Rachel Sylvester

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.

Lenin once said that “there are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen”. If Covid-19 is the great accelerator then perhaps the most significant change it has hastened is the shift in the balance of power between East and West. In a timely new book, The Wake Up Call, out this week, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge argue that the virus has exposed serious flaws in western governments and demonstrated the growing strength and resilience of many eastern states. With high death rates and a looming economic crisis, Britain, America and the European Union have, they write, failed the “stress test” of the pandemic.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Three-Body Problem, by the Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin, is about as far out of my literary comfort zone as it’s possible to get. Alien invasions and virtual reality computer games underpinned by theoretical physics and quantum mechanics do not often feature in Jane Austen or Hilary Mantel. But when a friend gave me a copy of the book, I was gripped. It is a fantastical story that gives a fascinating insight into the clash of civilisations between China and the West.

Liu’s novel — the first part of a trilogy — is based on an apocalyptic struggle for supremacy between two rival powers.…  Seguir leyendo »

There are times when MPs must follow their consciences. In the Norway debate of 1940, the Commons changed the course of history and forced the departure of the prime minister Neville Chamberlain after Winston Churchill told MPs: “Let us keep our hatreds for the common enemy. Let party interest be ignored.” More recently, Robin Cook won an unprecedented standing ovation during the Iraq debate, with a spine-tingling resignation speech in which he declared he could not back “a war without international agreement or domestic support”.

The House of Commons “meaningful vote” on Theresa May’s Brexit deal is just such a moment.…  Seguir leyendo »

If MPs can’t decide Brexit, ask the people

As if preparing for a major military operation, ministers have been counting down the days to the “meaningful vote” with the code used by army planners: D-3, D-2, D-1. This was supposed to be D-Day for Theresa May’s Brexit deal but yesterday, facing certain defeat in the House of Commons, she delayed the battle. It was a sign of extraordinary weakness, and a personal humiliation for the prime minister. It might help her buy some more time, but she has admitted that she cannot command the support of MPs on the most important policy implemented by any government for a generation.…  Seguir leyendo »

here were, I would say, more members of the National Trust than the Socialist Workers’ Party at the People’s Vote march in London on Saturday. It was not a typical protest rally. Many of the 700,000 men, women and children who gathered to demand another Brexit referendum were at their first demonstration. They had babies in prams and Royal Horticultural Society bags along with their home-made banners. Although the sneerers described it as “the longest Waitrose queue in history” there were plenty of Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s customers too. This was not some kind of croissant-eating metropolitan liberal elite, but middle England, pouring in by coaches and trains from across the country with home-made sandwiches.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is becoming clearer by the day that Theresa May is leading the country towards a Brexit that she does not truly believe is in the national interest, even though she sees it as her duty to implement it. This is an extraordinary position for a prime minister to be in, psychologically as well as politically.

There is no precedent for a leader consciously embarking on a course that they know will make their people poorer and less safe. No wonder Mrs May seems so tortured by her role in No 10. She is like one of the silhouettes of First World War soldiers that are being installed around the country: There But Not There, a shadow leader who commemorates past battles without having any substance herself.…  Seguir leyendo »

David Davis once told me that the leaders he most admired were “outsiders who made it”. He cited Wellington, Disraeli and Thatcher as examples of politicians who had broken into the inner sanctum of power against the odds.

“Life,” he said, “is a test, a thing you throw yourself at.”

Yesterday the former Shadow Home Secretary set himself the ultimate challenge by precipitating a by-election in his own seat. Presenting himself as the plucky outsider, he said that it was time to stand up against the “slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms” by the Government. No doubt, his motives are good and his cause is just, but his decision to resign is extraordinarily misguided.…  Seguir leyendo »