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Armed Drones, Counterterrorism, and Human Rights: The Need for a European Voice?

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 29, 2016.

A panel of speakers with firsthand insight into drone operations will discuss human rights in the context of drone use and the fight against terrorism.

Armed Drones, Counterterrorism, and Human Rights: The Need for a European Voice?

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Jun 29, 2016.

A panel of speakers with firsthand insight into drone operations will discuss human rights in the context of drone use and the fight against terrorism.

Mogadishu hotel attack: 15 dead, dozens wounded

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

At least 15 people were killed in an al Shabaab attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Pentagon to lift ban on transgender service members

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Officials say US army to implement new policies affecting everything from recruiting to housing for transgender people.

Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Gareth McAuley's own goal puts Wales into the Euro 2016 quarter-finals with a narrow win over Northern Ireland.

Somalia: Deadly al-Shabab attack on Mogadishu hotel

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Somali forces have retaken a hotel stormed by Al-Shabab militants in the capital, Mogadishu, in an attack that left at least 14 dead, police say.

Pope Francis calls on Armenia and Turkey to reconcile

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Leader of the Catholic Church calls for Armenia and Turkey to lay aside their differences and strive to be peacemakers.

EU referendum: 'No need to be nasty'

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the European Union has "no need to be particularly nasty" in negotiations with Britain about its exit from the bloc.

Glass slide opens 1,000ft above LA

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A glass slide fixed 1,000ft along the outside of a skyscraper in Los Angeles opens to the public on Saturday.

Remains of a mammoth uncovered near Mexico City

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Mexican experts say they are completing work on digging up fossilised bones of a mammoth found near Mexico City.

SA beat Ireland to take series

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Ireland fail in their bid for a first series win in South Africa as the hosts survive a late assault to win the final Test 19-13.

Croatia 0-0 Portugal, Uefa Euro 2016 LIVE - Luka Modric returns in midfield

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Winner will take on Poland in next week's quarter-final.

Saudi Arabia arrests 50 men for wearing 'un-Islamic' ripped jeans and Crocs during Ramadan crackdown

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Crackdown on strange haircuts, necklaces and cloths happened in Islam's holiest city of Mecca

Merkel pushes back on calls for fast Brexit

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

German chancellor asks for caution following push from foreign ministers for speedy action

Rare Spix's Macaw seen in Brazil for first time in 15 years

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The parrot was caught on video flying through trees in the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil.

Air strikes kill civilians in Syria's Deir Az Zor

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Dozens of people, mostly civilians, killed in ISIL-held Al Qurayyah town in Deir Ezzor province, monitor says.

Death row executions suspended in Arizona as lethal drug supplies run out

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Lobbying of European drug suppliers cut supply of controversial sedative midazolam.

Poland through despite Shaqiri stunner

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Poland will meet Croatia or Portugal in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 after beating Switzerland on penalties.

Brexit fears raised as Spain goes to the polls for the second time in six months

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to urge voters to stick with 'economic stability'.

Gunmen kill Afghan judge in the province of Farah

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The judge working in a provincial court was shot dead by unidentified gunmen before publicly displaying his body.

David Lammy calls for parliament to overturn the EU referendum result

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The Labour MP for Tottenham said Britain could "stop this madness through a vote in Parliament".

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has called on parliament to stop Brexit.

In a statement published on Twitter, he wrote: "Wake up. We do not have to do this. We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament. Our sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the EU. 

"The referendum was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign's platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn't voted to Leave. Parliament now needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of lies and the hubris of Boris Johnson."

Lammy's words follow a petition to re-run the referendum, which has gathered 1.75 million signatures since Friday.

However, the margin of victory in the referendum - more than a million votes - makes it unlikely party leaders would countenance any attempt to derail the Brexit process. On Saturday morning, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there should be no second referendum. Tory leader David Cameron has also accepted the result, and triggered a leadership election.

It is true, though, that had Britain's EU membership been decided in parliament, rather than by a referendum, there would have been an overwhelming vote to Remain. Just 138 Tory MPs declared for Leave, compared with 185 for Remain. In Labour, just 10 declared for Leave, versus 218 for Remain, while no Lib Dem, Scottish Nationalist, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein or SDLP MPs backed Leave.

Rob Ford, an academic who has studied Ukip voters, said Lammy's call was "utter madness":

David Lammy. Photo: Getty

Hollande meets Le Pen to discuss Brexit vote

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

President gathers France’s most prominent political party leaders for talks

Brexit: Germany urges caution after UK votes to leave European Union

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said EU countries should learn from Brexit.

Al-Shabaab suspected of launching suicide car bomb attack on Mogadishu hotel

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the gate of a city-center hotel.

Pride London 2016: Tory MP Justine Greening comes out at annual LGBT parade

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Putney MP Justine Greening announced that she is in a same-sex relationship.

Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter: How to watch live, preview, quotes, odds and prediction

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The undefeated WBA champion puts his title on the line for the sixth time.

Brexit: EU push for UK to leave 'as soon as possible'

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Government faces pressure to begin Brexit negotiations immediately after landmark vote to leave the 28-member bloc.

China launches new generation space rocket

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

China has launched its new generation Long March-7 carrier rocker into space, transporting cargo for the country's planned space station.

Michael Jackson claimed that Prince was 'mean, nasty and rude'

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Before Michael Jackson passed away, he secretly filmed a series of tapes for his autobiography.

How Europe’s press reacted to Brexit

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Continental media reflect shock, despair and Islamophobia

Los Angeles glass slide opens 1,000ft up skyscraper

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A glass slide fixed 1,000ft (305m) along the outside of a skyscraper in Los Angeles opens to the public.

Remain voters must ditch party differences to gain a voice in Brexit Britain

By Paul Hilder from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

It's time for politicians and activists to put aside their tribal loyalties.

The status quo has broken. British politics lies shattered into pieces, and even Brexiteers look stunned. We are in a new landscape. Anyone who tells you they have the measure of it is lying; but anyone reaching for old certainties is most likely to be wrong.
 
Through this fog, we can already glimpse some signposts. There will be a leadership election in the Tory Party within three months. While it is still unclear who will win, the smart money is on a champion of Brexit. The Leave camp are in the ascendancy, and have captured the hearts of most Tory members and voters.
 
The next Conservative prime minister will lack a clear mandate from voters, but will need one to successfully negotiate our exit from the EU. They will also see a golden opportunity to capture the working-class Leave vote from Labour – and to forge an even more dominant Conservative electoral coalition. UKIP too would fancy their chances of dismembering Labour in the north; their financier Arron Banks now has almost a million new registered supporters signed up through Leave.EU.
 
In this context, it seems inevitable that there will be another general election within six to twelve months. Could Labour win this election? Split, demoralised and flailing, it has barely begun to renew, and now faces a massive undertow from its heartlands. In this time of crisis, a party divided will find it difficult to prevail – no matter who leads it. And amidst all today’s talk of coups against Corbyn, it is currently tough to envisage a leader who could unite Labour to beat the Brexiteers.  
 
From opposite ends of the political spectrum, I and my Crowdpac co-founder Steve Hilton have been testing the possibilities of new politics for years. In this referendum I supported Another Europe Is Possible’s call to vote In and change Europe. But it is crystal clear that the Leave campaigns learnt many of the lessons of new politics, and are well positioned to apply them in the months and years to come. I expect them to make significant use of our platform for crowdfunding and candidate selection.

Time to build a progressive alliance

On the other side, the best or only prospect for victory in the onrushing general election could be a broad progressive alliance or national unity platform of citizens and parties from the centre to the left. Such an idea has been floated before, and usually founders on the rocks of party tribalism. But the stakes have never been this high, and the Achilles heels of the status quo parties have never been so spotlit.
 
Such an alliance could only succeed if it embraces the lessons of new politics and establishes itself on open principles. A coalition of sore losers from Westminster is unlikely to appeal. But if an open primary was held in every constituency to select the best progressive candidate, that would provide unprecedented democratic legitimacy and channel a wave of bottom-up energy into this new alliance as well as its constituent parties.
 
In England, such an alliance could gather together many of those who have campaigned together for Remain in this referendum and opposed Tory policies, from Labour to Greens and Liberal Democrats. It might even appeal to Conservative voters or politicians who are disenchanted with the Leave movement. In Scotland and Wales too, some form of engagement with the SNP or Plaid Cymru might be possible.
 
An electoral alliance built on open and democratic foundations would provide a new entry point to politics for the millions of young people who voted to stay in the EU and today feel despairing and unheard. Vitally, it could also make a fresh offer to Labour heartland voters, enabling them to elect candidates who are free to speak to their concerns on immigration as well as economic insecurity. I believe it could win a thumping majority.

A one-off renegotiation force

A central goal of this alliance would be to re-negotiate our relationship with Europe on terms which protect our economy, workers’ rights, and the interests of citizens and communities across the country. Work would be needed to forge a common agenda on economic strategy, public services and democratic reform, but that looks more achievable than ever as of today. On more divisive issues like immigration, alliance MPs could be given flexibility to decide their own position, while sticking to some vital common principles.
 
This idea has bubbled to the surface again and again today in conversations with campaigners and politicians of different parties and of none. What’s more, only a new alliance of this kind has any prospect of securing support from the new network movements which I helped to build, and which now have many more members than the parties. So this is no idle thought experiment; and it surely holds out greater hope than another rearranging of the deckchairs in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
 
The alliance would probably not last in this form beyond one parliamentary term. But during that time it could navigate us safely through these turbulent referendum seas, and lay foundations for a better country and a better politics in the coming decades. Food for thought, perhaps.
 
Paul Hilder is co-founder of Crowdpac, 38 Degrees and openDemocracy. He has played leadership roles at Change.org, Avaaz and Oxfam, and was a candidate for general secretary of Labour in 2011. 

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Abbas retracts rabbis 'water poisoning' comment

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Palestinian leader admits his claims at the EU were baseless but rejects "blood libel" claim of the Israeli PM.

Brexit: Merkel says 'no need to be nasty' in leaving talks

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the EU has "no need to be particularly nasty in any way" in the negotiations with Britain about its exit from the bloc.

Brexit: Did British-Asians just put a xenophobic gun to their heads?

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Some of my Asian family friends are echoing the anti-immigrant rhetoric spouted by Brexit campaigners

Police kill Texas mum who shot her two daughters following 'family row'

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Houston police found one daughter shot dead and the other dying in the street.

Priyanka Chopra: 'I hate that we are called Bollywood'

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Actress Priyanka Chopra tells the BBC Asian Network she does not like the Bollywood label

West Virginia deadly floods: Hundreds rescued, 23 dead

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Hundreds of people stranded by floods have been rescued in West Virginia, as the death toll has reached 23, officials say.

Syria: Kurdish-led forces edge into ISIL-held Manbij

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Syrian Democratic Forces make gains in the ISIL stronghold backed by US-led air strikes in the northern Syrian city.

England bowler James Anderson doubtful for Pakistan Test opener with shoulder injury

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

ECB confirm Lancashire stalwart will be monitored in his recovery from a stress fracture.

England seals third Test victory

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

England completed a series whitewash with victory in a pulsating third and final Test in Sydney.

Vikings season 4 episode 11 return date: Ragnar or Bjorn, who will rule Kattegat?

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Vikings will return later this year on History Channel.

Two arrested in Belgium after anti-terror raids stop Euro 2016 attack

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Two men are reported to have been planning an attack on Euro 2016

The panic button: Gold wins from Brexit. But other commodities lose

By from European Union. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The panic button Main image:  20160702_blp901.jpg Rubric:  Gold prices soar, but many commodities will suffer from the ripple effects of the referendum GOLDBUGS are natural Brexiteers; intensely suspicious of large bureaucracies like the European Union and avid conspiracy theorists when it comes to the power of global “elites”. They had double reason to celebrate on June 24th, when Britain’s decision to leave the EU sent gold prices soaring. But the rise of the yellow metal is also a symptom of the fear that Brexit is unleashing on the global economy. Hence other commodities that are more dependent upon global demand, such as oil, fell sharply. After a huge rally since their trough earlier this year, the commodities markets were vulnerable to a shock. Hedge funds and other money managers had built up big bets on rising prices. Meanwhile, inflows into exchange-traded funds linked to gold have been consistent since the start of the year, according to Deutsche Bank. The heightened economic uncertainty in the aftermath of ...

Two dead and five injured in shooting at Fort Worth dance studio

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

One victim was found dead at the scene while another died in hospital, police said.

England edge Sydney thriller to seal historic series whitewash over Australia

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Rapid transformation of Eddie Jones' Six Nations Grand Slam winners continues unabated.

Top Isis commander killed in Mosul as Daesh fighters close key bridges to the city

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Isis leader Hayman Galal, known by his nom de Guerre Abi Abdul-Rahman al-Kurdi, was killed with 3 others.

Bailed-out bank sales axed after EU vote

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Disposal of £17.5bn of Bradford & Bingley loans will also be pushed back

Euro 2016: Harry Kane ready to end goalscoring drought against Iceland

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Harry Kane is yet to open his account at the Euros

Boris Johnson looked sick - because he has no idea how to fix the national disaster he's bequeathed us

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson looked like they were at a funeral yesterday, not a celebration.

Beyond Brexit: The consequences of Britain's great exit

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

What lies ahead for the United Kingdom and global financial markets now that the reality of a Brexit is inevitable?

How to think about the EU result if you voted Remain

By Ian Leslie from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A belief in democracy means accepting the crowd is wiser than you are as an individual. 

I voted Remain, I feel sick about this result and its implications for what’s to come. But I’m a believer in democracy. This post is about how to reconcile those two things (it’s a bit unstructured because I’m working it out as I go, and I’m not sure I agree with all of it).

Democracy isn’t just fairer than other systems of governance, it’s smarter. It leads to better decisions and better outcomes, on average and over the long run, than countries that are run by autocrats or councils of wise men with jobs for life. It is simply the best way we have yet devised of solving complex problems involving many people. On that topic, if you’re not averse to some rather dense and technical prose, read this post or seek out this book. But the central argument is that democracy is the best way of harnessing ‘cognitive diversity’ — bringing to bear many different perspectives on a problem, each of which are very partial in themselves, but add up to something more than any one wise person.

I don’t think you can truly be a believer in democracy unless you accept that the people, collectively, are smarter than you are. That’s hard. It’s easy to say you believe in the popular will, right up until the popular will does something REALLY STUPID. The hard thing is not just to ‘accept the result’ but to accept that the majority who voted for that result know or understand something better than you. But they do. You are just one person, after all, and try as you might to expand your perspective with reading (and some try harder than others) you can’t see everything. So if a vote goes against you, you need to reflect on the possibility you got it wrong in some way. If I look at the results of past general elections and referendums, for instance, I now see they were all pretty much the right calls, including those where I voted the other way.

One way to think about the vote is that it has forced a slightly more equitable distribution of anxiety and alienation upon the country. After Thursday, I feel more insecure about my future, and that of my family. I also feel like a foreigner in my own country — that there’s this whole massive swathe of people out there who don’t think like me at all and probably don’t like me. I feel like a big decision about my life has been imposed on me by nameless people out there. But of course, this is exactly how many of those very people have been feeling for years, and at a much higher level of intensity. Democracy forces us to try on each other’s clothes. I could have carried on quite happily ignoring the unhappiness of much of the country but I can’t ignore this.

I’m seeing a lot of people on Twitter and in the press bemoaning how ill-informed people were, talking about a ‘post-factual democracy’. Well, maybe, though I think that requires further investigation - democracy has always been a dirty dishonest business. But surely the great thing about Thursday that so many people voted — including many, many people who might have felt disenfranchised from a system that hasn’t been serving them well. I’m not sure you’re truly a democrat if you don’t take at least a tiny bit of delight in seeing people so far from the centres of power tipping the polity upside down and giving it a shake. Would it have been better or worse for the country if Remain had won because only informed middle-class people voted? It might have felt better for people like me, it might actually have been better, economically, for everyone. But it would have indicated a deeper rot in our democracy than do the problems with our national information environment (which I accept are real).

I’m not quite saying ‘the people are always right’ — at least, I don’t think it was wrong to vote to stay in the EU. I still believe we should have Remained and I’m worried about what we’ve got ourselves into by getting out. But I am saying they may have been right to use this opportunity — the only one they were given — to send an unignorable signal to the powers-that-be that things aren’t working. You might say general elections are the place for that, but our particular system isn’t suited to change things on which there is a broad consensus between the two main parties.

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Anthony Joshua vs Dominic Breazeale: How to watch, preview, quotes, odds, undercard and prediction

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The IBF heavyweight world title is on the line at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night.

China cuts communication channel with Taiwan

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Decision attributed to island's refusal to recognise "one China" principle as tensions rise between the two governments.

Google, Facebook silently block Isis and other extremist videos

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The companies using these automation systems refuse to discuss latest technique.

FBI accuses Briton Paul Charles Wilkins of travelling to California to buy boys to abuse

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Prosecutors allege a Cambridgeshire man paid an FBI agent for sex with a nine-year-old boy.

Bitcoin startups talk about Brexit price spike and government-backed currencies

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

IBTimes looks at the strengths and weaknesses of fixed supply currency at time of Brexit-induced volatility.

Will there be a second EU referendum? Petition passes 1.75 million signatures

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Updated: An official petition for a second EU referendum has passed 1.75m signatures - but does it have any chance of happening?

A petition calling for another EU referendum has passed 1.75 million signatures

"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum," the petition reads. Overall, the turnout in the EU referendum on 23 June was 73 per cent, and 51.8 per cent of voters went for Leave.

The petition has been so popular it briefly crashed the government website, and is now the biggest petition in the site's history.

After 10,000 signatures, the government has to respond to an official petition. After 100,000 signatures, it must be considered for a debate in parliament. 

Nigel Farage has previously said he would have asked for a second referendum based on a 52-48 result in favour of Remain.

However, what the petition is asking for would be, in effect, for Britain to stay as a member of the EU. Turnout of 75 per cent is far higher than recent general elections, and a margin of victory of 20 points is also ambitious. In the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, the split was 55-45 in favour of remaining in the union. 

Unfortunately for those dismayed by the referendum result, even if the petition is debated in parliament, there will be no vote and it will have no legal weight. 

Another petition has been set up for London to declare independence, which has attracted 130,000 signatures.   

A second referendum? Photo: Getty

Why Bernie Sanders still matters

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

He wants to lead in the Democratic Party from the outside.

Ramadan is the strongest antidote for Islamophobia

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The Islamic holy month may have Muslim origins, but its message is universal.

Watch Outlander season 2 pre finale live online:Jamie tries to divert the Jacobite army in episode 12

From IBTimes.co.uk : World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The Hail Mary episode of Outlander season 2 airs on 25 June on Starz Network.

Arab perspectives on Brexit

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Mixed reactions from the Arab world, with some commentators describing the vote as a "defeat" for Britain and Europe.

Syria conflict: Russian air strikes target Aleppo rebels

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Russian and Syrian planes pound Syria's second-city of Aleppo in a night of strikes on the besieged rebel-held areas.

Petition in UK urges new EU referendum

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Petition demands clause cancelling result of Brexit vote should it fail to pick up less than 60 percent of total votes.

Britain’s EU commissioner Lord Hill resigns

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Resignation comes as country’s role in Brussels bureaucracy already begins to shrink

The truth about US drone strikes

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Mehdi Hasan on why drone strikes are ineffective, inaccurate and unsuccessful.

Ex-PM Mahathir Mohamad: Malaysia 'will go to the dogs'

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The former Malaysian leader who says current PM Najib Razak 'has to go' is challenged by Mehdi Hasan.

Deadly storms strike the eastern US

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Severe weather barrels out of the Midwest across the northeastern states, leaving 23 dead in West Virginia.

Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan: Leave campaign never promised "radical decline" in immigration

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The voters might not agree...

BBC Newsnight on Twitter

It was the Leave campaign's pledge to reduce EU immigration that won it the referendum. But Daniel Hannan struck a rather different tone on last night's Newsnight. "It means free movement of labour," the Conservative MEP said of the post-Brexit model he envisaged. An exasperated Evan Davis replied: “I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration. The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement." 

Hannan protested that EU migrants would lose "legal entitlements to live in other countries, to vote in other countries and to claim welfare and to have the same university tuition". But Davis wasn't backing down. "Why didn't you say this in the campaign? Why didn't you say in the campaign that you were wanting a scheme where we have free movement of labour? Come on, that's completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for." 

Hannan concluded: "We never said there was going to be some radical decline ... we want a measure of control". Your Mole suspects many voters assumed otherwise. If immigration is barely changed, Hannan and others will soon be burned by the very fires they stoked. 

Getty Images.

Over a Martini with my mother, I decide I'd rather not talk Brexit

By Nicholas Lezard from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A drink with her reduces me to a nine-year-old boy recounting his cricketing triumphs.

To the Royal Academy with my mother. As well as being a very competent (ex-professional, on Broadway) singer, she is a talented artist, and has a good critical eye, albeit one more tolerant of the brighter shades of the spectrum than mine. I love the RA’s summer exhibition: it offers one the chance to be effortlessly superior about three times a minute.

“Goddammit,” she says, in her finest New York accent, after standing in front of a particularly wretched daub. The tone is one of some vexation: not quite locking-yourself-out-of-the-house vexed, but remembering-you’ve-left-your-wallet-behind-a-hundred-yards-from-the-house vexed. This helps us sort out at least one of the problems she has been facing since widowhood: she is going to get cracking with the painting again, and I am going to supply the titles.

I am not sure I have the satirical chops or shamelessness to come up with anything as dreadful as Dancing With the Dead in My Dreams (artwork number 688, something that would have shown a disturbing kind of promise if executed by an eight-year-old), or The End From: One Day This Glass Will Break (number 521; not too bad, actually), but we work out that if she does reasonably OK prints and charges £500 a pop for each plus £1,000 for the original – this being at the lower end of the price scale – then she’ll be able to come out well up on the deal. (The other solution to her loneliness: get a cat, and perhaps we are nudged in this direction by an amusing video installation of a cat drinking milk from a saucer which attracts an indulgent, medium-sized crowd.)

We wonder where to go for lunch. As a sizeable quantity of the art there seems to hark back to the 1960s in general, and the style of the film Yellow Submarine in particular, I suggest Langan’s Brasserie, which neither of us has been to for years. We order our customary Martinis. Well, she does, while I go through a silly monologue that runs: “I don’t think I’ll have a Martini, I have to write my column this afternoon, oh sod it, I’ll have a Martini.”

“So,” she says as they arrive, “how has life been treating you?”

Good question. How, indeed, has life been treating me? Most oddly, I have to say. These are strange times we live in, a bit strange even for me, and if we wake up on 24 June to find ourselves no longer in Europe and with Nigel Farage’s toadlike mug gurning at us from every newspaper in the land, then I’m off to Scotland, or the US, or at least strongly thinking about it. Not even Hunter S Thompson’s mantra – “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” – will be enough to arm myself with, I fear.

The heart has been taking something of a pummelling, as close readers of this column may have gathered, but there is nothing like finding out that the person you fear you might be losing it to is probably going to vote Brexit to clear up that potential mess in a hurry. The heart may be stupid, but there are some things that will shake even that organ from its reverie. However, operating on a need-to-know basis, I feel my mother can do without this information, and I find myself talking about the cricket match I played on Sunday, the first half of which was spent standing watching our team get clouted out of the park, in rain not quite strong enough to take us off the field, but certainly strong enough to make us wet.

“Show me the way to go home,” I sang quietly to myself, “I’m tired and I want to go to bed,” etc. The second half of it, though, was spent first watching an astonishing, even by our standards, batting collapse, then going in at number seven . . . and making the top score for our team. OK, that score was 12, but still, it was the top score for our team, dammit.

The inner glow and sense of bien-être that this imparted on Sunday persists three days later as I write. And as I tell my mother the story – she has now lived long enough in this country, and absorbed enough of the game by osmosis, to know that 17 for five is a pretty piss-poor score – I realise I might as well be nine years old, and telling her of my successes on the pitch. Only, when I was nine, I had no such successes under my belt.

With age comes fearlessness: I don’t worry about the hard ball coming at me. Why should I? I’ve got a bloody bat, gloves, pads, the lot. The only things that scare me now are, as usual, dying alone, that jackanapes Farage, and bad art. 

Getty

Brexit: The UK referendum, the rhetoric and the result

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

After an EU referendum campaign replete with racism and fear, we examine the British media's impact on the result.

Banks begin moving operations out of Britain

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

ECB official warns on loss of EU ‘passporting’ rights for UK financial services

Syrian journalist Khaled al-Essa dies after bomb attack

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Death in Antakya hospital from wounds sustained in Aleppo highlights once again dangers of reporting from Syria.

China tornado kills almost 100 people in Jiangsu

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Almost 100 people killed and about 800 others injured after violent storm and tornado strikes Jiangsu province.

US weather: Floods and fire in east and west

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Flooding in West Virginia and wildfires in California have killed dozens and forced thousands of people from their homes.

EU Referendum: Jean-Claude Juncker on divorce

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has said he would "like the British to act as soon as possible" after voting to leave the EU.

Victors’ visions clash over life after EU

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

On the most important policy issues, Leave supporters disagree over what to do

First US raids target Afghan Taliban since Obama order

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

"Couple" of air strikes follow US president's decision to expand Pentagon's involvement in fight against the Taliban.

Why Podemos will defeat the Spanish Socialists

By Christopher Finnigan from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A new alliance on the Spanish Left will be stronger than the sum of its parts.

On Saturday morning, on a palm-tree lined promenade in the small city of Badalona in eastern Catalonia, a 38-year-old woman named Mar García Puig fanned herself with her speaking notes after taking her turn on the stage.

Until six months ago, Puig was a literary editor with no professional experience in politics apart from attending demonstrations and rallies. Then, in December, her life was transformed twice over. In the national election, she won a parliamentary seat for En Comú Podem, the Catalan regional ally of the anti-austerity party Podemos. Four hours after she learned of her victory, Puig gave birth to twins.

Fortunately Puig’s husband, who is a teacher, was able to take paternity leave so that she could take up her seat. In parliament, Puig “felt like an alien”, she told me over coffee. As it turned out, she had to give up her seat prematurely anyway – along with all the other Spanish MPs – when repeated attempts to form a government failed. So now, in the lead-up to Spain’s first repeat election of the modern era, to be held on 26 June, Puig was on the campaign trail once more in a drive to win a parliamentary seat.

The December general election was as historic as it was inconclusive, ushering in a novel political era in Spain and leaving the country with the most fragmented parliament in its history. Fed up with corruption, austerity and a weak recovery from the global financial crisis, voters punished the mainstream parties, ending the 40-year dominance of the conservative Partido Popular (People’s Party) and the centre-left PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party), which have held power since the death of General Franco. Neither group was able to win an absolute majority as new parties from both ends of the political spectrum garnered support from disenchanted voters.

On the left, Podemos, which was only founded in March 2014 by the ponytailed political scientist Pablo Iglesias, won 20 per cent of the vote. Ciudadanos (Citizens), formed in Catalonia a decade ago and occupying the centre left or centre right, depending on which analyst you talk to, secured a 14 per cent share.

Despite having four months to form a coalition government, the two biggest political parties could not reach a deal. The People’s Party, which had implemented a harsh austerity package over the past five years, recorded its worst electoral performance since 1989, losing 16 percentage points. It still won the most votes, however, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was the first leader to be asked by King Felipe VI to form a government.

By the end of January, Rajoy conceded defeat after the PSOE refused to join his “grand coalition”. The Socialists then failed in their own attempt to form a government, leading the king to dissolve parliament and call a fresh election.

Despite the inconvenience of having to campaign nationwide once again – and being away from her twins – Mar García Puig’s enthusiasm for her new career is undiminished. “In Spain there is a window of opportunity,” she said. “There is a receptiveness to politics that there wasn’t before.”

When the repeat elections were called, some questioned whether Podemos and its regional allies could mobilise its supporters to the same extent as in December. Yet Puig believes that the party’s appeal has grown further in the six months that the country has been without a government. “We are still new and Podemos has this freshness – it can still make people join,” she told me.

The following day, as the church bells rang at noon in the Basque city of Bilbao, crowds gathered for another rally. For protection against the sun, Podemos supporters had covered their heads with purple triangular paper hats displaying the party name as it will appear on the ballot paper: Unidos Podemos, or “United We Can”.

In May, Podemos entered into an alliance with Izquierda Unida (United Left), the radical left-wing party that includes the Communist Party of Spain, and which won 3 per cent of the vote in December. Izquierda Unida is headed by Alberto Garzón, a 30-year-old Marxist economist who, according to a poll by the state-run CIS research institute, is the most highly rated party leader in Spain. Unlike Podemos’s Iglesias, who can fire up a crowd and is seen by some as divisive, Garzón is a calm and articulate politician who appeals to disaffected voters.

Nagua Alba, who at 26 is Podemos’s youngest MP, said the new alliance would be stronger than the sum of its parts, because Spain’s voting system punishes smaller parties when it comes to allocating seats in parliament. “It [the alliance] will attract all those people that aren’t convinced yet. It shows we can all work together,” Alba said.

As part of the agreement with Podemos, Izquierda Unida has agreed to drop its demands for a programme of renationalisation and withdrawing Spain from Nato. The alliance is campaigning on a platform of reversing Rajoy’s labour reforms, removing the national debt ceiling, opposing the TTIP trade deal, and increasing the minimum wage to €900 a month. A Unidos Podemos government would attempt to move the EU’s economic policy away from austerity and towards a more expansionist stance, joining a broader effort that involves Greece, Italy and Portugal. It is also committed to offering the Catalans a referendum on independence, a move that the mainstream parties strongly oppose.

The latest polls suggest that Unidos Podemos will become Spain’s second-biggest party, with 26 per cent of the vote, behind Rajoy’s Popular Party. The Socialist Party looks poised to fall into third place, with 21 per cent, and Ciudadanos is expected to hold its 14 per cent share. If the polls are accurate, the PSOE will face a difficult choice that highlights how far its stock has fallen. It can choose to enter as a junior partner into a coalition with the insurgent left, which has politically outmanoeuvred it. Or it could decide to prop up a Partido Popular-led right-wing coalition, serving as a constraint on power. 

Getty

Venezuela: Petition for Maduro recall vote 'validated'

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Opposition says it has collected double the amount of signatures required to move forward bid for a recall referendum.

Scotland and Northern Ireland react to Brexit vote

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum looms, as Sinn Fein also calls for a vote on a united Ireland.

South Thailand's battle against the trauma of conflict

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

After more than a decade of conflict, the violence in Thailand's deep south takes a toll on people's mental wellbeing.

Iceland historian Johannesson tipped to be voted president

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A historian with no experience of public office is expected to be voted Iceland's new president, amid low turnout as many are in France for Euro 2016.

How Remain camp could have avoided defeat

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The 11 ‘mistakes’ that led to the Brexit vote

'It was hell': Syrian refugees share stories of torture

From Al Jazeera English. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

"They would rape women in the other rooms and make us hear their screams."

