London is Ukip’s worst nightmare | Jonathan Freedland

The local election results highlight how out-of-step London attitudes pose a serious dilemma for Labour and Tories

The past is a foreign country, we've long known that. Scotland is another country, that's the theme of the dominant political battle of the year. But the results of Thursday's elections make you wonder: is London another country too?

Even to ask the question prompts embarrassment. It plays to the very case Ukip has long been making, that the media is part of an out-of-touch metropolitan elite concerned chiefly with itself. But the figures speak for themselves. The UK Independence party surged across England, grabbing 23% of the vote a figure that may well rise with Sunday's European results. Only in one part of England did Ukip tank, shrugged off like a no-hoper fringe party rather than the coming force in British politics. And that place was London.

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Hillary Clinton needs Hollywood: Modern Family proves it | Jonathan Freedland

Drama, like satire, can shape politics and alter society. From 24 to Borgen, TV does more than reflect life: it changes it

Hillary Clinton should steer well clear of Nicole Kidman. The latter's performance in a new movie of the life of Princess Grace, formerly Grace Kelly, has come in for some acid criticism. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw declared Grace "so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk".

Twisting the knife, he likened it to the dire Diana movie, a film whose arteries were similarly clogged with saccharine. Admittedly, Helen Mirren did a wonderful PR job for the Queen, but often even the most hagiographic screen treatments can end up diminishing rather than dignifying their subjects.

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Halal meat: animals shouldn’t suffer, but we mustn’t ostracise minorities | Jonathan Freedland

What's at stake in this halal furore is not cruelty to lamb and cows but whether we can live together in a diverse society

Halal, is it meat you're looking for? Much as I'd like to, I can't claim credit for that gag, a Lionel Richie parody given a new airing this week alongside the hashtag #halalhysteria, as British Muslims once again found their dietary customs at the centre of a moral panic. Other minorities have learned that same survival strategy when a collective finger is pointed menacingly in their direction: better to laugh, otherwise you'll cry.

Besides, laughter feels an appropriate response when Radio 4's Today programme reports on the discovery that supermarkets and high-street restaurant chains have been serving halal food to unwitting, non-Muslim customers by asking if this is on a par with the horsemeat scandal. How else but with a chuckle should we react to the Sun headline "Halal secret of Pizza Express," revealing information so classified it had previously only appeared on the Pizza Express website?

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Whatever Gerry Adams’ past, peace takes precedence over justice | Jonathan Freedland

His arrest in the Jean McConville case could mean a return to violence. As in South Africa, the answer is a painful compromise

The faces of both Michael McConville and his older sister Helen are haunting because they are haunted. They are in middle age now. He is 53 and she is 57, and yet to see them interviewed about the 1972 abduction and murder of their mother Jean is to glimpse the children they were. Etched on Michael's face is the fear he must have felt as an 11-year-old boy when he witnessed an IRA gang, most wearing masks, barge into their home in the Divis flats in west Belfast and take away their mother. The masked men had to pull the woman from the arms of her 10 children, who were "crying and squealing". As McConville told the BBC, the fear has not left him; it's what prevents him naming his mother's killers now, even though he is convinced he knows who they are.

You only have to hear that story to know that it cries out for justice. Who can gaze at the eyes of Helen McKendry who, unlike her brother, is now willing to name names and not agree with her when she says, "Everybody has that right to know what happened to the person they loved. They need the truth and they need justice"? Who can argue with the advocate of the McConville family and other who have also suffered, victims' commissioner Kathryn Stone, when she says, "There can be no sustainable peace in Northern Ireland until every victim has true peace of mind"? These are surely matters of basic morality, ethical common sense.

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