turns ugly | science and technology | transport

the satire writes itself these days. for the past 16 months, ever since voters said no to the eu, the supposed liberal set has been signalling its virtue over migrant workers. these remainer types have filled newspaper columns and dinner-party chatter with sad talk about foreigners losing the right to travel to and work in britain. yet now these same people have chortled as london mayor sadiq khan and his pen-pushers at transport for london (tfl) have refused to renew uber’s licence in the capital. which means 30,000 people will lose work. many of them migrants. they cry over migrant workers one day, and laugh as they lose their livelihoods the next.anyone would think their overriding concern is less with migrants’ right to work than wit...




‘we need to kick politics out of sport’

explore our full podcast archive here.picture by: getty images.for...




that lukaku chant: it’s open season on ‘football scum’ again | race | sport

eton-educated poet musa okwonga said united fans were reducing lukaku to his ‘body parts’ and their supposed love for him could easily turn into ‘racist fury if he has a slump in form or scoring’: ‘their anger will be loaded with an extra venom.’ note the pre-emptive disgust here, the expectation that at any moment this horde, this mob, this crowd could turn, could switch, could become a venomous army of prejudice. look, you can dress this up in the garb of anti-racism as much as you like but it still amounts to an eton-educated poet telling football fans they’re scum. and that’s the thing about the so-called ‘anti-racism’ project in football: it is really just a means through which some very old, ugly prejudices against ...




trigger warnings won’t resolve trauma | down with campus censorship! | free speech

by mandating the use of trigger warnings, educators who may have no specialist experience as mental-health professionals appropriate the role of therapist-by-proxy within the classroom. this is incredibly dangerous, and it is astonishing that those who claim to have the best interests of ptsd sufferers at heart do not seem to consider the harmful implications of this. avoidance of triggers is inimical to recovery. when any ptsd patient meets the symptomatic criteria for the disorder, the aim of the therapist is not to maintain the occurrence of symptoms within the patient - the entire point of a therapist’s intervention is to help a patient recover. educators who give into student demands for trigger warnings, and therefore endorse avoidan...




oslo: the death of ethical foreign policy | arts & culture | theatre

in the context of such suffering in the middle east itself, it’s hard to take seriously the norwegian characters’ anxiety about risking their careers (including howard ward’s humorously volatile foreign minister johan jorgen holst). even so, peter polycarpou is outstanding as plo man qurei. big and bearish, powerful with an emphatically volatile side, he also brings warmth, charm and gravitas, making him a thoroughly clubbable arab. he’s a man with whom you can break bread and in line with western liberal standards holds his pleasures close to his principles. next to him nabil elouahabi prickles with hardline frustration as his marxist sidekick asfour. as qurei’s opposite israeli number uri savir, philip arditti is a leaner, more c...




kick paternalism out of football | british politics | liberties | sport

when wonga started sponsoring newcastle united (nufc), labour mp chi onwurah began a self-imposed ban from watching her home team play, branding wonga ‘a legal loan shark’. but now, nufc has a new sponsor, the sports betting company and online casino fun 88, and the newcastle mp has returned to the terraces of st james’s park to cheer on ‘the toon’. however, she might find herself out of step with labour policy, following the party’s recent announcement that, if it were in power, it would ban football clubs from having betting companies advertise on their shirts.‘shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough’, argued tom watson, labour’s deputy ...




labour must choose: the people or the single market | british politics | for europe, against the eu

the desire among the british people to end the economics of austerity and build an economy based on high-skill industry and manufacturing was sensibly reflected in labour’s 2017 election manifesto. but most of the promises and policies in that manifesto could not be met if the uk stays in the single market. it will be a dereliction of duty if labour wished the ends without willing the means. calling for the uk to remain in the single market, as many labour mps are doing, is a proxy for ditching that manifesto. there is a desperate effort by remainers to bounce the parliamentary labour party into reneging on labour’s manifesto commitment to respect the outcome of the referendum. they scored a small victory with the shadow cabinet’s biza...




we voted for brexit, not for bojo or his bus | for europe, against the eu

contrary to such ridiculous remainer myths, the leave vote was about far more than the economics of pounds and pence. it was primarily about the political principles of demanding greater democracy and sovereignty. it was a democratic revolt against the pro-eu political elites, whose contemptuous attitude towards the people was well illustrated by ‘project fear’ during the 2016 referendum campaign.if anybody wants to see hysterical economic claims about the likely effects of brexit, let them look back at how the remain campaign tried to scare voters into doing as they were told like frightened children. in the run-up to the june referendum, the treasury announced that a leave vote would cause ‘an immediate and powerful shock’ to the u...




the death of stalin: the arrival of iannucci | arts & culture | film

having made his name with brilliant tv comedies like the day today, i’m alan partridge and the thick of it, armando iannucci returns to the cinema with his second feature film as director: the death of stalin.the film recently premiered at the toronto international film festival. while iannucci is known for contemporary political satire, it’s great to see this great comedy writer tackle historical subject matter without losing any of his bite. the totalitarian setting allows iannucci to indulge in the darkest comedy of his career. though inspired by the real events surrounding the aftermath of stalin’s death, the movie is predominantly adapted from the graphic novel of the same name.iannucci’s previous film work has been composed of ...




