United Kingdom

September 16, 2023

‘I saw how grotesquely unqualified so many of us were’: Rory Stewart on his decade as a Tory MP

When he arrived in 2010, he was surrounded by people who looked like him – and shared some of the same assumptions. Then, as the world changed in unimaginable ways, he watched in horror as the people in charge failed to change with itIt is December 2015. I am the minister for flooding. (I am also the minister for forestry, for national parks, for nature, for chemicals, for air quality, for waste and recycling, for water and much more than can be written on a business card). I knew almost nothing about any of these topics when, six months earlier, the prime minister, David Cameron, made me minister for these things. It may have been a mistake. In a recent meeting he has given me the impression that he believes I am the minister for agriculture.Exactly 341mm of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours – the highest rainfall ever recorded in the United Kingdom. More than 60,000 houses in Lancaster have lost power, and the epicentre of the flooding is my own constituency in Cumbria. I have been wading into front rooms, filled with dirty water above the level of the mantle-shelves, their interiors a swirling mess of photo albums and wooden furniture. Continue reading...
September 13, 2023

Britain likes to think it ‘stood alone’ against the Nazis. So why did it convict so few for war crimes? | Jon Silverman

Out of 274 suspects investigated in England, Wales and Scotland, there was only a single convictionJon Silverman is research professor of media and criminal justice at the University of BedfordshireIn the mid-1980s, as Holocaust “awareness” bloomed in western societies, Britain woke up to the revelation that, for 40 years or so, it had provided a safe haven for refugees from eastern Europe whose participation in the genocide had rarely, if ever, come under scrutiny. It was a deeply uncomfortable awakening for a country that had prided itself in “standing alone” against Hitler’s tyranny.The passage of the War Crimes Act 1991 raised the possibility of putting on trial those who had not been British citizens or residents at the time the crimes were committed. The outcome was the prosecution in 1995 of Szymon Serafinowicz, a Belarusian living in Banstead, Surrey, although his trial collapsed when the jury ruled he was mentally unfit, and the conviction in 1999 of one auxiliary policeman, Anthony (Andrzej) Sawoniuk, for murdering Jews in his native Belarus. By then, Scotland Yard’s war crimes unit had been mothballed, and political attention switched to enshrining remembrance, in the form of the first Holocaust Memorial Day.Jon Silverman is research professor of media and criminal justice at the University of Bedfordshire. He is the author, with Robert Sherwood, of the forthcoming book Safe Haven: the United Kingdom’s investigations into Nazi collaborators and the failure of JusticeDo you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here. Continue reading...
September 7, 2023

UK rejoins EU's €95.5 billion Horizon research programme

The United Kingdom is set to rejoin Horizon Europe, the European Union's €95.5 billion science research programme, after a two-year absence, both sides confirmed on Thursday morning.
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