Theresa May repeats herself as the United Kingdom gets closer to a catastrophic Brexit

Time is running out and the Prime Minister just repeats herself. It’s difficult to see how Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons today was any different from her last, other than the fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s delivery of his response was a lot better. Anyone who had had the privilege – or should that be misfortune? – to sit
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From Brussels, the UK increasingly looks like a remake of Lord of the Flies

“We do not know what they want, they do not know themselves what they really want.”  More than 850 days after the referendum, the EU’s patience in the Brexit negotiations is running out. Last week’s European Council summit in Brussels brought no progress to the deadlock in Brexit talks and saw an increasingly isolated Theresa May facing the unanimous voice of the
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Philip Hammond needs to increase taxes, but Tory MPs won’t let him

The chancellor must somehow increase public spending in next week ’ s budget, but Tory MPs are determined to resist most ways of achieving it.  Philip Hammond needs to increase taxes, but Conservative MPs won’t let him. That is the dilemma that the chancellor, burdened by Brexit and Theresa May’s promise to end austerity, faces ahead of next week’s budget. The
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Headlines for October 22, 2018

Trump to Withdraw from 1987 U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal, Plans to Establish Biological Definition of Gender Threatens Trans Rights, Saudi Arabia Says Khashoggi Killed in "Fistfight" Amid Mounting U.S. Pressure, NYT: Saudi Troll Farm Targeted Khashoggi, Other Critics on Twitter, Afghanistan: 27 Killed, 100 Injured as Voters Head to Polls, Gaza: Israeli Forces Shoot and Injure 130 Palestinian Protesters, Israel Delays Plans to Evict Bedouin Village in West Bank, Central American Caravan Crosses into Mexico as Trump Threats Mount, Honduras: Lawyers
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Sky News presenter Adam Boulton makes fun of TV guest’s east London accent

The broadcaster joined in Twitter mockery of her “dropping t’s”. This morning, the director of inequality thinktank Class,  Faiza Shaheen – Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chingford & Woodford Green and a regular talking head on political shows – went on Sky News’ All Out Politics programme to discuss Brexit, Theresa May and the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. So far, so normal.
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Are these the last days of Theresa May?

Some of the mess the Conservatives find themselves in is May’s fault. But none of it is going to go away if she does.  Are these the last days of Theresa May? This morning’s papers are full of stories of plots and ultimatums to the Prime Minister unless she changes her Brexit strategy, whether from  her Scottish MPs  over any extension of the transition
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UK households grow less confident about their finances in October — IHS Markit

Author:  Reuters ID:  1540198118014029400 Mon, 2018-10-22 08:30 LONDON: British households’ confidence in their finances worsened this month as their earnings from employment rose at the weakest rate since February, adding to growing signs of caution among consumers, a survey showed on Monday. The IHS Markit Household Finance Index, watched by the Bank of England as a gauge of consumers’
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Global growth outlook for 2019 dims for first time — poll

Author:  Reuters ID:  1540184677643564300 Mon, 2018-10-22 08:04 BENGALURU: The outlook for global growth in 2019 has dimmed for the first time, according to Reuters polls of economists who said the US-China trade war and tightening financial conditions would trigger the next downturn. At the start of 2018, optimism about a robust global economic outlook was almost unanimous among respondents.
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Brexit deal '95 percent complete': Theresa May

Theresa May will tell lawmakers that Brexit talks are "95 percent complete," although Northern Ireland remains a sticking point. The British PM is desperate to stem a potential rebellion from hardliners in her party.
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Thousands in London march for vote on Brexit terms

Organizers claimed 700,000 turned out in London, calling for a vote on the terms of the Brexit deal. Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly ruled out another referendum.
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England’s political narcissism could break up the Union

The display of English arrogance and contempt over Brexit is laying waste to traditional ties.  Whither the English Unionist? Properly put to the test by Brexit, those who have for so long professed their damp-eyed commitment to the integrity of the UK have been found wanting. Asked “if Brexit means the collapse of the Irish peace process, what is your choice?”,
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The best veg boxes: from wonky carrots to local organics

