No, you can’t get holiday compensation for finding there are too many Spaniards in Spain

The truth behind the most Brexit story ever. When Freda Jackson returned from her holiday to Benidorm, she sparked what is possibly the UK’s most Brexit story to date. “British tourist moans her Benidorm holiday was ruined by ‘too many Spanish people’” the Mirror reported online yesterday, as did the Sun , Express , Indy ,
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Did Brexit kill Mark Fisher’s theory of capitalist realism?

After the financial crash, Fisher wondered why it was so hard to come up with an alternative to capitalism.  In 2007, the cultural theorist Mark Fisher was walking through a shopping centre when he heard the voice of Amy Winehouse singing “Valerie” over the speakers. Fisher’s first assumption was that The Zutons, who had released the song the previous year, must have
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Essex and me: on growing up on the set of TOWIE

Not going to lie to you, but it doesn’t  feel  like the Brentwood I grew up in. When I was a teenager, depending on our mood and who we were with and how old the most obviously under-aged among us was looking, my friends and I would frequent several different pubs in the Essex town where our school was. There was the unconvincing
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How the BBC’s balance issue is alienating its supporters – right when it most needs them

The pursuit of balance breaks down when applied to people who have no interest in telling the truth, and who in fact set out to deliberately mislead. There’s been a lot of criticism of the BBC in the past week, culminating in a Twitter campaign, #BBCswitchoff, which encouraged people with concerns about its impartiality over a nebulous range of issues to turn
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How the BBC’s balance issue is alienating its supporters – just when it needs them most

The pursuit of balance breaks down when applied to people who have no interest in telling the truth, and who in fact set out to deliberately mislead. There’s been a lot of criticism of the BBC in the past week, culminating in a Twitter campaign, #BBCswitchoff, which encouraged people with concerns about its impartiality over a nebulous range of issues to turn
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UK economy warms up a touch, Brexit hurdles ahead

LONDON: Britain’s economy warmed up a little in the second quarter from its winter slowdown of early 2018, but there was no sign of an end to its stuttering performance ahead of Brexit next year. The world’s fifth-biggest economy relied on the services industry for growth in the second quarter, despite signs that its households were under growing financial strain. By contrast, manufacturers struggled and net trade dragged on
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The niqab-wearers bracing themselves for abuse: “It’s open season on the Muslims now”

Niqab-wearers emphasise that the niqab is a choice, not an obligation. It is a choice that comes at a high price.  On the continent, more and more European countries legislate “niqab and burqa bans” (most recently Denmark in May 2018) that criminalise face covering. The latter was recently publicised by Boris Johnson, in an article for the Telegraph where he
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The GDP figures confirm Britain’s economic weakness

The manufacturing sector is now in recession and the economy has grown below 0.5 per cent for six consecutive quarters.  On economic growth, the UK government is benefiting from low expectations. Friday’s estimate that GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in quarter two appears impressive when set against 0.2 per cent in Q1. But the latest figure merely
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Brexit is dividing the Tories over Europe – and everything else

The party’s row over Boris Johnson’s comments on the burqa highlights its internal psychodrama.  The intra-Conservative Party row over Boris Johnson and the burqa is a fascinating example of how Brexit is gradually driving the party mad. His description of women who wear the full face veil as looking like “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”, while defending their right to wear
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Brexit uncertainty dampens Savills’ first-half profits

LONDON: UK-based real estate services provider Savills saw a sharp drop in commercial transactions in Britain in the first half as uncertainty ahead of Brexit made investors cautious. Longer term, the company said overseas investors were still committed to London, seeing it as “comparatively secure in a global context”, and some big firms were looking to expand their footprint in the city. In the first half of the year, though,
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Labour is now the true party of business

Eight years of austerity has hurt public services but the private sector is feeling the pain too. In government, Labour will be pro-business and pro-worker. Given the opportunity to grade the government, many businesses would be tempted to follow the lead of the former foreign secretary and award the Conservatives an F.   The CBI said government Brexit policy suffers from a “lack of
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Why hasn’t Boris Johnson been punished for breaching the ministerial code?

