This week, as an anxious Britain prepared to witness Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan crashing to defeat, Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, tweeted out one of his grandfather’s solemn warnings from the 1930s.
Mr. Soames, a Conservative politician, repeated lines from a poem, by Edwin J. Milliken, that his grandfather had quoted to express his despair at Britain’s political paralysis in the face of the Nazi threat: “Who is in charge of the clattering train? The axles creak, and the couplings strain. For the pace is hot and the points are near, and Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear, and signals flash through the night in vain.… Seguir leyendo »
I am scared. The markets are scared. The politicians I have been talking to are scared, or livid.
A few days ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union. Within 48 hours, Britain’s government spun into crisis. Mrs. May’s survival is threatened as furious prominent Brexiteers go public with their intention to unseat her. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that she has the votes to get her deal through Parliament. What happens after that is a conundrum.
The cause of this paralysis is the hard-line Brexiteers, a frighteningly powerful cohort within Mrs.… Seguir leyendo »
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain is a woman widely scorned. For 17 months, ever since she lost her Conservative Party its majority in an unnecessary, vainglorious election, the news media has been speculating daily on how long this private, dutiful, diffident leader can last and when the bid to topple her will begin. As the national disaster that is Brexit looms frighteningly close, the woman in charge has appeared hopelessly buffeted by events, trapped between the implacable European Union and her own party’s venomous Euroskeptics.
The Brexit talks have been apparently paralyzed for weeks; half of Britain is aghast at the very real threat that we might crash out of the European Union with no deal, wrecking the economy and our relationships with our closest neighbors.… Seguir leyendo »
For the second time in three years, Boris Johnson, a politician whose ambition and superficial charm far outstrip his ability, judgment or principles, is destabilizing the British government and threatening the country’s future.
On Monday, Mr. Johnson, in protest against Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for Brexit, resigned from his post as foreign secretary. Now Mrs. May’s authority, longevity and ability to deliver a Brexit without causing an economic crisis are in question. But further political paralysis seems certain.
Britain is in this mess principally because the Brexiteers — led largely by Mr. Johnson — sold the country a series of lies in the lead up to the June 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union.… Seguir leyendo »
In the post-Harvey Weinstein era, every institution and public company in Britain has been piously claiming to be concerned with how women are viewed, heard, treated and paid. And yet last week, 360 rich and powerful men in Britain were happy to pay £2,000 a head (about $2,800) to attend an evening fund-raiser hosted by the Presidents Club Charitable Trust, during which their female peers and partners were excluded, and the only women in the room were there as miniskirted sex objects whose explicit duty was to serve — and stroke the egos of — the men.
You didn’t need to see or expect the harassment that followed to find this arrangement deeply suspect.… Seguir leyendo »
It is the butterfly-effect theory of politics made instantly visible. Dogged reporters uncover a story of Hollywood sexual assault, and across the globe one British cabinet minister resigns; another fights frantically to keep his job; a weak prime minister, Theresa May, finds the murmurs of discontent within her party swelling to an ominous chant; and suddenly the survival of her government and her ability to deliver a successful Brexit have all been thrown into question.
“We’ve had enough of this generation,” one furious young Conservative member of Parliament told me. “They’re frankly embarrassing. What have they ever given us? Brexit, austerity, Theresa May, the threat of Boris Johnson, and now sex and sleaze.… Seguir leyendo »
Twenty years ago, the death of Britain’s glittering, delicate, troubled global superstar, Princess Diana, shook the British monarchy and revealed a dangerous chasm between the palace and the people. In the wake of her death in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997, the royal family was in danger of losing much loyalty and trust over its shabby treatment of “the people’s princess.” Today, though, two decades on, the monarchy is perhaps the most popular institution in British public life — a remarkable restoration that, more than anything, is the lasting legacy of Diana herself.
At first, the royal family was no more capable of dealing with Diana in death than it had been in life.… Seguir leyendo »
How I wish that Christopher Nolan’s new film, “Dunkirk,” had not been released at this moment in history. The reviewers have been near unanimous in their praise: searing, complex, uncompromising about the savagery of war and death. Yet the essential message of the film, with its narrative of heroic retreat in order to fight another day, cannot help but feed the national pride in Britain’s capacity to triumph eventually, no matter what the odds.
Nothing could be less helpful to our collective psyche as the country blunders toward Brexit. We hear much about American exceptionalism, but Britain feels it, too. We are the nation of empire, whose ancestors once controlled a quarter of the globe; we are the mother of parliaments; we stood alone against Hitler; we have not been conquered for a thousand years.… Seguir leyendo »