Politics | The Guardian

Latest Politics news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

18/08/2018 07:23 PM
Fashion boss gives £1m boost to People’s Vote campaign
Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton calls for new Brexit poll and says fear is growing about prospect of no deal

The campaign for a referendum on the final Brexit deal has been boosted by a record £1m donation, amid growing public concern that Britain will leave the EU without any agreement.

The multimillionaire Julian Dunkerton, who co-founded the Superdry fashion label, said he was making the donation to the People’s Vote campaign because he saw a “genuine chance to turn this around”. He claimed that, if Brexit had happened 20 years earlier, his brand would never have been a success.

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18/08/2018 06:00 PM
Britain goes to hell in a Brexit handcart – cartoon

Chris Riddell on why no Brexit is better than a bad Brexit

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18/08/2018 05:20 PM
People's Vote backers rally in Edinburgh for say in final Brexit deal

Ex-Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell, comedian Rory Bremner and broadcaster Gavin Esler among speakers

Campaigners demanding a public vote on the final Brexit deal rallied in Edinburgh on Saturday to increase pressure on the UK government.

Backers of the so-called People’s Vote gathered in Festival Square to call for Theresa May’s deal on leaving the EU to be put to the electorate.

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18/08/2018 02:40 PM
Jim Sheridan suspended from Labour over antisemitism row comments

Former MP said he no longer respected the Jewish community because of their work with ‘Blairite plotters’

The former Labour MP Jim Sheridan has been suspended from the party after he appeared to say he had lost “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community over the party’s antisemitism row, it is understood.

Sheridan had been criticised for a social media post which suggested that Jewish Labour members were acting in concert with “Blairite plotters” to undermine the leadership.

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18/08/2018 02:11 PM
A Titanic success: how Boris Johnson inspired my viral Brexit satire

Josh Pappenheim’s short film based on the blockbuster features Cameron, Johnson and Gove as the doomed ship’s crew

When the satirist Armando Iannucci was asked if he would make a Brexit version of his show The Thick Of It, he replied that there was no point, such was the absurdity of the reality.

Yet political satire still has its place – a fact that was underlined last week when an online comedy short sending up Brexit became a viral hit, racking up more than 10 million views.

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18/08/2018 01:59 PM
Caroline Lucas: ‘So much time is wasted in parliament’

The MP talks about fearing for her life in Cambodia, getting arrested and how Westminster makes her swear more than she should

A girl named Rachel transformed my childhood. Life was safe, suburban and comfortable, but ours was a home without books. I met her aged 11, and she introduced me to the joys of poetry and literature. It opened my mind to ideas I could never have dreamed of.

I organised a strike at my secondary school. Lessons were cancelled, but we weren’t allowed to go home. In retrospect, I can see the safeguarding issues that might have created, but at the time it felt the greatest injustice.

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18/08/2018 11:35 AM
No-deal Brexit may force rethink of vote - ex-civil service head

Impact would be so grave UK would have to review decision to leave EU, says Bob Kerslake

Britain may have to rethink the decision to leave the EU if the government is unable to strike a Brexit deal with Brussels, a former head of the civil service has said.

Bob Kerslake said the consequences of a no-deal exit would be so serious that the UK parliament would have to consider whether it could allow it to go ahead.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
UK public backs tough action on plastic waste in record numbers

Size of consultation response could lead to ‘latte levy’ and other fiscal measures in budget

An unprecedented number of people have backed tough action against plastic waste in a government consultation that could pave the way for a series of fiscal measures in the autumn budget.

The government will say response is evidence that there is broad public support for reducing single-use plastic waste through measure such as a “latte levy” on coffee cups, similar to the plastic bag charge, and tax incentives for recycling.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
Corbyn to criticise tech firms' media influence in Edinburgh speech

Labour leader will give Alternative MacTaggart lecture at annual TV festival

Jeremy Corbyn will use an appearance at Edinburgh television festival to criticise the role of billionaire owners, and large internet companies such as Facebook, in the British media.

“A strong, diverse and independent media is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and society,” Corbyn said on Friday in a preview of the speech next week.

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18/08/2018 12:01 AM
Nigel Farage hits out at MPs as he joins forces with hard Brexit group

Controversial MEP links up with Leave Means Leave to fight Theresa May’s Brexit plan

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is to lend his support to a hard-Brexit campaign group, he has said.

Farage accused MPs and the Lords of refusing to enact the result of the 2016 EU referendum and said he would join forces with the property tycoon Richard Tice to argue against Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.

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17/08/2018 07:46 PM
Martin Rowson on vaping and Brexit – cartoon
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17/08/2018 05:01 PM
The Guardian view on Brexit and trade: the WTO is not a safety net | Editorial
Tory hardliners’ faith in the World Trade Organization as a viable alternative to EU membership is reckless fantasy

One of the most thoroughly debunked claims made about Brexit during the referendum campaign was that it would be easy. Leave campaigners said the terms of Britain’s future trade with the European Union and the rest of the world would quickly be settled. In July 2016, David Davis forecast that, within two years, the UK would have negotiated a new free trade zone “massively larger than the EU.” Mr Davis resigned as Brexit secretary without seeing that vision enacted.