Johnson broke rules on ministerial appointments over his  Daily Telegraph  column but will keep his job. Our toothless watchdog desperately needs reform.  Boris Johnson’s Telegraph column is famously well-remunerated but it is causing the former foreign secretary no end of trouble. His latest piece, in which he compared women wearing the niqab to bank robbers , has prompted
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The disciplinary action against Boris Johnson could trigger a Tory civil war

Though Conservative sources insist the probe into Johnson “is not personal”, Tory MPs suspect the party has factional motives.  The knives are out for Boris Johnson. With the controversy over his comments on women who wear the burqa into its fourth day, Brandon Lewis, the Conservative chairman, has launched a disciplinary probe into whether Johnson breached the party’s code of conduct.
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Brexit will mean even hungrier children in the summer holidays

In austerity Britain, parents are already struggling to feed their children. After Brexit, prices are expected to rise.  It was reported last week that Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has commissioned a £200,000 study to explore the impacts of austerity. That money could be better spent on something useful to help the poorest in society. If ministers want to understand more
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Why a breakthrough on the Irish border isn’t all good news for Theresa May

Softening the backstop plan will get May off the hook in Brussels, but not with Tory Brexiteers. The intractable question of the Irish border continues to frustrate progress in Brexit negotiations. But for how much longer? Almost imperceptibly, the mood music from Brussels has changed key – and some believe compromise could be in the offing when talks resume later this month.
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The cost of Britain’s “bargain basement” model

The UK’s vast current account deficit is a symptom of its broken economic system. In his recent “Build it in Britain” speech, Jeremy Corbyn broke a decades-long taboo by addressing the UK’s international competitiveness problem. Even as the country’s current account deficit – the difference between what we buy from the rest of the world and what we sell to it –
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The cost of Britain’s “bargain basement” model

The UK’s vast current account deficit is a symptom of its broken economic system. In his recent “Build it in Britain” speech, Jeremy Corbyn broke a decades-long taboo by addressing the UK’s international competitiveness problem. Even as the country’s current account deficit – the difference between what we buy from the rest of the world and what we sell to it –
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British democracy is dangerously vulnerable to tyranny

The UK’s centralised political system and unwritten constitution are gifts to Trump-style authoritarians. Could it happen here? In Britain, liberals watch horrified as Donald Trump tramples on the norms of US democracy. The compliance of the Republican Party and Trump’s shamelessness mean that America’s cherished “checks and balances” have offered little defence. Yet the disturbing truth is that the
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Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims is a potent memoir about the cost of changing class

Eribon feels no nostalgia for working-class life and mores. We are easily bamboozled by buzzwords designed to buoy us against realities too awful to contemplate, and catch-all phrases that hide more than they reveal. In this self-excoriating memoir by Didier Eribon, it is social mobility that’s under the spotlight. Why do we always picture social mobility as an unambiguous ascent – to
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Why millennials are looking for meaning in tarot cards

It makes sense that in the uncertain age of Brexit we all seek guidance and direction. The Magician wore a deep red robe and held the burning candle aloft. “I don’t really believe in this stuff,” I had said as my friend shuffled the 78 tarot cards, each containing an individual illustration used for more than 200 years to tell people’s fortunes. “I don’t think
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Why there’s no such thing as a civilisation

The West is obsessed with the idea that it is under threat, but that fear springs from a misunderstanding of how modern human societies work. The “clash of civilisations” thesis seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Many pundits, politicians and ordinary citizens believe that the Syrian civil war, the rise of the Islamic State, the Brexit mayhem and the instability of the
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Will the US-UK ‘special’ relationship deliver a swift post Brexit deal?

Earlier this year, President Obama’s advisor on National Security confirmed that former Prime Minister David Cameron prompted Obama to remark that the UK would be “back of the queue”
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Andrew Martin’s diary: Steam engines, ear wax and how good old class prejudice could have stopped Brexit

Britain’s preserved railway lines are a phenomenon of localism as much as nostalgia. On 11 August, it will be the 50th anniversary of the end of steam traction on British Rail; or what was supposed to be the end. Yet steam locomotives were back on BR’s main lines for special excursions by 1971, and the preserved railway movement had been up and running
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Andrew Martin’s diary: Steam engines, ear wax, and how class prejudice could have stopped Brexit

Britain’s preserved railway lines are a phenomenon of localism as much as nostalgia. On 11 August, it will be the 50th anniversary of the end of steam traction on British Rail; or what was supposed to be the end. Yet steam locomotives were back on BR’s main lines for special excursions by 1971, and the preserved railway movement had been up and running
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The Chingford Corbynite: Faiza Shaheen on her mission to oust Iain Duncan Smith

“Taking out IDS – every time I say that it makes me smile,” quips the newly-selected Labour candidate.  For decades, Chingford has been synonymous with Conservatism. The London-Essex border seat was previously represented by Winston Churchill and Thatcherite outrider Norman Tebbit (“the Chingford skinhead”). Since 1992, its MP has been Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader. But at the 2017 general election, the
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The Chingford Corbynite: Faiza Shaheen on her mission to oust Iain Duncan Smith

