Trump’s deal with Erdoğan threatens lives across Europe – and he doesn’t care

Donald Trump is set to face impeachment for a phone call that came to light last month. The crimes he committed in that call were serious and merit the ultimate sanction that can be imposed on a sitting president, namely removal from office. And yet even since that conversation took place, in fact this very week, Trump has had another call that included an act that might not meet the constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanours” and for which he will face no such punishment – but whose consequences will surely be even graver. For they will be measured in life and death.

Peace in Ireland is precious. Brexit has made us forget that

It is one of the stranger aspects of the Brexit debate. When the plea is raised to remember the Good Friday agreement, to do nothing that might jeopardise the fragile peace that has held in Northern Ireland for two decades, that plea usually comes in a continental European accent. Of course, Irish politicians have been saying it loudly from the start, but this week it was striking to hear French, German, Dutch or Belgian voices explaining to British TV and radio audiences why the EU couldn’t possibly accept Boris Johnson’s revised Brexit plan because of the risk it posed to peace in a corner of the United Kingdom where a bloody conflict had raged within recent memory.

Trump and Johnson are getting their comeuppance. But will it make them stronger?

Since 2016, Britain and the United States have grappled with a shared fate, facing down the conjoined twins of populism: Brexit and Trump. This week, at long last, came the first signs of a reckoning. After three years in which the winners of 2016 have mocked, pushed or trampled on the constitutional constraints that sustain a liberal democracy, the constitutions – on both sides of the Atlantic – struck back.

For the Record: David Cameron’s memoir is honest but still wrong

The former prime minister gives a truthful account of errors – but unknowingly makes a few more

For the Record by David Cameron, William Collins, £25

A spectre haunts this book – the spectre of Europe. Just as the 700 pages of Tony Blair’s autobiography could not escape the shadow of Iraq, so the 700 pages of David Cameron’s memoir are destined to be read through a single lens: Brexit.

Related: TV tonight: the rise and plummeting fall of David Cameron

Related: David Cameron book reveals views on Prince Charles and Paul Dacre

Related: As David Cameron tells all, a guide to the best political memoirs

Continue reading...

This political crisis now goes far beyond Brexit – our very democracy is at stake

The sensation has become so rare, it took a moment to realise what it was. But following Wednesday’s ruling by Scotland’s highest civil court that Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful, the feeling was unmistakable. It was optimism. Admittedly, it was optimism in its weakest form: not the confident certainty that all would turn out for the best, but rather a fragile flicker of hope that things might not be so bad after all.

The three questions that will decide the next general election

When answers are in short supply, sometimes the best we can do is try to ask the right questions. Some of those dive into legal and constitutional arcana, as experts try to work out how Boris Johnson can climb out of the hole he has spent this last week digging ever deeper for himself. Now that the opposition parties have refused to accede to his cunning plan for an October election, and will next week see passed into law their demand that he seek an extension of Britain’s EU membership, he’s left with a series of unpalatable alternatives – from breaking the law to resignation to tabling a motion of no confidence in himself.

Address Unknown: the great, forgotten anti-Nazi book everyone must read

First published in 1938, US author Kathrine Kressmann Taylor’s forgotten classic is a devastating work of political fiction that still resonates today

Some of the largest themes have been addressed in the shortest books. That is especially true in the realm of what might be called political fiction. The single best evocation of communism – and especially the distance between the ideal and the Soviet reality – remains George Orwell’s brief allegory, Animal Farm. In the same way, few works have conveyed the brutal nature of imperialism more effectively than Joseph Conrad managed in fewer than a hundred pages in Heart of Darkness. A third place in that small space on the shelf could be allocated to an even briefer work: Address Unknown, a story so short it can be read on a morning bus ride. Yet somehow it distils the essence of the ideology that, along with the other two, casts a deathly shadow over the 20th century. Across a few economic pages it touches the heart of the Nazi darkness.

Address Unknown was first published in Story magazine in September 1938, and then in book form a year later, becoming an instant bestseller. It has been translated across the world, adapted into a 1944 film and into multiple productions for the stage and radio – all under the name of Kressmann Taylor, after Story’s editor, along with Kathrine Kressmann Taylor’s husband, Elliott, decided it was “too strong to appear under the name of a woman”. The impact was immediate, the story credited with having “jolted America”, alerting it to the horror unfolding in Nazi Germany.

The story traces the contours of fascism – the leader-worship, the surveillance, the summons to men to act as men

Continue reading...

There’s an idea that could transform Britain – but Brexit won’t let it be heard

Against some stiff competition, one of the worst things about Brexit is the way it sucks up all the oxygen, consuming whatever political energy is available, until there’s none left for anything else. Just think what we might have achieved these past three years if the bureaucratic and intellectual resources we’ve devoted to the business of leaving the European Union had been directed elsewhere.

A no-deal Brexit won’t be a clean break: this nightmare will go on for ever

The myths of a no-deal Brexit are about to collide with reality. Those myths are many, and they flourish on both sides of the great divide. For remainers, the greatest is that no deal could never happen. They look at the polls that show far more Britons oppose a crash-out from the EU than support it – 50% to 38%, according to Ipsos Mori – and they can’t quite believe that any government would defy the public will on so grave a matter.