Britain must not hold EU to ransom

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The referendum leaves crucial issues unresolved, writes Sylvie Goulard

Rare Spix's Macaw seen in Brazil for first time in 15 years

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A rare blue parrot which was believed to be extinct in the wild has been spotted in Brazil for the first time in 15 years.

Farage — the heckler takes centre stage

From Europe News. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Ukip leader faced frustration at every turn but was key to the vote that realised his cherished goal

US military 'to lift transgender ban'

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

The Pentagon will lift its ban on openly transgender service personnel next month, US officials say.

Week in pictures: 18-24 June 2016

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

A selection of the best news photographs from around the world, taken over the past week.

Struggling to cope

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Cuts to social spending in Greece are seeing children in care stranded in hospital and charities trying to fill the void left by the state, reports Morgan Meaker.

'Not a joke'

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra tells the BBC how she hopes to change perceptions of Indian actors.

People v power

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Thousands are taking to the streets of Wukan after the village's democratically elected leader was taken away by police and shown to be confessing to allegations of bribery.

Uncharted territory

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

No-one can predict the consequences of Britain's referendum result for the European Union, writes Chris Morris in Brussels.

Viewpoint

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 25, 2016.

Eurosceptic economist Prof Tim Congdon argues that the UK can prosper like Hong Kong, trading freely outside the EU.

Euro 2016: England striker Harry Kane 'not tired' and ready for Iceland

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Harry Kane says he is not tired and feels "sharp and ready" to perform against Iceland in England's last-16 tie on Monday.

Storm clouds gather: The EU must now decide what it stands for

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Storm clouds gather Main image:  20160625_eup505.jpg Rubric:  Brexit is a call for reform. But Brussels is unsure about what that means LATE last night, as the polls closed in Britain, an apocalyptic thunderstorm erupted in Brussels. It was followed this morning by a metaphorical one, as news that Britain’s voters had chosen to leave the European Union filtered through. Brexit follows a cascade of recent crises—Russian aggression, economic woes, terrorism, refugees—that have brought the EU to its knees. It differs from them only in being entirely self-inflicted. That does not make the questions it raises for Europe any less profound. This morning the leaders of four EU institutions issued a statement urging Britain to begin the process of departure “as soon as possible”. A flurry of meetings between various leaders now follows before a full summit of EU heads of government in Brussels next Tuesday and Wednesday, at which David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, will formally deliver the news to his 27 counterparts. Mr ...

Back of the queue: Brexit: America’s next headache

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

BY INSTINCT Americans cheer declarations of independence, especially when those going it alone claim to be throwing off the shackles of foreign tyranny. A certain note of piquant irony may intrude when the revolutionaries hail from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But no matter: liberty is liberty, and conservative Americans in particular have reacted warmly to the news of the Brexit vote, praising what they hail as an act of understandable pluck, inspired by a familiar concern for national sovereignty.Figures from several different wings of the American Right have claimed to recognise their specific brand of politics in the vote to leave the European Union. Donald Trump, a man always quick to detect his decisive influence on events, clattered from the skies in a helicopter to visit a Scottish golf course that he has been tarting up on June 24th, and informed the people of Scotland, Britain, America and the world that the referendum result of the night before echoed and vindicated his philosophy of rejecting “rule by the global elite”. “The British people had voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy,” he said in a statement, adding: “I hope America is watching.” Scots being a hard-to-please bunch, Mr Trump was greeted with a certain amount of online churlishness, as citizens of Scotland pointed out on social media ...

Taking Stock of Brexit

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The impact of the UK’s decision to quit the European Union will go far beyond an immediate loss of economic confidence, and may challenge the country’s historic faith in open society values.

Taking Stock of Brexit

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The impact of the UK’s decision to quit the European Union will go far beyond an immediate loss of economic confidence, and may challenge the country’s historic faith in open society values.

There are sinister goings-on in the race to become the UN's next Secretary-General

By David Clark from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The United Nations can and must do better than this, says David Clark. 

2016 was meant to be a year of firsts for the United Nations as it prepares to choose a new Secretary-General. Optimism was growing that the top job would go to a woman for the first time in the world body’s seventy-year history. There was an emerging consensus that it should be someone from Eastern Europe, the only region never to have held the post, provided a candidate of the right calibre was put forward. Above all, the selection was supposed to break new ground in openness and transparency after decades in which decisions were stitched up in private by a handful of the most powerful countries. Innovations like open nominations, public campaigning and candidates hustings were introduced in a bid to improve public scrutiny.
 
All of that now threatens to be turned on its head as the battle to succeed Ban Ki-moon becomes embroiled in intrigues and plots, according to stories that have surfaced in the Belgian and Portuguese media in the last week. Allegations centre on the activities of former European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, and ex-Portuguese MEP turned lobbyist, Mario David. Both are said to be promoting the undeclared candidacy of Kristalina Georgieva, the serving European Commission Vice-President from Bulgaria. Barroso reportedly arranged for Georgieva to participate in a recent meeting of the Bilderberg group in order to boost her profile with world leaders. David is said to be touring the capitals of Eastern Europe to canvas support.
 
While there is nothing necessarily unusual about senior European politicians supporting a colleague in her bid for a major international job, there are two things that make this case very different. The first is that Bulgaria already has an official candidate in the person of Irina Bokova, a career diplomat currently serving her second elected term as Director-General of UNESCO. Reports suggest that Barroso is among those pressing the Bulgarian government to switch its nomination to Georgieva, while David’s role has been to find another country in the region willing to nominate her in the event that Bulgaria refuses to budge. The second piece of the puzzle is that Portugal also has an official candidate – its former Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres – who Barroso still publicly insists he is supporting.
 
It is in the nature of the way these matters are often decided that there is no necessary contradiction between these facts. Georgieva’s candidacy would appear to stand no real chance of success. She lacks diplomatic experience and news reports suggest that the Bulgarian Prime Minister’s decision not to support her was based on information linking her to the communist-era intelligence services. And while there is nothing to stop another country nominating her, precedent suggests that a lack of domestic support will be fatal to her chances. Georgieva is highly unlikely to end up as UN Secretary-General, yet she could still have a significant role to play as a spoiler. Bulgaria’s official candidate, Irina Bokova, is frequently described as the frontrunner. As a woman from Eastern Europe with heavyweight UN experience, she certainly has an edge. A rival Bulgarian woman candidate would create doubt about the strength of her support and potentially open the way for other candidates. The aspirants who stand to benefit most are men from outside Eastern Europe. Step forward Antonio Guterres.
 
Those with the best chance of preventing these manoeuvres from succeeding are the governments of Eastern Europe. Although the principle of rotation does not confer on them the automatic right to have one of their own chosen to run the UN, a degree of unity and professionalism in the way they approach the contest would make their claim much harder to resist. Unfortunately there has so far been little evidence of the kind of collective solidarity and diplomatic co-ordination that helped to deliver the top UN job to Africa and Asia in the past. The strongest advocate for Eastern Europe is currently Russia, although it has stopped short of threatening to use its veto in the way that China was prepared to do for Asia when Ban Ki-moon was appointed in 2006.
 
In addition to casting doubt on Eastern Europe’s chances, the descent into private plotting is an ominous warning to those campaigning for the UN to become more open and representative – the appointment of a new Secretary-General may not prove to be the turning point they had hoped for. What is the point of public hustings for candidates when the real discussions are taking place at a closed meeting of Bilderberg group? Why bother to encourage women candidates to put forward their names when the power brokers of international diplomacy already have their man? Seventy years after it was established, the UN should have found a better way to do this. It still can.

Photo: Getty

Brexit risk to LSE-Deutsche Börse deal

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Exchange tie-up to face further scrutiny from German regulators because of planned London HQ

Brexit and the making of a global crisis

From Analysis. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Britain’s exit from the EU threatens to undermine the globalised economy it fought to create

Brexit and the making of a global crisis

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Britain’s exit from the EU threatens to undermine the globalised economy it fought to create

Brussels staffers ‘shell-shocked’ at vote

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Many British employees at EU institutions feel they are in limbo and have an uncertain future

Do-or-die challenge for the bloc

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK decision is a heavy blow for a union already beset by crises

Stonewall to become US gay rights monument - Obama

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

US President Barack Obama is to designate the first national monument to gay rights at the site of the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York.

Stark divide runs through British tribes

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Leave was fuelled by a festering sense of betrayal among legions of working class voters

Insurance sector hit hard by Brexit vote

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Insurance sector concerned over impact of referendum result on Lloyd’s, London’s insurance market

Time to seize this golden chance

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Britain’s exit presents an opportunity, with no objections from London, writes Daniela Schwarzer

Brexit: How world reacted to Britain's EU referendum

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

As Britain votes to leave the European Union, political figures from around the world react to the news.

Cameron pays the price of tactical failure

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The PM’s biggest challenge was always going to be Europe

A father’s murderous rage, the first victims of mass killers and Trump’s phantom campaign

By Helen Lewis from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

From the family courts to the US election campaigns.

On 21 June, Ben Butler was found guilty of murdering his six-year-old daughter, Ellie. She had head injuries that looked like she’d been in a car crash, according to the pathologist, possibly the result of being thrown against a wall. Her mother, Jennie Gray, 36, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, placing a fake 999 call after the girl was already dead.

When the trial first started, I clicked on a link and saw a picture of Ben and Ellie. My heart started pounding. I recognised them: as a baby, Ellie had been taken away from Butler and Gray (who were separated) after social services suggested he had been shaking her. He had been convicted of abuse but the conviction was overturned on appeal. So then he wanted his daughter back.

That’s when I spoke to him. He had approached the Daily Mail, where I then worked, to tell his story: a father unjustly separated from his beloved child by uncaring bureaucracy. I sent a writer to interview him and he gave her the full works, painting himself as a father victimised by a court system that despises men and casually breaks up families on the say-so of faceless council apparatchiks.

The Mail didn’t run the story; I suspect that Butler and Gray, being separated, didn’t seem sufficiently sympathetic. I had to tell him. He raged down the phone at me with a vigour I can remember half a decade later. Yet here’s the rub. I went away thinking: “Well, I’d be pretty angry if I was falsely ­accused and my child was taken away from me.” How can you distinguish the legitimate anger of a man who suffered a miscarriage of justice from the hair-trigger rage of a violent, controlling abuser?

In 2012, a family court judge believed in the first version of Ben Butler. Eleven months after her father regained custody of her, Ellie Butler was dead.

 

Red flags

Social workers and judges will never get it right 100 per cent of the time, but there does seem to be one “red flag” that was downplayed in Ben Butler’s history. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend Hannah Hillman after throttling her outside a nightclub. He also accepted a caution for beating her up outside a pub in Croydon. (He had other convictions for violence.) The family judge knew this.

Butler also battered Jennie Gray. As an accessory to his crime, she will attract little sympathy – her parents disowned her after Ellie’s death – and it is hard to see how any mother could choose a violent brute over her own child. However, even if we cannot excuse her behaviour, we need to understand why she didn’t leave: what “coercive control” means in practice. We also need to fight the perception that domestic violence is somehow different from “real” violence. It’s not; it’s just easier to get away with.

 

Shooter stats

On the same theme, it was no surprise to learn that the Orlando gunman who killed 49 people at a gay club had beaten up his ex-wife. Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, looked at FBI data on mass killings and found that 16 per cent of attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence, and 57 per cent of the killings included a family member. The Sandy Hook gunman’s first victim was his mother.

 

Paper candidate

Does Donald Trump’s presidential campaign exist if he is not on television saying something appalling about minorities? On 20 June, his campaign manager Corey Lew­andowski quit (or was pushed out). The news was broken to the media by Trump’s 27-year-old chief press officer, Hope Hicks. She was talent-spotted by The Donald after working for his daughter Ivanka, and had never even volunteered on a campaign before, never mind orchestrated national media coverage for a presidential candidate.

At least there aren’t that many staffers for her to keep in line. The online magazine Slate’s Jamelle Bouie reported that Trump currently has 30 staffers nationwide. Three-zero. By contrast, Bouie writes, “Team Clinton has hired 50 people in Ohio alone.” Trump has also spent a big fat zero on advertising in swing states – though he would argue his appearances on 24-hour news channels and Twitter are all the advertising he needs. And he has only $1.3m in his campaign war chest (Clinton has $42.5m).

It feels as though Trump’s big orange visage is the facial equivalent of a Potemkin village: there’s nothing behind the façade.

 

Divided Johnsons

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the Johnson family Christmas celebrations. As Boris made much of his late conversion to Leave, the rest of the clan – his sister Rachel, father Stanley and brothers, Leo and Jo – all declared for Remain. Truly, another great British institution torn apart by the referendum.

 

Grrr-eat revelations

The highlight of my week has been a friend’s Facebook thread where she asked everyone to share a surprising true fact about themselves. They were universally amazing, from suffering a cardiac arrest during a job interview to being bitten by a tiger. I highly recommend repeating the experience with your own friends. Who knows what you’ll find out? (PS: If it’s juicy, let me know.)

Peter Wilby is away

Getty

Londoners dismayed at UK’s EU divorce

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Petition for city’s independence gets 60,000 signatures

Bank shares slammed by Brexit blow

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK lenders among hardest hit after referendum result

Leaving will reconfigure the UK economy

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Britain has prospered inside the EU but it will not do as well outside

Brexit and the boardroom: British firms will not rush to judgment on Brexit

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Brexit and the boardroom Main image:  20160625_brp523.jpg Rubric:  Business, which was largely for staying in the EU, tries to remain stoical in the face of Brexit DIRE warnings about job losses and companies fleeing abroad were at the heart of the Remain campaign’s doomed effort—so much so that Brexiteers often mocked the strategy as “project fear”. Car companies such as Nissan and BMW expressed an especially strong desire for Britain to stay in the EU, and it was often assumed by Remain supporters that this meant they would relocate to continental Europe (or elsewhere) in the event of a Brexit. Now the dreaded moment has come to pass, is anyone stampeding to the door? Not yet, is the short answer. The financial sector is considered to be most vulnerable to a Brexit, and there were rumours going around hours after the referendum vote that Morgan Stanley, an American investment bank, was moving 2,000 staff to Frankfurt or Dublin. Those rumours were later denied by the bank, which instead insisted that it was only ...

Britain cuts itself adrift

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

By signalling the end to its membership the nation has casually wandered into a new world of risk

Britain cuts itself adrift

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

By signalling the end to its membership the nation has casually wandered into a new world of risk

‘A bad day for Europe’: Brexit stuns EU leaders

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Biggest setback in EU’s history plunges bloc into new era of crisis and uncertainty

I want my country back

By Laurie Penny from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world.

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David Cameron’s big gamble – the future of Britain against his personal political ambitions – has backfired so badly that we’ve blasted clean out of the EU. By the time I’d put the kettle on, the stock markets were in free fall, Scotland was debating a new independence referendum, Sinn Fein was making secession noises, and the prime minister had resigned.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well done, turkeys. Santa’s on his way.

Nigel Farage, the rich, racist cartoon demagogue, boasts that this victory was won “without a single shot being fired”. Tell that to the grieving family of Jo Cox, the campaigning Labour MP gunned down last week. Farage promised that unless something was done to halt immigration, “violence will be the next step”. It looks like we’ve got a two-for-one deal on that one.

So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we've all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks. Leave voters are finding they care less about immigration now that their pension pots are under threat. Maybe one of the gurning pundits promising them pride and sovereignty should have mentioned that, but they were too busy lying about the NHS. The curtain has been torn away and now we all have to look at the men behind it. They are not good men.

Anyone feel like they’ve got their country back yet? No? That, after all, was the rallying cry of the Leave campaign – the transatlantic echo of "Make America Great Again". There’s a precedent for what happens when svengalis with aggressively terrible haircuts are allowed to appeal to parochialism and fear in the teeth of a global recession, and it isn’t pretty.

It says something about this campaign that I’m no longer at all worried about risking hyperbole or unoriginality when referencing all that Nazi history they made us study in school. I’m just frightened. I’m frightened that those who wanted "their" country back will get their wish, and it will turn out to be a hostile, inhospitable place for immigrants, ethnic minorities, queer people – everyone and anyone who wasn’t included when Farage proclaimed victory for "ordinary, decent people" this morning in front of a posse formed entirely of angry-looking, whey-faced blokes in suits.

But the thing is – I want my country back too.

I want to wake up tomorrow in a country where people are kind, and tolerant, and decent to one another. A country where people – all people – can feel at least a little bit safe. I want to rub the sleep of neofascist nightmares from my eyes and find myself in a country where we do not respond to the killing of a politician by voting against everything she stood for. A country where we are polite to our neighbors. A country where we have dealt like adults with the embarrassing fact that we once conquered half the world, instead of yearning for a time when our glory was stolen from enslaved people a convenient ocean away and large parts of the map were the gentle pink of blood in the water. I want to go back to a Britain where hope conquers hate; where crabbed, cowed racism and xenophobia don’t win the day; where people feel they have options and choices in life and are less likely to press the big red button to bring the house down on top of us. I want my country back.

That country, of course, is fictional. But it’s no less so than the biscuit-tin, curtain-twitching, tea-on-the-lawn-with-your-white-friends-from-the-Rotary-Club fantasy Britain the other side have been plugging for years, editing out all the ugly parts of the past and photoshopping it into the backdrop for an image smeared indelibly across the back of all our sickened eyeballs this morning, an image of fists raised and boots marching in step. If they’re allowed their fantasy, can I have mine, too?

The Welsh have a word for this feeling. The word is "hiraeth". It means a longing for a home you can never return to, a home which may never have existed at all. The Welsh, incidentally, voted to leave the EU after decades of being ungently screwed by government after conniving Tory government; cackling and tearing the heart out of towns which were once famous for something other than teen suicide. Finally, someone gave them the opportunity to vote for change, for any change at all. When all you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like David Cameron’s face.

Cameron, who today must be longing for the morning when all he had to deal with was the papers claiming he once had sex with a dead pig in university, sold us all up the river that runs through the chasm of British culture. In a sop to the eurosceptic wing of his own party, he gambled the future of the nation and the political stability of the continent for his own career.

The whole mess started because of a disagreement between rival factions of a right-wing government which is still tearing itself apart and taking the rest of us with it. The fractured Left, unable to unite behind a leader with a popular mandate, was nowhere in this conversation until it was far too late. Cameron promised a referendum in order to pander to the rise of a xenophobic far right and secure his own power: he got his wish, was duly re-elected, and now his career is over, and so are the life chances of millions of young British people. He gets to slink off back to Oxfordshire and live off his family money. Don't weep for Hameron. He'll be fine.

If only the same were true of the rest of us. As it stands, tens of millions are going to suffer. Real people are going to hurt. Real people are going to die. That is David Cameron's fault, more than anyone's. It was right for him to resign, but he will surely be replaced by any one of a rogues' gallery of gurning ideologues who have been decrying “experts” and “elites” to people so desperate for change that they didn’t care that those elites are people their wisecracking white knights literally went to school with.

This morning it looked like Britain had shot itself in the foot. By lunch time, with two political parties imploding and the stock markets crashing, it appears our aim was higher above the knee. This was not just a vote against Europe, but a vote against Westminster and the entirety of mainstream politics. Every political party campaigned hard for a "Remain" vote – but Britain still chose to Leave, even if we’re regretting it this morning.

There are huge areas of post-industrial decline and neglect where people are more furious than Cameron and his ilk could possibly understand, areas where any kind of antiestablishment rabble-rousing sounds like a clarion call. In depressed mountain villages and knackered seaside towns and burned-out former factory heartlands across the country, ordinary people were promised that for once, their vote would matter, that they could give the powers that be a poke in the eye. Westminster may have underestimated how very much it is hated by those to whom mainstream politics have not spoken in generations.

In desperation, the Remain camp begged us to think of the markets. Unfortunately, everyone here hates the markets. Fear-mongering over "the economy" was never going to work when the most deprived areas of the country have already suffered years of savage right-wing austerity in the name of safeguarding "the economy". Those parts of the country clearly felt that things were bad enough already, that they had little enough to lose that they could gamble the rest on the possibility of being lied to. British people are used to being lied to by incompetent spivs in the name of "protecting the economy". Unfortunately, this time the spivs were dead right.

As the tattered remains of the government try to work out what Brexit will actually mean in practice, more damage has already been done to our economy, to our prospects and to the job market than years of open borders ever could have.

In the meantime, the cackling clown-car drivers rolling this catastrophe over the wreckage of civil society are already cheerfully admitting that they lied about their key campaign statements. No, there won’t be £350m more to spend on the NHS, whatever Vote Leave wrote on its battle bus. It turns out that the reason you can’t get a GP appointment isn’t because of immigration, but because the Conservatives have spent six years systematically defunding the health service and cutting public spending to the bone. Brexit will mean more of that, not less.

This was a working-class revolt, but it is not a working-class victory. That’s the tragedy here. The collective howl of rage from depressed, deindustrialised parts of the country bled white and reckless by Thatcher, Blair and Cameron has turned into a triumph for another set of elites. Another banking crisis, another old Etonian in power – that’s what we’ve got to look forward to as Scotland decides when to let go of the rope and the union splinters into jagged shards and we all realise we’re stuck on a rainy rock with Michael Gove, forever.

I wish I could tell you that we’re about to turn this around. I wish I could tell you that we’re about to collectively realise, even at this late hour, the magnitude of our mistake – that we will discover a new capacity for tolerance, a new resilience, a way to recover ourselves and remember our common humanity. I wish I could tell you that the cannibalistic, scattered Left will rally. Today, I don’t want to make any promises. All I see is a lot of racist crowing on the internet and campaigners being told to go back where they came from. I’ve already had people telling me it won’t be long before a new Kristallnacht, and people like me had better go back – where? I was born in London. Perhaps the city can secede. That’ll do wonders for house prices.

This Britain is not my Britain. I want my country back. I want my scrappy, tolerant, forward-thinking, creative country, the country of David Bowie, not Paul Daniels; the country of Sadiq Khan, not Boris Johnson; the country of  J K Rowling, not Enid Blyton; the country not of Nigel Farage, but Jo Cox. That country never existed, not on its own, no more than the country the Leave campaign promised to take us to in their tin-foil time machine. Britain, like everywhere else, has always had its cringing, fearful side, its cruel delusions, its racist fringe movements, its demagogues preying on the dispossessed. Those things are part of us as much as beef wellington and bad dentistry. But in happier times, those things do not overwhelm us. We do not let bad actors reading bad lines in bad faith walk us across the stage to the scaffold. We are better than this.

I believe we can still be better than this. I want my country back, and it’s a country I’ve never known, and getting there will take more strength, more kindness, more resilience than this divided nation has mustered in living memory. Meanwhile, I’m putting the kettle on again. Today is a day for mourning, for retweeting sick memes and holding our loved ones close. Tomorrow – well. Tomorrow, we get to work. 

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Why won't politicians admit the truth: life is hard, and drugs are fun?

By Laurie Penny from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

True, drugs can also be dangerous - but criminalising them makes them even more so.

There’s a moment in childhood when you lose respect for your parents. Maybe they’re imposing punishments for no good reason. Maybe they’re just refusing to admit when they’ve messed up. Whatever the catalyst, the child is for ever changed: their parents are no longer gods, or superheroes, but ordinary human beings who make mistakes.

The same is true of our relationship with the state, and never more so than in our first contact with the endless, arcane idiocy of the war on drugs. It’s an opportunity for young people of every political persuasion and background to observe political hypocrisy in real time, as dodging every new prohibition becomes an after-school sport.

Nowhere is public policy so profoundly at odds with the scientific and medical consensus. On 26 May, the most draconian ­anti-drug law ever passed in Britain came into force, threatening anyone supplying any “psychoactive substance” with up to seven years in prison, and defining the contraband in terms so hand-wavingly vague that it could include the smell of flowers or a slice of cake – anything that has a mood-altering effect on the brain.

Meanwhile, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) became the latest scientific consortium to recommend that all drugs be decriminalised and their use and abuse be treated not as a criminal matter, but as a health issue. Even the Times, in a groundbreaking leader column, agreed that decriminalisation is the only sensible step.

Here is the politically unspeakable truth: life is hard and drugs are fun. Drugs can also be dangerous, and criminalising their use and sale only makes them more so. The “war on drugs” has been a catastrophic failure, destroying lives, clogging up the court and prison systems and costing untold billions from the public purse that could better be spent helping people. “Most of us take drugs of some form on a daily basis, and appreciate the benefits they bring,” writes David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and a former chair of the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. “Becoming more aware of the reasons we like them so much, and how we can maximise their beneficial aspects while minimising the harm they do, is a challenge that needs to be taken up by individuals, communities and governments.” This is sound, sensible advice. Unfortunately, it got Professor Nutt fired as an official adviser under Gordon Brown after he pointed out that MDMA is about as dangerous as horse-riding. Westminster is so afraid of pursed lips in the Home Counties that it refuses even to contemplate changing laws that criminalise entire generations and tear communities apart.

Instead, this government, like many before it, has chosen to double down on its nonsensical drug policy. The Psychoactive Substances Act is the legislative equivalent of trying to fix a problem with your computer by sweeping everything off the desk and screaming. It was developed to deal with so-called legal highs, new drugs that have to be added individually to lists of banned substances, and is all-encompassing to the point of incomprehension. Everything even slightly mind-altering is now illegal. Beware of describing love as a drug, because dour, frightened men in suits might send in the heavies to break up your dinner date. The glaring exception, in a clause that throws the hypocrisy of the entire exercise into sober relief, is booze.

Alcohol is the most destructive drug in Britain. The RSPH is not the first to ­declare it so. Alcohol, under the terms of the new legislation, is an “exempted substance”. No reason or explanation is given for this, because none is needed: this is a British law and in Britain we drink. The law could be better described as a drunks’ charter: away with your hippie highs and modern chemicals and stick to being a good old-fashioned British alcoholic like you were raised to be.

Alcohol is a hell of a drug. Being a non-drinker in a nation of soaks teaches you that. I don’t really drink, not because I’m a purist, but because I’m a thundering lightweight. I have had exactly three hangovers in my life and each one has left me mewling and whining and fumbling for the trouser leg of reality, wondering how the rest of my social circle can bear to poison themselves like this so regularly.

And yet alcohol is also a lot of fun. I don’t have to enjoy it to appreciate that for every nervous day-drinker who can’t cope with conversation until they’re a beer and a half down, for every career alcoholic staring down an early death by cirrhosis, there are a hundred happy party lushes and harmless whisky snobs. Alcohol, like every other drug, causes huge harm when it’s misused. That harm is not going to be helped by sending booze addicts to jail, along with publicans, partygoers and otherwise functioning pissheads. That is one reason the state is not only not considering doing so, but actively avoiding managing what has long been an unspoken public health crisis. The bigger reason is that Middle England loves to drink even more than it hates drugs. Maintaining a moral distinction between the two is an important enabling mechanism.

Drug decriminalisation is as socially necessary as it is politically unthinkable. There’s a paranoid, tweaked-out logic to our current drug policy, an arrogant, wide-pupilled insistence that your most idiotic choices have all been correct and the only possible course is to come down even harder. And yet, just as every child has to learn that their parents are fallible, everyone has to get to know their parents again as adults and understand that they, like you, are human beings, with the capacity not only to make mistakes, but to learn from them. That’s how you grow up. It’s time for a sober, adult approach to substance use. 

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Russia tightens terror law ahead of poll

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Security agencies to be given greater access to emails and texts

A little thought experiment: How to be fair to the pro-EU Scotland

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

ALEX SALMOND, the ex-leader of the Scottish National Party, has floated an interesting idea: could Scotland "inherit" Britain's EU membership, now that there has been a vote to leave? In the referendum Scotland turned out to be very pro-EU, whereas most of the rest of Britain leant towards Brexit. That has sparked calls for another Scottish independence referendum, which to many seem justified: why should Scotland be dragged out of Europe by England? It's probably fair to say that support for independence could now be the majority in Scotland. The BBC, which reported Mr Salmond's comments, explores the question he raises in a conventional manner. "If Scotland were to hold a second referendum, and become independent," they say, "it could apply to become a member of the EU in the usual way." In order for an independent Scotland to join, the other EU states would have to agree. However, as people who followed the 2014 Scottish independence referendum will remember, the process of Scotland going from independence to EU membership is extremely challenging. Countries like Spain, which are contending with their own separatist movements (eg, the Basque region and Catalonia), would try to block Scotland's accession. So Scotland could be left in the position of being independent but not in the EU, which is definitely not what it wants.So, is there a way that there could ...

10 things

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Listening to Mozart lowers your blood pressure, plus more news nuggets.

Polls versus prediction markets: Who said Brexit was a surprise?

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

THE list of losers from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is long indeed, but very far down on it are evangelisers for the accuracy of prediction markets. It is an article of faith among economists that betting markets on politics provide by far the most reliable forecast of future events, easily outclassing both polls and panels of experts. Yet for the two most important political developments of 2016, and arguably of the past few years—Brexit and Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination for America’s presidency—simple polling averages have put punters to shame.Mr Trump surged to the lead in every poll within a month of his declaring his candidacy a year ago, and never relinquished it save for a split-second tie with Ben Carson. Bettors nonetheless fancied the well-funded Jeb Bush and smooth-talking Marco Rubio for most of the lead-up to the primaries despite their lacklustre poll numbers, wrongly presuming that Mr Trump’s polling figures were bound to deflate just like those of the 2012 outsider candidates Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. Even after Mr Trump had amassed an insurmountable lead in delegates in addition to dominating the polls, you could place a wager at better than even money following Ted Cruz’s ultimately meaningless win in Wisconsin.The same is true of the Brexit vote, albeit over a shorter time period. For the vast ...

Ruth Davidson finished the EU referendum a star - then she lost her greatest ally

By Anonymous from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The Leave victory could pit Ruth Davidson against another popular figure. 

In Scotland, amidst the gloom of the Remain campaign, two stars kept on shining.

First, there was First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She showed she can confidently walk on a UK stage and, through her leadership, was pivotal in ensuring that all of Scotland’s areas voted to remain. This is a not inconsiderable achievement given historic antipathy over the demise of the fishing fleet and heavy industry. As relationships across the UK enter a turbulent period, she’ll continue to grow in assuredness.   

Second, though, was the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. She entered the Remain campaign with gusto. This followed on from her success in the Scottish elections, where she took the Tories from being a marginal force into being the principal opposition. Much of that success was due to the Labour collapse. The 22 per cent Tory share of the vote was still less than the 25 per cent they polled in 1992. However, perception is as important as reality in politics. She won a constituency seat from the SNP, led her campaign from the front and showed herself as a redoubtable campaigner. She came out visibly strengthened and a key player in Scottish politics. 

In the referendum, she again campaigned vigorously and her reputation came out enhanced. Her close personal relationship with David Cameron was no doubt a factor. But, it saw her more than hold her own in a Referendum debate with Boris Johnson. Indeed, she was highly critical of both him and the line he was taking. Given the result of the referendum and who may be the next Prime Minister, that could be highly relevant.