Seasonal, local and pesticide free: how the NS office was converted to fruit and vegetables.  Autumn is here, and the New Statesman  office has embraced the harvest spirit with a crop of veg box reviews. Backpacks bursting with crimson berries and green kale were taken home for taste-testing, with largely joyous effects: Anoosh Chakelian still has the sound of “apples plopping to earth” ringing in
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Brexit Negotiations: Watching a Country Make a Fool of Itself

No country in the world has cultivated arrogance the way Britain has. But the sad truth is: The former global power can't even find its way to the door without tripping over its feet.
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Facebook hiring Nick Clegg is down to Brexit and Remainers’ inability to stop it

The former deputy Prime Minister has an unparalleled reach in the place where Facebook’s lobbying matters: the European Union.  The  Financial Times  has shocked Westminster  with an astonishing scoop : Nick Clegg, the former deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, is leaving the United Kingdom to take a job as Facebook’s head of global policy and communications - in other words,
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9 reasons Nick Clegg is perfect for Facebook

Here’s why they’re a match made in heaven Here to ruin our Friday, the Financial Times broke the news that ex-MP and ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg will be joining Facebook as their Head of Global Affairs and Communications this January. Twitter was immediately flooded with people screaming about why they think this is a terrible match, given
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Get heard on the People’s Vote march – but remember those who were only heard once

Brexit, and the reasons for it, cannot be fixed by Remainers beating Brexiteers.  As tens of thousands prepare to march through the street’s of London on Saturday to rage against Brexit and demand a “people’s vote”, they should spare at least a thought for those who have been raging in towns and villages across our nation for decades. People for whom the
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To invest in colleges is to invest in the next generation

Spending on education is falling, and the ramifications are being felt now, and will be felt for many years if it is not increased.  The Department for Education was reprimanded earlier this month by the Statistics‎ regulator for making incorrect claims about spending on schools. In true “Thick of It” style, the schools minister claimed on the Today programme that spending
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The Tories are unrealistic about Brexit – and Theresa May is feeding their delusions

Tory MPs feel Theresa May is deceiving them over Brexit. They have a point.  The Conservative Party is as united over Europe as it has ever been this morning: the bad news for Theresa May is that they are united in opposition to the prospect of an extension in the transition period. Iain Duncan Smith told  Newsnight  
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Brexit: Jewish families in UK who fled Nazis seek German passports

As Brexit approaches, figures show that Germans who made Britain their home are increasingly applying for repatriation. The majority are the families of those who fled because they were persecuted by the Nazi regime.
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“Real people — not paid actors”: why companies love “authentic” advertising

From Dove to Bumble, more companies are enlisting “real people” to market their products. If you live in New York City, Bumble wants to remind you that it exists. The dating/networking/friendship app rolled out a new campaign last week featuring billboards in Times Square, posters in subway stations across the city, and ads in the New York Post. You may soon drink coffee out of a disposable cup ensconced in a Bumble-branded sleeve, or be given a pizza
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Chancellor Merkel’s worries are in Hesse, not Bavaria

It is not only Mrs May of the UK that is having a horrible time dealing with Brexit and mutinous cabinet ministers, but the German Chancellor’s grip on her Grand Coalition Partners is now very
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What is the Brexit backstop and how does it affect the Irish border?

The backstop is an insurance policy that there will never be a hard border on the island of Ireland. It may not be as simple in reality.  The negotiations between the United Kingdom and the remaining 27 nations of the European Union (EU27) have deadlocked over one topic: the backstop. So what is the backstop? It’s designed as an insurance policy to
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Conservative MPs fear Theresa May isn’t being straight with them - they’re right

The Prime Minister is saying things about the transition period that simply aren't true - no wonder her pro-Brexit MPs smell a conspiracy. Theresa May continued to store up trouble for herself and her successors with another press conference in which she refused to come clean with journalists or her MPs about the nature of Brexit. The topic this time was
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EU summit: Theresa May says 'maybe' to transition period extension

The EU summit brought the possibility of an extended period for Britain's Brexit process and more funds for dealing with migrants across the bloc. But the UK's Theresa May has challenges from her own party at home.
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Podcast: The Brexit Sanity Test

