Glasgow

IN APRIL 1945, there was a parliamentary by-election in Motherwell, a steel town east of Glasgow and a seemingly safe Labour seat. Since the day almost five years earlier when Winston Churchill formed the great all-party government that waged and won the war, there had been a “party truce.” Special elections had been uncontested among the coalition partners (Tory, Labour, and Liberals), though that didn’t stop independents or downright cranks from running—and sometimes winning.

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Nobody had seen or heard anything like the first half of Sweet Smell of Success in 1957. It wasn’t just the way the picture went out onto the streets and into the bars of Manhattan, letting cameraman James Wong Howe get his best stuff at dawn and twilight. Film noir had made hay with darkness for ten years, but still, you didn’t get a lot of real night in American pictures.

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Bobby Thomson did not recognize his own renown. No matter that the home run he had hit in a Harlem horseshoe on October 3, 1951, remained 49 years later the unsurpassable highpoint of a national pastime, a life marker for a generation of Americans who remembered where they were when the Giants won the pennant (the Giants won the pennant!) as vividly as they did the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the assassination of Kennedy.

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You may not know this but now you do: Sunday's World Cup final is a unification contest to determine the Undisputed Champion of the World. This is the 19th World Cup Final but only the eighth that will unify the two halves of the footballing world championship. How so? Well, the Netherlands are the current Unofficial Football World Champions, the holders of a bauble that stretches all the way back to the first international match ever played when Scotland and England battled to a 0-0 draw in Glasgow in 1872.

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Overall Best One-Stop Shop Politics Home. With all the latest polls, headlines, and videos from the campaign trail, PoliticsHome is clearly the best and easiest-to-use election portal. It’s got enough detail to satisfy political junkies and plenty of overview material for novices and newcomers. Runner-up: the BBC. Best Conservative One-Stop Shop Conservative Home.

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In the aftermath of the thwarted attack on Glasgow airport, one man has emerged as the hero of the hour. Step forward baggage handler John Smeaton who, while enjoying a sly cigarete break, witnessed the attack and rallied to help the police take down the terrorists. You may well have seen him on CNN or Fox. A tribute website--www.johnsmeaton.com--has become a phenomenon, attracting more than 500,000 page views. More than 1,000 people have each pledged money to buy a pint for Mr. Smeaton at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn.

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Vanity Blair

He's been called Bill Clinton's smarter younger brother. The best Tory tacticians are terrified of him. At lunch-tables round Westminster, the prime minister's allies whisper about the looming electoral slaughter. As business leaders defect and opinion polls give Labour a stratospheric lead, there is now a fixed assumption in Britain that the next prime minister will be Tony Blair. A young-looking 43, he is a slim but strongly built man whose fast smile and self-deprecating patter convey the impression of relentless, perpetual movement.

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Vanity Blair

By all measures, Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is going to be trounced at the British polls next month by either the Tories or the newly ascendant Liberal Democrats (or both). With Brown’s popularity lagging, it’s easy to forget that the Labour Party once represented an exciting modern progressive party—particularly back when Tony Blair was on his way to becoming prime minister, and he and Brown were heralded as the party's future.

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Whitehall has just witnessed an unusual meeting between British and German naval officers. With the utmost good nature they have fixed the tonnage with which each of them shall enter the next world war. For every hundred tons that the British launch as targets for German shells and torpedoes, the Germans shall have thirty-five tons, charged with all the instruments of destruction that civilization has devised.

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