Ruth Davidson's growing stature introduces two interesting dynamics. One is within Scottish politics and the other within the Scottish Tory Party itself.

Within Scottish politics, the old cosy consensus of social democratic parties divided by the constitution is over. While the referendum result means the constitution remains at the fore in Scotland, a home front is now opening for the Scottish Government. The days of SNP and Labour squabbling over who opposes the Tories the most is over. Now the Conservative Party is the Opposition in Scotland, albeit a Tory Lite version. Davidson has eschewed the excesses of the London party and taken a more moderate line on social and economic issues.

The challenges for the Scottish Government to deliver on public services and universal provision will be significant. As austerity continues to bite, the Opposition call will be to reduce not protect. The Tory call will be to target, not be universal. Measures such as free prescriptions and no student fees will come under pressure. No doubt other previous sacred cowswill follow, as an emboldened Scottish Tory Party finds its voice across the Holyrood chamber. It’ll be harder to portray the fight as Scotland versus Westminster when its coming from within.

Moreover, within the Scottish Tory Party, Davidson finds herself in a dominant position. The Out campaign was primarily mavericks and old duffers like Lord Michael Forsyth. It represented the past, not the present, of the new Tory party in Scotland.

However, Davidson was close to Cameron, even though positioned herself more moderately. Not only has she lost an ally, but a lurch to the right will endanger her hardwon gains. During the campaign, Davidson denied a story that a separate Scottish Conservative Party would happen if Johnson became leader. Opposing it, after all got her the post. However, it’s an idea that’s been gaining traction. 

Kenny MacAskill served as a Scottish National MSP between 2007 and 2016, and as Cabinet Secretary for Justice between 2007 and 2014. 

 

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Junk house of Bondi

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

In a suburb known for its version of Australian glitz and hipness, the Bondi hoarders' fame stands apart for all the wrong reasons.

Now Britain has voted for Brexit, what do David Cameron and the government do next?

By Anonymous from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Article 50, and what Whitehall, Westminster and the EU have to do following the Leave vote.

The UK has now voted to leave the EU. David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister. The pace of events has been rapid and the big question that many will be asking is “what happens now?”

It is clear that Cameron has a mandate to stay and “steady the ship”. This means that the PM has the authority to deal with any crisis and urgent big decisions. The UK will not be without a government.

But what government do we have? In resigning, Cameron effectively becomes a caretaker PM. UK Cabinet government works through a mixture of collective responsibility and informal prime ministerial power. Now, we will see a Cabinet of ministers many of whom may be in competition to lead their party; others may now be anticipating the end of their ministerial career.

Then there is the preparing for withdrawal. When it comes to how and when to start formal negotiations, the truth is that the process and timetable for leaving is not clear. Cameron has said it will occur after a new PM takes office in the Autumn. Both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have insisted that the withdrawal will take time. Meanwhile, EU statements have been pressing for Article 50 – the formal process for leaving – to be initiated as soon as possible. Even starting the process for leaving is going to be a negotiation.

Gove and Johnson signalled instructions to the civil service to start thinking about the exit process and preparing the negotiating ground. Civil servants are now free to lay the groundwork for such negotiations talking to their opposite numbers in other EU states.

The next EU Council meeting on the 28/29 June will be a key moment. Can the UK convince the rest of the EU not to press for action until a new government is in place? Clearly other EU states want speedy resolution and clarity. The discussions around that over the next week will be a foretaste of what is to come.

On top of all this, the government already had a large agenda of reform and deficit reduction. Since the referendum campaign got into full swing, many big decisions and announcements had been put off. Some – airport expansion in the Southeast for instance – will have to wait for a new PM. However, other pressures, such as finance and performance in the NHS, will be less easy to ignore.

Finally, and far from least, the events of the next few days and weeks will not just be down to Whitehall, Westminster and the EU. The polarised nature of the vote, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland, has already put the question of UK unity back on the table. It was for this reason Cameron noted how important it was to keep the devolved administrations closely involved in any negotiations. Nicola Sturgeon has already indicated she wants another referendum, though this itself requires legislation from Westminster. The government will have a constitutional crisis on its hands if it does not find consensus.

The government (perhaps even the nation) will be looking for some breathing space and the watchword will be stability. Whether it manages to find it is another matter.

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Eastern Europe exposed to Brexit fallout

From Europe News. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Analysts pencil in weaker GDP growth, but Asia and Latin America seen as less affected

The NS Podcast #155: Results special

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The New Statesman podcast.

New Statesman editor, Jason Cowley, joins Helen and Stephen to examine how the results from the EU referendum have broken-down across the country. What will happen next in Scotland and Ireland? How will the parties react? And can anyone stop Boris Johnson? (Jason Cowley, Helen Lewis, Stephen Bush)

You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes here or with this RSS feed: http://rss.acast.com/newstatesman, or listen using the player below.

Want to give us feedback on our podcast, or have an idea for something we should cover?

Visit newstatesman.com/podcast for more details and how to contact us.

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Leaving the North behind led to Brexit. Here's what has to happen next

By Ed Cox from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

For Labour, the risk is nothing short of extinction, warns Ed Cox. 

The people have spoken, but in the North they have shouted. Economically, politically and socially Northerners have had enough. The signs of malaise with the Westminster elite have been there for some time - but the rise of Ukip outside the big cities has been largely masked by the sop of devolution, talk of a Northern Powerhouse and our voting system. Now, Northerners in large numbers would seem to have landed a punch that will give the whole nation a bloody nose for years to come.

Economically, to leave the EU is clearly not in Northern interests. Whatever you believe about the Northern Powerhouse, few can deny that our trading relationships with our (soon to be former) European partners matter much more to northern businesses than they do to the City of London. Nearly sixty per cent of all North Eastern trade is with Europe, compared with just 40 per cent in London. And yet who will be first to the table to negotiate new trade deals? What will guide decision-making in the board room at Nissan or Siemens? If we end up bidding farewell to our nearest neighbours in Scotland, no amount of repatriated EU grant will begin to plug the hole that this decision leaves. The North's incomplete transition from its industrial past has meant that it has fared worse than the rest of the country in every recession since the 70s, and that transition just got a whole lot harder.

Politically, the genie is out of the lamp. The Conservative Party may well be irrevocably split and the Prime Minister a dead man walking, but in the North of England - for so long Labour's assumed home turf - red roses are being replaced by purple rosettes. This result is clearly a blow to Labour's prospects in the north and pours cold water Osborne's vision of city renaissance and industrial revival in the North as a political strategy has come unstuck. And what of the Chancellor now? We should fear that - whether the Chancellor is George Osborne or a replacement - the Northern Powerhouse will be the least of his or her concerns as the pound plummets and the national economy reels. While storing up so much political capital with the core cities may have delivered some small dollops of yellow amidst the sea of blue on the referendum map it means about as much to his chances of survival as the word 'agglomeration' does to Brenda in Burnley or Wasim in Wakefield.

Ultimately, though, it was society, stupid. Immigration trumped economic concerns: it plays out in Northern communities very differently to what we see in hyperdiverse London boroughs With its more rapidly ageing demographics, Northern towns and cities need migrants more than anywhere else. And not just in our hospitals. Our universities thrive with international talent that often stays to start business and attract investment. But this matters little when too many people experience polarised communities living separate lives and when leaving the EU somehow seems to make sense of such change.

So where now for the North? Economically, if the UK is going to go it alone, we need to define the kind of economy we want to become. Our obsession with the big cities and aggregate growth must take a new turn and wake up to the cries of those on the margins who are busy manufacturing the goods we will now struggle harder to sell overseas. For the sake of such people we need new trade agreements fast and a Great North Plan that maximises all our economic assets. Our calls for an East-West Freight Supercorridor linking Atlantic shipping to Liverpool with the European continent via Hull, and broader investment in international connectivity, should grow louder. We need a Global North now like never before.

Politically, we should let devolution rip. If Scotland goes its own way, any attempt by Westminster parties to centralise administrative control in the name of national unity will be met with further body blows. Both major political parties must reinvent themselves from the bottom up with more plural local political systems that bring people closer to power. Metro mayors and combined authorities are a start, but we need proportional representation, votes at 16 and proper scrutiny of devolved arrangements to rekindle local democracy and stem the desire to use national democratic moments to excise pent up impotence.

But it is socially where the greatest challenge lies in the weeks ahead. Regions, cities and communities stand more divided than ever in living memory and the consequences will reverberate down every street as the threat of recession looms and Leave's promised land looks ever more distant. It is at the neighbourhood level that we will need to rediscover our true North. And where better to look than to Batley? Jo Cox may not have left a legacy to Remain that she would have wanted; but her message of love, hope and reconciliation is more important than ever.

Photo: Getty

A splintering union: As Europe’s sceptics cheer Brexit, its enthusiasts mourn

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  A splintering union Location:  BERLIN, PARIS, ROME AND WARSAW Main image:  20160625_eup503.jpg Rubric:  The EU’s member states hope to stop exit referendums from spreading FOR Eleonora Ossola, one of an estimated 600,000 Italians who live in Britain, Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union came as a personal blow. “It is as if your mother were to tell you to get out of the house,” said Ms Ossola, who manages Italian Kingdom Radio, a station serving the country’s Italian community. Millions of Europeans felt a similar sense of disorientation and anxiety. For the first time, a continent engaged for decades in the world’s most ambitious project of international integration saw one of its largest countries decide to quit. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor and leader of its Social Democratic Party, summed it up in a tweet: “Damn. A bad day for Europe.” The shocked reactions of many European leaders suggested they had not fully absorbed the ...

Lost in translation: what we lose when we leave the EU

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

From learning Irish to studying in Switzerland, my richest memories are all in Europe. What will happen to our creative culture after Brexit?

I’m rubbish at languages. Worse than rubbish, actually; hopeless. (You can ask my old German teacher, if you like. Sorry Frau Sarcher.) I don’t have the ear for inflection or the memory for grammar. I don’t have the patience for diligent vocab lists. I can barely spell in English, let alone in French.

So it was with some trepidation that I headed to West Donegal a few weeks ago to do an immersion course in Irish. I know: Irish, of all things, a language which is famed for sounding entirely unlike how it looks on the page and is spoken only by a small number of people, almost all of them in places I don’t live.

Well, I had to do it: I’m working on a novelist for my PhD who wrote in the language. But alright, fine, I also wanted to – wanted to at least grasp at the bones of the thing, even if I’d never be fluent.

I moved around a lot as a child, although always within the UK, and like a lot of people I know I never really had a proper and precise sense of origin. (Irish classes, replete with diaspora, handled this one fast: I am from here; now I live here.) I’m happy in most places, yet no geography has the ring of home. Yes, I’m undeniably English, but I always felt like I was looking at my own Englishness through glass.

I’m aware this might be the most English thing of all.

After my BA, I was awarded a grant to do research in Switzerland, and after that given a grant to do an MA, and everything changed. Suddenly, I was travelling across the continent, able to afford solo trips on the Eurostar to Paris and long months in a sticky Swiss summer, sending photos of the suspiciously clear rivers and cuckoo clocks back to England. In my early 20s, this became my home: always feeling slightly out of place, as ever, but willingly and joyfully so, stumbling through language after language. A whole world of pleasant unfamiliarity opened up on the continent.

A Swiss professor I met said that the very impossibility of translation is its greatest gift, because it reveals native quirks. I’m not sure I fully became a person until I started translating myself in those European summers – until I had to give an account of myself, as an English woman and as a person, out there in the world. Which is why, this morning, I found myself close to tears on the Tube.

I’m no more informed than you are as to why exactly Leave had such a good result. It might have been the headlines, or the promises of NHS funding, or simply long, dulled anger finding an outlet, however counter-intuitive.

But it was undoubtedly something else, too: an opportunity to wield power.

Feeling part of a movement is a seductive thing. This was a campaign entirely run in the negative, by both sides. I mean that in the most literal sense: not that there was no “positive” option, but that there was no option that offered a yes in relation to Europe – only a no more, thanks or a continuation of the same. Remain had no chance of promising us more. Leave, at least, could try, and even if it didn’t quite all ring true, it still offered action over inaction.

Getting ready for work this morning, I couldn’t get the words of sociologist and broadcaster Laurie Taylor out of my head. A few years ago, I went to a lecture he gave on popular culture, and saw him tell an audience of academics what he knew from growing up in Liverpool, and from watching the Dockers’ Strike: that turkeys will vote for Christmas if there’s a chance to stick two fingers up at the middle class while they do it.

That’s trite, perhaps, but less trite than pretending voters necessarily bought every promise from Leave. True, not everyone knew the ins and outs of trade negotiations, but most people were able to twig that Boris Johnson isn’t exactly a working class hero. As tends to be the case, there’s very little to be gained from calling the electorate stupid.

If the same communities that voted Leave are also those likely to be hit the hardest by a Brexit-induced economic downturn, they are also those who might reasonably have wondered: what have we got to lose?

Well, who knows. I’ll speak responsibly and say that I’m worried about EU funding to Cornwall (whose council is already scrabbling to secure a promise for alternative funds, after the population there voted Leave); about the medium-term prospects for the UK markets; about how we will handle cross-border security initiatives both in these isles and across the continent. I’m worried because I know where the money came from to regenerate Northern cities, and it wasn’t a Conservative government.

But I’ll also speak with feeling and say that something less tangible has been eroded. British culture is watchful and insecure, sarcastic and subtle; it has a class system awkwardly incomprehensible to outsiders and a sense of humour loved for being the same.

And the thing that makes it all beautiful, the Midas touch that takes the British bundle of neuroses and double-edged banter and endless, endless griping about the weather and turns it to gold, is openness – however grudgingly given. I won’t pretend we ever enjoyed a Halcyon age where we welcomed immigrants whole-heartedly. It would be an insult to history and those who fought to come here. But we are a mongrel country, in spite of our intentions, and most people, most of the time, cope. It is at the moments where we shrug and decide we’re not too fussed about difference, actually, that we shine most strongly.

Over and above the economy, even over the personal fear I have for European friends and lovers of friends and parents of friends, I worry about the loss of culture we may have triggered by choosing this course; what a Keynesian might call the “negative output gap” of creativity. We won’t ever be able to know precisely how much talent and creative joy we’ve effectively just told to fuck off, because you can’t measure pop songs or novels or new dishes like you can expenditure.

But that doesn’t mean that right now, across the country, hundreds of small stories forged from difference aren’t being foreclosed. A hundred little acts of friendship, or love; a hundred chances to look at Britishness through someone else’s eyes. The essential richness of being forced to translate ourselves, and receive others’ translations in turn, is being lost from our future. And our culture will undoubtedly be a little the worse for it.

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A time for respect and healing - on both sides

By Jonathan Reynolds from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

There should be no pitting of urban Britain against suburban Britain, no young people against older people, no London against the rest of England. We made this decision together.

The UK has voted for Brexit. Whichever side you were on, democracy has occurred and the result must be respected.

The result was very close. Many people who voted for Remain are understandably reeling. The phrase ‘divided nation’ is on every broadcast. As a Remain voter, a parent, an internationalist and an advocate for those already in dire deprivation, I empathise with that. However, I believe many of the early reactions we are seeing are not helpful and, in some cases, wrong.

Across social media, in workplaces and on school runs, the 48 per cent of us who made a different choice are trying to process the impact on our identity and our communities. Accusations of bigotry and stupidity are flying from some quarters towards our fellow electors who voted Leave. This comes from grief and fear, not hatred. But it must stop, and it must stop immediately. Stop "#referendumb" and other patronising rebukes. Stop #whathavewedone.

There is as much foolishness and prejudice in falling for this type of reaction as anyone can say there was in voting for the unknown. For the small minority of extremists who genuinely do seek to divide us - including the killer of our friend Jo Cox MP - mainstream voters turning on each other is a sign of success. Where there is division, they win.

It may not feel like it today but we still have, in Jo's words, "more in common than that which divides us". My friend and Jo's husband, Brendan Cox, tweeted today with typical dignity that "Today Jo would have remained optimistic and focussed on what she cld do to bring our country back together around our best values." We must all do as Jo would have today.

There should be no pitting of urban Britain against suburban Britain, no young people against older people, no London against the rest of England. We made this decision together. If you would have respected the result if your side had won, you must respect it if your side lost.

On Tuesday, in my capacity as the Chair of Christians on the Left, I published a cross-party letter calling for a kinder tone of debate and a deeper framework for our decision making. I asked that we begin to "disagree well". We must remember that today, and we must also learn to "heal well". To take action to heal the economy, to heal the uncertainty, but also to heal the growing rifts in our communities, and in our hearts. Let us show grace and responsibility in defeat. It is our responsibility to prevent, not predict, Armageddon and strife. If ever there was a time for hope not hate, it is now.

Photo: Getty

Hate Brexit Britain? 7 of the best places for political progressives to emigrate to

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

If you don't think you're going to get your country back, time to find another. 

Never mind the European Union, the UK is so over. Scotland's drifting off one way, Northern Ireland another and middle England is busy setting the clocks back to 1973. 

If this is what you're thinking as you absentmindedly down the last of your cheap, import-free red wine, then maybe it's time to move abroad. 

There are wonderful Himalayan mountain kingdoms like Bhutan, but unfortunately foreigners have to pay $250 a day. And there are great post-colonial states like India and South Africa, but there are also some post-colonial problems as well. So bearing things like needing a job in mind, it might be better to consider these options instead: 

1. Canada

If you’re sick of Little England, why not move to Canada? It's the world's second-biggest country with half the UK's population, and immigrants are welcomed as ‘new Canadians’. Oh, and a hot, feminist Prime Minister.

Justin Trudeau's Cabinet has equal numbers of men and women, and includes a former Afghan refugee. He's also personally greeted Syrian refugees to the country. 

2. New Zealand 

With its practice of diverting asylum seekers to poor, inhospitable islands, Australia may be a Brexiteer's dream. But not far away is kindly New Zealand, with a moderate multi-party government and lots of Greens. It was also the first country to have an openly transexual mayor. 

Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Zealand since 2013, and sexual discrimination is illegal. But more importantly, you can live out your own Lord of the Rings movie again and again. As they say, one referendum to rule them all and in the darkness bind them...

3. Scandinavia

The Scandinavian countries regularly top the world’s quality of life indices. They’re also known for progressive policies, like equal parental leave for mothers and fathers. 

Norway ranks no. 2 of all the OECD countries for jobs and life satisfaction, Finland’s no.1 for education, Sweden stands out for health care and Denmark’s no. 1 for work-life balance. And the crime dramas are great.

Until 24 June, as an EU citizen, you could have moved there at the drop of a hat. Now you'll need to keep an eye on the negotiations. 

4. Scotland

Scottish voters bucked the trend and voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. Not only is the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament a woman, but 35% of MSPs are women, compared to 29% of MPs.

If you're attached to this rainy isle but you don't want to give up the European dream, catch a train north. Just be prepared to stomach yet another referendum before you claw back that EU passport. 

5. Germany

The real giant of Europe, Germany is home to avant-garde artists, refugee activists and also has a lot of jobs (time to get that GCSE German textbook out again). And its leader is the most powerful woman in the world, Angela Merkel. 

Greeks may hate her, but Merkel has undoubtedly been a crusader for moderate politics in the face of populist right movements. 

6. Ireland

It's English speaking, has a history of revolutionary politics and there's always a Ryanair flight. Progressives though may want to think twice before boarding though. Despite legalising same-sex marriage, Catholic Ireland has some of the strictest abortion laws of the western world. 

A happier solution may be to find out if you have any Irish grandparents (you might be surprised) and apply for an Irish passport. At least then you have an escape route.

7. Vermont, USA

Let's be clear, anywhere that is considering a President Trump is not a progressive country. But under the Obama administration, it has made great strides in healthcare, gay marriage and more. If you felt the Bern, why not head off to Bernie Sanders' home state of Vermont?

And thanks to the US political system, you can still legally smoke cannabis (for medicinal reasons, of course) in states like Colorado.

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Brexit results: all you need to know

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The EU referendum result is Leave 52%, Remain 48%.

The winner of the EU referendum is Leave, which took 52% of the vote to Remain’s 48%. As a result, the prime minister David Cameron has resigned. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also faces a challenge to his leadership, after a no-confidence vote was tabled. 

At 72.2%, turnout for the EU referendum was higher than in the 2015 general election. For Brexit constituency analysis, see our in-depth article.

Brexit has had a negative impact on the financial markets, with expected effects on house prices and further consequences still being calculated.

You can follow rolling updates on the New Statesman’s EU referendum liveblog.

Brexit results are in. Getty

Economist asks: EU referendum reaction special

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Economist asks Byline:  economist.com Main image:  20160625_mma905_107.jpg Rubric:  Anne McElvoy, joined by deputy editor Edward Carr and financial columnist Philip Coggan, hosts an Economist Asks show after the news that Britain will leave the EU. Former cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith responds to David Cameron's resignation, and foreign secretary Philip Hammond offers candid advice on Britain's options now. And Tom Nuttall gives The Economist's view from Brussels.   Published:  20160624 Source:  Online extra Enabled

How much impact has voter turnout had on the EU referendum result?

By Hasan Chowdhury from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The 72 per cent turnout was higher than the general election, but lower than the Scottish referendum. 

In a historic turn of events, the Remain campaign’s bid to keep Britain in the European Union has been surmounted by a decisive vote to leave - resulting in the lowest pound value since 1985, increased market volatility, and the announced resignation from David Cameron.

Many will now argue that the call for the referendum was unnecessary, a ploy for disentangling in-house Tory conflicts – but it seems that a large part of the outcome has been swayed by disenchanted voters who saw the referendum as an opportunity to have their say. What has resulted is a voter turnout higher than anyone could have imagined.

Undeterred by the poor weather, 33.6 million people headed to their polling stations on Thursday – a number equating to 72.2 per cent of the total authorised voters in the electorate. The Telegraph reports that areas where an overwhelming proportion of voters were represented by the older demographic of the population experienced higher turnouts than anywhere else.

Turnout and results shocked pundits nationally: 62 per cent of Scotland decided to remain despite a turnout of just over 50 per cent, while the only other regions deciding to remain were London and Northern Ireland. They represented three out of the four regions with lowest turnout, with regions such as the South East and South West of England (the two areas with the highest turnout) voting in favour of leave.

But how does this turnout compare to previous elections?

The 1975 referendum (the first of its kind), led by the then Labour government’s leader Harold Wilson, also focused on Britain’s membership of the European Union (then known as the European Economic Community).

Despite the current government’s echoing of Wilson’s Labour turmoil, the 1975 referendum saw 25,903,194 people turn up, with 17,378,581 of those people voting in favour of remaining a part of Europe. It gave the 1975 remain campaign a landslide victory of 67.1 per cent, but turnout was significantly lower than the EU referendum of 2016; 64.6 per cent of those eligible to vote came out to have their say.

The highest general election turnout in recent memory was in 1992, which saw 77.7 per cent of the electorate vote for a Conservative victory – a win which confounded the public and politicians alike at the time. With the EU referendum’s turnout representing a figure just shy of the 1992 general election, it seems there’s a correlation between turnout and surprise in public opinion.

The most recent general election, in 2015, was decided by a count comprised of 66.1 per cent of eligible voters. The results of the EU referendum show that Britain’s ties to Europe, shaped by opinions on economic stability, immigration and security, were ones which the public felt should be severed; the results indicate that those in favour of leaving felt their concerns would be better dealt with from a referendum outcome in their favour than any resulting general election outcome. It highlights just how divided the UK has been on its role within the now-27 member state European Union.

Meanwhile the Scottish referendum of 2014 saw a voter turnout of 84.6 per cent, one of the highest recorded turnouts for decades and saw a stronger "no" win than anticipated. The Alternative Vote referendum of 2011, which centred on the way MPs are elected, also had a turnout greater than expected, with 41 per cent of voters turning out to steer the outcome towards “no”.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Britain takes a leap into the dark

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The referendum result may well go down in history as ‘the pitchfork moment’

The consequences of Brexit

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Since Britain voted to leave the EU in a referendum, the prime minister has resigned and financial markets are in turmoil. 

Even before the final vote was announced, the financial markets reacted to Brexit with a sharp fall in the FTSE 100 and the collapse of sterling to a 30-year low. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a motion of no confidence.

The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has made the case for another referendum on Scottish independence, given that Scotland voted overwhelmingly for Remain; meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has argued for a border poll on the reunification of Ireland.

In the long term, the terms of Brexit - the deal the UK gets on leaving the EU - have yet to be set, and the outcome for the economy and immigration depend to a great extent on what they are. However, house prices have already shown signs of being hit by Brexit in the run-up to the referendum.

Follow all the developments on the New Statesman’s EU referendum liveblog.

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Brex and the City: International banking in a London outside the European Union

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Brex and the City Main image:  20160625_brp521.jpg Rubric:  A vote for Brexit may lead to a fracturing of Europe’s financial industry THEY hoped—and believed—it wouldn’t happen. But now the world’s biggest banks must brace themselves for Britain’s departure from the European Union. Today bankers will simply be trying to weather the turmoil after yesterday’s vote. But in the weeks and months to come they will have to decide whether Brexit means shifting business and jobs away from Europe’s financial capital. This morning’s numbers are frightening. Banks’ share prices have been hammered, and those of British lenders hit especially hard; the falls are all the harder for the pre-vote optimism that had borne the stockmarket up. Fear that Brexit might mean recession, plus sheer uncertainty, sent shares in Barclays and Lloyds down by almost 30% when the market opened. European banks were not spared: Deutsche Bank shed 21%, Credit Suisse and UBS 13% each. Shares in American banks with bases in London fell at the start of New ...

Brexit is the stuff of nightmares, but removing Jeremy Corbyn won't help

By Liam Young from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The Labour Party must resist the pull into a pointless, slinging match. 

I have never been an overtly patriotic person. I have often deemed it foolish to be proud of something that is as randomly delineated at birth. But now knowing what we have lost I think I can say that I was once proud to be British. I was proud of the acceptance and tolerance that this nation promoted in the modern era. I was proud of the diversity that we promoted and the welcoming spirit of most British people. Just last weekend I walked through Manchester City centre during the Manchester Day parade and said "This is Britain." But that Britain has been lost. It is now a relic of the past. 

I am not sure what to be proud of now. This Brexit vote gives traction to the worst elements of the far right. A campaign of xenophobia has won. From the euphoria of the rejection of such hate in the London mayoral election in May I have arrived at the lows of the acceptance of this vile, nasty campaign. Last night Nigel Farage gloated that he had won independence without a "single shot being fired". Such a statement was sickening in light of the horrific killing of Jo Cox last week. 

It is now obvious that the British public have made an immense decision. It is a decision that demands action. There is little time to weep given that those of us on the left now face the greatest fight of our lives. All that we hold dear, the ideals that we have fought to defend our entire lives is now at threat. Our economy is in free-fall but at least we have Boris Johnson’s apology to soothe our pain. 

Those who preach the myth of Lexit will soon be brought crashing to earth by economic reality. At 10 o’clock yesterday evening one pound bought you $1.50. Now it buys you $1.33. The FTSE is predicted to lose £100bn. Anyone who says that such economic indicators are irrelevant to the working class population is lying. While this seismic decision will hit everyone, it will be the poor and the working poor who face the brunt of the pain. Yes, the working class vote has been heard. But we must surely ask at what cost. As a working class person I am fearful for the future of this country.

As I write this there are pundits laughing and joking about this vote as if things will just tick on as normal. Believe me, they will not. We have rejected our allies and reverted toward splendid isolation. Project Fear is materialising as project fact and we have little time to pick ourselves up and prepare for the battle ahead. David Cameron’s position as Prime Minister is untenable. We are headed for a Johnson-led government with Gove in charge of the nation’s finances. If rumour is to be believed we may even have Nigel Farage in the Cabinet.

Rather than turning in on itself the Labour Party must look outward. This cannot descend into a pointless slinging match concerning the leadership. Jeremy Corbyn’s position is as strong as concrete and any attempt to remove him will only hurt Labour’s chances. We need a strong Labour party more than ever and we must come together to fight for it.

The stuff of nightmares has become our nation’s reality. But the people have spoken and we must respect the vote they have cast. I just hope that they understand exactly what they have voted for.

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What is the European Union?

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Which countries are in the EU? What is the Schengen agreement? And when was the EU founded?

The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states, founded in 1993.

The origins of the union lie in the European Economic Community (EEC), a group formed in postwar Europe that originally consisted of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. Britain joined the EEC in 1973.

In 1985, the Schengen Agreement paved the way for the creation of open borders without passport controls.

Okay: but what does the EU actually do?

The EU operates a single market which allows the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between member states.

This means that people can move between EU countries freely. Any product legally manufactured in one country can be sold in another without incurring duties. Taxes are standardised. Firms that provide things like medicine and tourism services can operate across borders.

The EU has helped ensure the cost of air travel, overseas phone calls and internet services are low – but some believe its regulations are too restrictive.

Which countries are in the EU?

There are 28 countries in the EU. They are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus,Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and, at the time of writing, the UK.

The UK entered the EEC in 1973. It was a founder member of the EU. On June 23, 2016, UK citizens voted to leave the union.

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18 people to blame for Brexit

By Jonn Elledge from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Personally, I blame the parents.

1. Nigel Farage

There are many awful things about Farage: the lies, the cynicism, the willingness to use dog-whistle racism to promote his own political ideas. But one of the most awful is that he's actually really, really good at politics. It's probably not a coincidence that he's got further than any hard right British politician in decades.

If Farage hadn't been so good at his job, then Cameron wouldn't have seen Ukip as such a threat. No Ukip surge in 2013-14 would have meant no referendum pledge.

That said, "Blame" is perhaps not the right word here – because today's news is exactly what Farage has wanted to happen all along. Nonetheless, he must take his share of the “credit” for today's news, and the fact the pound has fallen so far that Britain’s economy is now officially smaller than France’s, which was a promise I don’t recall appearing in any Ukip manifesto.

Blame-o-meter rating: 9/10

2. Alan Johnson

Former home secretary, once spoken of as the greatest leader Labour never had. His failure to provide visible leadership while ostensibly leading the Labour In campaign, though, raises a few questions about that assessment. Has anybody seen him? Do we know where he is? Does he still walk the earth?

Blame-o-meter rating: 8/10

3. Jeremy Corbyn

Another man who was surprisingly invisible for most of the referendum campaign. Sure, he bling-ed up for The Last Leg, and last Sunday he reminded Andrew Marr that EU membership would inevitably mean free movement of labour (a point that, while obviously true, was not entirely helpful).

But you'd be hard-pressed to say Corbyn has been passionate in his defence of Britain's EU membership. Given the importance of getting the Labour vote out, this really hasn't helped.

Blame-o-meter rating: 7/10

4. Ed Miliband

That said, if Ed Miliband hadn't been such a disaster as Labour leader – such as failing to quell fears about immigration and changing the party's internal election rules (so setting the scene for the election of Jeremy Corbyn, see above), losing – we wouldn't be in this mess. Thanks, Ed. Thanks for everything you did for us.

Blame-o-meter rating: 6/10.

