John Harris

Este archivo solo abarca los artículos del autor incorporados a este sitio a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2006. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

In 2022 we needed ways to connect with ourselves: thank God for the guitar

In the world of music, two of this year’s seemingly endless losses happened within a fortnight of each other. Both led to outpourings
of appreciation and reminiscence centred on an invention that is heading towards its 100th birthday: the electric guitar, that enduring
symbol of noise, excitement, and the basic human urge to express yourself.

Wilko Johnson – born John Wilkinson, in 1947 – passed away on 21 November. By the time of his death, he had become a kind of left-field national treasure, portrayed in two feature-length documentaries, and given a silent part in the huge TV show Game of Thrones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Every so often, the presentational masks acquired down the years by British conservatism slip. If only for a moment, the supposed convictions Tory politicians bang on about are reduced to mere window dressing, and what cynical old lefties tend to talk about as the venal pursuit of class interests suddenly looks like a matter of unanswerable fact. In UK terms, this might be the political meaning of the Panama Papers and David Cameron’s woefully belated admission that he did benefit from his father’s offshore activities. In a season of Tory nightmares and whatever the knock-on effect for the Labour party, the upshot is a sudden and sobering look at what the Tories might actually stand for.…  Seguir leyendo »

This weekend the president of Bulgaria, in the midst of an increasingly heated debate about the imminent lifting of restrictions on migration from his country to the UK, said: "Politicians should be ready to say the inconvenient truth". They should endure short-term unpopularity, Rosen Plevneliev suggests, "preserve our values" and "keep the history of our proud tolerant nations as they are". Given that his words were aimed at a Conservative party now zooming into pre-election mode under the supervision of Lynton Crosby, they read like subtle satire.

And on the same theme, Nick Clegg asked: "What would happen if tonight every European living in the UK boarded a ship or plane and went home?…  Seguir leyendo »

The heritage of protest and provocation on which Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was drawing was confirmed as soon as I saw her picture. The hair cut into a functional bob, the "No Pasaran" T‑shirt with the clenched-fist logo, her leading place in a band-cum-collective called Pussy Riot – it was as if she had been plucked from the Anglo-American subculture known as riot grrrl circa 1992, and dropped into modern Russia.

This time, though, the surrounding contexts had been changed beyond recognition. As with their antecedents, Pussy Riot are young feminists with a scattershot critique of their society, but their chosen target and awful predicament place them almost in a different universe – as proved when Tolokonnikova and her two co-defendants laughed as they were given their two-year sentences.…  Seguir leyendo »

So this is how you resell the EU to its sceptical inhabitants: a Parisian sky lit up in blue and gold, the Eiffel Tower decorated with stars, and goody bags designed by Philippe Starck. Unfortunately, although yesterday's ceremonial launch of France's EU presidency came with a patina of upmarket optimism, the tussle over the Lisbon treaty brought to mind a grim archetype: the proverbial punch-up outside the party, with potentially grave consequences for the people inside.

There again, the French government has pledged to use the next six months to focus on a few areas besides Europe's constitutional arrangements. The top line includes climate change, fuel and food prices, defence and immigration, but there has also been word of a drive to curb executive bonuses paid despite corporate failure - a matter, it seems, of extending Nicolas Sarkozy's quest to "moralise capitalism".…  Seguir leyendo »

A mere six months ago, it seemed a good bet that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic presidential nomination. It didn’t turn out that way. The Op-Ed page asked 13 political experts to explain why they thought her campaign didn’t live up to expectations.

1) The Problem Wasn’t the Message — It Was the Money

By Mark J. Penn, an adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton since 1995 and a top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of losing a close race is thinking about what else you could have done to win. You replay the campaign over and over again in your head.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the future there will be no more human beings. This is not something we should worry about.

Much of today’s scientific research may enable us eventually to repair the terrible vulnerability to which our present state of evolution has exposed us. It is widely thought inevitable that we will have to face the end of humanity as we know it. We will either have died out altogether, killed off by self-created global warming or disease, or, we may hope, we will have been replaced by our successors.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill would allow for inter-species embryos that will not only enable medical science to overcome the acute shortage of human eggs for research, but would provide models for the understanding of many disease processes, an essential precursor to the development of effective therapies.…  Seguir leyendo »

In just over a fortnight, it will be 40 years since the release of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Teary-eyed baby boomers will presumably get out their vinyl copies for a Proustian spin, and perhaps wonder where all that peace, love and understanding went, a question that has been hanging around for almost as long as the record itself. Paul McCartney once related the tale of being cornered by a crestfallen hippie in 1972: "God, man, around the time of Sgt Pepper, we really thought it was going to change the world," he was told. "What happened?"

Buy the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, and you'll be offered a possible answer.…  Seguir leyendo »