In July 2017, Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said that a post-Brexit deal with the EU “should be one of the easiest in human history.” Yet there is zero prospect of such a deal being complete by March next year, when membership of the single market – a trade partnership of unique depth and, very substantially, of British design – expires. Earlier this month, Mr Fox put the chances of the UK failing to strike any kind of deal in advance of that deadline at 60-40. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said yesterday that such an outcome would be cause for generations of regret (… for the EU, he clarified under duress).

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17/08/2018 05:00 PM
Revealed: asylum seekers' 20-year wait for Home Office ruling

Charities say making people wait two decades in abject poverty is ‘utterly barbaric’

The Home Office has left some people waiting more than 20 years for decisions on their asylum claims, according to data obtained exclusively by the Guardian, in delays charities say are unacceptable and “utterly barbaric”.

Seventeen people received decisions from the Home Office last year on claims they had submitted more than 15 years ago, four of whom had waited more than 20 years for a decision. The worst case was a delay of 26 years and one month after the person initially applied for asylum.

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17/08/2018 04:16 PM
Come on, Jeremy Corbyn, give us the full Jack Nicholson. We can handle it | Marina Hyde
Corbyn should draw inspiration from Nicholson’s colonel in A Few Good Men – and make the speech that will set us straight

I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn has seen A Few Good Men? The cultural life of most politicians is fairly mysterious, with many saying they don’t have time for one. Boris Johnson occasionally claims his top movie is Dodgeball. I once asked Nigel Farage what his favourite film was, and he floundered so long that I eventually started chucking out suggestions like life-rings. Nigel was sufficiently desperate to be saved that he grabbed hold of Love, Actually. Yes, he said gratefully, Richard Curtis movies were his favourite movies. “English stuff, you know.”

Related: It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to take on his critics with a major speech. Here’s what he should say | Gary Younge

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17/08/2018 04:05 PM
Jews and Palestinians are the losers in this pointless political spat | Rachel Shabi

Finger-pointing over Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Tunis has now spread to the Tory party. Yet all it does is provoke division

Calls this week for the Conservative peer Lord Sheikh to be expelled from his party, for attending the same Palestinian rights conference as the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2014, are the signs of a row that has spiralled out of control.

Like Corbyn, Mohamed Sheikh was at the conference at the invitation of the Tunisian president – though he did not lay a wreath. His attendance has prompted the Tory MPs Zac Goldsmith and Robert Halfon to claim the peer breached the party’s code of conduct. Goldsmith tweeted: “If this man is not immediately expelled from the Conservative Party, the Party hierarchy’s complaints about Corbyn will look entirely cynical.” This is an unfortunate arrangement of words, since such complaints look pretty cynical whether or not the man is expelled.

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17/08/2018 07:00 AM
Sadiq Khan: London planners must prepare for no-deal Brexit

Mayor instructs resilience forum to assess impact of food and medicine shortages

Sadiq Khan is to instruct the body tasked with planning for terrorism attacks and disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire to start making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, to assess whether London could face potential shortages of medicines and food.

The London mayor said the government was dragging its feet and leaving businesses and EU citizens in limbo by refusing to guarantee their rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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16/08/2018 07:36 PM
Steve Bell on the Genoa bridge collapse – cartoon
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16/08/2018 06:45 PM
The Guardian view on higher education: more egalitarianism please | Editorial
The UK government’s review into post-18 education must recognise that it is clearly a good that would benefit society if more widely available

Has the engine of education concentrated ability of a certain kind under the latest changes? It would certainly seem so. Students in England receiving their A-level results on Thursday were the latest to do so under a revamp wrought by Michael Gove when he was education secretary. They are part of a move away from grades awarded on the basis of coursework to marks based on a final exam in such subjects as geography and drama. The result seems to be the persistence of trends in educational achievement – with girls continuing to outperform boys in most subjects and sciences attracting more entries. This will encourage the backers of this approach to laud it.

Adopting this outlook means considering the downsides. We must beware of sieving people according to education’s narrow band of values. After all, 1.5 million children took A-levels and 3.8 million people took vocational qualifications. To the government’s credit, it has belatedly realised that there needs to be a serious look at post-school technical and academic options. When Theresa May launched her wide-ranging review in February of post-18 education, it was expected to take a year. However, with the chaos in government engendered by Brexit, no one is sure where Mrs May’s review is going.

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16/08/2018 05:57 PM
It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to take on his critics with a major speech. Here’s what he should say | Gary Younge

Labour’s leader should own his mistakes – but he has been on the right side of history more often than many of his critics

On 18 March 2008, during a media feeding frenzy about statements made by his radical Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, presidential hopeful Barack Obama gave a speech in Philadelphia. His aim was to lay out his candidacy and experiences within the context of America’s racial history. Jeremy Corbyn needs to make a similar intervention over accusations of antisemitism. This is the speech he should, and could, give.

