May 02, 2010
WASHINGTON—"There's something else you need to know about me," declared the earnest young politician, "which is I believe the test of a good and strong society is how we look after the most vulnerable, the most frail and the poorest." This lovely bleeding-heart liberal sentiment was part of the closing statement offered by David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservative Party at last week's final debate before this Thursday's election. And after a rocky campaign start, Cameron now leads in the polls and may well become the next prime minister.
April 21, 2010
What, you ask, is going on? The honest answer is that no one in Britain really knows what is happening with our election.
The Liberal Democrats’ Moment
April 20, 2010
Seldom has a single debate had such an impact on a political campaign. A week ago, jaded observers were wondering whether David Cameron’s Conservatives could hold on to the lead over Gordon Brown’s Labour Party that they had enjoyed for more than two years, and the Liberal Democrats seemed doomed to their traditional also-ran status.
March 15, 2010
LONDON -- Could Prime Minister Gordon Brown become the Harry Truman of British politics? For many long months, Brown and his Labor Party were written off as sure losers in this year's election, likely to be called for May 6. David Cameron, the young, energetic and empathetic Conservative Party leader, was all but handed Brown's job by the chattering classes, so consistent and formidable had been his lead in the polls. But suddenly, Cameron doesn't seem quite so inevitable. One recent poll showed Brown's party within two points of Cameron's.
Gordon Brown's Spelling (cont'd)
November 11, 2009
It looks like I underestimated the intelligence of the British public when I said that Gordon Brown's spat with the grieving mother of a dead British soldier was a no-win situation for him. Actually, he's winning: a new poll finds that 65 percent of British voters think that the attacks on Brown--which are being orchestrated by The Sun, the Murdoch-owned tabloid that's supporting David Cameron--are unfair. Alex Massie captures the sentiment: [T]here come moments when legitmate criticism crosses some kind of line and becomes bullying. This is one such instance.
Weekend Reading, October 16-18
October 16, 2009
--David Runciman's fascinating essay on the social and political consequences of inequality --William Deresiewicz's review of Margaret Atwood (Deresiewicz's fantastic piece on Jonathan Lethem in this week's TNR is here). --TNR has some great Afghanistan/Pakistan pieces coming next week. To hold you over, check out Dexter Filkins' profile of Stanley McChrystal and Vanessa M.
Head of His Class
July 01, 2009
To the unschooled eye, the photograph of the 1987 class of the Oxford University Bullingdon Club could be mistaken for a 100-year-old image. The ten young men crowding the frame are dressed in long tails and blue bowties and pose on marble steps, most of them studiously looking away from the camera. But this is a relatively recent photo of members of the aristocratic, and destructive, drinking club: Participants honor the unofficial motto--"I like the sound of breaking glass"--by getting drunk and trashing private property.
How Do You Mend A Broken Society?
July 06, 2007
Foreign policy is not often a major factor in British elections. You could argue it's not decided a general election since Labour argued for unilateral nuclear disarmament in 1983 (part of a party manifesto memorably described as "the longest suicide note in political history"). Despite the tensions of the Blair-Bush years, it's not hugely likely that foreign policy will be a major factor in the next election either. What will be? Schools, social cohesion and children's issues.