5. Gordon Brown

Mind you, if Gordon Brown hadn't got cold feet about calling an early election in 2007, the last nine years of British political history would have been entirely different, so maybe we should blame him. Nice video of him talking about Europe in Coventry Cathedral, mind.

Blame-o-meter rating: 5/10.

6. Tony Blair

While we're blaming Labour leaders, it's almost certainly Blair's fault too. I’m too depressed to work out how right now, but I'm sure you can think of your own reason easily enough. There’s a space for you to fill it in below.

“Tony Blair is to blame for Brexit because..................”

Blame-o-meter rating: 6/10.

7. Harold Wilson

Okay, now we’re really getting back into history. But it was Wilson who held the 1975 referendum, thus setting a bloody dangerous precedent about asking the British people their views on complicated issues of international relations that we should really be leaving to the experts.

(Yes: experts know more about this stuff than the public. I said it. I’m a metropolitan elitist, so sue me.)

Blame-o-meter rating: 7/10.

8. Pollsters

Okay, there was a wobble a couple of weeks before the referendum – but the last week showed a definite swing back to Remain, allowing everyone on the Remain side to breathe out and start thinking everything would be fine.

As late as 1.30am, with results from the north-east already suggesting a Leave victory, Peter Kellner was still predicting a comfortable Remain win. Between this and the 2015 general election, it feels a lot like the British polling industry needs to take a long hard look at itself, and then maybe find a new job.

Blame-o-meter rating: 6/10.

9. Liam Fox

Disgraced former defence secretary, prominent leave supporter, the worst man in British politics, now pointedly not ruling himself out of the race for the Tory leadership. Despite being in disgrace. Disgraceful.

Blame-o-meter rating: 8/10.

10. Nick Clegg

Yes, we all miss the Lib Dems this morning, I'm sure. But Clegg's mishandling of coalition – especially the betrayal over tuition fees – led to his parliamentary party being all but wiped out last May, and the Tories getting a majority. David Cameron had always said any future coalition partner would have to agree to a referendum; but the arrival of a Tory government with a tiny majority made it inevitable.

Blame-o-meter rating: 7/10.

11. Young people

Those who voted mostly voted Remain (75 to 25 among the 18-24s); but they were, as ever, vastly less likely to show up at all than their pro-Brexit elders.

"Some of my friends are already doing appalled statuses/whatsapping crying faces when i know they didn't vote," reports a colleague. These people have no one to blame but themselves, and also their parents, because...

Blame-o-meter rating: 6/10.

12. Old people

...let's not let the real demographic villains off the hook here. If the young were lazy, the old were all too enthusiastic, and voted for Brexit in droves. Among the 50-64 age group, Leave won a majority of 56 per cent; among the 65+, it was 61 per cent.

It's very difficult not to read today's news as one last "screw you" from the Baby Boomers to their kids.

Blame-o-meter rating: 8/10.

13. The people who voted for Leave because they didn’t think Leave would win

This sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? It’s not. Look:

LOOK:

Screenshot from ITN.

 

14. Margaret Thatcher

Until the late 1980s, Thatcher was broadly in favour of Europe – in 1975, indeed, she campaigned enthusiastically for Britain to stay in, and in 1986 it was her government who got the Single European Act onto the books.

But in September 1988, she gave a speech in Bruges about the limits of European integration, and pretty much from then on she pretended she'd never been in favour of the whole shebang in the first place. In the early 1990s, it was Thatcher who orchestrated the rebellion against the Maastricht Treaty from the backbenches.

If Conservative psychosis is to blame for today's news, then it was Thatcher who drove her party mad.

Blame-o-meter rating: 9/10.

15. Rupert Murdoch

In this, though, she had help from the British media – and especially its most high-profile mogul.

Murdoch has reportedly admitted that the reason he's so anti-EU is that it's a threat to his own interests. Whatever his reasoning, 30 years of nonsense about red-tape, straight bananas and wicked EU plots to merge Pas-de-Calais with Kent has certainly had an impact on public attitudes to the EU. If you tell people something is bad for 30 years, and then ask them to vote about it, some of them are going to think that it’s bad.

Blame-o-meter rating: 9/10.

16. The entire political class, 1988 to the present day

Mind you, the fact that almost no British politician has had the guts to explain why the papers are talking bollocks, and that EU membership is in Britain's national interest – for the better part of 30 years – is basically unforgiveable. Spineless shower, the lot of them.

Blame-o-meter rating: 9/10.

17. Boris Johnson

The collapse of the Hapsburg Empire began with an assassination. The collapse of the United Kingdom – even, the entire European Union – might begin with Boris bloody Johnson's over-sized ego. Lacks grandeur, somehow, but there you are.

It wasn't enough for Boris that his origin story was writing fibs about Europe for the Telegraph: he had to lead the campaign against the bloody thing because he thought it would be the best way to marginally advance his own prospects. As journalist Martin Fletcher tweeted last week, "Boris Johnson is now campaigning against the cartoon caricature of the EU that he himself created".

Maybe, now Cameron has resigned, he'll finally get what he wants and ascend to the highest rung. That'll be a great comfort in six months’ time once we're all living on lichen: that the prime minister is funny on the news. Great stuff, Britain.

Blame-o-meter rating: 14/10.

18. David Cameron

There is one other man for whom no excuses can be made. In his 11 years leading the Tory party, Cameron has always treated Europe as an issue of short-term party management rather than long-term statesmanship. He alienated the mainstream European right by taking the Tories out of the EPP. He refused to help with the migrant crisis, in case it annoyed his party, thus failing to build the political credit necessarily for a renegotiation that might have actually convinced the voters.

And he called a referendum – gambling with the stability and security of the nation he was meant to be leading – to bolster his chances of winning re-election in 2015.

Cameron was never great, but he was always lucky – until, one day, he wasn't lucky either. Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it seems likely that the verdict of history will be damning.

Blame-o-meter rating: 10/10.

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What's the impact of Brexit on house prices?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

How will Brexit - the result of the EU referendum - affect UK house prices?

The housing market moves much slower than the financial markets, but Brexit has already had an impact, with a slowdown hitting even before the vote.

Any direct impact on the economy means Brexit will hurt house prices, and while that could be good for first-time buyers in theory, if economic ructions hit employment, it could benefit buy-to-let landlords to a much greater extent.

The New Statesman's Staggers editor Julia Rampen reports:

As the quarterly housing reports arrive, we can expect a sharp drop off in house prices. Richard Donnell, Insight Director at property analysts Hometrack, said: "The near term prospects for the UK housing market now look very uncertain. "The immediate impact is likely to be a fall in housing turnover and a rapid deceleration in house price growth as buyers adopt a wait and see the short term impact on financial markets and the economy at large.”  

London house prices - widely viewed to be nearing bubble territory - will be most likely to drop off, he predicted: "History shows that external shocks can reduce sales volumes by as much as 20% with sales volumes already down over the last year."  

Read our full analysis: Will Brexit hurt house prices?

Brexit: what next for house prices? Photo: Getty

London was the world's leading financial centre - until Brexit came along

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Brexit has overturned the City of London's financial towers. 

If the referendum told us one thing, it's that London and Scotland feel very different about the European Union to other parts of the country. 

And while these might be havens of leftie politics, the two also have something else in common - financial services.

During the Scottish referendum, the fund managers, banks and pension firms headquartered in Scotland became hot property. There were rumours the companies would make a dash for London in the event of independence. 

Now it is London that finds itself in the spotlight. 

Love it or loathe it, there is no doubt that London's financial services industry is one of the world's greatest - indeed, Z/Yen Group has named it the greatest. It is perfectly poised between The time zones of North America and Asia. It is home to English-speaking professionals. 

But so is Dublin. Or Frankfurt, for that matter. 

London's last selling point has been for many years that it acts as a gateway to the 508million consumers and countless businesses of the European Union. 

And that attractive point has just vanished.

In the run up to Brexit, Morgan Stanley President Colm Kelleher said he was considering shifting the headquarters to Dublin or Frankfurt if Britain voted Leave. 

Of course, he might have been bluffing. But both cities would love to see him do it. 

UPDATE: Oh, he has.

Tempting computer programmers with tax perks, Dublin has already emerged as a rival to London in the tech world. Google is headquartered there, as is Facebook. Frankfurt is home to almost all the world's major banks. Its business website says ominously: "All roads lead to Frankfurt."

As well as the attractions of these other EU cities, London's multinationals may find it less easy to operate in the UK before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, if it means closing tax loopholes and enjoying a proper share of the profits these companies enjoy. 

But if a Brexit government decided to also impose strict immigration laws and shake up regulations previously in line with the EU, while failng to deliver on trade deals, the ability to carry out global operations could become impossible. And you can't tax a company that isn't there at all. 

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Fox News reports that Britain has voted to leave the UN

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Not this too. 

Your mole was awakened from a slough of despondency this afternoon by some troubling news from across the pond. 

American news channel Fox, apparently happy to communicate its total disinterest in UK goings-on, reported that David Cameron has resigned following a vote to leave the United Nations: 

 This will come as quite a shock to those of us obsessively focused on the EU referendum, and quite ignorant of our imminent departure from another international body. The Westminster bubble, eh?

I, Aotearoa at Wikimedia Commons

The Disunited Kingdom: Scotland votes to stay in the EU—but is dragged out by England

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Disunited Kingdom Location:  Edinburgh Main image:  20160625_brp518.jpg Rubric:  Brexit has sparked calls for another independence referendum, but also made it trickier for Scotland to go it alone AGAINST the Brexit tide that swept Britain, 62% of Scots voted to stay in the European Union on June 23rd, presenting the first minister of Scotland’s devolved government, Nicola Sturgeon, with a difficult question: whether to push for a second independence referendum. Speaking to journalists this morning, Ms Sturgeon said that it was “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be yanked out of the EU against its will. Britain’s departure represented the kind of “significant and material change in circumstances” which her Scottish National Party said in its election manifesto in May could trigger demands for a new independence referendum, following an unsuccessful effort in 2014. The first minister indicated that she would first speak to EU leaders, to ...

Brexit impact

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

What will the impact of the Brexit vote be?

The immediate impact of the Brexit vote has that the FTSE 100 went into freefall and the pound hit its lowest value against the dollar since 1985. Then at 9:23 this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation, with the intention of having his replacement in office by October.

In the longer term, the consequences are still to be worked out. In order to divest the UK from the EU, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty needs to be invoked – members of the Leave camp (including Boris Johnson) have suggested that this need not be immediate, but EU member states may want to take swift action.

The UK itself is now in danger of dissolution, with Nicola Sturgeon and Martin McGuinness calling for votes on the constitutional relationship between the UK and, respectively, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Follow the Brexit impact as it happens on the New Statesman’s EU referendum liveblog.

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How the European press is responding to Britain’s Brexit vote

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

From France to Poland, we'll be rounding up Europe's responses to the EU referendum result.

The laughing stock of the world?

Süddeutsche Zeitung has asked whether Britain has decided to make itself "the laughing stock of the world":

Britain has just catapulted itself far backwards on the imagined scale of important major nations in the world. It's strange: this country, which has always known its size and historical relevance, seems to have lost its instincts. Triggered by a simple, internal party power struggle, enriched by ill-founded fears, and fuelled by lies, and populist resentments, the UK has brought together a concert of powers and delivered the following experiment: will I shrink myself into insignificance, will I ruin my economy, will I make myself the laughing stock of the world?

They've called it a "historic disaster".

At least Zeit is comforting, though. Does "die politische Kultur ist kaputt" even need translating...?

Their emoji header is cute, though.

Obligatory restructuring?

In Spanish, the front page of Le País warns that the British referendum will force a reconstruction of the EU:

Photo: The front page of Le País

Rewriting history

"The British have rewritten history", writes Dutch outlet NRC.

They have revoked the decision they themselves made when they became a member of the European community in 1973. Their step today will inevitably increase demands for a referendum in other Member States. In this way, the British have changed their country irrevocably. It is clear that many of them shrugged their shoulders at the economic warnings from Prime Minister David Cameron and his ilk. The promise that Brexit would return “power” to the British themselves, and provide a solution for immigration, sounded attractive.

The big question is what course the United Kingdom will choose. Is the channel now a moat and the drawbridge raised? In the pro-Brexit camp is considerable division. Some Eurosceptics are libertarian internationalists who believe that free trade is in the future of a globalized world. But what became clear in recent months is that the voters are demanding that borders be closed. Brexit is for many people a choice for less globalization, less openness and especially less immigration.

Photo: The front page of NRC: "Good morning, Europe. Everybody still there?" (No.)

"The virus of nationalism has escaped"

Spanish news outlet ABC writes:

Brexit, the nightmare of the markets, the cloud of sorrow that has afflicted Europe, the possible wishbone of a populist wave, is already a reality. Between “Little England” and a “strong Great Britain in Europe”, the British have chosen the nationalist option in a country where the giant bureaucratic EU has never been liked, and has looked very undemocratic.

They have also called the Remain campaign “erratic” and Corbyn “spineless”, although they’ve saved the strongest words for Cameron, saying that he has “opened Pandora’s box and the virus of nationalism has escaped”.

Photo: ABC's front page today: "To be or not to be . . . Europe"

"I can only sigh"

In Poland, the Warsaw Voice is quoting Poland’s foreign minister:

"I can only sigh. It's really happened. This is bad news for Europe, and especially bad news for Poland. First, it means destabilization in Britain itself at this time", Waszczykowski said.

Fakt.pl has echoed his sentiments, writing that a weaker EU referendum also weakens Poland’s negotiating position, and is “the end of an era”, especially for the large number of Poles who have settled in the UK.

Yesterday, their editor asked Britain to stay, saying:

“If a referendum has Britain unsubscribe from the European Union, it will stay as an offended, spoiled child who says: ‘I do not like your sandpit, I’m taking my toys and leaving’”

What does Brexit mean for Northern Ireland?

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Multiple Sinn Féin party figures either side of the border have called for a poll, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny says conditions are not currently met.

Sinn Féin have called for a poll on Irish unity following the EU referendum result.

Chairman Declan Kearney said:

We have a situation where the north is going to be dragged out on the tails of a vote in England. . . . The British Government has now forfeited its mandate to represent the north of Ireland.

Martin McGuiness echoed his sentiments:

The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a 'border poll' to be held.

We are now in unchartered waters, nobody really knows what is going to happen. The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy (in Northern Ireland).

. . . .

The people of the north of Ireland, nationalists, republicans, unionists and others have made it clear at the polls that they wish to remain in the EU. 

Martina Anderson, an MEP for Northern Ireland who is also a former IRA member and bomber released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, has said the onus is on the British government to call a border poll.

There is an onus on the British government to recognise the vote in the devolved administrations and there is on onus on them to provide answers for the several unanswered questions that the people of the north have.

Sinn Féin will now be pushing for a border poll, a measure agreed upon in the Good Friday Agreement 18 years ago, to provide Irish citizens with the right to vote for an end to partition and to retain a role in the EU.

MEP Liadh Ní Riada has also called for a border poll:

56% of the electorate in the north have rejected the right-wing agenda of the British Tory party, yet English votes have overturned their democratic will.

Meanwhile RTÉ, the state broadcaster for the Republic of Ireland, has said that “Northern Ireland is now set to become the only part of the UK with a land border between it and an EU member”.

In Northern Ireland, where there were was a 56% vote for Remain, a border poll can be called if there is clear evidence of public opinion swinging towards Irish unity.

Enda Kenny: "We must use this breathing space wisely" 

In a press conference, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that Britain and Ireland must "take this breathing space and use it wisely" and has promised to act in the best interests of the people of the island, "both north and south".

In the short term, there will be "no change" to the movement of people and services between the UK and Ireland, Kenny says.

He added, however, that "the implications of this vote for Northern Ireland and for relations North and South on this Island will require careful consideration."

This will be of particular priority for the government:

We will approach these issues in the same spirit of partnership that has underpinned the peace process and has transformed relationships ont his island since the Good Friday agreement.

I welcome the clear statement from the Prime Minister this morning that the interests in NI will be fully reflected in the negotiating position of the British government.

I will meet with colleagues from the NI executive on Monday week . . . where we will have detailed discussions on how best to discuss these new circumstances.

What will happen to the CTA?

Kenny says the will do upmost to uphold the Common Travel Area and "minimise any possible disruptions to the flow of people, of goods and of services between these islands."

"We are acutely aware", Kenny added, "of the concerns that will be felt by . . . the Irish communtiy in Britain. Let me assure them that the Irish government will also have their interests in our thinking. "While Ireland's future lies within the European Union, Ireland's very strong relationship with the United Kingdom will continue to strengthen."

The government's other immediate concern is "the impact on the European Union itself." Kenny says it is "profoundly" in Ireland's national interest to remain in the EU. "We must now, however, begin a period of reflection and debate on how we can renew the union of '27 and equip it for the many challenges that lie ahead."

There will be a discussion at the meeting of the European Council next week, where Kenny intends to ensure that Ireland's national interests are "fully represented".

Asked about a potential border poll, Kenny said that it's "obviously . . . contained in the Good Friday Agreement" that if the secretary of state sees a shift in public opinion, they may call for a poll. He currently does not believe this is the case.

The Dáil will be recalled on Monday.

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Brexit Britain job prospects could change dramatically – and not for the better

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

You need businesses to create jobs, and businesses are nervy.

In theory, British workers should be able to celebrate. Now that Britain is leaving the European Union, the UK Parliament will have complete control over who can work in the UK.

More British jobs for British workers, right?

But you don't have to be a free market neo-liberal capitalist to think there might be a problem if employers keep on sounding as nervous as they do now. 

The Confederation of British Industry issued a lukewarm statement after it became clear voters had chosen Brexit. Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt.

“The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the Government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors described it as "a nervy time for business leaders".

There are a couple of reasons why Brexit may make job prospects shrivel up and die. 

Firstly, the uncertainty. Businesses hate it. Political change can mean surprise regulation, a temptation to postpone investment and market volatility that affects their bottom line. It's known as the Montreal Effect. When the French-Canadian province of Quebec held a series of referendums in the 1990s, many of Montreal's biggest businesses packed up and moved to Toronto, where they could actually plan ahead. 

Tied in with this is the fact many businesses see the UK as a gateway to Europe. Yes, it's business-friendly and English-speaking, but it's also a handy hub if you want to reach the rest of the EU's 508million consumers. Suddenly, with free trade suspended, that advantage is gone. And if businesses fall out of love with London, you can guarantee Frankfurt and Dublin will be waiting with flowers. 

Thirdly, there's the risk of a recession. Most economic pundits are predicting everything from a slowdown in growth to a complete recession. The impact can be vast and various - we're still reeling from 2008. But it doesn't exactly spell "job creation". 

So what about cutting competition for jobs?

Brexiteers will argue that they can cut the free movement of people, meaning British workers will face less competition for jobs in poorly-paid, low-skilled areas. 

In fact, it's not that simple. Some of the EU migrants will be filling skills gaps, or working in jobs that weren't popular with locals, like working in fruit farms. And there's the question over what will shrink fastest, jobs or competition? 

Even if cutting free movement did help jobseekers, no negotiations are likely to start until October, when a new Prime Minister is chosen. That's a whole summer to job hunt in. 

Mariano Mamertino, economist at the global job site, Indeed, said: “After months of tortuous, recruitment-sapping uncertainty in Britain’s labour market, the Brexit verdict will deliver more of the same.

“A further, prolonged period of doubt will do little to encourage employers who have already delayed making hiring decisions to come off the fence.

“In the immediate term, some employers who deferred recruitment during the referendum campaign may now start to hire if they decide they can wait no longer.

“But the wider outlook remains hard to read.

“If Brexit is allowed to interrupt the flow of talent to the UK, Britain’s loss will be Ireland’s gain, if skilled workers are lured by its dynamic and English-speaking labour market instead."

 

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Euro 2016: Are the Republic of Ireland fans the best so far?

From BBC News - World. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

BBC Sport looks at the best bits from fans' videos of the Republic of Ireland supporters at Euro 2016.

How is Brexit affecting the markets and the UK economy? What we know so far

By Xan Rice from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Most economists expect that Brexit will hurt UK growth over the next few years.

Global stock markets fell sharply and sterling plunged 10 per cent to a 30 year low after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The referendum result shocked investors and led to panic selling around the world. The FTSE100 index fell by as much as 9 per cent when the market opened on Friday morning, though trimmed it losses to 4 per cent by 2pm after the Bank of England pledged to help stabilise the markets. In Germany, the Dax index fell 7 per cent, while in the France the CAC was down 8 per cent. Losses were heavy outside Europe, as risk aversion set it. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 8 per cent, with the ASX index in Australian down 4 per cent. The S&P 500 in the US, regarded as the global equities barometer, is set to drop 4 per cent when it opens later today, according to the futures market.

The pound was pummeled in early trading, sinking below the $1.33 mark, the lowest level since the mid 1980s. A brief recovery was stalled by calls for a second independence referendum in Scotland, leaving the pound at $1.37 in afternoon trading. Sterling also declined sharply against the Yen and the Euro.

Most economists expect that Brexit will hurt UK growth over the next few years. The unemployment rate is also expected to rise, as companies delay investment and hiring decisions.

“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will lead to a prolonged period of uncertainty that will weigh on the country's economic and financial performance and will be credit negative for the UK sovereign and other rated entities,” the credit ratings agency Moody’s said on Friday morning.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney also warned of “some market and economic volatility” as the process to leave the EU unfolds, but said the bank was prepared to provide £250bn of additional funds available to stabilise the markets.

Property companies were the biggest losers on the FTSE, suggesting that investors expect an end to the UK property boom. Shares in Taylor Wimpey, Derwent and Persimmon fell by more than 25 per cent. Financial services stocks dived too, with Virgin Money down 26 per cent. Easyjet and IAG, the parent company of British Airways, also recorded sharp falls. 

The price of haven assets surged. Gold, which performs strongly investment in times of turmoil rose by 4 per cent to $1,350 an ounce, a two-year high. Investors also piled into Treasury bonds.  

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Jeremy Corbyn faces no confidence motion and leadership challenge

By George Eaton from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey have submitted a motion ahead of Monday's PLP meeting. 

The long-threatened coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn has begun. I reported several weeks ago that Brexit would be "the trigger" for a leadership challenge and Corbyn's opponents have immediately taken action. Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey have submitted a motion of no confidence in the Labour leader for discussion at Monday's PLP meeting. If accepted, it will be followed by a secret ballot of MPs on Tuesday. A spokesman for Corbyn told me it was "time for the party to unite and focus on the real issues that affect peope from today's decision and hold the government to account on their exit negotiations." 

Any confidence motion would be purely symbolic. But Corbyn's opponents are also "absolutely convinced" that they have the backing of the 51 MPs/MEPs needed to endorse a leadership challenger and trigger a contest. Letters are expected to be delivered to general secretary Ian McNicol from this weekend. The prospect of a new Conservative prime minister and an early general election has pushed MPs towards action. "We have to get rid of him now," a former shadow cabinet minister told me. "If we go into an election with him as leader we'll be reduced to 150 seats."

Hilary Benn, Tom Watson, Angela Eagle and Dan Jarvis are among those cited as potential candidates. One MP suggested that a "Michael Howard figure" was needed to steer the party through the next election. John McDonnell, Corbyn's closest ally and another potential successor, is believed to lack sufficient support (15 per cent of MPs/MEPs) to make the ballot. 

Labour figures were dismayed by Corbyn's performance during the referendum and partly blame his lack of enthusiasm for defeat. Polling showed that nearly half of the party's voters were unaware of its position a few weeks before polling day. Corbyn is also charged with costing support by conceding the weekend before the referendum that it was "impossible" to limit free movement. "It simply shone a light on how utterly out of touch Corbyn and McDonnell are with many traditional Labour voters outside of London," a senior MP told me. "Jeremy made the biggest concern for traditional Labour voters thinking of voting Leave - the impact of freeedom of movement - his main reason why Britain should Remain. It was a sort of political suicide of genius proportions." 

The rebels are seeking shadow cabinet support for their challenge (one spoke of a "moral responsibility" on them) but no one called for Corbyn's resignation at today's two and three quarter hour meeting. I'm told that shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray was the only member to directly criticise his leadership. In a statement relesed earlier today, Watson emphasised the need for "stability". He said: "Labour has lessons to learn and we will to continue to listen but our focus over the next few days must be to reassure voters, millions of whom are very concerned about our country's future. They should know that we will work in Parliament to provide stability in a period of great instability for our country." 

The general secretaries of 12 affiliated trade unions have rejected any move against Corbyn. In a statement published on LabourList, they wrote: "The Prime Minister’s resignation has triggered a Tory leadership crisis. At the very time we need politicians to come together for the common good, the Tory party is plunging into a period of argument and infighting. In the absence of a government that puts the people first Labour must unite as a source of national stability and unity.

"It should focus on speaking up for jobs and workers’ rights under threat, and on challenging any attempt to use the referendum result to introduce a more right-wing Tory government by the backdoor. 

"The last thing Labour needs is a manufactured leadership row of its own in the midst of this crisis and we call upon all Labour MPs not to engage in any such indulgence."

Many Labour MPs accept that Corbyn would likely win any leadership contest owing to his mass support among party activists. But they are prepared to make multiple attempts. "If you’re going to go for it, you’ve got to accept that the first time he would come back and win," an MP told me. You’ve then got to be ready to go again. The first time will be a softening-up exercise. I don’t think he’d run again twice, I don’t think he has the guts for it.”

Earlier reports of a letter signed by 55 Labour MPs calling for Corbyn to resign were  dismissed by some as a leadership plant. "It's Damian [McBride] or someone who's read his book," one suggested. They believe the claim was a time-honoured device to weaken the rebels by creating false expectations.

Getty Images.

Boris Johnson is trying to pretend that nothing bad has happened

By Stephen Bush from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

His post-victory speech is an attempt to pivot away from Vote Leave's outlandish promises. 

You broke it, you bought it. That was the overwhelming impression from a press conference arranged by Vote Leave, the cross-party campaign, which had more of the feeling of a wake than a victory party.

And well it might. Vote Leave won promising a £350m cash bounty every week that will not materialise, and indeed one that is dwarfed by the damage already done to pension funds and ISAs after the early costs of Brexit are counted. When the threat of 75 million Turks does not arrive, things could get ugly very quickly.

The least economically painful option – if the European Union could be persuaded not to make an example of Britain would be what I’ve dubbed “the Whitehall arrangement”, with Britain in the EEA and therefore the single market for the foreseeable future. That might forestall the exodus of much of Britain’s financial services sector and skilled manufacturing base (such as it is) to one of the nations of the European Union.  

You can see the outlines of a deal that might be acceptable to Britain’s centre-right, where the country essentially becomes Switzerland-at-sea, without the ability to control most European Union diktats but opt-outs for financial services.

But the political cost of effectively taking Britain out of the European Union on a lie and then delivering neither a reduction in immigration or a cash bounty for public services might be tricky.

Or would it? History, as Julian Barnes once wrote “is like an onion sandwich: it repeats”. David Cameron hoped to be Harold Wilson Mk 2: win a referendum to keep Britain in the European Union and then waltz into the sunset. Instead, he is Anthony Eden Mk 2: an old Etonian increases both votes and seats after serving a full parliamentary term, and year later his premiership is broken by a foreign policy disaster that changes the course of British policy for decades.

After Eden came Harold Macmillan, another Etonian who went onto to study Classics at Oxford. As Anthony Sampson,  Macmillan’s biographer, wrote, he assumed the premiership after creating the false impression that Suez “had been a kind of victory, and that nothing much had happened”.

That was very much the impression that Johnson – an Etonian who studied Classics at Oxford – tried to give off in his speech today.  If he pulls it off, he could be the agent of a Tory revival – or, like Cameron, he could be broken by his failure to be as good a Prime Minister with the first name Harold. 

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How Brexit affects pensions and savings – who will be worst hit and why?

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Investors and pension savers have taken the initial hit, but cash savers could lose out too. 

Those of us who woke before 6am found ourselves in a political storm. For later risers, though, it was economic chaos. 

The pound has plunged to the lowest levels for a generation, billions have been wiped off the FTSE 100 and economic pundits are predicting a slowdown, or even a recession. 

This is an assault on one of the politicians' most praiseworthy groups, the savers. 

Those families that have patiently squirrelled away their wages over years of low interest rates now find themselves facing the kind of uncertainty not seen since 2008. 

Worse still, the biggest impact will be felt not on wedding funds or holiday savings, but on the most necessary savings of all - pensions. 

How Brexit affects savings

There is no doubt that if markets continue as they have today, some savers will be losing a lot of money. But it depends on where you live, and what kind of savings you hold.

Pensions and investments 

Pensions are usually invested, so market movement matters a lot. Pension fund managers try to beat the market by anticipating uncertainty, but even though many will have taken into account the risk of Brexit, most apparently did not take it seriously enough.

Savers holding shares may see the most dramatic losses today, but it's also worth keeping an eye on gilts - government bonds. Pension funds also invest heavily in gilts, which are seen as a very safe investment, and underpin the annuity market. In an environment of ultra-low interest rates, gilt have already been paying out poor returns to savers. If investors flock to gilts, the returns could be even lower. On the other hand, if the Bank of England was forced to raise interest rates, gilt yields could rise.

Stocks and shares ISAs are invested in a similar manner to pensions. Shaun Port, chief investment officer of Nutmeg, a popular investment platform, said fund managers had been trying to protect customers against the Brexit risk since February. 

But he added: "We expect to see extreme market volatility and big hits to business confidence. This will have a knock on effect for savers."

How far this kind of market volatility affects savers depends on what kind of timeframe they are looking at. A saver who needs to cash in their investments this summer may find they have lost a significant chunk of money. On the other hand, someone who invested their pension for the first time today could actually benefit as the market recovers over months, or perhaps years. 

Cash

Savers in cash have less to worry about - the Financial Services compensation Scheme protects your cash up to £75,000 in a single account. So they can breathe easy - so long as they're not planning to use their savings outside of the UK. 

The pound has plummeted to a low last seen in 1985 against the dollar. Currency value is a mark of confidence in an economy and the financial institutions behind it. With no clear trade deals on the horizon until October or later, it's hard to imagine that sterling will strengthen to its pre-Brexit levels any time soon. 

This could hurt anyone with plans to move abroad, or someone who now lives off their UK pension overseas. 

Like pensions savers invested in gilts, cash savers could also be affected by what happens to interest rates. If the Bank of England is forced to raise them, this could mean more attractive deals on savings account. But if, on the other hand, the Bank of England drops them as it did during the financial crisis, the returns could be worse. 

Sit tight or sell out?

Markets tend to have tantrums when they get shock news, and usually the situation calms down as the information is digested. It's usually not a good idea to panic and pull out of your investments as soon as markets plummet, as that way you're absolutely guaranteed to make a big loss.

As Andrew Craig, founder of Plain English Finance, puts it: "Today – whatever savings or assets you have that are in sterling are nominally worth about 10% less than they were yesterday.  As ever, however, this is in THEORY.  Unless you actually sell any of those assets or convert any of your pounds into a foreign currency today, you won’t have actually crystallised this theoretical loss into a ‘real’ one."

