Tuesday review

Never again?

Stephen Bush  |  8 April 2014

Forty-nine. That’s the number of Syrian deaths not for every word, but every letter, in this column. (The preceding sentence represents 3,577 lives) Twenty years ago, the world watched the Rwandan genocide and said: ‘never again’. (3,381 lives) But ‘never again’ seems to come faster for political leaders than for everyone else, because ‘never again’ …

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The 12 per cent strategy

Stephen Bush  |  1 April 2014

It seems almost impossible now to believe that Arsenal were top of the league on New Year’s Day. Now, instead of standing on the brink of their first championship since 2004, they are back where everyone expected them to be at the start of the season: clinging on desperately for a fourth-place finish. The sad …

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Why Martin Amis is wrong on Englishness

Stephen Bush  |  25 March 2014

It was on page 55 that I forever fell out of love with Martin Amis. It was a lightning romance; our first date was the ease and light of The Rachel Papers. Our second and third – Koba the Dread and Time’s Arrow – got the heavy stuff out of the way. Then we spent …

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What Tony Benn got right

Stephen Bush  |  18 March 2014

My grandfather died two years ago this week. He was one of my heroes, but I have got to be honest: he was a career doctor. From his late teenage years and throughout his time at university, everything he did – even his year as a sabbatical officer at the student union – was obsessively …

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What happens in Ukraine will not stay in Ukraine

Stephen Bush  |  11 March 2014

For the first time in my life, I would like nothing more than for Seamus Milne and Owen Jones to be right. A fortnight ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. This may be that Vladimir Putin is a revanchist autocrat. Or it may be the fault of the United States. It could well be that, as long …

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The myth of the modern Labour party

Stephen Bush  |  25 February 2014

If Clement Attlee was so great, then why is This Boy so sad? Alan Johnson’s memoir – out in paperback later this week – is a book of almost unbearable sorrow. Reading it was like unpacking a series of heavy crates; I kept having to stop and take a breath every few pages. Billed as …

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Say hello to the ‘post-reality right’

Stephen Bush  |  18 February 2014

Ukip are fast becoming specialists in failure. They came second in the 2009 European elections; and then vanished like the airy fabric of a baseless dream in 2010. They came second in Eastleigh, Rotherham, and South Shields: but the only byelection victory for a party outside the Commons was George Galloway’s Respect. Now they have …

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Diagnosis done. Time for a cure

Stephen Bush  |  11 February 2014

The good news: it was a speech Tony Blair could easily have given. The semi-approving invocation of Margaret Thatcher, the silence where Labour’s past ought to be, the promise to break down old institutions and reorient public services: it was all there. Now for the bad news: It was a speech Tony Blair could easily …

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Harry Potter and the question of party reform

Stephen Bush  |  4 February 2014

As is often the case with leftwingers, JK Rowling did a better job of finding the enemy than the answer. She was right to say last week that the brilliant Hermione Granger – the real hero of the Harry Potter books, as any fool knows – was cruelly ill-suited to Ron Weasley; a perpetual sidekick …

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Why does Benefits Street make us so angry?

Stephen Bush  |  28 January 2014

Why does Benefits Street make us so angry? Yes, it exploits people, but so do such Reithian delights as ‘My Daughter The Teenage Nudist’, ‘The Undateables’ or ‘Secrets of the Living Dolls’; exploiting people for public entertainment seems to be Channel 4’s raison d’etre. It most certainly demonises the working class, but no more so …

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