“Taking out IDS – every time I say that it makes me smile,” quips the newly-selected Labour candidate.  For decades, Chingford has been synonymous with Conservatism. The London-Essex border seat was previously represented by Winston Churchill and Thatcherite outrider Norman Tebbit (“the Chingford skinhead”). Since 1992, its MP has been Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader. But at the 2017 general election, the
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Commons Confidential: David Davis’s lonely meal for one

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster. Chillaxer emeritus David Cameron was the star attraction for selfie-hunters at last weekend’s Wilderness Festival, the posho jamboree held near his Chipping Norton stomping ground. A flamingo-pink Disco Dave gamely posed for snaps with a hen party but other revellers were left exhausted by his “freaky” patter. The former prime minister
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Commons Confidential: David Davis’s lonely meal for one

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster. Chillaxer emeritus David Cameron was the star attraction for selfie-hunters at last weekend’s Wilderness Festival, the posho jamboree held near his Chipping Norton stomping ground. A flamingo-pink Disco Dave gamely posed for snaps with a hen party but other revellers were left exhausted by his “freaky” patter. The former prime minister
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Brexit stand-offs, Boris Johnson and the burqa, and the eerily early blackberry season

The Brexit negotiations are now in their downward phase, with Liam Fox rating “no deal” as odds-on. Anybody who hopes that Jeremy Corbyn will find the words to satisfy the majority of British Jews that he is, after all, a good anti-racist egg faces disappointment. Corbyn’s views are a mirror image of those held by Israel’s most fervent supporters, not all of
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Leader: The hollow centre that the Liberal Democrats are failing to fill

With Labour and the Conservatives backing Brexit, these should be propitious times for the Lib Dems. But they are struggling to poll above ten per cent. Just over a decade ago, liberalism appeared hegemonic in British politics. Tony Blair, David Cameron and Nick Clegg shared a belief in free markets, personal freedom and liberal globalisation. Those outside this complacent consensus – the Labour left and
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Tory Islamophobia doesn’t marginalise the British far right – it fuels it

Like Enoch Powell and Margaret Thatcher before him, Boris Johnson is making racism respectable.  Let’s start with Anders Breivik and work our way back to Boris Johnson. In 2011, Breivik murdered 77 people, including 69 young members of the Norwegian Labour Party, as a protest against the Islamisation of Europe. Boris Johnson penned a provocative, Islamophobic article, peddling offensive stereotypes against
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Let’s call Islamophobia what it is – mainstream, anti-Muslim racism

In national newspapers, on TV and in politics, Muslims have been pathologised, homogenised and stripped of all aspects of their individuality. Tommy Robinson, lately the cause célèbre of the so-called “alt-right”, isn’t the only person to rally a small band of fundamental libertarians, fruitcakes and closet racists behind him while the public looks on in despair. Who’s the other one? Step forward Boris
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It’d be the fight of our lives. But winning a people’s vote to stop Brexit would be worth it

Victory in a vote on the final deal is far from assured. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold one. The notion that there should be a vote at the end of the Brexit talks on whether to accept the deal has gone from a fringe idea to the mainstream in the past few months. It seems entirely reasonable that we should have
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Don’t bet on a Boris Johnson leadership

Despite his post-resignation revival, the row over Boris Johnson’s burqa comments shows his path to the top job is still too narrow for comfort.  Boris is dead. Long live Boris! Six weeks ago, the former foreign secretary was a busted flush, mercilessly mocked by colleagues for his refusal to resign to vote against Heathrow expansion and without a plausible path to the
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The feminist conundrum of Wife Swap

From patronising stay at home mothers to indulging “make me a sandwich” sexism, the show – much like society – had it both ways. I was a big fan of Wife Swap in its heyday. Was the joke on me? I was never precisely sure. From its knowingly suggestive title to its indulgence of mundane, make-me-a-sandwich sexism, Wife Swap
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Brexit astroturfing: did fake grassroots groups help swing the EU referendum?