The  New Statesman  podcast with Helen Lewis and Stephen Bush. Helen and Stephen attempt to bring some calm rationality to the discussion of Brexit and "the backstop" — whatever that turns out to be. Then Helen talks to the American author Rebecca Solnit about reporting on Trump and her new book  Call Them by Their True Names .  Finally,
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The problem for Tory MPs who don’t trust Theresa May is there isn’t time to change leaders

It’s not unreasonable that Conservative MPs, whether they be Leavers or Remainers, want a fresh face in charge. Next month’s Brexit summit is cancelled: leaders of the EU27 have resolved that there is not sufficient progress for it to be worth the trip. Here at home, Conservative politicians and the Brexit press are in uproar over the idea that the transition period could
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Auto parts suppliers warn hard Brexit may set UK back 25 years

Author:  Pagemaker London3 ID:  1539805045106227100 Wed, 2018-10-17 22:38 BRUSSELS: Failure to secure a trade deal for Britain when it exits the EU next year could set the UK auto sector back two decades, leading parts suppliers said on Wednesday as they urged leaders to reach agreement at a summit in Brussels. Europe’s carmakers’ lobby ACEA and suppliers’ association CLEPA,
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Brexit and blatant example of a populist remark

Sometimes a strident behavior or a controversial remark holds such wide-ranging implications that cannot be fully explained even in a book. Britain has recently provided a sample of the populist
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The fresh voices of poets Hannah Sullivan and Danez Smith: two audacious formalists

Sullivan and Smith have little in common, but both are creating urgent, skilful work.   Hannah Sullivan’s debut collection, Three Poems , shares its title with a book by John Ashbery, but that turns out to be a red herring. The blurb compares the work to “the great modernising poems” of Eliot and Pound, but that’s equally misleading (and seriously:
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A view from the border: Ireland on the brink of Brexit

With a declining Catholic church, a gay premier and a politically astute citizenry, Ireland has come of age. But on the border old wounds are reopening. Driving through County Donegal, somewhere south of Ballybofey, we turned left on to a narrow lane. After a few miles we came to an old stone bridge over a tumbling stream. It was wide open country,
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The great schism that could pull the EU apart

Europe is once again divided – this time between liberalism’s defenders in the west and north, and states in the south and east who increasingly reject it. A contest is under way for the future of Europe and the battle lines have been drawn. From the east, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is spearheading a popular revolt against the EU’s ancien
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Francis Fukuyama interview: “Socialism ought to come back”

The End of History  author on what Karl Marx got right, the rivals to liberal democracy and why he fears a US-China war. History is having its revenge on Francis Fukuyama. In 1992, at the height of post-Cold War liberal exuberance, the American political theorist wrote in The End of History and the Last Man : “What we may be witnessing…
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Commons Confidential: The DUP plot against Arlene

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.  Arise, Sir Brexit? Dreary Greg Clark, a Business Secretary with the firmness of soggy cardboard, is searching for tycoons who back a potential national economic catastrophe to gift them gongs. My snout with the magnifying glass whispered that Clark’s department is scrutinising the small list of business Brextremists to honour a few
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Theresa May’s enemies are perplexed by her anti-austerity pledge - but so are her allies

The promise is good for winning parliamentary exchanges but its longterm political value is less clear. In practice, Prime Ministers Questions has two functions: the first is that it is a useful device for the Prime Minister of the day to exert control over their government, the second is that, as with party political broadcasts , they are a good insight
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How the west’s demographic blind spot is fuelling populism

Today, borders are secure but populations are in flux. Is it racist for a white Briton to object to a few non-white immigrants entering Britain because she is attached to its ethnic composition? What about 5,000 a year? A million (including descendants) in five years? Ten million over 50 years? The answer changes as the scale
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White majorities feel threatened in an age of mass migration – and calling them racist won’t help

Today, borders are secure but populations are in flux. Is it racist for a white Briton to object to a few non-white immigrants entering Britain because she is attached to its ethnic composition? What about 5,000 a year? A million (including descendants) in five years? Ten million over 50 years? The answer changes as the scale
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PMQs review: Is Labour under Jeremy Corbyn now the party of business?