For as long as I can remember, anti-racism and internationalism have been a central part of my life. My parents met at a rally supporting Spanish Republicans who were fighting General Franco’s fascists – a crucial episode in the spread of fascism across Europe that saw Hitler’s rise and all the carnage that came with it. My politics were shaped by a leftwing tradition that had a clear notion that injustice could not be tolerated – and that principle was as crucial to defend abroad as it was at home.

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16/08/2018 03:58 PM
The refugee list's destruction in Liverpool has a chilling significance

The list of dead migrants demands nothing from passersby apart from compassion. Its defacement is proof that art has become a political battleground

This summer, the Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu installed on the streets of Liverpool the latest version of a project that has obsessed her for years. It is not a work of art, but a work of activism: a list of all the people who are known to have died attempting to travel to Europe to make a new life.

She stumbled on this grim catalogue – which marks, where known, the names of the men, women and children as well as the places and manner of their deaths – in 2002, on the website of the charity UNITED for Intercultural Action. Back then, the names numbered 6,000. Now, there are more than 30,000. Cennetoğlu became convinced of the necessity for other people to see these names – to encounter the fragmentary stories of individuals as well as confront the sheer number of the dead.

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16/08/2018 01:21 PM
These rail fare rises are a step too far. Why don’t commuters rise up? | Polly Toynbee

The unmitigated failure of privatised railways is plain for all to see and passengers are the victims

Railways signal the state of a nation. Fast, clean, cheap, punctual trains make a country look well run: Mussolini and Hitler knew the potency of “making the trains run on time”. Any prime minister who puts Chris Grayling in charge, an ideological obsessive who destroys all he touches, is tone deaf to the national pulse.

This week’s train fare rise announcement was political folly on a grand scale, after June’s train timetable fiasco left tens of thousands of trains cancelled. Fares have risen at twice the pace of wages, up 42%, pay up just 18% since 2008, with driver shortages, short trains and customers short-changed by the some of the most expensive fares in the world. A Peterborough to Kings Cross season ticket costs £6,540 a year while in Germany a BahnCard 100 buys a year’s travel anywhere for £3,840. Meanwhile, fuel tax has been frozen for seven years.

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15/08/2018 07:57 PM
Anti-Nazi League founders call for new national campaign

Group says political movement needed to combat challenge from ‘racist and fascist right’

The Anti-Nazi League’s founders have called for the creation of a national campaign to oppose “all forms of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism”.

In a letter to the Guardian, the group said that a new cultural and political movement was necessary to combat a “growing and serious challenge from the racist and fascist right” across British politics.

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15/08/2018 07:31 PM
Steve Bell on Chris Grayling, rail fare hikes and staff pay – cartoon
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15/08/2018 06:32 PM
The soaraway super-rich shame British politics – and our politicians | Anne Perkins

Pay for the top 1% is growing at astounding levels, and an American-style approach to business is making it worse

Jeff Fairburn, who is chief executive of the housebuilding company Persimmon, is now a legend in the fur-lined world of fat cattery; with a £47.1m pay package in 2017, he has outstripped previous title holder Sir Martin Sorrell, who in 2016 had a pay package of £41m, reduced by 71% last year, shortly before his departure from WPP, to a mere £14m. Persimmon is foremost among the outriders in the High Pay Centre’s latest survey of the remuneration of top executives in FTSE 100 companies, but the median increase – excluding outliers – is still 11%.

If Persimmon and the industrial turnaround specialist Melrose, the other extreme case, whose chief executive Simon Peckham got an eye-widening £42.8m – were included in the High Pay Centre’s calculations, then the mean rise in top pay would have been 23%, taking the average to £5.7m. Top-earning bosses are paid 145 times the pay of their average employee. Most ordinary workers are lucky if their pay has kept up with inflation.

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15/08/2018 06:30 PM
Will a second referendum be just another Brexit fantasy? | Martin Kettle

Support is growing for a People’s Vote. It could backfire spectacularly

At every turn, the politics of the Brexit process have been riddled with disastrous illusions: the referendum would settle the issue once and for all; leaving would mean a cash harvest for the NHS; an early general election would give the government a mandate; no deal would be better than a bad deal; as Brexit neared, the country would come together.

It was all wishful thinking, as most illusions are. We are now up to our collective necks in the consequences. Most of the wishfulness was on the side of the leavers and of the two most recent Conservative leaders. Now, though, it is the remainers who have to ask themselves whether they, in their turn, are not falling for another Brexit illusion – this time in the shape of a second referendum, or the so-called People’s Vote.

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13/08/2018 12:56 PM
McDonnell backed launch of anti-Zionist group accused of antisemitism

Shadow chancellor praised network’s founding a decade ago, but stresses he does not endorse all of its views

John McDonnell a decade ago praised the founding of a controversial anti-Zionist network which has been accused of antisemitism, saying it had given a voice to Jews who condemned Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.

The shadow chancellor was lead signatory of a Commons early day motion written in 2008, also signed by Tory MP Peter Bottomley, that welcomed the launch of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and its founding charter.

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