Campaigns like "Vapers For Britain" might have been inside the letter of the law, but did they breach its spirit? Bangla for Britain; Historians for Britain; even Vapers for Britain, with its snappy tagline: “it’s time to quit… the EU”. At first glance, the Twitter and Facebook feeds belonging to these hyper-specific campaigns appear to be independent, grassroots affairs. In fact, they’re
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No, Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis isn’t the fault of Britain’s Muslims

British Muslims are being blamed for the problem – and the meme has spread from the far right to the “respectable” press.  When you write about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, inevitably, some of the responses are racist: in my inbox, in my Twitter feed and on Facebook. The antisemitic ones have a wide range of themes: from accusing me of being
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Forcing women to become carers after Brexit is no mistake – it’s what many Leave voters wanted

A Department of Health dossier suggested more women would drop out of the workforce to make up for a lack of EU careworkers.  Brexit is going to screw over women. To be fair, it’s going to screw us all, but let’s focus on women for a while. According to a headline in today’s Telegraph , “women will have
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Boris Johnson compares women in niqabs to letter boxes and bank robbers

But he’s definitely not starting a culture war.  Writing in The Daily Telegraph the former foreign secretary and general expert in foreign diplomacy Boris Johnson compared women who wear the niqab to letter boxes. “If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird
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Stellar EU banks’ performance won’t last: Analysts

Paris: European banks may have managed to generate surprisingly solid earnings in the second quarter, but low interest rates, Brexit fears and trade war woes make a repeat performance unlikely, analysts say. Big names BNP Paribas, Barclays, Intesa Sanpaolo, Credit Suisse and BBVA all wrongfooted sector experts with results exceeding consensus forecasts. “For many banks, earnings were better than expected,” Simon Outin, an
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Stellar EU banks’ performance won’t last: Analysts

European banks may have managed to generate surprisingly solid earnings in the second quarter, but low interest rates, Brexit fears and trade war woes make a repeat performance unlikely, analysts say.
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How did Labour lose the trust of Britain’s Jews?

Arguably, Labour's current malaise began not with Corbyn, but his predecessor, Ed Miliband. “How did we get here?” That is the question is on the lips of Labour MPs, councillors, members, and voters this summer. As the party’s anti-Semitism crisis deepens, seemingly inexorably, it is asked with increasing anguish and despair. How did an officially anti-racist party – a mantle which, despite the ignominy
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The Conservatives are in crisis over austerity, not just Brexit

Spending cuts are ever more harmful and unpopular and Tory MPs will revolt against tax rises.  The Conservative party is engaged in the bloodiest incarnation yet of its 30-year Europe war. After Theresa May’s Chequers deal succeeded in alienating almost everyone, Remainers are backing a “people’s vote”, while Leavers are embracing no deal. There is no obvious means by which the parliamentary
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The global heatwave will change politics – and not just in the future

The hot weather across the globe will have political consequences right now, and not just in 2030.  As you will not have failed to notice, it is unusually hot for the time of year. And you will have noticed that whether you, like the majority of New Statesman readers, are in the United Kingdom, or you are one of our
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The Bank of England’s interest rate rise will cripple those who can least afford it

While wealthy Brits will barely notice the rate rise, it’s bad news for the millions who take on debt to get by.  The Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent has been justified on the grounds that the economy is strengthening, employment levels are up, consumer spending is increasing, and there is little potential
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Why the EEA model is not a safe option for Tory Brexiteers

For different reasons, Labour and Tory MPs would likely combine to defeat it.  Theresa May’s Chequers plan has achieved the rare feat of alienating everyone for different reasons. Remainers, Brexiteers, the Conservative Party and the European Union have all rejected it.  A mere eight months before the UK is due to leave the EU, what could possibly break the deadlock?  For
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The Daily Express says the heatwave will deliver a “glorious Brexit”

The ongoing heatwave has apparently led to a £31bn boost to the UK economy. The Daily Express front page combines two of the paper’s favourite topics: freak weather conditions and Brexit, boasting that “Britain’s record-breaking summer heatwave is providing a bumper Brexit home-spending bonanza.” The report claims this summer’s ongoing heatwave has led to a huge rise in spending at
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There’s nothing posh about worrying about a lack of avocados after Brexit

That British food is now edible is thanks to imported fresh fruit and veg. And it won’t be the Brexiteers who have to go without. In the summer of 1981, I was sent on a French exchange to Mantes la Jolie in the western suburbs of Paris. Why my parents did this is a bit of a mystery, because I couldn’t speak
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Can the government avoid crashing out of the European Union without a deal?

Jeremy Hunt has said what many MPs privately fear: that a no-deal Brexit could happen by mistake.  Could the United Kingdom leave the European Union without a deal – by mistake? That’s the disastrous event that Jeremy Hunt has warned against today, and it’s certainly possible. The British government has a series of red lines that are, to put it mildly,
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