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Nicola Sturgeon says a second Scottish independence referendum is "on the table"

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Sturgeon has said that Scotland being "taken out of the EU" would be democractically unacceptable, and says legislation will be prepared to prepare for a possible referendum.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has responded to the EU referendum result by saying that a second referendum on Scottish independence is now "on the table".

In a live statement, Sturgeon has said she "deeply regrets" that Scotland's vote for Remain was not echoed across these isles.

She began her speech by addressing immigrants living in Scotland, saying that "you remain welcome here. Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued."

The vote across England and Wales was a clear vote to "reject" the EU, and a sign of divergence between Scotland "and large parts of the UK in how we see our place in the world".

It was also "a clear expression of the disatisfaction with the political system which is felt in too many communities. Communities taken for granted by Labour for generations, and punished with austerity cuts by the Tories for a financial crisis they didn't cause."

They used this referendum, she said, "to make their voices heard. The Westminster establishment has some serious soul-searching to do."

But Sturgeon also said she has a duty to respond "in particular" to Scotland's vote, as the country "faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against our will."

"I regard that as democratically unacceptable."

She stressed that, for many, the decision to stay in the EU may have informed their vote in Scotland's 2014 referendum: "I intend to take all possible steps and explore all options to . . . secure our continuing place in the EU and in the single market in particular."

The Scottish government, she said, "must be fully and directly involved in any and all" negotiations in Westminster.

"We will also be seeking direct discussions with the EU institutions and its member states. I will also be communicating over this weekend with each EU member state to make clear that Scotland has voted to stay in the EU."

Sturgeon cited common cause with London mayor Sadiq Khan, and promises to speak to party leaders in the Scottish parliament imminently.

On an independence referendum, Sturgeon cited the SNP manifesto from the last election, which promised the possibility of a second vote if there is a "significant and material change in circumstances" - including Scotland being taken out of the EU.

Therefore, Sturgeon suggests, the possibility of a second referendum "must be on the table. And it is on the table."

Sturgeon also stressed the timescale within which Article 50 is expected to be triggered, stating that, if the Scottish parliament decides a second referendum is the only possible response, they must be ready to hold it "within that timescale". To that end, they will begin preparing the necessary legislation now.

The Scottish cabinet will meet tomorrow morning to discuss next steps in more detail.

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Watch: Cyclists block the car of Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Videos have emerged showing people shouting at the former mayor as he leaves his Islington home and makes his way to work.

Oh Boris. Lovely Boris, with his untucked shirt and his comedy hair and his willingness to risk our economic security and way of life just to advance his own political prospects. Boris, eh? Wot a legend.

Today is probably the highlight of his career so far, a meteoric rise that's taken him from magazine editor to panel show host to mayor of London. Now, with the EU referendum won and David Cameron having announced his resignation, he stands poised to take the final prize, glittering prize.

And so, as one might expect, he left his home this morning, ready to address his legion of adoring fans. Here’s a video.

"You're an idiot," one tearful groupie can be heard screaming. "Fucking arsehole!" yells another. "Fuck off Boris!" screams a third.

Then, on the way to make a statement, a group of cyclists blocked the former mayor's car, dismounting in the road so he couldn't move.

It's Beatlemania all over again really, isn't it?

If anyone wants this mole, it will be hiding somewhere very, very far underground.

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Leavers, Remainers and surprises: the constituency results to know

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Boston's Leave vote, Gibralter for Remain, and the sundering in Sunderland.

Remain

Gibraltar
Remember that place? Well, it had a stonking turnout, and a huge Remain return: 95.9 per cent voted to stay in the European Union, making it the most Remain-y area to vote.

Lambeth
Lambeth came out as 78.6 per cent for remain; making it a distant but undeniable second to Gibraltar, on a turnout of 67.3 per cent.

Leave

Boston
With 75.6 per cent voting for Leave, on a 77.2 per cent turnout, Boston had the highest “Leave” margin in these isles.

South Holland
South Holland had a turnout of 75.3 per cent, of whom 73.6 per cent voted for leave. That makes it the second-most Leave-leaning constituency; but the winner of most ironic constituency name.

The big surprises

Sunderland
We knew it was going to be Leave – but we didn’t know it was going to be this. Living up to its name, Sunderland was the first big indicator of the night with a 61.3 per cent result for Leave, on a 64.8 per cent turnout.

Sheffield
Sheffield wasn’t expected to go for Leave, and even though it did so narrowly – 51 per cent to 49 per cent - it was still a surprise.

Birmingham
Another constituency where Leave narrowly pipped it, against expectations. 50.4 per cent to 49.6 per cent, Birmingham had a turnout of 63.7 per cent.

Windsor and Maidenhead
Or, to use its full name, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (personally, I think it should be renamed “Lower Slough”) voted for Remain: 53.9 per cent, too. With a turnout of 79.7 per cent, it was one of the Remain surprises of the night.

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Will Brexit hurt house prices? The winners and losers explained

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

First-time buyers could have a chance to buy in Brexit Britain, but only if they have a good job. 

Britain has voted for Brexit, and the effect on the financial markets has been instant. The FTSE100 plunged and the pound was in freefall against the dollar. But many voters will be wondering abotu something closer to their hearts - their home.

A chorus of economists warned that quitting the European Union would hurt house prices, and indeed there were signs even in the run up to the vote that the market was slowing down. 

Unlike the quicksilver movement of the pound, house prices are more likely to be measured over months, or even years. 

But with house prices at record highs in parts of the country, even a small percentage change can mean thousands of pounds difference to a buyer or seller - and make homeowners feel a lot poorer. Politicians know this, which is why successive governments have failed to curb the upwards march of house prices, even as wages fail to keep up. 

House prices in Brexit Britain

As the quarterly housing reports arrive, we can expect a sharp drop off in house prices. Richard Donnell, Insight Director at property analysts Hometrack, said: "The near term prospects for the UK housing market now look very uncertain. 

"The immediate impact is likely to be a fall in housing turnover and a rapid deceleration in house price growth as buyers adopt a wait and see the short term impact on financial markets and the economy at large.”

London house prices - widely viewed to be nearing bubble territory - will be most likely to drop off, he predicted: "History shows that external shocks can reduce sales volumes by as much as 20% with sales volumes already down over the last year."

In the capital, house price growth has been buoyed up by foreign investors looking for a safe haven, and the city's reputation as a financial hub with well-paid jobs. Both these roles look likely to diminish.

House prices across the rest of the UK tend to take their cue from London, so a sharp drop off will knock confidence elsewhere. 

But Capital Economics economists Hansen Lu and Ed Stansfield think the prime London market could bounce back, because owners are secure enough not to have to sell up. In a statement, they said: "If we are right that a recession will be avoided and mortgage interest rates will not spike higher, there is little reason to expect the referendum to act as a catalyst for a housing correction, despite that fact that house prices are so high."

Lower house prices - the winners and losers 

In theory, leaving the EU should be a boon to Generation Rent - the young professionals and working families who are now trapped in an expensive private rental market. But unfortunately it's not that simple. 

Since the financial crash, mortgage lenders have introduced tough new rules about affordability, and usually limit your mortgage size to 4.5 times your earnings. 

Anyone in a reasonably well-paid job, who can put down a sizeable deposit, may find the Brexit market is a buying opportunity. 

But if the financial shock affects employment and wages as well, it may be landlords with ready cash who are the biggest winners, as they were after the 2008 property crash.

And anyone who has already bought may find their hard work less rewarding if house prices slump and they end up paying off a mortgage worth more than their home's current value. 

In short, there's no doubt that house prices are unaffordable in many parts of the UK. But a sudden slump will hurt more than it helps. 

What can I do if I'm already buying?

You can be sure that any seller is going to try to cash in on their pre-Brexit price. But the earth has shifted, so it's always worth negotiating.

One first-time buyer who is midway through a transaction in a London commuting town, told The Staggers: "I think after weeks of hassling lawyers for moving slowly, we'll now take our time to work things out - and maybe look at renegotiating!"

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Bond markets: The Brexit contagion spreads

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

THE departure of Britain from the EU affects a lot more than the London markets. It has driven a risk-off reaction in the European bond markets, which were the focus of concern during the crisis of 2011-2012. In the aftermath of the shock result, the German 10-year bond yields fell to a record low of minus 0.15%, according to Jim Leaviss of M&G, the fund management group. Although yields have bounced back to 0.09%, this is still an 18 basis point fall on the day. But Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek bond yields have all risen on the news. As a result the spread between Italian/Spanish and German bond yields has widened by a quarter of a point; Portugal has widened over Germany by almost a third; and Greek yields by more than a point. Ewen Cameron Watt of BlackRock, the fund management group, says that further euro zone integration looks less likely - bad news for peropheral countries.  Why was this? The British news raised questions about the stability of the euro zone and about the electoral appeal of populist movements such as the one that delivered a Brexit vote. That will be bad news for Mario Draghi, the ECB president, who is widely credited with seeing off the worst of the euro crisis.In Britain itself, 10-year gilt yields have fallen by more than a quarter of a point since yesterday to 1.09%. This is not a reflection of confidence in the British ...

How did different demographic groups vote in the EU referendum?

By Barbara Speed from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

How did young people, older people, high-income areas and those not born in the UK vote?

We now know how the country voted as a whole in Thursday's referendum, but how were demographic factors like age, income, and education reflected in the result?

An eve-of-result poll released by YouGov at 10pm last night (which, admittedly, gave Remain a four-point lead) confirms the age/voting intention correlation shown by polls throughout the campaign:

The Guardian has some indicators of other demographic trends, formed by plotting each voting area by how it voted against various socioeconomic factors.

According to these results, areas where more residents had higher education skewed sharply to Remain, while areas where a more had no formal qualifications were slightly more likely to vote Leave.

The median income of an area also showed a loose correlation with results - and areas where the median rose above 30k all chose to Remain, and the lowest income areas voted to Leave: 

Graphics: The Guardian

 

higher median age meant an area was slightly more likely to vote for Remain, though the correlation is surprisingly weak given YouGov’s age findings. Finally, almost every area where more than 30 per cent of residents were not born in the UK voted to Remain. 

We will add to this post as more demographic data becomes available.

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Wrecks it?: Why Brexit is grim news for the world economy

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Wrecks it? Main image:  20160625_fnp504.jpg Rubric:  Uncertainty abounds. Expect a global chilling effect on investment NIGEL FARAGE, the leader of the UK Independence Party, told elated supporters that June 23rd should go down as Britain’s Independence Day. The reaction in financial markets to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was rather less euphoric. During the Asian trading day, the pound plunged against the dollar by over 10% to $1.32, a 30-year low. It fell far harder against the yen, a frequent bolthole for the anxious. Investors have started to flock to the safety of US Treasuries. As Europe’s markets opened, the main stock indices followed the lead set overnight in Asia and fell by around 10%. Investors hate uncertainty and the result of the referendum gives rise to a surfeit of it. But the falls in Asia’s equity markets are also in large part an early judgment about the impact on the world economy. Of course, markets often overreact. Britain accounts for just 3.9% of the world’s output; it is not big ...

The prime minister resigns: David Cameron quits Downing Street with a ruined legacy

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

“THE British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected.” With these words David Cameron acknowledged an outcome that he doubted would materialise: the country had voted for Brexit. His lip quivering and his wife at his side, he proceeded to announce that he would be stepping down: staying on as a caretaker while his party holds a leadership contest to be concluded by the time of its conference in October. No candidates have put their names forward, but it is to be expected that Boris Johnson and Theresa May, and probably others, will throw their hats into the ring.The move, so hard to imagine just hours earlier, had become nigh-on inevitable as, at around 5am, the prime minister’s defeat in the referendum was confirmed. Mr Cameron has spent the past months touring the country telling voters that a Brexit would be disastrous. He would not have wanted to stay on and make the disaster a reality. And in any case his mostly anti-EU members would not have tolerated him. He had to go.The resignation speech, when it came, was an emotional attempt to remind the world of the best of his six-year premiership: with nods to his one-nation reforms, an emphasis on the importance of stability in the coming months and a patriotic peroration about “this great country”. It was a touching bid to leave office with some scraps of dignity and honour.It was ...

Daily chart: Britain votes to leave the EU

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

BRITAIN is on its way out of the European Union. In a referendum on June 23rd 51.9% of voters opted for Brexit, on a high turnout of 72.2%. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland plumped for "Remain", while the rest of Britain voted "Leave". The initial shockwaves are already being felt: David Cameron has announced that he will step down as prime minister by October and stockmarkets have plummeted. What happens now is uncertain. Years of negotiations are likely to follow today's result, as Britain tries to navigate an exit from the Union. For now, the initial reaction of the markets is one of panic and chaos. A striking amount of the variation in the vote can be explained by demographics. According to an exit poll by Lord Ashcroft, 73% of voters aged 18-24 voted for Remain, while 60% of voters aged 65 and over voted for Leave. Similar divisions were apparent across education levels: 57% of degree-holders voted to stay in the European Union, while most of those with only secondary-school educations wanted to leave. As results trickled in throughout the night, markets were swift and punishing. A little before 2:00am, as London started reporting results and betting markets started predicting Leave, sterling declined by over 3% in less than 15 minutes. After votes from Glasgow gave Remain a slight lead, the pound quickly bounced back. The optimism was short-lived. ...

"We are well-prepared for this": Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's post-Brexit reassurance

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

“The Bank has put in place extensive contingency plans.” 

The Governer of the Bank of England Mark Carney has made a statement to calm market fears, following Britain's vote for Brexit.

He said:

“The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result. But as the Prime Minister said just this morning, there’ll be no initial change in the way our people can travel, and the way our goods can move, or the way our services can be solved. And it will take some time for the United Kingdom to establish new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world. So some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds.

“But we are well-prepared for this. Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning, and the Chancellor and I have remained in close contact, including through the night and this morning. To be clear, the Bank of England will not hesitate to take additional measures as required, as markets adjust, and as the UK economy moves forward.

“Those economic adjustments will be supported by a resilient UK financial system, one that the Bank of England has consistently strengthened over the course of the last seven years. The capital requirements of our largest banks are now ten times higher than before the financial crisis. And the Bank of England has stress-tested those banks against scenarios far more severe than our country currently faces. As a result of these actions, UK banks have raised over 130bn in pounds of new capital, more than £600bn of high-quality, liquid assets. So why does this matter? Well, that substantial capital and huge liquidity gives banks the flexibility they need to continue to lend to UK businesses and households, even during challenging times . . .

“In the coming weeks, the Bank will assess economic conditions and we will consider any additional policy responses . . . The Bank has put in place extensive contingency plans.” 

Sky News screengrab

Watch: Brexit lies unravel as Nigel Farage calls £350m a week promise to NHS "a mistake"

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Farage admitted that there was no guarantee the money will go to the NHS, but reassured viewers that £350m a week will be spent on something.

Once again demonstrating the flexibility and nuance for which he is famed, Nigel Farage has called Leave’s suggestion that the £350m we will “no longer send to the EU” would be spent on the NHS a “mistake”.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain a few hours after the referendum result, the fearless rescinder of statements conceded that a Leave poster had claimed this would be the case.

But when host Susanna Reid suggested the 17 million people who voted for Leave may have partially been motivated by the prospect of a huge injection of money to an overstretched National Health Service, Farage doggedly stuck to the minutes-old line that the money would be spent on something, but not necessarily the NHS.

He also evaded answering when asked if there are other things Leave voters may have expected which will now not come to pass.

Who can say, eh?

ITV screengrab

David Cameron resigns as Britain backs Brexit

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

After a defeat in the EU referendum, the Prime Minister is standing down.

David Cameron has announced his resignation. Following a defeat for his side in the EU referendum, which he called, he will stand down.

After soothing global markets and investors that "Britain's economy is fundamentally strong", and reassuring EU citizens residing in Britain, and Brits living in Europe, that there will be "no immediate change" in their circumstances, he said:

"The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and their will must be respected . . . The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered . . .

"We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union. This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced. But above all, this will require strong, determined, and committed leadership.

"I am very proud and honoured to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years. I believe we've made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people's life chances, building a bigger and stronger society. Keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world, and enabling those who love each other to get married, whatever their sexuality. But above all, restoring Britain's economic strength . . .

"I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain's position in the European Union, and to hold a referendum on our membership, and have carried those things out. I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel, head and heart and soul. I held nothing back.

"I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union. And I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone, not the future of any single politician, including myself. But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path, and, as such, I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.

"I will do everthing I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

"This is not a decision I have taken lightly. But I do believe it’s in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

"There is no need for a precise timetable today. But in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative party conference in October."

This means that Cameron will be leaving it to the new Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of the UK leaving the EU.

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The morning after: Brexit and the markets: a seismic shock

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

INVESTORS are waking to a deeply unpleasant surprise. Despite the closeness of the opinion polls, most people seemed to think that the “status quo bias” would cause Britons to vote for Remain, especially as it was perceived to be in their economic self-interest. A remain vote was virtually priced in.As soon as the results started to come in, the pound started to plunge. From around $1.50 before the polls closed, the pound dropped to $1.45, then $1.40, and then to $1.34, its lowest level since 1985. It was the worst day for sterling since the currency floated in the early 1970s. The shock was also reflected in equity markets, both within and outside Britain. The Nikkei 225 average in Tokyo has dropped 8%.When London opened, there were big falls in housebuilding, retailing and banking shares (Barclays, Lloyds and RBS shares dropped 25-30%). The FTSE 100 dropped 500 points or 8% within minutes of the opening; Frankfurt’s DAX index fell 8.6%. S&P futures indicate a 5% decline when the markets open. In a classic “risk-off” move, the US Treasury 10-year bond yield fell a quarter of a point in overnight trading. When UK markets opened, the 10-year gilt yield fell by around a third of a point to 1.05%.What explains the moves? Notoriously, investors never like uncertainty; now uncertainties abound. Who will be in charge of Britain’s government in the medium term? David ...

Ulster evangelicals for Brexit: For hard-line Protestants, leaving Europe is a matter of eschatology

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

IN NORTHERN IRELAND, where a majority of citizens voted to remain in the European Union, there is a small but still significant share of the electorate who will be rejoicing over the result on religious grounds. Among some devoutly evangelical Protestants, the referendum has been viewed as a playing out of religious prophecy. The most widely quoted chapter is Revelations 18, in which an angel cries triumphantly that the evil empire of Babylon has fallen after "all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." The verse on which preachers have focused is Revelations 18:4.And I heard another voice from heaven, saying: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."In April, as campaigning for the referendum got underway, a conspicuous slogan urging people to vote for Brexit in the name of that verse appeared on a gable in Tigers Bay, a loyalist area on the north side of Belfast. In a small market town in the west of Northern Ireland, an evangelical group took over a premises on the main street and covered the front in posters urging people to vote "leave" or risk their souls by opting for a political institution which plainly stood for the Antichrist, an impostor whose appearance is ...

Brexit sends FTSE 100 into freefall amid recession fears

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The market volatility caused by a Brexit could last for years.

Just 12 hours ago, the Remain campaign was feeling quietly confident, and the markets even more so. After weeks of the pound tumbling, and the FTSE100 drifting downwards, suddenly there was an upsurge.

But after Britain voted to leave the European Union, the UK's leading stock index has immediately plunged 8.3%, and the pound is in freefall.

The nosedive from 6334 points last night to 5807 today means billions has been knocked off the value of the stock market in hours.

The Bank of England said it is monitoring the situation closely. 

House builder companies are among the most badly hit, which suggests investors are nervous about house prices. 

Now the pound is at its lowest level against the dollar since 1985, and the Asian markets nosedived. 

Financial insiders are already predicting a recession and a market shock that could last for years.

Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Royal London Asset Management, said: "On the back of this morning’s result we expect the UK will fall into a recession. Unfortunately I see unstable market conditions lasting for between three and five years whilst new trade agreements are drawn up.

"It is our view that the UK Government will be left with no choice but to stimulate the economy through fiscal and monetary means, flooding the system with liquidity if necessary."

The FT has reported that credit ratings agency S&P expects the UK to lose its last AAA rating - previously a sign of the nation's creditworthiness.

The pound plummeted from $1.4877 to the pound last night to $1.3445 this morning. In other words, if you'd exchanged £1,000 for dollars last night, you'd have $143.20 more than if you did it now. 

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of financial services group deVere said it was a "shock event".

He continued: “Brexit-triggered volatility is now only just beginning; we can expect it to potentially last up to two years.  
 
“Due the far-reaching impact of this vote, Brexit will inevitably affect the British and the European economies and the wider global financial markets.  The decision may have been taken in the UK but it will impact the rest of the world too."

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How the Leave campaign won the EU referendum

By George Eaton from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

Remain believed that economic risk would deliver victory. But the Brexiters had a more potent weapon: immigration. 

The evening began with Nigel Farage conceding defeat to the Remain campaign. It ended with him achieving the ambition that he had pursued for decades: a UK vote to leave the European Union.

It was the outcome that conventional wisdom bet against. And as so often in recent British political history, the conventional wisdom was wrong. A campaign that enjoyed the support of the Prime Minister, the Labour Party, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, the Treasury, the Bank of England, the CBI, the TUC and the US government was beaten. Never have so many established institutions been on the losing side.

The question that angst-ridden Remain supporters will repeatedly ask is “how did this happen?” Much of the blame will be laid at the door of Downing Street. It was David Cameron, in opposition to Labour, who announced that a referendum would be held. Under siege from his recalcitrant backbenchers and Ukip, he gambled - and he lost. The man who told his party in his first conference speech to “stop banging on about Europe” will now be remembered for little else.

It was Cameron’s EU renegotiation, like Harold Wilson’s in 1975, that was supposed to propel Remain to victory. But his failure to secure limits on the free movement of people, owing to the opposition of Germany and other member states, left him with little to show for his efforts. The potential for Leave to run an aggressive, immigration-centric campaign was born.

On the weekend that Cameron returned from Brussels, Boris Johnson, the country’s most popular politician, and Michael Gove, one of the Tories’ leading thinkers, backed Brexit. Their decision, along with that of nearly half of Conservative MPs (a higher number than Downing Street anticipated), immediately made the contest a competitive one.

From the outset, Remain sought a path to victory by emphasising the economic risks of Brexit. It drew inspiration from the success of the Scottish No campaign (“Project Fear”) in 2014 and the Conservatives in 2015. Almost every election and referendum in recent history had been won by the side most trusted to manage voters’ finances. But though polls gave Remain the economic advantage, the Brexiters had a more potent weapon: immigration. At the outset of the campaign, a Vote Leave strategist told me that his side would adopt a “full spectrum” approach. Theirs would be a liberal, cosmopolitan case for Brexit. But it proved to be one ever more focused on the political livewire of immigration.

For years, voters of all parties had grown ever more hostile to the free movement of people. Polls showed immigration rivalling or outstripping the economy as the public’s top concern. Cameron sought to appease voters by pledging to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” a year - an ambition he repeatedly failed to meet. By the time of the referendum, the total stood at 333,000. Having encouraged aspirations he could not meet, Cameron was left with the worst of all worlds.

This failure leant weight to Vote Leave’s cry to “Take Back Control”. Remain never crafted a message to compete with this populist slogan. Its repeated and often technocratic warnings of economic chaos failed to move enough voters. George Osborne’s forecast that GDP would fall by the equivalent of £4,300 per household simply wasn’t believed. Nor were the legions of economists and academics, many of them charged with failing to anticipate the 2008 crash, regarded as credible. Remain’s repeated summoning of “experts” only advertised its distance from voters. To Cameron’s ever more doom-laden warnings (“a bomb under our economy”), there was an obvious rejoinder: why give voters the choice? His pre-referendum declaration that the UK could “survive” and “do okay” outside the EU was repeatedly invoked.  

Surveys showed that the messages the public most recalled were those of the Out side: the (false) claim that the UK contributed £350m a week to the EU and the no less misleading claim that Turkey was on the brink of joining the EU. By pledging to use the alleged savings from Brexit to fund higher NHS spending, the Leavers developed a potent offer to Labour voters. The repeated protestations by Remain against these falsehoods did little to dampen their effectiveness.

Leave’s decision to all but concede the economic argument and vow to leave the single market proved a strategic masterstroke. It enabled them to pledge to limit free movement and shifted the terms of debate in their favour. The market consensus that the UK would vote Remain meant that the financial turbulence that some regarded as necessary for an In victory was avoided in the final week.

Despite polls giving Leave commanding leads, Remain doubled-down on its signature theme. Proposals such as promising a referendum on Turkish EU membership were shunned. No new reform proposals emanated from Brussels or Downing Street.

Instead, “Project Fear” endured as George Osborne and Alistair Darling united to warn of an ultra-austere “Brexit Budget”. Remain believed that its warning of an “irreversible” choice would swing voters its way in the final week. It didn’t.  

Though Cameron will absorb much of the blame, a brutal inquest will now begin in Labour. Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong eurosceptic, who was agnostic about Brexit as recently as last summer, never disguised his lack of enthusiasm for the EU. Though this chimed with the public’s own reservations, his MPs blamed him for polls showing that half of Labour voters didn’t know where the party stood. Others cited the media’s fixation with “blue-on-blue” Tory warfare. With Labour absent, voters took the chance to register their opposition to Cameron and Osborne. It was only in the penultimate week, after a slide in Remain support, that Corbyn and Gordon Brown came to the fore. By this time, many in Labour believed it was already too late.

MPs were in no doubt about the supreme obstacle: immigration. Some refused to canvass local estates for fear of the abuse that they would attract. It was the revolt of Labour voters against free movement that enabled the stunning victories achieved by Leave in the party’s heartlands.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, figures including Tom Watson, Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls demanded restrictions on free movement. But Corbyn immediately rejected these calls and conceded the weekend before the vote that it was “impossible” to limit numbers.

A senior Labour MP told me: "The referendum simply shone a light on how utterly out of touch Corbyn and [John] McDonnell are with so many traditional Labour voters outside of London. Jeremy made the biggest issue of concern for traditional Labour voters thinking of voting Leave - the impact of freedom of movement - his main reason why Britain should remain. It was a sort of political suicide of genius proportions”. Corbyn may now finally face the leadership challenge that his opponents have threatened from the day he was elected.

Blame is also being pinned on the SNP, accused of having run a half-hearted campaign in the sneaking hope of Brexit. After Scotland voted Remain, the nationalists will now demand a second independence referendum. "Sturgeon had more to say about criticising the Remain camp than making the positive case for Europe and she was nowhere to be seen until the dying days of the campaign,” a Labour HQ source complained.

The Remain side draws consolation from the belief that was this may have been a vote it could never win. Its chances were never as strong as its frontrunner status implied. A strategist spoke of the malign effect of “25 years of right-wing propaganda, including from some on our side”. The UK had long been the EU’s most eurosceptic member and one ever more hostile to immigration. Remain could not hope to overturn these pro-Brexit currents in just four months.

To the warning that leaving would be an astonishing act of economic self-harm, the voters simply shrugged. They wanted to run the experiment for themselves.

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Britain votes to leave the European Union

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

The UK backs Brexit in the EU referendum.

The UK has voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union, after 43 years of membership. As the final results come through, the prediction is that Britain has backed Brexit by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Wales, the Northeast, the Northwest, the Midlands and the Southwest voted in significant numbers to leave the EU, whereas London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly to Remain.

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already hinted at a potential second independence referendum in Scotland, considering all of its major local authorities voted Remain.

Turnout was 72 per cent ­– the highest in a nationwide ballot in the UK since the 1992 general election.

As the outcome became clear, the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. This is twice as much the sterling fell on Black Wednesday. The Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of England are expected to make speeches early this morning, to calm the markets. The London stock exchange will probably open late this morning; the City was not expecting such an outcome.

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage has declared victory in the referendum, telling supporters to “dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom”. Farage, who was predicting that he would have to concede defeat just hours before the results came in, has been campaigning for the past two decades for Britain to leave the EU.

Farage has called on David Cameron – who called the referendum and has been campaigning for Remain – to resign “immediately”. A Labour source has added that Cameron “should seriously consider his position”. But in the interests of unity, more than 80 eurosceptic Tory MPs – including every cabinet minister who voted Leave – have signed a letter addressed to Cameron, urging him to remain as Prime Minister regardless of the result.

Cameron will have to decide when to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal. He has said in the past that he would trigger it immediately, but prominent Brexiters would prefer him not to rush it, to give the UK time to decide what it wants from leaving the EU.

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Bagehot: The improbable revolutionaries

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  March of the machines Fly Title:  Bagehot Rubric:  England’s vote for Brexit exposes the anarchic streak in an otherwise pragmatic people “THE English are not intellectual,” wrote George Orwell. “They have a horror of abstract thought, they feel no need for any philosophy or systematic ‘worldview’.” England’s finest chronicler had a point. The country is rightly known for its pragmatism and suspicion of wide-eyed ideas. This was the nation that turned its nose up at republicanism, fascism and communism; that has typically advanced not through revolutions but by tweaks and fiddles; and that tolerates the ensuing tensions and contradictions like wrinkles on an old face. Whence does this predilection for muddling through come? Some point to the English civil war and the short-lived but tyrannical republic that ensued. This, the argument goes, put the country off purisms of all sorts. Religion? The Church of England is more like agnosticism with tea. Politics? When the French descended into regicide and then terror, the ...

Britain and the EU: A tragic split

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  March of the machines Fly Title:  Britain and the EU Main image:  20160625_ldd300.jpg Rubric:  How to minimise the damage of Britain’s senseless, self-inflicted blow HOW quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible. A year ago few people imagined that the legions of Britons who love to whinge about the European Union—silly regulations, bloated budgets and pompous bureaucrats—would actually vote to leave the club of countries that buy nearly half of Britain’s exports. Yet, by the early hours of June 24th, it was clear that voters had ignored the warnings of economists, allies and their own government and, after more than four decades in the EU, were about to step boldly into the unknown. The tumbling of the pound to 30-year lows offered a taste of what is to come. As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also ...

Britain and the European Union: After the vote, chaos

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  March of the machines Fly Title:  Britain and the European Union Main image:  20160625_brp006.jpg Rubric:  Britain has voted to leave the EU. What follows will be a new prime minister, volatile financial markets—and years of costly uncertainty SO THE gambler finally lost. David Cameron has usually been lucky, winning office in 2010 at the head of a coalition and then outright in 2015. He also kept the United Kingdom together in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. But the prime minister’s gamble of promising a referendum on Britain’s European Union membership has failed. As the counting of votes cast on June 23rd neared completion in the small hours of the following day, it seemed that almost 52% of the electorate had voted for Leave against 48% for Remain. The turnout was 72%, six points higher than the level in the May 2015 general election. The response to the victory for Brexit was immediate. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party ...

