Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is irrelevant to today’s authoritarianism

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A letter I wrote, reproduced below, was published in the February 2018 edition of Prospect. I wrote it in response to Alan Johnson’s article “The Orwellian eye”. Continue reading Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is irrelevant to today’s authoritarianism

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How Brexit led to Corbyn: UK politics review 2017

Official portrait of Jeremy Corbyn crop 2
It’s 2015 and Ed Miliband stumbles off the stage after failing to convince the audience that New Labour, which had left government five years earlier, had not overspent. It was a symbolic moment of that year’s election and also shows how much priorities have changed in British politics in the two and a half years since. Continue reading How Brexit led to Corbyn: UK politics review 2017

Power on the screen

Gérard Depardieu (Berlin Film Festival 2010)
A glut of recent French political dramas explore the age-old dilemma between power and principle. Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have taken apart the old certainties of the country’s politics by exploiting popular cynicism and exhaustion with the way traditional policymakers behave. But television is taking a fresh and honest look at corruption, loyalty and ethics in politics.  Continue reading Power on the screen

An anti-Brexit party really could succeed

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Ever since the EU referendum result in June 2016, excitable speculation about the potential for an anti-Brexit party – most recently ignited by the support of former Daily Mail political editor James Chapman – has found its equal and opposite reaction in vigorous sneering at its prospects. Continue reading An anti-Brexit party really could succeed

Will Donald Trump make or break Europe?

Angela Merkel Donald Trump 2017-03-17 (cropped)

This is an article I wrote back in March, which was shortlisted for the Nico Colchester Journalism fellowship. A few months on, I think the thrust of the analysis remains relevant, and I feel more sure of my argument.

Henry Kissinger once famously asked “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe,” supposedly illustrating the American desire for a single European voice on the world stage. Except, he didn’t. According to an anecdote published in the Financial Times, the master of Realpolitik did not like dealing with the President of the Council of European Union as the spokesman for the entire organisation, and rather seemed to want to divide and rule in Europe. Continue reading Will Donald Trump make or break Europe?

Can Macron bring back the extremes?

Macron supporters' group in Lens

This article is part of a series I wrote between the presidential and legislative elections in France.

It was the defining moment of the campaign. Marine Le Pen had set up Emmanuel Macron, but the soon-to-be president got his own back. Macron was talking to union representatives from a tumble-dryer factory threatened with closure in Amiens, in the north-east of France. Le Pen visited workers on the picket line and told them Macron was showing “contempt” by failing to visit them. Continue reading Can Macron bring back the extremes?

The hole in the centre ground: how France’s north-east coalfields turned to the populists

old cinema in Lens

This article is part of a series I wrote between the presidential and legislative elections in France.

When you arrive by train into the town of Lens and leave the station, opposite you stands the shell of the old Apollo Cinema (above). It opened in 1932 and in its time it hosted a whole host of contemporary stars such as Yves Montand, Coluche and Josephine Baker. It closed its doors on the 31 December 2000, but remains a dirty reminder of times gone by. Continue reading The hole in the centre ground: how France’s north-east coalfields turned to the populists