After the Brussels attacks, we’re starting to develop a coping strategy | Jonathan Freedland

The reaction to this week’s killing was more resigned than shocked. To protect ourselves, we are growing a thicker skin – and a harder heart

The coverage has been extensive, of course. On television there have been the now familiar images of huddled crowds and flickering vigil candles, the interviews with those who witnessed or narrowly missed death, the debates about lessons learned. Most coverage of this week’s Brussels attacks has been solid and sober, some of it extremely moving. But there has been something missing.

Related: Explosions heard as Belgian police arrest suspect in Brussels

We half-know these promises are illusory. We sense there is no magic button to press that will make this horror stop

Related: One picture from the Brussels attacks is a lesson in the delicate art of propaganda

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After the Brussels attacks, we’re starting to develop a coping strategy | Jonathan Freedland

The reaction to this week’s killing was more resigned than shocked. To protect ourselves, we are growing a thicker skin – and a harder heart

The coverage has been extensive, of course. On television there have been the now familiar images of huddled crowds and flickering vigil candles, the interviews with those who witnessed or narrowly missed death, the debates about lessons learned. Most coverage of this week’s Brussels attacks has been solid and sober, some of it extremely moving. But there has been something missing.

Related: Explosions heard as Belgian police arrest suspect in Brussels

We half-know these promises are illusory. We sense there is no magic button to press that will make this horror stop

Related: One picture from the Brussels attacks is a lesson in the delicate art of propaganda

Continue reading...

After the Brussels attacks, we’re starting to develop a coping strategy | Jonathan Freedland

The reaction to this week’s killing was more resigned than shocked. To protect ourselves, we are growing a thicker skin – and a harder heart

The coverage has been extensive, of course. On television there have been the now familiar images of huddled crowds and flickering vigil candles, the interviews with those who witnessed or narrowly missed death, the debates about lessons learned. Most coverage of this week’s Brussels attacks has been solid and sober, some of it extremely moving. But there has been something missing.

Related: Explosions heard as Belgian police arrest suspect in Brussels

We half-know these promises are illusory. We sense there is no magic button to press that will make this horror stop

Related: One picture from the Brussels attacks is a lesson in the delicate art of propaganda

Continue reading...

Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem | Jonathan Freedland

Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews. Its leaders must see why this matters

As the Conservative party divides its time between running the country and tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour has been consumed with a rather different problem. In the past two weeks, it has had to expel two activists for overt racism. That follows the creation of an inquiry into the Labour club at Oxford University, after the co-chair resigned saying the club was riddled with racism. The racism in question is hatred of Jews.

I suspect many in Labour and on the wider left dearly wish three things to be true of this problem. That these are just a few bad apples in an otherwise pristine barrel; that these incidents aren’t actually about racism at all but concern only opposition to Israel; and that none of this reflects negatively on Jeremy Corbyn.

I hope many on the left will pause next time Jews raise the alarm about antisemitism

Related: It’s time we acknowledged that Oxford’s student left is institutionally antisemitic | Aaron Simons

Related: Labour expels activist described by PM as ‘9/11 sympathiser’

Continue reading...

Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem | Jonathan Freedland

Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews. Its leaders must see why this matters

As the Conservative party divides its time between running the country and tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour has been consumed with a rather different problem. In the past two weeks, it has had to expel two activists for overt racism. That follows the creation of an inquiry into the Labour club at Oxford University, after the co-chair resigned saying the club was riddled with racism. The racism in question is hatred of Jews.

I suspect many in Labour and on the wider left dearly wish three things to be true of this problem. That these are just a few bad apples in an otherwise pristine barrel; that these incidents aren’t actually about racism at all but concern only opposition to Israel; and that none of this reflects negatively on Jeremy Corbyn.

I hope many on the left will pause next time Jews raise the alarm about antisemitism

Related: It’s time we acknowledged that Oxford’s student left is institutionally antisemitic | Aaron Simons

Related: Labour expels activist described by PM as ‘9/11 sympathiser’

Continue reading...

Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem | Jonathan Freedland

Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews. Its leaders must see why this matters

As the Conservative party divides its time between running the country and tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour has been consumed with a rather different problem. In the past two weeks, it has had to expel two activists for overt racism. That follows the creation of an inquiry into the Labour club at Oxford University, after the co-chair resigned saying the club was riddled with racism. The racism in question is hatred of Jews.

I suspect many in Labour and on the wider left dearly wish three things to be true of this problem. That these are just a few bad apples in an otherwise pristine barrel; that these incidents aren’t actually about racism at all but concern only opposition to Israel; and that none of this reflects negatively on Jeremy Corbyn.

I hope many on the left will pause next time Jews raise the alarm about antisemitism

Related: It’s time we acknowledged that Oxford’s student left is institutionally antisemitic | Aaron Simons

Related: Labour expels activist described by PM as ‘9/11 sympathiser’

Continue reading...

Axing parent-governors is a cynical move – and a disaster for schools

Parents who who have entrusted a school with their children’s education are a great asset. It’s reckless to stop asking them to lend a hand

No doubt there will be some headteachers giving a quiet cheer at the announcement that parent-governors are to be ushered gently towards the exit.

For some, the parent with a seat at the governing table has doubtless been an unwanted pain: regularly passing on complaints they have picked up in the playground, when they’re not whineing about there being too much (or too little) homework or insufficiently tasty food at lunchtime – all based on data no more scientific than the experience of their own precious child.

Related: Parent governor role to be scrapped in schools shakeup

Continue reading...

Axing parent-governors is a cynical move – and a disaster for schools

Parents who who have entrusted a school with their children’s education are a great asset. It’s reckless to stop asking them to lend a hand

No doubt there will be some headteachers giving a quiet cheer at the announcement that parent-governors are to be ushered gently towards the exit.

For some, the parent with a seat at the governing table has doubtless been an unwanted pain: regularly passing on complaints they have picked up in the playground, when they’re not whineing about there being too much (or too little) homework or insufficiently tasty food at lunchtime – all based on data no more scientific than the experience of their own precious child.

Related: Parent governor role to be scrapped in schools shakeup

Continue reading...

Axing parent-governors is a cynical move – and a disaster for schools

It is reckless to stop calling on parents, those who have entrusted a school with their own children’s education, to lend a hand

No doubt there will be some headteachers giving a quiet cheer at the announcement that parent-governors are to be ushered gently towards the exit.

For some, the parent with a seat at the governing table has doubtless been an unwanted pain: regularly passing on complaints they have picked up in the playground, when they’re not whineing about there being too much (or too little) homework or insufficiently tasty food at lunchtime – all based on data no more scientific than the experience of their own precious child.

Related: Parent governor role to be scrapped in schools shakeup

Continue reading...

Budget 2016: magical thinking from charmed world of the chancellor | Jonathan Freedland

It’s not just the economic forecasting that makes George Osborne’s budget read like a work of magical realism, it’s his own record

A George Osborne budget has become an exercise in magical thinking. The chancellor comes to the despatch box, his face stern and manner sober, to present a vision of the economic and fiscal future comprised of nothing more solid than a series of heroic assumptions, hypothetical figures and feats of creative accountancy – all anchored in the shifting, hopeful sands of forecast and projection.

He probably got away with it once more on Wednesday, delivering his eighth such address. But the task was harder this time. Usually he can rely on at least half his audience to be wholly supportive, willingly suspending their disbelief, cheering at the fictional numbers they like, looking past the notional figures they don’t. But this time he could not take all those on the Conservative benches behind him for granted. Half oppose him on the question that animates them more than any other and which loomed over the budget: the 23 June referendum on Britain’s place in the European Union.

Related: Bluff king George? Osborne's budget was a lesson in sleight of hand

Related: George Osborne uses budget to convince Tories of his leadership qualities

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