The Economist explains: What happens now that Britain has voted for Brexit

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

BRITAIN has voted for Brexit. What happens now? Nothing immediate, is the answer for EU nationals living in Britain and Britons living elsewhere in the EU, as well as for businesses on both sides of the Channel. It will all depend on negotiations that could take years—and no one is sure quite how many years, because the only precedent is Greenland, with a population today of around 50,000, which voted to leave in 1982. The first aim of David Cameron, the prime minister, will be to calm the markets. In Asia they have already responded to the news. The pound plunged by 9% against the dollar and as much as 13% against the yen, traditionally a bolthole for anxious investors. Japan’s main stockmarket tumbled by almost 8%. London’s stockmarket opens at 8am, and the FTSE 100 is likely to dive. Some experts warn that sterling could fall by as much as 20% overall. The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, must now decide whether to issue an emergency “Brexit budget” as he controversially promised before the poll.Mr Cameron has promised that Britain would immediately invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which sets a two-year timetable to agree the terms of departure. But uncertainty about his own position could raise questions about this. If he steps down and a Brexiteer takes over as leader of the Tory party and as prime minister, he or she is likely to argue that ...

Projecting the EU referendum: How we calculated our extrapolated Brexit vote shares

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

ELECTION nights usually mean instant gratification: exit-poll results are often available immediately after the last vote is cast. But tonight’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is an exception. Because no similar ballot has been held since 1975, mainstream media organisations decided there were not enough historical data to justify commissioning an exit poll. As a result, the final result will not be known until the losing side is mathematically eliminated. If the vote is close, that will be long after the sun rises on June 24th.Hours before a winner is declared, however, it will be possible to reach a reasonable expectation of the likely outcome. That is because the data from early-reporting areas contain two separate types of information. In addition to hard vote totals that count towards the result, they also offer precious clues about what to expect from regions that have not yet announced their figures. The Economist has built a simple statistical model that extrapolates the numbers from ballots that have already been reported to produce an estimate of the margin among those that haven’t.Our method relies on one central assumption: that after accounting for demographic and geographic variation, voters in different counting areas will behave similarly. Although polls suggest that some parts of Britain strongly support “remain” and others are equally ...

Britain's EU referendum: The Brexit vote reveals a country split down the middle

By from European Union. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Britain's EU referendum Main image:  20160625_blp907_0.jpg Rubric:  The results paint a picture of an angry country divided by class, age and region THOUGH the result remained too close to call four hours after polls closed, it is already clear that a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union has triggered an angry revolt by millions of British voters against their government, the leaders of the main political parties, big business and experts of all stripes. First returns and television interviews with voters and (slightly shell-shocked) political grandees painted a picture of a United Kingdom divided sharply along lines of region, class, age and even—in the case of Northern Ireland, where such Roman Catholic areas as Foyle voted Remain while Protestant areas like North Antrim went for Leave amid much higher turnout—by religious denomination. If the public had quietly weighed the costs and benefits of EU membership, it was often hard to hear that analysis through a din of stuff-the-lot-of-them rage from ...

What happens if we leave the EU? A guide to the mechanics of Brexit

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 24, 2016.

If Britain votes to leave the EU, we are entering uncharted territory. Here's how Brexit could go.

What happens if Britain leaves the EU? It's hard to say, because no big nation has done so before - the Danish region of Greenland voted to leave the EEC when it gained self-rule in 1979, but that's hardly comparable. 

Yes, technically the referendum is only indicative, but there is no way the government would go against the clearly expressed wishes of its citizens. 

In terms of the procedure, the obvious route is triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets a two-year timetable for withdrawal. The Leave campaign has been at pains to paint Brexit as a "process", but it's one that will happen with limited input from Britain. 

Stephen Bush has set out a timetable for what might happen next, although his predictions were based on a universally low turnout. That's not what's happened in the EU vote. Click through to read his view on what might happen to David Cameron, Boris Johnson, the City of London, the housing crisis and the financial markets. 

For David Cameron, the worse the immediate contagion, the better his chances of delaying his departure. He would be hoping to stay at least long enough to try to put a more positive gloss on his legacy than having taken the UK out of the EU by accident. Regardless of his notice period, however, Cameron would attend an emergency meeting of European leaders that weekend to discuss Britain’s exit.  

What if we leave the EU? Photo: Getty

What happens if the EU referendum result is a dead heat?

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The process in the unlikely event of a draw.

What happens if the EU referendum ends in a tie? It’s very unlikely, considering you’d need exactly the same number of votes either side. But it’s not impossible. And the polls have been particularly tight in the final weeks of the campaign.

First, there would not be a national recount, though there could be local recounts (there are 382 counting areas). But if it’s still 50/50 after any local recounts, no one actually knows what would happen. And there is no precedent for this situation.

According to the House of Commons Library, there is “no legal provision for what happens in the event of a dead heat on Friday”. Apparently such a possibility is so unlikely that it “hasn’t been legislated for”.

The Electoral Commission confirms that “nothing in the legislation goes past” the outcome. Whatever the result is – however close it may be, and even if it’s tied – it’s up to our politicians to decide what to do next. It’s an advisory election, rather than a binary one.

So what’s likely to happen? It will be a political decision, and we have little insight into what the government would do in this instance. What we do know is that the Prime Minister would say something, and Parliament would then do or say something depending on his plan. Vague, I know.

In the event of a dead heat, David Cameron (or whoever is Prime Minister by this point – there’s no set timeframe…) would probably make an announcement laying out how he wishes to proceed. There could then be a debate in Parliament to decide what to do next.

It would depend on how the PM chooses to bring their plan before Parliament – a vote wouldn’t be necessary if it was an adjournment debate, for example. Or it could be tabled as a motion, which would mean a vote. Or a ministerial statement, which would allow questions from MPs afterwards, but no vote. The only certainty is that there is no requirement for Parliament to vote in the event of a tied outcome.

This is all pretty speculative though. Read more about how the EU referendum result will be counted and declared in this House of Commons Library briefing.

Flickr/Nicu Buculei

When will Brexit results be announced?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Find out when the EU referendum results will be announced - from the first counts to the final declaration. 

The first EU referendum results will be declared at midnight Friday, although these will be from unrepresentative areas such as Gibraltar, which is expected to be heavily in favour of Remain. Between 3am-4am, it’s possible we’ll have the first clear idea of the eventual winner, and by 6am Friday the final count should be completed (although that might be optimistic).

To follow all the results, stick with the New Statesman EU referendum liveblog - which starts at 9.45pm - or see here for other ways to watch the Brexit results live so you can be right there when the Brexit results are announced.

You can also read our guide to what to look out for in the EU referendum results, and the four questions our special correspondent Stephen Bush would like to be able to answer

Brexit results. Photo: Getty

Brexit results live: where to find EU referendum results update

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Follow the Brexit results live on the New Statesman liveblog, or on TV or radio.

Now that voting in the EU referendum has closed at 10pm, it’s time to wait for the results. We've already heard unexpectedly high votes for Leave in Newcastle and Sunderland, and the markets are volatile as a result, with sterling having already taken a bit hit. Scotland is coming through for Remain, as expected, but turnout in Glasgow was disappointing for Europhiles at 52 per cent. Inner London seems to be going Remain too. The question is whether that's enough to outweigh some big margins in favour of Leave elsewhere. So far, it looks unlikely.

By 3am or 4am we should have some idea of the ultimate result.

The best way to follow the Brexit results live, of course, is the New Statesman EU referendum liveblog, which will be updated throughout the night. Our special correspondent Stephen Bush has already found wine in the ITV green room. You can also read our guide for the results to look out for - it's all about the swing in Sunderland. (And no, there isn't a formal exit poll tonight.)

You can also follow the results on BBC One from 9:55pm with David Dimbleby, or on ITV from 10pm with Tom Bradby. On Sky News, Adam Boulton will be taking you up till dawn.

On Radio 4 the coverage begins with The World Tonight at 10pm, with a dedicated broadcast from 11pm to 6am. On Radio 5, Stephen Nolan starts the coverage at 9:55pm and again, updates will go on through the night. Iain Dale and Shelagh Fogarty provide the coverage on LBC from 10pm.

Brexit resullts live. Photo: Getty

The EU referendum liveblog: David Cameron resigns as prime minister after Leave clinches victory

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The EU referendum results from around the country – live! 

Hello, and welcome to the New Statesman's EU referendum blog. Please hit refresh for LIVE updates.

17:28: Oh, and Donald Trump is in Scotland today to open his Turnberry resort in Ayrshire. He has called the Brexit vote a "great victory" against a "global elite" which he, Republican presidential candidate and billionnaire businessman, does not count himself part of. 

He also linked the vote to his own chances in the White House:

“I think really people see a big parallel. A lot of people are talking about that. Not only the United States but other countries. People want to take their country back. They want to have independence in a sense."

16:20: The mayor of Calais has announced that she wants to renegotiate the Le Touquet agreement, through which the French agreed to police the part of our border located in Calais. Threats from French officials to this effect throughout the campaign gave rise to warnings that the Calais refugee camp would "come to Dover", as security at the port and Eurotunnel would be far weaker. Of course, the mayor of Calais alone can't decide this -  it will be up to the French government. 

I wrote about this possibility earlier this week, but thought it was unlikely the French would go through with it: Looks like I was wrong. 

16:08: This photo shows 16-18 year olds protesting that they weren't allowed to vote. Given young people are strongly in favour of Remain, their inclusion could have made a big difference:

15:27: Now we've decided to leave, the European bloc wants us out as soon as possible. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has confirmed to the Guardian that European lawyers are working on plans to speed up Article 50, the mechanism by which we would leave. He had stern words for us:

“Uncertainty is the opposite of what we need,” Schulz said, adding that it was difficult to accept that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party”.

“I doubt it is only in the hands of the government of the United Kingdom... We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word.”

15:19: Hasan Chowdhury, our science writer, has looked into how turnout may have effected the result and how it compares to other elections:

"Turnout and results shocked pundits nationally: 62 per cent of Scotland decided to remain despite a turnout of just over 50 per cent, while the only other regions deciding to remain were London and Northern Ireland. They represented three out of the four regions with lowest turnout."

15:04: Hillary Clinton has released a statement on Twitter:

There's an implication here that she, like the rest of us, is beginning to worry that this swell of anti-establishment support could translate into a Trump victory in the US.  Especially this bit: "This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House." 

14:52: Corbyn has reportedly cancelled his "Jez We Can" appearance at Glastonbury, which was to take place in the Left Field (of course). He's got a few other things on

14:48: ...and if you're simply dejected, Staggers editor Julia Rampen has handpicked seven of the best places for political progressives to emigrate to. Have just learned that a single Irish parent or grandparent is enough to swing you citizenship if you're lucky, so I am personally feeling positive about a future in rural Donegal.

14:45: If you're feeling angry, CityMetric editor Jonn Elledge has compiled a list of 18 people to blame for the result. Spoiler: Boris Johnson rates 14/10 on the blame-o-meter. 

14:08: Stephen: Morgan Stanley are reportedly moving 2,000 jobs from London to Frankfurt.  More than £350m of tax revenue right there.... 

13.40: George Osborne breaks his silence. He has just tweeted that he will try to "make it work". The language of EU referendum fall-out is becoming more and more like a desperate post-breakup message. Back on the single market, eh.

13:10: an update from George: 

Corbyn spokesman tells me: "It's time for the party to unite and focus on the real issues that affect people from today's decision and hold the government to account on their exit negotiations."

12:26: We have a screenshot of the letter of no confidence sent by Ann Coffey and Margaret Hodge: 

12:16: A Parliament.uk petition calling for a second EU referendum has already hit 100,000 signatures (and reportedly crashed the site with its popularity), on this basis:

We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum. 

This means it must be considered for a debate in parliament.

12:07: A letter of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has been tabled by Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey. Political editor George Eaton has more

Corbyn's opponents are "absolutely convinced" that they have the backing of the 51 MPs/MEPs (20 per cent) needed to endorse a leadership challenger and trigger a contest. 

12:00: Boris Johnson has paid tribute to David Cameron and called the decision to leave a "glorious opportunity". Even a cynic would agree it's a glorious opportunity for one B. Johnson. 

Stephen's take on the speech and Vote Leave's future: "Boris Johnson is trying to pretend that nothing bad has happened -  his post-victory speech is an attempt to pivot away from Vote Leave's outlandish promises". 

11:56: Stephen: Just typed the phrase “elsewhere in the European Union” and then had to delete it. I’m not crying, I just have wet eyes. 

11:41: It's German Chancellor Angela Merkel's turn to be disappointed. She called the decision a "great regret": "This is a blow to Europe." 

11:31: SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is speaking live now on BBC1. She says a second referendum for Scottish independence is now on the table. We have a full write-up on Sturgeon's speech from Stephanie Boland here:

She stressed that, for many, the decision to stay in the EU may have informed their vote in Scotland's 2014 referendum: "I intend to take all possible steps and explore all options to . . . secure our continuing place in the EU and in the single market in particular."

11:20: Barbara taking over from Caroline - here with you for the rest of this depressing day, with occasional input from the distraught Stephen Bush.

Boris is about to make his first post-polls speech (more on that from Stephen Bush shortly), but not before cyclists tried to block his car on his way through London and passerby shouted obscenities not suitable for this liveblog's family audience.  

10:55: Cameron is in an emergency meeting with the Queen.

10:50: My colleague Stephanie Boland has statements from Sinn Fein, which has called for an immediate border poll to assess Northern Ireland's place in the UK post-Brexit. Declan Kearney, the party's chairman, said:

The British Government has now forfeited its mandate to represent the north of Ireland.

10:45: We're beginning to get an idea of the demographic breakdown of the vote. As expected, young people resoundingly chose to Remain: 

Meanwhile, higher income areas also tended to vote Remain, as did areas with high levels of residents from outside the UK and those with higher education. We have a more detailed post on demographics here.

10:16: Diane Abbott has defended Jeremy Corbyn's position during the referendum in a BBC interview: "Jeremy Corbyn's position was closer to the national mood than any other leader of a major party". She also wrote a piece in his defence this morning for the Guardian

09:41: Further updates on the constituency-by-constituency breakdown from my colleague Stephanie Boland:

With 75.6 per cent voting for Leave, on a 77.2 per cent turnout, Boston had the highest “Leave” margin in these isles.

09:14: Mark Carney has attempted to calm the markets (which have plummeted in reaction to the result). He said:

“We are well-prepared for this. Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning, and the Chancellor and I have remained in close contact, including through the night and this morning. To be clear, the Bank of England will not hesitate to take additional measures as required, as markets adjust, and as the UK economy moves forward.”

09:06: Stephen Bush is up and about again, and he's just sent me the run down of the most pro-Remain and pro-Leave places in the UK:

Most pro-Remain places, in order: Gibraltar, Lambeth, Hackney, Haringey, City of London, Islington, Wandsworth, Camden

Most pro-Leave places: Boston, South Holland, Castle Point, Thurrock, Great Yarmouth, Fenland

08:57: Now that Cameron has announced his departure, speculation will obviously begin about who will replace him. Boris Johnson is going to feature heavily in that discussion.

Last year, Dave Hill wrote a very prescient piece about Boris Johnson, titled “The trouble with Boris Johnson: how bad would it really be if this man became prime minister?”. He wrote:

The Britishness of ‘Boris. picks up where Thatcherism left off while remediating its toxicity. This evangelist for tooth-and-claw, meritocratic free markets woos the electorate with self-parodic poshness, a throwback impression of Dunkirk-esque “muddling through” and an implied invitation to join him on a subversive quest to put a prankster into power. He’s Eton’s answer to the Cockney crooks in the Ealing comedies of the Forties and Fifties.

08:44: Staggers editor Julia Rampen has written about the financial turmoil triggered by this morning's result:

“House builder companies are among the most badly hit, which suggests investors are nervous about house prices. 

Now the pound is at its lowest level against the dollar since 1985, and the Asian markets nosedived. 

Financial insiders are already predicting a recession and a market shock that could last for years.”

08:35: More detail of Cameron’s extraordinary statement from our news story now:

"But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path. And, as such, I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction. I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination."

NS political editor George Eaton says that we should expect a general election sooner than 2020:

That suggests the Fixed Term Parliament Act is not long for this world, at least in its current form. 

08:23: Caroline taking over from Julia here.

David Cameron has resigned as prime minister. He didn't set out a precise timetable, but he said that:

“In my view, we should aim to have a new prime minister by Conservative party conference in October.”

He also said that he will be leaving it to the new PM to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of the UK leaving the EU.

07:52: The UK has to get used to being an outsider in European Union decisions from this morning. 

Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Europe, has issued a series of tweets.

He says: "On behalf of all 27 leaders: We are determined to keep our unity as 27." The remaining member states will meet next week.

And, ominously for future trade deals, he adds: "A serious even dramatic momen, especially for the UK."

Meanwhile UK foreign minister Philip Hammond warns our voice will no longer carry weight with the EU member states. From 6am, it is the voice of the "semi outsider", he says. 

07:31: Now it's Jeremy Corbyn's turn in front of the cameras.

He says: "The British people have made their decision. We have to respect that.

"A lot of the message that has come back from this is many communities are fed up with cuts they have had."

He calls for an alternative to austerity and a migrant impact fund. "We now have to try and protect the working conditions we have in this country."

And he acknowledges "clearly there are some difficult days ahead" with consequences for jobs.

Corbyn asked whether his pro-immigration stance was a mistake. He tries to wriggle out of it by talking about the undercutting of wages: "The point I was making was that nobody should be exploited."

But he adds: "We will obviously have to develop an immigration policy which we will apply to Europe as well as the rest of the world." He notes that the NHS relies on migrant professionals. 

07:27: The Bank of England has issued a reassuring if bland statement promising to try to keep monetary stability.

07:26: Farage is now speaking to the BBC. He says once again "It's a victory for ordinary people" who had "the guts to stand up and do the right thing".

Says the referendum was won by the old Labour vote. "There is still a massive disconnect between Westminster and real communities."

He tells the story of a woman in Bolton who grabbed his hand with tears in her eyes and asked why David Cameron didn't come and see "what they've done to my community". 

Predicts Eurosceptic parties in other parts of the EU will now talk about leaving: "THe EU's failing, the EU's dying. I hope we've knocked the first brick out of the wall."

"We now need a Brexit Government."

June 23 should be a national bank holiday called independence day, he adds.

07:22: The official vote is in. 

Total votes cast: 33,577,342

Remain:   16,141,241
Leave: 17,410,742

Some ballot papers were spoiled. 

07:14: For those who enjoy bitter irony, here's Nigel Farage telling Susanna Reid it was a mistake for Leave to claim there would be £350million a week extra for the NHS.

07:01: Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is now on the BBC, with some strong words.

He refuses to discuss polls breakdown, saying: 'I accept the result, but by golly I don't agree with it."

He attacked Tory MPs for "cheaply deriding" the EU for a quick headline.

And while he praised former Labour PM Gordon Brown, he accused Jeremy Corbyn of "utter spinelessness" for not getting involved in the campaign: "I think he has let the country down massively."

Farron dismissed the idea of another Scottish referendum, however, saying: "There's been enough chaos already."

06:54: More from George, who has obtained the following lines from the office of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader:

 

"Jeremy Corbyn has showed that he is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other politicians. He is now the only politician who can unite a divided country, as he can speak to both sides."

06:37: 

Our political editor George Eaton has given his take on why Leave won

"He argues that there was one overwhelming reason: immigration. By exploiting years of hostility from voters of all parties to free movement, it trumped Remain's warnings of economic chaos." 

06:30: Tory MEP and leading Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan has just been on the BBC, where he has cut a very different tone from Nigel Farage.

While Farage said elatedly "we've got our country back", Hannan said: "We need to remember that two out of the four constituent nations of the UK voted to Remain."

He also added some reassurance for EU nationals in the UK, claiming that the only change will be that they lose their vote in local elections. 

06:04: Fund managers Royal London Asset Management has predicted the UK will fall into recession. Piers Hillier, Chief Investment Officer at Royal London Asset Management, said:

"On the back of this morning’s result we expect the UK will fall into a recession. Unfortunately I see unstable market conditions lasting for between three and five years whilst new trade agreements are drawn up.’

"It is our view that the UK Government will be left with no choice but to stimulate the economy through fiscal and monetary means, flooding the system with liquidity if necessary."

06:02: Labour MP Emily Thornberry brings home the Northern Ireland point on the BBC. Northern Irish voters, who ultimately voted for Remain whatever their background, will now face a land border, she says.

06:00: According to the BBC, the breakdown looks like 52% Leave, 47% Remain. Collect your sweepstake (less valuable) pounds now.

JK Rowling has just tweeted a prediction for a second referendum and the break up of the EU.

05:22: Julia here, live blogging to get through the shock. So who are the winners and losers of the night? Here's some early guesses:

THE WINNERS

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

Farage isn't an MP, which will hold him back a little, but there's no doubt this was a big victory for his party, especially if it turns out (as it appears) that immigration was a key concern for voters. 

Andrea Leadsom, Tory MP

If there's one name that Leave campaigners have been gushing about, it's that of Andrea Leadsom. A far more acceptable face than Farage, Leadsom has positioned herself as Leave's voice of reason. Her background in the financial services will give her authority as the markets crumble. 

Boris Johnson, Tory MP

Many commentators weren't convinced that BoJo was a true quitter, but he swung his weight behind the campaign and it paid off. Already tipped as the strongest leadership contender when Cameron stood down, Boris is now formidable. 

Michael Gove, Tory MP

Along with Leadsom, Gove was a key figure in the mainstream Leave campaign. A talented if controversial figure, Gove will no doubt expect an outlet for his reforming zeal.

THE LOSERS

David Cameron, PM (for now)

Cameron came out top of the Scottish referendum by the skin of his teeth. Second referendum round, his gamble - always intended as a sop to his rivals in the party - has backfired spectacularly. The question is not if, but when he'll be gone. A sad end for the man who brought about the first Conservative majority in nearly 20 years. 

George Osborne, Chancellor

Osborne went into Remain with full guns blazing, and commanded his Treasury to spell out the economic chaos that most market commentators fully expect to now be unleashed. However, his warnings were ridiculed, and his position is likely to be untenable once the initial economic firefighting is over.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader

Corbyn, a reluctant Remain supporter, never fully put his heart into the pro-EU campaign. While he successfully avoided sharing a platform with Tories - seen as a betrayal by voters during the Scottish referendum - the Leave vote tore into the Labour heartlands, and has already reignited demands for a tougher line on immigration. 

Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

We can expect Juncker to strike a tough deal with the absconding UK, not least because his next major headache will be the Eurosceptic movements in other EU member states. There is also a strong Eurosceptic mood in the Netherlands, for example.

THE ONES TO WATCH

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Sturgeon has already made it clear she thinks Scotland has voted to stay in the EU, and you can expect her to fight for a second referendum in Scotland. But will voters' Europhile instincts trump referendum fatigue? 

Theresa May, Tory MP

Possible leadership contender Theresa May has been awfully quiet during the referendum campaign. She backed Remain, but has previously courted the Tory Right and won the approval of the Daily Mail for her conference speech. With Osborne knocked off-kilter, her main opponent with be the flaxen-haired Boris. 

05:15: Lib Dem grandee Paddy Ashdown has a simple comment to make. "God help our country."

04:56: Again, if you've just joined, and you're a Remainder - all is lost. Leave campaigners won't be reading this because they're still enjoying the party. There are however many big questions left to answer:

What happens to Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Scotland has overwhelmingly voted for Remain, and the SNP has already said it would consider another referendum. First minister Nicola Sturgeon says: "The vote makes clear that the Scottish people see their future as part of the European Union."

Northern Ireland is even more tricky. In general, the vote was split on sectarian lines, as Stephanie Boland reported yesterday. Now the whole peace process could be at stake. 

(When) will David Cameron resign?

Before the result was clear, a significant chunk of Tory MPs signed a letter calling for the PM to remain in place, at least for the meantime. But with his Remain campaign in tatters, it's hard to see him clinging on for long. 

How will Labour change its tone on immigration?

Labour MPs commenting on the result have already conceded that voters' concerns about immigration have not been addressed. Former leadership contender Liz Kendall has already tweeted tellingly that this is no wake up call and "some of us have been 'awake' for a little while".

What happens when the markets open?

We already know that the Asian markets have plunged, and the pound is in freefall, but the FTSE100 - the UK's leading stock market index - opens at 8am. The markets have been completely caught out by this. It's not going to be pretty. 

04:54: Labour MP Keith Vaz looks like he's about to cry. "In a million years, I never would have thought the British public would vote this way."

04:51: Labour MP and one-time leadership contender Chuka Umunna is on the BBC, pointing out that half the UK will still have voted for Remain. The big challenge is how to bring this fragmented country together. Adds that it's a "wake up call" for the EU.

Keith Vaz on next. He looks absolutely devastated. "It's a terrible day for Britain and it's a terrible day for Europe." Think you're channeling half the country's emotions there, Keith. 

04:47: On Twitter, it's been pointed out that Nigel Farage is actually an MEP and gets paid in euros. No wonder he's so sanguine about the tumbling pound...

 

 

 

04:43: Statement from Another Europe Is Possible, a pro-Remain left-wing campaign group:

It says it worked "tirelessly" over the past few months to forge a movement that could progress an alternative vision for Europe.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union opens a world of uncertainty that campaigners in the UK must now try to steer in a positive direction, in spite of the divisions that have been stirred. We don’t pretend that this will be easy. 

The campaigners criticise the "demonisation" of some of the poorest people in Europe by the Leave campaign. They say they will "not stop working towards forging a better Europe" and conclude:


We will not give up in our attempts to build a very different sort of world based on equality, democracy and humanity. In this new Britain, we believe our movement is even more important. In coming weeks we will revisit our work and propose new priorities with those who have worked so tirelessly in the past few months, pounding the pavement across the UK to make our voices heard. We hope some of those who campaigned for a left-wing exit will also join us in this work.
 
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. In the months ahead we will try to ensure that we lay the foundations for a better country. We must prove to the world that Britain will not become a byword for intolerance, insularity and despair. Another Europe is possible. Another Britain is necessary.

04:37: David Dimbleby says: "The British people have spoken and the answer is: 'We're out'".

If you've just woken up, and you're deciding whether to ever get out of bed again, here's what you need to know:

1. Leave is on course for victory, and privately Remain campaigners are planning their statements acknowledging defeat. We're expecting them any moment.
2. There was a geographic split, with Scotland and London opting for Remain while much of the country chose to Leave
3. Markets in Asia have tumbled overnight and the pound has plummeted to levels not seen in a generation
4. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has described 24 June as "independence day" and a victory for "decent people"

 

04:27: We're hearing that the Remain campaign are about to call it for Brexit. We've already had one statement from a pro-Remain group, which has since been retracted, but we understand that privately campaigners are gloomy. Watch this space...

04:12: More results in. True blue constituency Tunbridge Wells has opted for 54.9% Remain - another illustration that the Eurosceptic culture divide crosses traditional party lines.

04:07: Tory MP Justine Greening says it was right to have a referendum as this was a hotly debated topic for many years. Actually, as late as 2014, just 11% of voters thought the EU was the top issue, according to Ipsos Mori. The economy, health, education and - crucially - immigration were all deemed more important.

04:04: Farage says 24 July is independence day. Or drink-yourself-to-death day, depending on your point of view.

04:03: Farage says this will have been achieved without "one single bullet being fired". I'm not quite sure what he's suggesting here.

04:02: Nigel Farage says "the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom." Going to make that my alarm clock when I never want to get up. Apparently it's a victory for decent people against the multinationals and banks. 

03:55: More results in. Manchester voted Remain by 60.4% to 39.6%, and my Twitter feed is full of Mancunians boasting that at least their city delivered. George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse didn't let him down (although will we ever hear that slogan again?). Other results don't look so good for Remain. Poole is 58.2% Leave, Copeland 62% Leave and Bedford 51.8% Leave.

03:51: Julia here. Project Fear might be behind in the polls, but they can take small consolation in the fact the markets are proving them right.

While we won't know what the FTSE100 does for sure until markets open at 8am, the Asian markets are open - and have plunged.

Japan's Nikkei index had dived 0.71%, to 16,122.91, and China's Hang Seng dived 1.16%.

Woori Korindo, a securities firm from Korea, tweeted: "Leave 50.1! Asian markets subdued... It's gonna be volatile until we get official result".

03:49: Stephen signing off. Julia Rampen will be taking you through the ramifications. See y'all for the next time the electorate takes a cudgel to my hopes. 

03:46: Sorry about the periods of silence. I have nothing to say, except profanities. 

03:30: I'm gonna have some more of ITV's wine. 

03:25: Sheffield votes to Leave. Brexit has won. 

03:20: Conversation is turning, inevitably, to the question of whether or not I am ever gonna actually be on ITV and not just in their Green Room. And also to whether or not we'll have a new PM and a ne election. Seems a very small question, TBH. 

03:19:  Trying to work out if it will make me feel better if I start passive-aggressively retweeting people who told me we'd stay in the EU.

03:15: My brother-from-another-mother, Conor Pope over at LabourList, is hearing that Remain will get just 62 per cent out of the vote in London. Chris Hanretty has updated his forecasting model to a zero per cent chance of a Remain vote. 

03:00: Liverpool votes Remain by huuuge margin. Being pro-EU: a more reliable symbol of city status than a cathedral. 

02:52: The unnoticed story - as so often in British politicis - is Wales, going for Brexit by a bigger margin that we'd expect. Remain is narrowly ahead but it is running out of strongholds. All signs points to Leave. 

02:44:  More bad news. Remain only narrowly ahead in Moray. The chances of Scotland keeping the rest of the United Kingdom in Europe look low. Turnout in Hackney, one of Remain's strongest areas, is just 65 per cent.

02:35: Earlier today,, I said that I had four questions I wished I knew the answer to. Now I have a fifth: I have never even visited Surrey, I think. I wish I knew how they were gonna come down on - it's safe to say that we can't trust the polls. Their voters are the last hope of Britain's pro-Europeans.

02:32:  Wandsworth has gone for Remain by a much bigger margin than expected. It could yet be that London saves the day. But it isn't likely.

02:30: One day, I'm gonna predict something, and everyone's gonna laugh, and it's gonna come true and it's gonna be "Corbyn to cure cancer", "aliens to arrive with solution to climate change and world peace", right? Right?

02:25: I still haven't been on telly yet. Not the worst thing that's happened tonight. But close. 

02:19: Stephen: Not much to report. Lots of places voting Leave. I have yet to leave the ITV green room. The only Tories NS readers like are wandering round like their puppies have been put down. Labour people look like their puppy has been put down after chewing their legs off. 

02.12 Helen: I'm going to sit in a darkened room. It looks as though Stephen's January prediction of unexpected Brexit might be coming true. If that's the case, then expect a LOT more "banging on about Europe" for the foreseeable future. 

02.09 It's Bellwethergeddon. Bury has 71% turnout and a solid Leave lead. 

There are now open mutterings about it being time to call it for Leave, particularly as the betting markets now have Leave as favourites. It would now take something special for Remain to snatch this back. 

