United Kingdom

June 26, 2022

The Tories are teetering, but only a progressive alliance can deal the final blow | John Harris

Last week’s byelections showed that a ‘change moment’ – a chance to rid the UK of this rotten government – is within sightBy rights, the United Kingdom should be firmly in the midst of what some politicians call a “change moment”: one of those periods when the demise of a government and its way of thinking becomes absolutely inevitable.Examples from the past are easy to cite. In some cases, such as 1945 and 1979, the change has come to be seen as almost revolutionary, marking the point at which the country was pulled away from an old set of certainties and pushed somewhere completely new, with all the sound and fury that implies. In others, such as 1964, 1997 and 2010, regime change has been important, but not quite a matter of one historical period giving way to another: a matter of serious shifts, perhaps, but not quite the kind of deep transformations of society and the economy that historians see as unquestionable milestones.John Harris is a Guardian columnist Continue reading...
June 23, 2022

Look around, the Great Conservative Experiment has failed in the UK | Andy Beckett

Beneath the bluster and big promises, Conservative rule has become no more than shifting the blame for Britain’s problemsThis country is in crisis. So say the opposition parties, most of the media and, increasingly, the evidence of our own eyes. With transport chaos, seemingly out-of-control inflation, constant political scandals, a sinking currency, a fragmenting United Kingdom, worsening public finances, struggling public services and a wave of strikes that may last months, this country is no longer the stable, successful state it often claims to be.It may not be time to panic quite yet. Proud, old countries that used to have empires – France is another – can suffer periods of decline and self-doubt while, for many people, remaining good places to live by global or past standards. Plenty of Britons will have been muttering to themselves this week about the country going to the dogs, while enjoying everyday comforts their ancestors could only have dreamed of. During this week’s tube strike, the hot streets of London were crawling with air-conditioned SUVs.Andy Beckett is a Guardian columnist Continue reading...
June 7, 2022

Love Island is back – but is Britain over reality TV’s most controversial villa? | Emma Garland

Ugly trunks, high ponytails and an Italian ‘snack’ – it’s time for another hot summer of semi-scripted entertainment We try to be better people. Every year we make fresh vows to eat healthier, scroll less, spend more time nurturing our inner children by taking up watercolours and reading books about foraging. And it works, for a while. We post our Strava achievements online and tell our followers how “sorry” we are to reveal that eating vegetables and not binge drinking makes you feel “good, actually”. Then June arrives. The adverts begin to appear on our timelines and in train stations; 10-foot digital billboards of Britain’s most waxed humans winking suggestively in bikinis. The concept of free time begins to wither before our eyes as we resign six hours a week to watching future ambassadors for Gymshark pretend to be unlucky in love. By the time that jingle hits the airwaves, like Pavlov’s bell for Twitter addicts – brrr br br br br BREE br br – escape is futile. Another summer, another eight weeks of Love Island to lead us astray.As hundreds of elected representatives poured into the House of Commons on Monday evening to affirm or renounce their confidence in Boris Johnson, 11 random twentysomethings rode into Mallorca on jeeps to ascend to the position of national celebrity. At the exact hour the leadership of the United Kingdom teetered on the rocks, the top trending name on social media was Curtis Pritchard, a man famous for saying he likes to be “the person who gets up and makes everyone a coffee so that everyone is ready for the morning” three years ago. It was a strange contrast of events: the unfortunate cynicism of real-life politics meets the overblown fervour of semi-scripted entertainment. Does it make sense? Not one bit. Am I here for it anyway, despite proclaiming that Love Island was “over” not 12 months ago? Apparently yes.Emma Garland is a writer specialising in culture and music Continue reading...
June 5, 2022

Seaside fish and chip shops are a national treasure. Here are 20 of the best

It’s one of the UK’s favourite dishes and it always tastes better with a big portion of sea airIt would be grossly unfair to the many fabulous chippies located inland in this country to say that all the best places for fish and chips in the UK are down by the sea. There are many brilliant practitioners of the noble craft of deep frying all over the United Kingdom. But in the matter of our national dish, there’s no doubt that context matters; that the virtuous interplay of battered white fish and fried potatoes simply tastes better eaten at the seaside, ideally from within an unwrapped present of white paper, rendered translucent in places by a smear of hot oil from the gift within.Forget tables. Forget chairs. You need to be on the beach itself or, at a push, perched on a sea wall, with a view out over British waters the colour of a day-old bruise, rippling away to the horizon under gunmetal skies. You unwrap and immediately receive a gust of hot, captured air that smells of all the good things in life. The very warmth of it feels like a reassuring challenge to the chill winds coming off the sea. Your supper is looking after you. Continue reading...
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