Posts in Politics
Let the Justin Trudeau scandal be a lesson: seemingly pristine leaders will always let us down

Must our politicians disappoint? That is the question that is keeping some of us on the liberal left up at night.

The latest let down is Justin Trudeau. He of the bilingual social media, refugee welcoming press stunts and (somewhat performative) feminism. While Trudeau was never as left wing as many of us economically, his leadership style on social issues did seem like a breath of fresh air. He appeared to be willing to take action that went against the narrative of the day, making genuinely tough decisions on issues like immigration where the easy option would have been to turn people away.

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No wonder polling shows a second referendum would yield a Remain vote. We are in a mess

There’s no other way to say it: Brexit is a mess right now. So it’s not a great shock that the public would prefer to remain in the EU rather than accept Theresa May’s deal or a no-deal Brexit, according to a recent poll.

This pro-EU stance is likely to be bolstered on Saturday with a mass demonstration in favour of a people’s vote. The upcoming march will be a long cry from the soggy, bedraggled mess that was the Brexit Betrayal march. Not least because those who called for this one might even bother to take part.

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PoliticsEmma Burnell
Chris Williamson has (finally) been suspended from Labour - but that's not enough

“Bringing the Party into disrepute” is a complex, catch-all phrase. Hard to truly define, butyou know it when you see it. And in Chris Williamson MP we have seen it for quite some time.

This week matters came to a head. In the space of 48 hours we have seen Williamson attempt to host an event in Parliament with a woman who has been suspended from the Labour Party under investigation for antisemitism before telling an event in Sheffield that the Party has been“too apologetic” about the same topic.

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PoliticsEmma Burnell
The Independent Group Stands Against the Labour Party, But What Does it Stand For?

Like a lot of Labour members, I’m a tribalist. Being a member of the Labour Party is part of my identity. Sometimes that hurts – when the Jewish community marches against my party it leaves me feeling physically sick with upset at the hurt Labour is causing. When the leadership fails to lead on Brexit, it leaves me in pain at the hardship we will enable in future.

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PoliticsEmma Burnell
Who funds you? Think tanks are all being tarnished by secretive right-wingers

Journalists have started digging into what really goes on in think tank world. Many of the right-wing libertarian bodies working in London operate according to a shady funding mechanism. Now, anytime they pop up to speak, the standard response is: Who funds you? But it's not just the right's think tanks which are held in suspicion. Increasingly, the entire industry is being considered suspect. And if we let the whole sector be tarnished, we hand a victory to the dark populist voices in our national debate.

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Review: Counting Sheep

I am blown away.

Rarely does taking part in a piece of theatre speak so directly to the core of my being, but Counting Sheep is one of the most exciting, moving and provoking pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

Set in Ukraine around the 2014 revolution we are introduced to the action by Mark – a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage who is visiting the country as a travelling musician. He gets swept up in the revolution and through him so too does the audience.

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Labour can't go on tabling no confidence motions forever.

Theresa May achieved something this week that had long been felt impossible. Both Remainers and Leavers passionately wanted the same thing – for her deal to fail.

And fail it did, spectacularly so. There will have been sore throats from all the chanting and sore heads from the celebrating that both sides were doing. The problem for everyone is that they woke up with that sense you get after a truly epic night out that you don’t quite know what happened, what exactly you did or what to do about it.

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PoliticsEmma Burnell
After Amber Rudd’s admission, Buffy is finally being acknowledged for its influence – even in the most unlikely of places

Amber Rudd has described Buffy Summers as her feminist hero. Quite right too. While it’s hard to agree with Rudd that she’s an “early feminist” (Mary Wollstonecraft might have something to say about that) she’s definitely a fantastic role model for anyone who wants to look up not just to a hero but to a champion.

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We can’t let the Labour Party split into two lesser versions of itself

Once again the Labour Party is spending a summer at war with itself. The disgust at antisemitism that has been rightly vocalised by Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson and many others has not stopped the issue becoming a political football in Labour’s vastly overheated National Executive Committee elections.

Many Corbyn supporters, the vast majority of whom share the disgust at antisemitism, still feel bruised after the attempted ousting of Corbyn in 2016 and vindicated by the party’s better-than-expected showing at the general election. They know that the Venn diagram of those who are outraged and upset by antisemitism has a lot of overlap with those who will never accept Corbyn as a leader. Some have therefore understandably – if wrongly, in my view – seen this issue purely through those old lenses.

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