02.05 Helen: There have been fewer updates, but that's only because it's been a series of better-than-expected performances by Leave - nothing you can really point to and gawp, but a generally miserable picture for Remain. We're all waiting to see if a big, unexpected bunch of Remain votes turns up somewhere. 

01.55 Helen: City of London - the tiniest counting area excepting the Scilly Isles, goes for Remain 75/25. Sadly for EU-lovers, only 4,405 people voted.

01.51 Stephen: Yvette Cooper has been in touch via the Twitter to say she has been campaigning in her constituency all day. For the avoidance of doubt - the cameras being in London are also part of the problem.

01.50 George writes in: Not a good sign that the Remain blame game is beginning already. A Labour source said:

'Turnout in Scotland has been considerably lower than expected. The SNP, the dominant party which ran huge campaigns for the independence referendum, UK election and Scottish elections, has run a lacklustre campaign with minimal ground activity. "Sturgeon had more to say about criticising the Remain camp than making the positive case for Europe and she was nowhere to be seen until the dying days of the campaign'.

01.48 Stephen: Turnout figures from Haringey and Islington: 70%. London doesn't look like it's coming to the rescue.

01.36 Stephen: On ITV just now: Yvette Cooper giving an interview from Westminster. It's recess. Her constituency is in Yorkshire. It's voting to leave. Part of the problem.

01.29 Helen: Dundee has also voted Remain, but disappointingly - only 20 points ahead when 29 was the benchmark for a 50/50 result. So far, every local authority in Scotland has voted Remain. 

01.24 Helen: South Tyneside, another northern Labour fort, has gone 62% for Leave. The line coming from Labour appears to be "this is voters giving Cameron a kicking". The alternative spin is "this is Labour-y voters who haven't been won over to the official Labour position". 

01.22 Stephen: The good news is I'm on course to win £90. The bad news is it's in sterling.

01.21 Stephen: Turnout is just 72 per cent in pro-Remain Oxford - lower than Eurosceptic Bassetlaw. Meanwhile, both turnout and Remain's voteshare is lower than we'd expect in Scotland. Am hearing that London has turned out in record numbers but that wouldn't be enough to give Remain a win on current showing.

01.15 Helen: As Stephen says, that low turnout in an area expected to be heavily Remain is dicey news. There are some relatively high figures coming in from London, but Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru is not sounding all that chipper about the vote in Wales on the BBC right now. 

01.14 Stephen: Just 56 per cent turnout in Glasgow. Fuuudge.

01.13 Stephen: But seriously, things not as bleak as they looked when Sunderland declared but Leave are still the favourites at present. It could come down to whether the voters of Surrey are worried about their house prices more than the bend of a banana.

01.11 Stephen: A lot of journalists suggesting a Brexit vote would trigger the end of the Corbyn era. Don't know what these people are on but can I please have some? Would make this evening more bearable.

01.07 Helen: Watching Ed Miliband at the world's saddest party saying that Corbyn was a "reluctant Remainer" and trying to spin that as a good thing. Also reading Lindsay Lohan live-tweeting the referendum. John Curtice, king of polls, says that the bad weather and screwed trains in London and the south-east do seem to have affected turnout. (Contrary to conventional wisdom.)

00.59 George is hearing that the Labour whips are moving to calm their jittery MPs, saying there is a "script available" for anyone doing media. They will need it - the grumbling has already started. One senior Labour MP says: "The referendum simply shone a light on how utterly out of touch Corbyn and McDonnell are with so many traditional labour voters outside of London. Jeremy made the biggest issue of concern for traditional Labour voters thinking of voting Leave - ie the impact of freedom of movement - his main reason why Britain should remain. It was a sort of political suicide of genius proportions."

00.57 Stephen: Swindon a bit better for Remain - what you'd expect if we were looking at a 50/50 split.

00.56 Stephen: Hearing that Remain have won the City of London (electorate 7,000) by 50 points.

00.52 Stephen: Swindon goes for Leave, but am hearing big wins for Remain in Foyle and Lewisham. It's not over yet....

00.45 Helen: Sass from Liz Kendall. Expect more similar alarm over Labour's failure to win over its northern working-class voters to its official line. 

00.40 Stephen: One unreported subplot of the last three years: the cluelessness of much of the PLP about their own backyards. Didn't realise Ed Miliband on course for heavy defeat, didn't realise their activists were for Jeremy Corbyn, didn't expect Brexit landslides in their constituencies.

00.37 Helen: Laughing through the horror:

00.35 Barbara Speed reports turnout of 73.5% in the City of London. Which to be fair is still only a few thousand people. 

00.33 Stephen: Cool heads from one pro-Remain minister: we don't actually *know* the baselines, we're just guessing based on polls.

00.26 Stephen: Ukip's Suzanne Evans just walked past with a glass of prosecco. Who was I in a past life? Someone terrible, clearly.

00.22 Stephen: These results are awful. Just awful. But while Sunderland exactly mirrored the result at the general - in the locals, it didn't. There's a straw for you all to clutch.

00.21 Helen: Here's what the markets think of those first few results. 

00.17 Helen: It's gone unnoticed as a very small area, but Clackmannanshire in Scotland voted Remain 58-42, which is relatively underwhelming. The punditry is now focusing on whether the North-East is a special case, or whether the polls really are total balls again.  

00.16 RESULT! Sunderland has 134,400 ballots. Remain: 51,930. Leave: 82,394. Woah. That's a whopper. 

00.15 Helen: And here comes a reminder that the betting markets don't predict results, they show what people think the results will be. Betters are now piling into Brexit. 

00.13 Helen: I have the opposite of a straw. 

00.11 Stephen: If you are looking for straws to clutch - it could be that Leave's unexpected success in Newcastle is drowned out by unexpected defeat in the south. Students could have voted at home. I'm gonna go get another glass of wine.

00.06 Stephen: They say pessimists only get good surprises but this isn't true. What actually happens is you feel awful for six months, convince yourself it'll be okay at 10pm and then the electorate breaks your heart.

00.05 Helen: It's all got a bit crunchy - on that Newcastle result, the pound fell and the mood at the Remain party is a bit more subdued. Orkney has voted Remain, by 63% to 37%.

00.04 Stephen: This is really, really bad. Really, really, really bad. I'm having another red wine.

00.01 RESULT! Newcastle beats Sunderland, and comes in with the narrowest of narrow Remain victories - 50.7%. Turnout 68%. Not great for Remain.  

23:58 Helen: Everything is very quiet as everyone has a little freakout.

23:45 Helen: John Curtice says he would expect 60% for Remain in Newcastle if the country ended up 50/50, according to his modelling. Noises coming from there are for a narrow Remain victory only. So really it's squeaky-bum time for both sides and we will have to wait for more results to start building up a better picture. It's hard to get out of the mindset of constituencies, and first past the post, but there's no issue here with "piling up" votes in one place or another. Every one counts equal. 

23:44 Stephen: Nigel Farage says the "Eurosceptic genie is out of the bottle" in a speech from a man who sounds like he thinks he's lost. Jafar died shortly after getting out of the bottle, to be fair. But his concession may be redundant of rumours of a 60% Leave vote in Sunderland are correct.

23:41 Helen: Nigel Farage has arrived at the Leave party and is giving nothing away in terms of unreunconcession. He talks about a long campaign - "25 years for me!" - and about Turkey, Greek bailouts, and the fact the "Eurosceptic genie is out of the battle". He says that across Europe, in Italy and Denmark, more and more people want to leave the EU. He hopes "my sense of this is wrong" - "and no, I'm not conceding" - and blames the government's extension of voting registration if Remain wins. 

23:40 Stephen: The only way is down. Remain get their small but expected landslide from Gilbraltar. 96 to 4 per cent. Blimey!

23:29 Stephen: 65 per cent turnout in Sunderland! Blimey. If the noises of a blowout in Sunderland are correct that would put us on course for a Leave vote. 

23:38 RESULT! Gibraltar declares: 823 people voted to Leave. 19,322 voted Remain. On a uniform vote... 

23:35 Stephen: Striking: the complete silence from both campaigns. Suggests it may be very close indeed.

23:34 Stephen: I must admit, were I Cameron, I'd quit tomorrow. If he wins, he'll never soar so high again and if he loses, why not say "You broke it, you bought it" to Boris?

23:32 There has just been a minute's silence for Jo Cox at the Remain party and at the count in Yorkshire. The panel on ITV are struggling to discuss the aftermath of her death - clearly Allegra Stratton and Tom Bradby were affected by it. (As we were in the NS office.) Personally, I thought everyone did a pretty good job of walking the line between being true to Cox's beliefs and not politicising her death in a way that seemed cheap. 

23:31 I approve of this way to pass the time until we have any results. 

23:28 I'm still channel-hopping, having been promised Andy Coulson on ITV, but I'm regretting not watching the Welsh channel S4C right now.

23:27 Robert Peston has walked off from ITV saying he will be on Facebook Live and anywhere else viewers want "every waking hour". "We have a chip in him," says Tom Bradby, cutting to a GoPro shot of the political editor. Everyone titters. He then does one of those tone-handbreak-turns I associate with The One Show to talk about the mood in Yorkshire. 

23:24 Helen: Michael Crick of Channel 4 has a pertinent question. "If City of London only has 7,000 voters, all in a square mile, why haven't they declared yet? I could almost count those on my own by now." (The City is expected to declare close to 2am.)

23:23 Stephen: Ed Miliband is here! He is looking relaxed and cheery.

23:22 Stephen: A lot of Labour MPs in the north are depressed about their patch - although in terms of the In/Out question that's in keeping with what we'd expect. Hearing it may be as big as a 40 point lead for Leave in Sunderland.

23:18 George emails with a list of the Leave-supporting MPs who have not signed the letter backing David Cameron's continued leadership of the Tory party. Some unsurprising names here - Iain Duncan Smith, Nadine Dorries, Tim Loughton, Andrew Bridgen, Adam Afriyie, Peter Bone, Bill Cash - but it is a salutary reminder of how many enemies the prime minister has accumulated over his six years in the job. Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 commitee has not signed. He's the person who dissident Tory MPs lodge their letters of no confidence with, and if that tally reaches 50, it's leadership election time. 

23:15 The latest on the wildly oscillating Farage. It appears he has unununconceded. Or something. 

23:11 Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland minister and Leave supporter, says her sense is that Remain has edged it. Ukip's Douglas Carswell is having none of it - reminding us of predictions on election night that Thanet South had "gone the other way" (ie voted for his party leader/frenemy Nigel Farage). Meanwhile, Kettering is reporting turnout of 76% - way above the May election. 

23:06 Ohhhhhhh, it's SEX MAD, isn't it? Well, let's hope Iain Duncan Smith gets to comment on that. 

23:05 "Let's have a look at the newspaper front pages," says Dimbleby. "Bit of an old-fashioned thing to do." He is as baffled as I am by the Sun's headline: BREX MAD. (What is it a pun on?) "I don't know why we're mocking these," he adds. 

23:03 Iain Duncan Smith is talking about how sad it is that people haven't felt they have anyone to vote for who represented them before. I am being sick in a bucket. 

23:01 As promised, a letter from 84 MPs is being circulated, asking David Cameron to stay on whatever the result. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the two leading lights of the Leave campaign, are among them. Is it just me that finds this slightly passive-aggressive? "Oh David, please don't resign EVEN IF YOUR REPUTATION IS DESTROYED". Anyway, here's Robert Syms, the Conservative MP for Poole, tweeting about it. 

23:00 "Facts are, in a way, more interesting than speculation," says David Dimbleby. Then asks Tom Watson what he thinks will happen next in the Tory party. 

22:59 BREAKING! Nigel Farage has reconceded. Or ununconceded. Or is possibly just well refreshed. 

22:55 Word reaches me that Nigel Farage has "unconceded". This follows his "unresignation" in May after failing to win a seat in the Commons. I wish he would "unappear" on television occasionally.

22:53 The full YouGov cross-breaks are here, should you enjoy a cheeky PDF of an evening. George says: 

"It's worth looking at the party splits in the YouGov poll. Remain believed they needed two-thirds of Labour voters to win and they've got 69 per cent. The Tories have split 57-43 for Brexit, while the Lib Dems are 73-27 for Remain. Perhaps most surprisingly, 7 per cent of Ukip supporters voted *for* the EU."

22:44 As Stephen wrote in his magazine cover story this week, the referendum has exposed a deeper divide in Britain than left/right - a mixture of class, education, age and expectation. The YouGov NOT AN EXIT POLL confirms what we thought - the story of Euroscepticism is about graduates vs non-graduates, among other things. 66 per cent of those who left school at 16 say they voted Leave, while only 29 per cent of those with degrees say the same. 

22:42 Felicity Morse of the i has the roll call of shame of Tory MPs who think it's time to move on from the referendum, all of whom had that thought at suspiciously at the same time.

22:41 Andrea Leadsom, who has been in several debates for Leave - and is rumoured to be Boris Johnson's pick for chancellor - is on ITV. She is unsurprisingly refusing to be drawn on Tory leadership candidates, but it's a useful reminder that the Conservative psychodrama isn't over, whatever the result. 

22:38 Patrick O'Flynn, the UKIP MEP, says that the YouGov result is close enough that a good postal result or some "shy Leavers" could yet tip it. It's a coded rebuke to party leader Nigel Farage, who was very gloomy minutes after the polls closed. 

22:35 Helen: Look, it's not Hamilton, but you'll just have to lump it. Here's Ukip's Steven Woolfe MEP with a referendum poem. I like his "freeborn men - and women" and the use of "kith and kin", and "gone is Habeus to the extremist warrant" particularly. 

22:30 Helen: When the New York stock exchange closed, the pound was up - another good sign for Remain. Although here comes Paul Waugh to rain on that particular parade:

22:29 I asked on Twitter what the best channel was. My favourite answer: "The English channel."

22:25 Helen: I'm flicking between channels. It's hard to resist the charms of John Curtice on the BBC. He just looks like the 1970s. The good 70s, obviously. Over on ITV, though, I find Tom Bradby very reassuring. Smooth without being unctuous. Although if you watch ITV, there is the horrifying possibility of encountering Stephen. 

22:23 Helen: Also, Tory MPs have started to tweet about how they have delivered on their manifesto promise to hold a referendum and now it's time to get on with governing. With which I heartily agree.

22.22 George Eaton, our political editor, zips by to say: "If it's a narrow Remain (as the polls suggest), expect to hear lots from Leave about the government's £9.3m leaflet campaign, the Treasury's apocalyptic warnings and Mark Carney's intervention. They will seek to frame this as a dishonourable victory."

22:15 Helen: Mixed signals so far, although leaning slightly towards Remain. We will get the first hard results at around midnight (Sunderland, which always counts fast, is rumoured to be desperate to get everything wrapped up in record time). Gibraltar also comes in early. For a full guide to who is expected to declare when, click here. We hope to have a good idea by 3am, and a declaration by breakfast. In the meantime, do let me know your strategies for getting through the count. I'm on the Swizzels Fun Bag, and already two packs of Love Hearts and a Drumstick down. 

22.10 Helen: In the absence of an exit poll, one of the early indicators we're looking out for is the market - hedge funds have been conducting private polling, on the basis that Brexit will cause sterling to fall. So this from the FT's Peter Spiegel is interesting:

Plus: Lewis Iwu bumped into Boris Johnson on the tube home. 

22.07 Stephen: I have tried the white wine. Tastes so bad I'd rather get drunk on the wine, be sick and drink that than finish it. 0/10, would not recommend.

22.06 Helen: YouGov's day of poll-poll (which is DEFINITELY NOT AN EXIT POLL) has Remain to win by 4 points. It was pretty reliable in the Scottish independence referendum, for what it's worth.  

22.04 Helen: Bit of context on Nigel's early bath - he said that on Sky News, based on a small poll. The Official Leave.EU campaign say its internal poll has Leave on 52 per cent.  

22.03 Stephen: Turnout in Gibraltar is 84. Nigel Farage says Remain have won. 

22:01 Stephen: I have come dressed as a scruffier version of my own byline pic. (Helen: tragically you will not be able to see this vision, because I can't upload the photo Stephen sent, without it showing sideways. Sorry. Just close your eyes and imagine.)

22.00 VOTING CLOSED!!!

21:55 Stephen: Some of you are asking if the wine is good, so I have tried some. The red has that brackish taste of a free wine, where it tastes unpleasantly like your mouth after a hard night's drinking.

21:51 Helen: While we wait for the definitely-not-an-exit-poll to arrive at 10pm when the polls close, here are a few photos from around the country today. 

Here's Jeremy Corbyn in his constituency, looking happy (I think?)

And here is Michael Gove with his wife, Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine. He looks happy, which will upset the people on my Facebook wall whose sole reason for voting today was "to make Michael Gove sad". Maybe later. 

And here is the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, in (we think) strongly pro-Remain Scotland, where turnout was reportedly high.

And here is Nigel Farage of Ukip, pouring his curves into a svelte double-breasted suit. (Sorry, I'm having flashbacks.)

21:49 Stephen: Hearing that turnout is very high. Who that helps is complicated depending on where it's high. Low turnout (under 45) helps Leave. 50-80 per cent helps Remain. 80+ is probably a wash. 

21:46 Helen: Not going to lie, my only plan for getting through tonight - less glamorously than Stephen, I am in my living room - is to rewrite all the lyrics of Hamilton to be about British politics. Feel free to join me - I'm @helenlewis - and perhaps this can be as successful* as Morningside Pie

*definitions of success may vary. 

21:41 Stephen here. I have conducted a mini-poll in the green room: ComRes's Tom Mludzinki thinks we are in. Sunny Hundal has "a bad feeling we are out". Danny Finkelstein thinks we are in. I am out of my mind with worry.

21:32: Helen here. I will be filling in tonight whenever Stephen is on telly. My only contribution so far is the charming picture of the dog you will see above this post, because Stephen doesn't "get" dogs and what is polling night for if not winding up your colleagues?

21:23: No, I am not drinking the wine. I am a lightweight. Also I fall asleep while drunk.

21:21: There is wine in the ITV green room! This seems like a brave choice on the part of the producers. 

21:19: People asking how I think it's gone. Having been very pessimistic I am feeling cheerier as there were a lot of queues outside polling stations in my very pro-Remain part of the world.

21:00: Hiya! Stephen Bush here. I'll be your host until 10pm, when polls will close and Helen Lewis takes over. I am on ITV tonight and will be bringing gossip and the like from the green room.

Dog at polling station. Photo: Getty

Advertising: Facebook and Google’s duopoly

From Analysis. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Digital is set to eclipse TV as the main source of spending but online power is a concern

Brazil failure shows up bad debt dynamics

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

A Petrobras recapitalisation is one of the solutions that is available

How Lenin the chicken began his reign of terror

By Janice Turner from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

When we hatched Lenin under our broody hen, we had to idea what was to come.

My mother-in-law returned from Spain with eggs from feral Galician chickens, smuggled in in a cornflake box. We hatched them under our broody hen, hoping they would replace the chicks that had been murdered by foxes. But half of this batch was male and, as the chickens grew, war broke out in the once-peaceful and all-female run.

Cockfighting is rather exciting. It’s easy to understand why our bored ancestors were thrilled to watch these murderous ninja birds. But if blood sports seemed inappropriate in our south London garden, so did wringing the young cockerels’ necks.

Eventually, we persuaded a friend who once worked on a poultry farm to do the twist-and-pull. We killed two and plucked and gutted them, but no one wanted to eat them so I had to throw them away.

We let one male live and my elder son, who was then around 12 and obsessed with reruns of The Good Life, called him Lenin. He grew into a nursery-book rooster: deep auburn plumage, flamboyant tail and scarlet comb.

Lenin, however, was an utter bastard. When you went to feed the hens he’d rush out and kick your legs, ripping them with the sharp spurs on his feet. We learned to go armed with a broom handle.

As the patriarch of six hens and the two white ducks that my son had hatched in an incubator from eggs bought at Sainsbury’s, he was a brutal tyrant. He screwed the smallest, sweetest chicken so violently that he ripped the feathers off her back. With a cross-species broad-mindedness, he savagely f***ed the ducks.

Then there was the noise. At first, we thought it amusing that our neighbourhood rang with cock-a-doodle-doos. But it wasn’t at all funny by spring, when Lenin was up throatily greeting the sunrise at 5am.

Every evening, someone would ask, “Have you put the cock away?” The drill was this: grab Lenin, hold down his razor-blade feet, then stow him under a box in the shed. If he couldn’t see daylight, we were told, he wouldn’t crow. But neighbours were still woken up by his distant, strangulated cries. In the morning, we would gingerly lift the box and find him furious.

This couldn’t go on. His comb looked awry, his plumage greasy. No one had slept well for months. I proposed inviting over our chicken-strangler friend but everyone was appalled. So I made a secret plan. One night, while my son was away on a school trip, I crept down to the run, seized Lenin and threw him over the fence into my neighbour’s garden, where the foxes lived. I went inside and told no one.

I barely slept that night. I kept thinking I could hear Lenin. I told myself I’d given him a gladiator’s chance: maybe he’d fly up a tree and ninja the foxes. I vowed to let him live if he survived. The next morning, the cock didn’t crow.

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Who cares for the carers? The forgotten people our society relies on everyday

By David Skuzbee from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Both carers and care workers need more support. 

There are currently 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. Most of us, at some point in our lives, will care for someone, most likely a friend, neighbour, or family member. We will do anything from household chores, taking them shopping, and assisting with paperwork, to personal care: helping them to wash, dress, and get in and out of bed. Although this may be brief, both in the length of time spent caring and the hours put in each day, for many it’s a commitment lasting for much of their lives.

Caring can provide the carer with a deep sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and even new skills. And yet, according to Carers Week, 75per cent of carers don’t feel their caring role is understood or valued by their community.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of carers and caring: to recognise both the challenges they face and the contribution they make. This year, Carers Week lasted from Monday 6 June to Sunday 12 June, and focused on building carer-friendly communities. This was supported by seven key charities: Age UK, Carers UK, Carers Trust, Independence Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, the MS Society, and the MND Association.

I spoke with Barbara Keeley, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers, about what she’s did for Carers Week. Her focus fell predominantly on the unpaid, voluntary side of care, rather than care workers, although it has to be said that there is so much interaction between the two groups that it’s hard to talk about one without the other.

At one point, I used “carer” and “care worker” interchangeably, and Barbara stopped to correct me. She said people feel quite strongly about this distinction. A woman she met last week was putting in 100 hours a week when caring for her husband, and wanted to be known as a “carer” to differentiate herself and those who volunteer their time from those who do this professionally.

“Many carers have to battle to get the support they need for the person they care for, and for themselves”, Barbara said. “They should not have to do this. They should be supported locally and nationally in their caring role”. She tries to do this in Westminster through debates and meetings, recently focusing on specific issues, such end of life care for children, young people, and LGBT people.

Who cares for the carers?

In Barbara’s view, the biggest challenges for carers are; lack of recognition, not being listened to or considered when decisions are made, and financial hardship. It’s difficult for many carers to make ends meet, and 1.2 million are in poverty.

Lack of support from NHS and social care services has exacerbated this, with carers having to wait for assessments of their own needs. “NHS bodies should have a duty to identify carers”, Barbara says. “If this is done early enough, carers are more likely to get access to the support they need. Social care is chronically underfunded at a time when the population of older people with complex care needs is growing. More people are providing unpaid care for more hours than ever before”.

There’s also the issue of training: many carers are providing hours of support every day to someone with a complex illness, like dementia, without having been taught or prepared for the challenges this presents. On a positive note, the experience they gain is often so great that Barbara believes many carers should be regarded as experts.

But, I asked her, what would a Labour government do to help? Barbara advocates a fairer funding settlement for local authorities to pay for adult social care, and for carers to have flexible working policies, better pay, and paid leave. As she points out, this all hinges on being identified as a carer, as without this, it’s significantly harder to find and receive the support they need. 

She, an MP in Greater Manchester, references how the integration of NHS services in that area will mean more money flowing around, but, as is the case now, social care could remain in a black hole. There’s also the impact on mental health, which Barbara notes affects younger carers in a big way, but is yet to be addressed in any meaningful way. 

As Barbara is quick to point out, paid and unpaid carers interact frequently. And it’s reassuring for one to know the other is able to provide a high quality standard of care, so improved training and conditions for one benefits the other.

To mark Carers Week, Barbara has met with older people who are also carers for loved ones. On Friday 10 June, after we spoke, Barbara was going to meet with young carers. Other Labour MPs are getting involved too. Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East, spent the day shadowing a homecare worker, following her as she went from house to house to provide support. Lilian Greenwood, the Shadow Transport Secretary, and a former Unison worker, has put videos on social media to voice support for carers, and will be visiting a care home next Friday. Plenty of others used this week as an opportunity to learn more about care in their constituency. Given Labour’s ink with trade unions, many MPs are also particularly concerned about working conditions for paid care workers.

Lack of support

I spoke with Sean Kelly-Walsh, a local organiser for Unison and former parliamentary candidate, to better understand the paid side of care. Unison East Midlands hired him and two others back in October to help them locate, represent, and recruit homecare workers, and campaign in order to achieve this. As with any trade union, Unison wants to recruit as many workers as possible to secure better working conditions for them all. Although Carers Week focuses on unpaid carers, it presents Unison with an ideal opportunity to achieve these goals, and emphasise the importance of paid care workers. It could be argued that Unison are pulling focus away from the core purpose of Carers Week, but Sean tells me Unison are offering information to voluntary carers about the support they can get too. 

Between the government slashing the social care budget and increased privatisation, Sean describes homecare workers as, “suffering cuts upon cuts”, but their struggles run deeper than this. “They do the work of a nurse”, Sean said, “but get about a fifth of the respect and wages”.

He sees the biggest challenges as a lack of training opportunities and support for all carers, within the context of underfunding, which has resulted in high turnover of paid staff. “It’s one of those jobs where, whether you’re paid or unpaid, you’ve got to love it; you’ve got to love looking after people”, he says. “People have the passion, but they’re not being adequately supported by the government”.

Another major problem is unpaid travel time and expenses. If someone is working a 15-minute session, they, inevitably, will spend more time traveling than working, and only get paid for those 15 minutes spent with the client. Longer minimum slots would help, but wouldn’t be enough to alleviate the strain on their own. Barbara had also mentioned wanting to put an end to the 15-minute long care visits, and before the 2015 election, Labour pledged to end this practice.

“Getting people to join a trade union is crucial”, Sean said. He often hears stories of people or their friends and family being exploited through overwork. Unison are trying to get workers a better deal by looking at the underlying national issue that homecare providers do not pay their staff for adequately or provide training opportunities.

As Barbara, Sean, and everyone else I’ve spoken to on this issue has said, we have to make sure the people who care for the people we love are also cared for. Unless carers are given more support, and care workers are given better working conditions, they with both struggle to cope with the growing demand for care in our country. As it stands, the government simply aren’t doing enough. 

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A new BBC program allows us to watch couples undertake mediation

By Rachel Cooke from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator is a rather astonishing series - and it's up to the viewer to provide judgement.

Somewhere in Epsom, Surrey, a separated couple, Sue and Peter, are trying with the help of a family mediator to sort out their financial situation. It’s a complicated business. Long ago, when she was in her twenties, Sue lived with a man called Bernard, a partner in the accountancy firm where she worked as a clerk. Bernard, though, was 25 years her senior, and because he already had three children the relationship seemed to have no future. Sue wanted a family of her own, and so she left him for his colleague Peter, whom she married in 1982. In 2015, however, she fell out of love with Peter. One morning in January, she cleaned the house, made a casserole for him and the two of her  three adult sons still living at home, and scarpered back to Bernard.

You wouldn’t call Bernard a Svengali. He is soon to be 80; his major pleasures in life appear to be golf and mah-jong. But he does play a role in all this. Every offer Peter makes, Sue takes home to Bernard, who then goes through the small print. If he sounds gleeful at what he regards as Peter’s pitiful idea of a settlement, she seems not to notice. But then, Sue, a housewife, seems not to notice anything much, least of all that the well-off Bernard insists he can’t keep her, financially speaking – never mind that, come lunchtime, it’s she who’s there in his well-appointed kitchen, dutifully dotting Worcestershire sauce on molten slices of Cheddar. Is Bernard taking his revenge on ­Peter for having nicked the woman he loved all those years ago? Or does he genuinely care only on grounds of fairness that everything is split 50:50? You decide!

I’m not joking: you really do. The BBC’s rather astonishing three-part series Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator (Tuesdays, 9pm) offers no judgement in the matter of Peter and Sue, or any of the other couples it features. In this, it reflects the mediators, whose sanguine exteriors I find quite disturbing.

“You’ve had some intimacy, yes?” said Judith, a mediator working in King’s Cross, as a woman called Nichola complained that her ex, Martin, had broken into her flat and begged her for sex, an act that required her to have a “full health check” afterwards (post-coitus, she discovered he had joined an internet dating site). Nichola didn’t answer the question, choosing instead to stare at Judith’s earrings (dangly earrings appear to be a requirement for jobs with the Family Mediation service). Meanwhile, Martin walked out, fed up of Nichola’s “snidey remarks”. Another woman, Victoria, had agreed to mediation only if she and her ex-husband could sit in separate rooms; their mediator, Irene, had to shuttle between them every 15 minutes. How the mediators keep their mouth shut when people are behaving like this, I have no idea. To the long list of jobs I can never do, I must add another.

Everything about this documentary series is eye-popping, though that doesn’t mean I’ve much appetite for it. Some people descend into snarling madness when they split up; their hurt, to which they cling as if to a soft toy, makes rational thought all but impossible, and it is horrible to see. I was mildly surprised that National Family Mediation allowed the BBC access, but I suppose they’re only hoping to encourage more people to sign up, the better to avoid expensive court battles. What is far more astonishing is that these couples were willing to be filmed as they yelled and cried and exposed their most intimate flaws and secrets. Why did they do it?

Jason, who sends his ex-wife “helpful” web links mansplaining how a child’s teeth should be cleaned; Nichola, who won’t even talk to her husband when he delivers their small sons back to her (they must run in the dark from his car to the stairwell of her flat); Sue, whose mediation, thanks to Bernard, drags on for three months before she accepts Peter’s offer: I can’t think that any of them is a bad or cruel person. In their misery, however, they seem so. Lots of us have been there. But when things improve, we get to look back in horror, to gaze wonderingly at the sickness that then took hold. For these couples, it’s all preserved for posterity: the meanness, the futility, the mind-turning hate. 

Protectionism barks but still has no bite

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Measures blocking imports are well within their historical trends

Brexit results so far: how Britain is voting in the EU referendum

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

EU referendum results as they happen - when it comes to Brexit, it's all about seeing what happens in Sunderland. 

After closing time for the Brexit polls at 10pm, the count has begun. With no Brexit exit poll, we won’t have any idea about the public’s answer to the referendum question until the results come out. There are a few key constituencies to look out for, such as Sunderland. 

The YouGov day-of-polling survey has Remain ahead, although that's not an exit poll and no one feels confident enough to call the result from it. 