The Labour leader’s Brexit questions put pressure on Theresa May, who was unable to reassure business interests. Is Labour the party of business nowadays? Many high up in finance would chuckle at that question – but it truly looked that way at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, when Jeremy Corbyn used UK business leaders’ Brexit fears to put pressure on Theresa May. Dedicating
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Philippe Sands’s Diary: A death in Istanbul, tears in Leeds, and a New York hymn to human rights

The similarities with the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury seem striking, as is the silence of Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt. The week opens with the new academic year at UCL, completing an arbitral award, and an early morning appearance on the Today programme to discuss the Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who entered his country’s consulate in Istanbul but apparently never
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It would be a big mistake for May to rely on Labour MPs to push through her Brexit deal

A Brexit that is too soft to secure the support of Tory ultra-Brexiteers will also struggle to retain the support of Labour’s band of Leavers.  In December 2015, when David Cameron wanted parliamentary approval to join air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, he knew that he would be unable to win the vote with the support of Conservative MPs alone. So
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Lonely pensioners, cake-based Schadenfreude and how royal weddings help the Tories

If I am offered the new service from Royal Mail as part of the government’s loneliness strategy, I’ll say I’d prefer earlier and more reliable deliveries.  Here is some news that has attracted surprisingly little comment. George Osborne was right to sound the alarm about UK public finances in 2010. Sort of. According to an International Monetary Fund report, the UK government’s net worth
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Michael Gove avoids Brexit questions with infuriating “tea and toast” distraction

Yet another politician gets away with faux English whimsy. Melting butler and Environment Secretary Michael Gove is the master of getting away with it. After comparing pro-Remain economists to Nazi doctors in the run-up to the EU referendum, he simply mildly apologised and carried on – later running for Tory leader. Now he’s in the cabinet, his frothing Brexiteering has been
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The New Statesman Podcast: The Brexit Sanity Test

Early access for digital subscribers to the  New Statesman  podcast with Helen Lewis and Stephen Bush. */ Welcome to the early access, ad free edition of the New Statesman podcast. You have a few options as to how to listen. 1. In your browser You can use this player to listen in your browser:
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Britain has gaslit EU citizens like me who loved it. That’s why I’ve left

London had been the ultimate goal. Now I doubt I will ever move back. Last week, I packed my books, my clothes and my teapot, boarded the Eurostar, and left the UK. It wasn't technically difficult, but mentally it was, because I doubt I will ever move back. My impending departure was met with disbelief among my friends
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Relief for UK buyers as consumer prices drop more than expected

Author:  Reuters ID:  1539769314702997000 Wed, 2018-10-17 09:30 LONDON: British inflation fell more than expected in September to a three-month low, offering some relief to consumers who have been squeezed financially since the Brexit vote. Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, more than reversing August’s jump to a six-month high of 2.7 percent, the Office for
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Leader: Universal Credit could become the Tories’ new poll tax

The new system is underfunded, years late and will lead to three million working families losing an average of £2,500 a year.  Theresa May has promised what neither David Cameron nor Ed Miliband ever did: the end of austerity. But fulfilling this pledge will be much harder than making it. As if to prove as much, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther
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Leader: Universal Credit was an avoidable disaster

Iain Duncan Smith and his acolytes recklessly dismissed warnings from experts - a preview of the Brexit debacle.  Theresa May has promised what neither David Cameron nor Ed Miliband ever did: the end of austerity. But fulfilling this pledge will be much harder than making it. As if to prove as much, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, conceded on
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Westminster’s response to #MeToo will always be limited by the desire to play politics

Despite a damning report on bullying and harassment, the bulk of Labour MPs are rallying around the Speaker. What's a little bit of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace when there's a Brexit to shape? That's the calculation that Labour MPs are making and that a few of their number have gone so far as to say out loud after Laura
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Fears Brexit could lead to food shortages in EU and UK

The Netherlands, from whence the UK imports many of its vegetables, prepares for the worst-case scenario of a potential failure to reach a Brexit deal.
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