making a mockery of juries | crime and the law

this has not stopped the complaints about biased and ignorant jurors. it is often claimed that the majority of people think rape ‘only takes place down a dark alley’. yet there is no evidence that this impacts on a jury’s perception of the evidence in real cases. which shouldn’t be a surprise, given jurors are heavily directed at the outset of a trial about the nature of rape and sexual violence. they are now also directed about certain myths about how complainants react in the aftermath of an attack. they are informed that there is no normal way of responding to being attacked, and that a delay in complaining does not necessarily mean the complaint is false.if juries genuinely did believe that rape only occurred down a dark alley wh...




jemele hill and the politicisation of everything | free speech | usa

this strange, semi-conscious political drift isn’t lost on espn, either. longtime anchor bob ley has said, ‘we’ve done a great job of diversity, but the one place we have miles to go is diversity of thought’. all of this meets a ravenous appetite among the crankier end of the conservative blogosphere for ‘leftist’ subversion. but while espn should be free to be as political as it likes, it’s not entirely clear why it is doing this. it has lost 12million subscribers in the last six years – for espn now to turn itself into the sports network of choice for the resistance probably isn’t going to help matters.hill herself has rejected the idea that commentators should ‘stick to the sports’, saying she can’t not comment on ...




george hook and the sanitisation of irish debate

the articulation of unfashionable opinions has once again been demonised in irish society. this time, it’s newstalk radio host george hook who’s in the firing line. i appreciate the outspoken style of hook and have enjoyed his show high noon when i’ve listened in. there is something refreshing in hearing a man bluntly speak his mind. there is no other major radio show in ireland that offers listeners such an experience. this is the curse of irish media: there aren’t many places for dissent or lively discussion on controversial topics. no two shows are that different. i swing from sarah mcinerney on newstalk drive to the ray d’arcy show on rté radio 1 to mary wilson on drivetime, and eventually turn the whole thing off. despite hav...




in defence of the ‘no dreadlocks’ school

not so long ago, if a child’s hairstyle fell foul of his or her school’s uniform policy, the parents would swiftly take the child to the hairdressers to have it rectified. sadly, those days have gone. fulham boys school in west london has threatened to suspend a 12-year-old pupil unless he removes his dreadlocks – which clearly contravene the church of england school’s uniform policy. simple, you might think. but in these pc times, when the personal and the political have become so entwined, this reasonable request appears to have fallen on culturally sensitive ears.tuesday flanders, a rastafarian and the mother of chikayzea, the child at the centre of the row, is prepared to put up a fight. ‘they can’t expect me to cut my son’...




in praise of thomas jefferson | politics | usa

jefferson’s belief in human equality and democracy extended beyond penning the declaration. while other founding fathers looked sceptically at the french revolution, its potential excited jefferson. according to one british observer in 1792, he was ‘a vigorous stickler for revolutions and the downfall of an aristocracy… like his friend [thomas] paine, he cannot live but in a revolution, and all events are only considered by him in the relation they bear to the probability of a revolution to be produced by them.’what drove jefferson’s belief in republican rule, democracy and revolution was a profound trust in people’s capacity for self-government. he may himself have been an aristocrat, but, as gordon wood, an historian of the ame...




aung san suu kyi: a childish obsession | asia | politics

yet the wailing about aung san suu kyi – this fallen idol, this saint-turned-sinner, this colossal moral let-down – is itself testament to a profound problem with the way global affairs are approached today. that is to say, too often they are boiled down to baddies versus goodies, as if the driving forces of conflicts, struggles and tyrannies around the world can be reduced to the moral character of particular individuals. as a result the complexities of local situations, the material forces involved – social, political and economic – cease to exist. all that matters is the seeming evilness or goodness of individual leaders. we’ve seen this shallow, childish approach underwrite the disastrous interventions against assorted internat...




parsons green: silence in the face of terror

are we going to talk about this? the fact that there was an act of attempted mass murder on the tube on friday? the fact that someone in our midst – a refugee, allegedly – planted an iraq-style ied, the device of a warzone, among innocent commuters in order to destroy life and limb on a vast scale? mercifully, the bomb, in a bucket in a lidl bag left on a train at parsons green in west london, didn’t properly explode, meaning it only – we say ‘only’ about such incidents these days – injured people rather than killing and maiming them. but this shouldn’t take away from the horrifying fact that this was the fourth time this year that a suspected islamist sought to massacre crowds of brits: ordinary people, workers, mums, childr...




pc stalinism: the eu bans cartoons critical of the eu

in a move totally unsurprising to anyone who has been paying attention, the eu has shown its authoritarian colours by banning cartoons from one of its own exhibitions. british mep catherine bearder has censored a dozen satirical cartoons intended for an exhibition celebrating 60 years of the eu. reports show post-its marked with big crosses stuck on cartoons critical of brussels.the censored cartoons, drawn by french and greek cartoonists, include one showing different eu countries at the starting line of a car race. beneath the banner ‘multy-speed europe [sic]’, germany is depicted by a giant porsche, italy is a tiny fiat and greece is a chariot pulled by a pensioner. a sharp and accurate observation of the status quo, if you ask me.the...