Farage wants to walk away, Grayling thinks it’s good value. Either way, Brexiteers promised people something they couldn’t deliver
Well, at least the City folks like it. The pound shot up in value on the news that Britain is ready to settle its European bill to the tune of £50bn or more, as investors dared to glimpse some light at the end of the Brexit tunnel. Their hope is the same as Theresa May’s: that once Britain has agreed to pay up in full – including for liabilities stretching decades into the future – the remaining 27 EU leaders will allow the Brexit talks to move away, at last, from the terms of the divorce settlement, and on to the future relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe.
May should bask in the delight of the traders, because theirs may be the only applause she gets
Related: Grayling defends paying massively increased Brexit divorce bill, saying UK shouldn't 'just walk away' - Politics live Continue reading...
Justice caught up with the butcher of Srebrenica. Tyrants from Syria to Myanmar should meet the same fate
The sight of a judge in The Hague interrupted by insults and obscenities from Ratko Mladić as the court convicted the former general of genocide reached us like the light of a distant star. The jailing of the butcher of Srebrenica happened on Wednesday, but it gave off the glow of a spark lit more than two decades ago. It’s not just that Mladić’s crimes were committed in the mid-1990s. It’s that the very idea of bringing war criminals to justice seems like a memory from the distant past.
The day before Mladić was taken to the cells, Robert Mugabe resigned from the Zimbabwean presidency he had held for 37 years, reportedly in return for keeping shut the files that detailed his culpability over the massacre of 20,000 or more people in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. Even the longtime opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, famously beaten at the hands of Mugabe’s henchmen, said the dictator should not face justice. “To pursue the old man will be a futile exercise,” he told BBC Newsnight. “I think let him go and rest his last days.”
No tyrant has the right to kill with impunity, even if it is within his own borders
Related: Ratko Mladić will die in jail. But go to Bosnia: you’ll see that he won | Ed Vulliamy Continue reading...
Social media algorithms have assumed a sinister supremacy, directing us in ways we barely understand. Are we content to let them control our lives?
Forget the canary in the coal mine: these days, the warning comes from a cartoon pig in a dentist’s chair. And it’s no exaggeration to say it’s pointing to a threat facing all humanity.
The pig in question is Peppa, beloved by children everywhere. What could be safer than settling a child in front of a few Peppa Pig videos, served up in succession by YouTube, knowing they’ll be innocently amused while the adults chat among themselves?
Related: Russia-backed Facebook posts 'reached 126m Americans' during US election
Machines are currently answerable to no one. We are slaves to the algorithm
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The idea of cushy exile may appal. But history shows that societies in transition may be wise to sacrifice the urge to see their former dictators brought to justice
Of all the questions hanging over the dramatic, uncertain events in Zimbabwe there is one that looms especially large. It is the same question that arises every time, and in every place, a long-established dictatorship is toppled. What to do with the once supreme leader himself?
Whenever a longstanding dictatorship is toppled, the question arises: what to do with the once supreme leader himself?
Related: Robert Mugabe removed as WHO goodwill ambassador after outcry Continue reading...
The politicians fell out after Gove torpedoed Johnson’s Tory leadership bid. Now they are back on good terms – and the reason is Brexit
Not too long ago Michael Gove would describe his once-close relationship with Boris Johnson as being in the “deep freeze.” Such froideur was inevitable, given the way Gove had torpedoed his chum’s bid to replace David Cameron as Tory party leader and prime minister. You’ll recall that fine June day in 2016 when Johnson was poised to launch his campaign for the top job – the room was booked, the acolytes assembled – only to ditch the plan once Gove, his fellow traveller just a few days earlier on the £350m Vote Leave battlebus, announced that he had “come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.
Most friendships don’t get over a blow like that. Gove hadn’t stabbed Johnson in the back, Tory MPs agreed: he had stabbed him in the front. With next to no warning, Gove went from manager of the Boris campaign to its destroyer. Ordinarily, an act of betrayal so complete would see all ties severed for ever, the relationship dumped in a shallow grave. Putting it in a “deep freeze” represented an act of leniency. Continue reading...
The economic hardship, alienation, loss - and worse - that motivated so many have to be tackled. There’s no point obsessing over impeachment or a second referendum without that effort
Perhaps we should call it the new special relationship. Liberal, enlightened types on each side of the Atlantic now share a common experience. While American progressives lament their fellow citizens’ decision to make Donald Trump president a year ago this week, their British counterparts have spent the same period gnashing their teeth over Brexit. When the two groups meet, they exchange apologies: “Don’t blame me,” they tell each other, “I voted the other way.”
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The humbling of the international development secretary diverts attention from Johnson’s reckless treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
There are plenty of beneficiaries of Priti Patel’s slow-motion fall into the political abyss. The opposition, obviously, which gets to look on as the British government crumbles before its eyes. On her own side, there will be ambitious colleagues glad to see a rival cut down. The most ardent remainers might feel a special gladness at seeing a Brexiteer humbled. But none of them will have gained as much from Patel’s woes as the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson.
Related: Boris Johnson and Priti Patel: is this the best British diplomacy has to offer? | Mary Dejevsky
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It’s not good enough for men to complain that it’s all too complicated. In fact it’s very simple
So much rubbish has been spoken by so many men about sexual harassment that it’s hard to nominate a winner. But a strong contender in a crowded field is surely Rick Perry, the US energy secretary who, when running for president, famously forgot which government department he wanted to close (it was, naturally, the department of energy).
Perry’s contribution to the debate now raging on both sides of the Atlantic – kickstarted by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein and which has now taken down several media bigwigs, along with Kevin Spacey and Michael Fallon – was to suggest the answer to sexual assault might be … fossil fuels. Perry’s logic was that electricity in African villages can give “light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts”. It seems a street lamp powered by a renewable source would lack a similar degree of virtue.
It’s hard to think of another scandal where the finger has been pointed so swiftly at the victims rather than the perpetrators
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