We’ll update our referendum live blog with results as they come in - click here - we expect to have a good idea of the result by 3am, but it could be as late as 6am if the contest is tight. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the result as soon as it happens. 

00:00 Gibraltar and the Isles of Scilly to declare

00:30 Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne to declare

00:45 City of London to declare

01:00 Oldham and Darlington to declare

02:00 First Scottish results

03:30 Edinburgh and Cambridge to declare

06:00 Bristol to declare

Read more: what to look out for as the EU referendum results comes in.

Brexit results so far. Photo: Getty

The giraffe and the poacher and me: why wildlife documentaries are putting people in the frame

By India Bourke from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Natural history documentaries have traditionally avoided knotty conservation issues. But they are changing.

Stunning scenes of African wildlife and the lilting tones of David Attenborough – at first glance, this new BBC documentary sounds like predictably soothing sofa fare. Even the title is calming: Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants.

Yet this is no traditional, natural-world escapism. Instead, behind its story of an effort to conserve an endangered species, lies one of the world's most unsettling and overlooked conflicts.

The film’s central action takes place in Uganda, where a dozen park-rangers are tasked with wrestling a herd of giraffes to the ground, before roping them onto a rickety trailer, and shipping them down the Nile to a new home. Over a tonne of giraffe flailing within inches of human bodies makes for a nail-biting spectacle, but it is not the most troubling episode of the film – that scene takes place off-camera and is an all too human affair.

The grim sequence opens with the news that the film crew won’t be able to accompany that day’s search for giraffe, as the helicopter is out of spare seats. When the chopper makes an unexpectedly swift return, however, the conservation team, visibly shaken, can’t clamber out fast enough: “We basically flew over some guys with a bunch of cattle in the park, we saw two rifles point up and then we heard bang – we all thought the chopper had been hit”, says the team leader, “it’s just a bloody warzone out there; this is frickin crazy”.

It is believed that the shots were fired by a gang of AK-47 wielding poachers. Groups such as this are increasingly funded by international, criminal organisations and driven by China’s growing demand for rare animal parts. To date they are thought to be responsible not just for the continued decimation of the continent’s wildlife, but also for contributing to the deaths of over 1,000 local rangers. Within a year of this event, “a helicopter was shot down and the pilot killed by poachers in Tanzania”, Attenborough tells us.

Natural history documentaries have traditionally avoided such knotty issues. In fact they’ve often worked hard to preserve a romantic notion of wilderness by keeping troublesome farmers, tourists or conservationists firmly away from the lens. If humans do feature, it has largely been to provide commentary upon natural behaviour, or as adventurers ready to test themselves against a bigger, stronger or wetter animal “other”.

For director Tom Mustill, such narrow thinking made pitching conservation stories incredibly tough: “The thinking was that these boring environment tales would depress and lecture the audience and they'd turn off. This was very frustrating because dramatic and inspiring things were happening and we couldn't film them.”

Yet thankfully the story we tell about nature is changing, as BBC commissioner Roger Webb tells me: “There will always be an appetite for pure natural history shows, such as Planet Earth and Life Story,” he explains, but “having local voices telling us about their country is something that the Natural World strand is always looking to do more of. It’s the most authentic perspective you can get”.

The shift is also gaining momentum from new media: photos taken by Massai Kenyans can reach facebook audiences in seconds, while ambitious new players like Netflix have been able to plough money into traditionally risky subjects – trusting that their audiences will stick out the subtitles.

The result is more and more wildlife films that put people in the frame; Blackfish, Virunga, and Fish Fight, have all garnered huge audiences and multiple awards. And the trend looks set to continue, with the upcoming release of Impact, a new environmental series from Discovery, and the BBC’s My Congo.

According to WWF campaigns director, Colin Butfield, the development couldn’t be more welcome. The world’s demand for food, timber and exotic animals still undermines efforts to clamp down on illegal trade: “We’ve set targets for the international players but in many cases there just hasn’t been enough progress towards them; we’re no-where near responding at the level we ultimately need to.”

The speed with which such films about conservation are becoming mainstream, however, is giving many new hope. “Anything big, international and complex is going to take time, but I’m encouraged by the public’s growing understanding of how these issues involve us all”, says Butfield. “When this grows, suddenly governments and companies can find themselves capable of acting in a more responsible way.”

Giraffes, Africa's Gentle Giants airs at 8pm on Thursday on BBC2, or on iPlayer.

BBC

What's the score? BBC Radio 4 explores composers' manuscripts

By Antonia Quirke from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Tales from the Stave is endlessly fascinating, although my classical musician siblings tell me composers aren't so bad in real life.

A new series of the ever-fascinating programme that examines composers’ handwritten manuscripts for markings and meaningful doodles started at the Birmingham Oratory, looking at Elgar’s 1900 conducting score for The Dream of Gerontius (repeated 18 June, 3.30pm). A work for voices and orchestra (and one of the most popular pieces in the choral canon), it sets to music a poem by John Henry Newman about a pious man’s journey into death, facing demons and eventually purification. This is a work full of “vulnerability and elements of failure”, as the presenter Frances Fyfield put it. Elgar’s version, if you like, of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Looking at the score, Fyfield murmured absorbedly about the composer’s many visionary and monomaniacal scribbles. “Lento has been changed to Lento mistico, which is fantastic.” Much was made of the erratic style of his pen strokes. “Frantic abandon, hugely animated tempo markings, emotional expression. Presto scribbled out with two black lines . . . Oh!” Yet after it was mentioned that Elgar (“rather amusingly”) inscribed not just Despair but Despairissimo throughout another section, I texted my brother, a classical singer, and my sister, a violinist, to ask if made-up words and general geek/dweeb control-freakery was usual on a composer’s score.

“Never come across it, really,” my brother replied, “and really I wouldn’t think too much of markings. It’s an interpretive thing.” Then what are you thinking of when you’re singing? I ask, disappointed. “Sex. And wondering where we’re going for dinner after rehearsal.” Sounded a bit lax to me. Had my sister ever encountered an overwrought composer/conductor, yelling “DESPAIRISSIMO!” at the strings? “Not really,” she shrugged. “One bloke. Big moustache. I asked him once about bow strokes and he said he didn’t give a s**t.”

There must have been somebody! Something to illustrate that hyper-receptive transaction trauma – that stunned sense of epiphany – between composer and musician? “Well, there was one guy who made me feel so bad when I did a solo, I started my period on the spot.” And that, dear reader, is my annual formal account from the British concert platform. Il prossimo!

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What would really happen to the Calais “Jungle” camp if the UK leaves the EU?

By Barbara Speed from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Would Calais come to Dover? Or would we “beef up” our borders?

On Monday, the Daily Express reported that a group of migrants from Calais’ “Jungle” refugee camp had attempted to board vehicles at the entrance to the motorway, leading to clashes between police, drivers and refugees.

The story claims that this attempt was inspired by “some migrants fearing border controls could be beefed up immediately in the event of a Brexit”. The camp is full of migrants hoping to make their way to Britain by smuggling across the sea or through the tunnels under the Channel, and at the moment, French police tightly patrol the border to keep it in place.

So what would really happen to this operation if Britain left the European Union?

At first glance, it’s the opposite of what the Express claimed. The French economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, has threatened that Calais’ camp would “move to Dover”, as the French would refuse to police the section of the British border located by the Calais port and tunnels. David Cameron has echoed these concerns.

However, this story was slightly misleading: the French currently patrol our border in Calais as part of the 2003 Le Touquet Treaty, which is not linked to our EU membership. The French could back out of the agreement at any time, but they would need to give two years’ notice. It could happen – but not right away.

Meanwhile, when I visited the camp on Wednesday, aid workers and refugees alike did not see Monday’s events as remarkable, as migrants try to board lorries on a near-daily basis. One asks: “When is the vote? Friday?” Alexandra Simmons, an aid worker with Care4Calais, tells me that “there was a combination of foggy weather and the traffic jam – I could tell a few would try that day”. She adds that during Monday’s clashes police threw tear gas canisters into the camp itself, burning holes in tarps and tents. The camp’s legal centre also says that several refugees were injured, and is currently collecting information on this.

Both the idea of migrants rising up against Brexit, and the idea that Calais’ camp would move to Dover, are scare stories from opposing camps, timed to win political capital. Claire Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, tells me that involving the camp in the referendum the debate is a distraction: “The EU debate should be about people moving within the EU”. These migrants are from outside the EU, and most don’t want to be identified in France at all, because of laws (which Moseley calls “outdated”, and Germany is ignoring) which state you can only claim asylum in the first EU country you arrive in.

However, the negative press around the camp over the past weeks from right wing papers, and avoidance of the issue of migration by the Remain campaign, has contributed to a slowing of aid to the camp. It hasn't helped that in March, the southern half the camp was demolished, and Moseley tells me that people now ask in response to appeals: “Hasn’t the Calais camp gone?”

Alexandra Simmons agrees that the referendum debate has had a “chilling effect” on help reaching the camp, where thousands of men, women and children are still living without sanitation and with limited supplies of food, and around 1,000 new arrivals have arrived in the past four weeks.

The likely outcome, everyone I speak to agrees, is that the referendum will have little effect either way. The camp will still be here, and unless French authorities relent, still will not be recognised as an official refugee camp – though there are rumours one could soon be built in Paris. While this is the case, it is very hard for the refugees to claim asylum at all, and the camp’s poor conditions will continue to take their toll with little outside help.

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

By Mark Granier from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

The EU referendum: Four questions I wish I knew the answer to

By Stephen Bush from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The known unknowns in the referendum contest. 

Are the markets right after all? Both the bookies and the stock exchanges are buoyant as Britain votes on whether to stay or leave the European Union, as are all of the country’s pollsters. Peter Kellner, the respected former journalist and pollster, believes that Remain will win.

What’s going to happen? My instinct is that we’ll leave, but to be honest, I’m sufficiently invested in the result that I could just be preparing myself for the calamity that I think a Brexit vote would be.

What I do know for certain are the questions I wish I knew the answers to.

I don’t know how accurate the polls are

Just over a year ago, the pollsters called the general election catastrophically wrong. The possibility remains that the changes made since then have failed to fix the problem. They got London broadly right but London is ripe with groups that are easy to poll – the young, the well-educated, and the politically engaged. They overestimated the SNP’s performance slightly, which, in a close election, could indicate that the big Remain vote that pro-Europeans need out of Scotland might be smaller than advertised.

Just as with the general election – where voters said that they didn’t want Ed Miliband in Downing Street but would vote Labour – the headline numbers and the underlying numbers are contradictory. IpsosMori’s latest is a case in point: a strong lead for Remain at the top, but concern over immigration and the European Union at record highs.

I don’t know what turnout will be

Broadly, a moderately high turnout (say 60 per cent all the way up to 80 per cent) is good for Remain, and anything below 45 is good for Leave. On a low turnout, the preferences of the elderly and the devout are exaggerated – in this contest, both those groups aid Leave. But on a very high turnout, more people on a low income will vote than they usually do – which helps Leave.

My instinct is that the past tends to be a good guide to the future. Following that line, since turnout in the 1975 European referendum was ten points below the 1974 general elections, this time we’ll have a turnout of 55 per cent, which ought not to tilt the contest one way or the other.

Or, just as importantly, where turnout will be

There’s a big “but” here, which is that it may be that turnout is wildly uneven in the country. As I write in this week’s NS, it feels to me that support for Remain feels more like an identity in and of itself, while support for Leave is the result of other identities that feel beleaguered for one reason or another.

In Scotland, in the run-up to the referendum, you could tell that turnout was going to be high just from the conversations around you. The only places that I’ve been that have got close to that are in places that are enclaves of pro-European sentiment.

I wouldn’t be shocked if turnout is very high indeed in areas that trend Remain and lower in areas that trend Leave. But equally, those pro-Remain areas have a tendency to vote less than the elderly, Leave’s ace in the hole.

I don’t know what the status quo is

The status quo tends to overperform the final polls in referendums, although the dataset is fairly limited so it is hard to tell.

But here’s the question: what’s the status quo in this referendum? Do the elderly – yes, them, again – see membership of the European Union not as the status quo but a prolonged experiment? It could be that the late rally history teaches us to expect in the ballot box comes not for Remain but for Leave.

Photo: Getty

Remainder is a study of repetition - but a fresh study of repetition

By Ryan Gilbey from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

This story of memory loss shows how meaning accrues through duplication. Plus: Ma Ma reviewed.

The video artist Omer Fast specialises in reconstructions with a twist. One of his art pieces, featuring interviews with Polish extras from Schindler’s List, demonstrated how history and memory can be overwritten by film, while another imagined a grieving couple who hire actors to play their dead son. His knack for destabilising truth and authenticity make him the perfect director for the psychological thriller Remainder.

The film itself is a facsimile of sorts, having been adapted by Fast from the 2005 novel by Tom McCarthy, though the director has fashioned a dazzling new ending that lends the tale some topspin. Given Fast’s preoccupation with mirror images, it must have given him a little buzz to cast as McCarthy’s hero Tom yet another Tom – the posh, pale string bean Tom Sturridge, who looks haunted enough to spook a ghost.

It’s only right that Remainder, as a study of how human beings find meaning through repetition and duplication, should wear its influences plainly. There’s a touch of Memento to this story of a young man whose memory is almost completely wiped after he is struck by machinery falling from the sky. He plugs the gaps by using his ­multimillion-pound payout to fund the meticulous restaging of his tattered memories – a throwback to Synecdoche, New York, in which a theatre director mounts a scale version of his own life, casting actors to play himself and everyone he knows.

The first 20 minutes of Remainder are ponderous, but once Tom begins to snap out of his daze the film wakes up, too. He hires a fixer, Naz (Arsher Ali), to help realise his berserk plan of reconstructing a particular block of flats in south London and its attendant details. Everything has to be just so, from the cats on a neighbouring rooftop to the smell (fried liver) and sounds (Chopin) drifting up the stairs. Through these details, he hopes to rediscover his lost identity.

Fast’s spick-and-span visual style uses images that could have come from an ­estate agent’s brochure to underline the film’s satirical points about gentrification, while also finding room for artfully blurred areas within the frame that hint at unreachable memories. Violence keeps creeping in, ­administered by everything from Tasers to paper clips, until the very reconstructions become irrevocably bloody.

For all its sophistication, Remainder never stops being fun, its combination of arch wit and formalist neatness suggesting an ­urban Peter Greenaway. Sturridge gives a performance of delicate comic control as a man who becomes the director of his own life in order to understand it. As Tom auditions people to play his neighbours, specifying exactly when they should put out the rubbish and even what they should be thinking about, you feel that the great perfectionist Stanley Kubrick must be smiling down on him and saying: “Attaboy.”

Kubrick’s imprimatur was highly prized, so it is no small matter that he expressed admiration for Julio Medem’s creepy 1993 mystery, The Red Squirrel. The only mystery about Medem’s new film, Ma Ma, is how a once-fascinating director could have made something so devoid of fibre or personality. This star vehicle for Penélope Cruz exposes her physically in the first scene, in which she undergoes a mammogram, but never scratches her blandly beneficent ­veneer. As Magda, a single mother diagnosed with breast cancer, she suffers nobly and even cracks jokes on the operating table. Nothing is more boring in a character than perfection.

The attention lavished on her leaves the rest of Ma Ma looking undernourished. Parts of the script appear to be unfinished. Magda finds love with a soccer scout who has no trouble getting over the wife and child he lost in an accident; a mere week ­after they’ve perished, he’s sunning himself on holiday. By the time Magda’s doctor pops up on the sand to carry her into the sea for an impromptu examination (well, it’s certainly one way to reduce hospital waiting times) any pretence of realism has been sacrificed. In its place are New Age dream sequences and a depiction of terminal illness that makes Beaches look like a documentary. 

Commons confidential: Boris's blond Brexit ambition

By Kevin Maguire from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Boris Johnson adopting Brexit for his Tory leadership bid extended to the self-anointed premier-in-waiting holding out an olive branch in unusual directions.

Boris Johnson adopting Brexit for his Tory leadership bid extended to the self-anointed premier-in-waiting, supremely confident of referendum victory, holding out an olive branch in unusual directions. Bumping into Unite’s “Red Len” McCluskey, a favourite Tory bogeyman, Brother Boris pleaded with Comrade Len to accept: “I’m not anti-trade union, I’m a One-Nation Tory.” Comrade Len’s scepticism, rooted in Johnson having refused to meet trade unions in his eight years as London mayor and then, as a Tory MP, voting to shackle organised labour, resulted in the Downing Street aspirant agreeing to beer and sandwiches. “Give me a ring on 24 June to arrange our meeting,” was Johnson’s parting bark. I suspect any call depends on the result, Brother Boris.

David Cameron suffered a series of indignities during a bruising campaign, though perhaps none greater than in Henley, coincidentally Johnson’s old Oxfordshire stamping ground. My local snout muttered that a town hall-style gathering with the Prime Minister was moved to a smaller space when it was noted that even a busload of Remainers driven down from Oxford would fail to fill the venue that had been booked. Win or lose, the walls are closing in on Dave.

Ukip’s venomous Nigel Farage, the Leave campaign’s embarrassing uncle and self-designated victim, shopped himself playing the race card with the odious “Breaking Point” refugee poster, but was the Little Englander a hidden hand behind inflammatory newspaper coverage? A Man of Kent, flogging film of a boat supposedly used to smuggle migrants from outside the European Union across the Channel, informed reporters: “I must consult my legal adviser Nigel Farage on what to do.” Joking or not, and Farage isn’t legally qualified, the images were splashed as another anti-EU scare story across the front of the Brexit Sun.

Droopy Zac Goldsmith’s long sulk since he lost the London election with dishonour has a way to go to rival Ted Heath’s 30-year mope, but whispers now grow louder in parliament that he might walk away from politics in the summer. If he gets in touch, I’d be happy to report otherwise.

Momentum, Labour’s self-preening lefty movement, is both overhyped and unfairly run down. The North Tyneside cell loses friends and makes enemies. Declaring on Facebook that party MPs who support Brexit are “despicable and traitorous” was unwise above a mugshot of Dennis Skinner, if not John Mann, who was alongside Skinner. The glorious Beast of Bolsover is a darling of the Labour Party and parliament’s most principled member.

Jo Cox was as decent an MP as you could ever hope to encounter. RIP.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

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Referendums cheapen our democracy - here's why

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

We elect MPs to make decisions, not to outsource them. 

Thousands of mourners had gathered in Trafalgar Square, London, to celebrate the life of the murdered MP Jo Cox on what would have been her 42nd birthday. The speakers urged them to put aside politics for a moment, to focus on love, not hate. And then the plane buzzed overhead. 
When I looked up, I saw directly above me the banner proclaiming: “Take Control - Leave” as the plane raced across the sky. 

The plane organisers later said they had no idea what was going on. But to me, this obnoxious intrusion symbolised only too clearly the way referendums trespass on our daily democratic lives. And when it comes to referendums, I’m a veteran. 

I grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland . Before 2011, I could have invited a wide group of friends and relations round for dinner and they would have broadly agreed on the prospect of further devolution. There would have been a debate on politicians, and policy, but it would have been a good one. 

Fast forward to the summer of the Scottish referendum. If I’d had the same group round for dinner, it would have descended into a brawl. I’d heard pro-unionists tell anyone considering an independence vote they were “stupid”, while my Facebook page was full of increasingly shrill #indyref-ers demanding uncritical support. Any thoughtful opinion was confided in lowered tones. 

But it’s all in the cause of a healthy democracy, right? I don’t think so. Here’s why:

1. Binary isn’t best

Referendums are like the Bush doctrine - you’re either with us or you’re against us (and probably a terrorist). Actually, most healthy democracies have more than two parties. Yes, party number three may have a bonkers manifesto and be running one council, but it is there. And maybe over time it will grow, just as Labour eclipsed the Liberals in the 20th century. 

2. It outsources decisions...

If you’re the chief executive of a large company, relying on your shareholders to sort out your management problems is generally not seen as a sign of success. This referendum was a bone thrown to a particular Tory faction, which happens to be fixated on Europe. If David Cameron was so insecure about his ability to make decisions for his party on the EU, why didn’t he just offer himself up for a confidence vote? 

3. And wastes time

Jo Cox was clearly an outstanding constituency MP. In other words, she did the job she was elected to do. And more. In Trafalgar Square, I met a group of Syrian refugees who told me she was due to meet them in August. It makes you wonder what, if she hadn’t had to spend the last two months knocking on doors, she could have achieved instead.

4. It’s mob rule

A democracy is not the same as majoritarian rule. Except, apparently, during referendums, when minority protections count for zilch. The Irish referendum on gay marriage was widely celebrated, but what if it had gone the other way? Does that make the LGBT community’s rights any less valid? The EU referendum was announced with scant regard for the UK’s smaller constituent nations. Now it’s quite possible the voting whims of middle England could destroy the Northern Irish peace process. 

5. It doesn’t settle the question

Perhaps it would be worth risking all of the above, if a referendum truly settled a question. But too often, as the debate becomes more emotional and polarised, it does the opposite. No sooner had the Scottish referendum results been announced, but 45 percenters were marching around Parliament demanding another one. If the vote goes Remain, the Brexiteers might wake up on Friday and say: “Oh well, the nation has spoken, let’s have our tea,” but I doubt it. 

As for me, it might be two years on from the Scottish referendum, but I won’t be having that dinner party any time soon. 

 

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Everyone Is Watching asks us to question who really makes a city

By Olivia Laing from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Megan Bradbury's novel of derelict New York of the 1970s was generative even as it was falling apart, inspiring artists of all stripes.

Who makes a city? Is it the urban planners, summoning bridges and highways out of thin air, conjuring swimming pools and parks from slums and marshes? Or is it the citizens, crammed cheek by jowl in tenements, hip to groin on subways, making their own desire paths through the metropolis, repurposing the built environment to suit their needs? This is the question that drives Megan Bradbury’s luminous first novel, a kaleidoscopic dreamscape of New York seen through the eyes of some of its most celebrated inhabitants.

First, the master builder: Robert Moses, the visionary despot responsible for structuring and sculpting the mid-century city. His projects included sites for public uplift and enjoyment such as the Lincoln Centre, Shea Stadium and Jones Beach, as well as dozens of roads, among them the FDR Drive and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. His idea of the perfect city was a place you could get into and out of fast, and he was determined to make urban life hygienic and rational, whether the people he displaced wanted it or not.

Moses is an almighty figure (Robert Caro’s 1974 biography, The Power Broker, runs to 1,344 pages) but Bradbury deals with him deftly in her vignettes, casting him against a trio of artists with a very different notion of what might constitute urban pleasure.

Cruising through Moses’s time frame is Robert Mapplethorpe, with his cold green eyes and his chilly, rapacious sensibility, on course for discovering dual outlets in photography and sex. The full sweep of Mapplethorpe’s jagged life is here, arranged as meticulously as the necklaces he loved to string, “this bead and then this bead then this bead”.

A century earlier, and similarly seduced by the city’s possibilities, is the poet Walt Whitman, aboard a cross-country train with his biographer. He pontificates woollily about democracy and brotherhood, bent on building a new poetics out of the diction of common American lives.

It’s always a gamble making fictional play out of real people, but in her final character Bradbury takes an even bolder step, inserting a living artist into the frame. She portrays the novelist Edmund White as an ageing isolate (counterfactually; the real White is married), newly returned to the sanitised Manhattan of 2013 after a long spell in Paris. True, White took the same liberty with Stephen Crane in Hotel de Dream, but his own presence here left me uneasy.

This White is nostalgic, vulnerable, baffled. He wanders the tourist-thronged High Line, dreaming of the city of his youth, the wild nights below ground at the Mineshaft club, naked but for his shoes, the men like “phantoms in the dark”.

Sex is part of Bradbury’s vision of what a city can be and do, the kind of contact it might permit. She opens a glory hole into a hedonistic era before Aids, when gay claimed men the rotting Hudson piers as cruising grounds. In this place of ruin, love could happen between strangers, as “knife-sharp walls of light streamed in through ­injured ceilings”.

The derelict New York of the 1970s was generative even as it was falling apart, inspiring artists of all stripes. Unconcerned with the hydraulics of plot, Bradbury constructs a complicated and lovely mosaic, interspersed with passionate descriptions of works of art. There’s Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency (“Nan begins and ends in this room in the Bowery, but after tonight traces of her will be found all over the city”); Gordon Matta-Clark’s monumental Day’s End; Laurie Anderson’s Institutional Dream Series, in which the artist charts her dreams after napping in various public spaces.

The effect is immersive and compelling, heightened by an unusually declarative present tense. Full names are repeated, occasionally to the point of Peter-and-Janeish absurdity. “Robert Moses is standing on Manhattan’s western shore in 1934.” “Robert Mapplethorpe looks his lovers directly in the eye when he has sex.” “He would not excite Edmund White, though he should think him very beautiful.”

The cumulative effect of these deliberately repetitive formulations is grating and hypnotic at the same time. What Bradbury is doing is working herself deep into the ­present moment, capturing its inconclusiveness and mutability, the stuttering sense of something on the verge of coming into view. Time contracts and dilates; a whole life squeezed into a page, an entire world summoned from a single photograph.

There are costs to all modes of living. Moses begins a hero but finds himself increasingly called to account by the people whose homes he razes, the slum-dwellers he believed as discountable as render ghosts. His greatest opponent is the doughty Jane Jacobs, a Greenwich Village mother who had a different idea of how cities should be organised, and who later wrote the defining work of ethical urban planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Bradbury shares something of Jacobs’s ­vision, which is to see that the strength of cities is diversity, not development. The great miracle of an urban space is that it allows interactions to happen between strangers, from the sustenance of community to the alchemy of art. Dirty, dangerous and delicious, this is a novel that understands the cost of contact and bets on it anyway.

Olivia Laing is the author of “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone” (Canongate).

Everyone Is Watching by Megan Bradbury is published by Picador (278pp, £12.99)

Northern Ireland is showing the UK Government up when it comes to Syrian refugees

By Anonymous from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

In Northern Ireland, a new welcome centre looks after Syrian refugees. 

In a recent trip to Northern Ireland I met a mother called Rola who was with her three year old son and seven month baby girl. We spoke parent-to-parent about the concerns we share and how we want the best for our children.  

There was just one, very significant difference: Rola and her family had until very recently been living in a refugee camp in Lebanon after their Damascus neighbourhood was flattened in a bombing raid.  

I cannot even imagine waking up one day to find that everything you have ever known is gone forever. How do you explain that to your children? How do you make life stable for them after that? 

Rola tells me she only now feels safe after three years, having made it to Belfast, where Barnardo’s is working with partners to support refugee families rebuild their lives. 

So many families who once had a normal life, like you and me – getting up, going to work, spending time with friends - are being forced to flee their homes, taking on dangerous journeys in the hope of a safe and better life. Tragically, in 2015 close to 3,000 people, including children, died trying to reach Europe. 

In January 2014, two and a half years ago, the Government announced it would start to take in refugees from Syria, albeit a very small number. Since then politicians have been vague about who and how many refugees the UK will take. The Government still has not outlined a plan of how people will actually be supported when they arrive.  

Northern Ireland leads the way on refugees 

In this Refugee Week, we are calling on Government to set out how it will help these children, whose unique circumstances put them so desperately in need.

We said back in September that the Government must urgently prioritise specialist, tailored, care for refugee children, and put in place a strategic resettlement plan for the assessment and support of all Syrian refugees taken in by the UK. We have seen no evidence that any of this has been done. 

The newly created Refugee Support Service in Northern Ireland is a good example of what can be achieved when organisations pull together to achieve a united aim. There, our workers are helping refugee families come to terms with their ordeal and support them to settle into new communities, as part of the UK Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.  

Unlike in England, on arrival Syrian families are taken straight to a welcome centre where their immediate health, social and emotional needs are addressed. Many suffer from serious health issues when they first arrive so highly experienced Red Cross medical staff are on site to quickly give families high quality medical treatment. 

During my visit to the project where I met Rola, I also met other families such as Abed, Salina and their children. He told me that he’s a skilled tiler and that, more than anything else in the world, he wants to work and provide for his family again.  

Families like Abed’s and Salina’s are supported by a Barnardo’s key worker for up to four months. Our help is tailored to their needs, but for many families the first three months focus on GP registrations, hospital appointments, dental care and more, while our team works to find housing and secure school and educational placements for both parents and children.  

So far we’ve supported 11 families, including 37 children. Early results are promising, proving that specialist support must be the centrepiece of any work with refugees. The families say they are grateful for the refuge given to them in Northern Ireland, when it’s been so long since they have felt safe and supported. 

Working in partnership is crucial for these families, who need specialist support to help them as they rebuild their lives. 

It was an honour to be invited into their new homes, and learn about their experiences. They have come through incredible hardships with grace and dignity and I hope they will flourish in their new lives.  

Javed Khan is chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's

Barnardo's

What Barbra Streisand tells us about the modern day diva

By Tom Shone from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity and Power is an acute and sympathetic rendering of a career forged from yearning and steel.

Like the novels of Henry James, the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and the Times crossword puzzle, the modern diva thrives on difficulty. Creatures of grit and will­power, sinews and sequins, they are symbols of triumphant selfhood and obstacles overcome. These days, the paradox is played out in the termitic caverns of the internet. Protected by her social media fan posse, the “Beyhive”, Beyoncé recently kicked off her Lemonade tour by selling “Boycott Beyoncé” T-shirts and iPhone cases – a sly appropriation of the calls for a boycott of her shows after her Black Panther-inspired Super Bowl appearance raised the hackles of right-wing attack dogs. Let ’em loose. What doesn’t kill Bey only makes her stronger.

Modern-day divahood is self-aware, self-deconstructing and backlash-embracing, but this dynamic is as old as the Hegelian dialectic. “She became popular by demonstrating how someone like her, someone with her seeming disadvantages, could become popular,” writes Neal Gabler in his smart new book, Barbra Streisand, a biography-cum-critical essay on the Brooklyn-born diva. It may be the best book about Streisand you will ever read, an acute and sympathetic rendering of a career forged from yearning and steel – “in one person, Punch and Judy”, in the words of the New Republic’s Stanley Kauffmann. Long before Beyoncé, Streisand’s fame contained its own backlash. “Barbra is the girl guys never look at twice,” said her manager Marty Erlichman. “And when she sings about that – about being an invisible woman – people break their neck trying to protect her.”

Gabler nimbly sketches in the psychic wounds that propelled this oversensitive striver to seek the spotlight: the death of her father when she was a toddler of 15 months, an acidly critical mother, a stepfather who openly taunted her about her looks. As a young woman, Streisand was “always rushing forward, as if afraid she’d be late for her life”, as one friend put it – a baby bird craning forward for the worm, in Dustin Hoffman’s marvellous image. In the early 1960s, she would get up on stage, her coltish legs dangling from the stool, a thrift-store ragamuffin, twisting her fingers through her hair and giving a tired smile to the audience, before removing the gum from her mouth and sticking it on the microphone. “What a smart girl,” Hoffman thought when he first saw the gum move. “It was a seemingly natural act but it has a method to its madness.” And then she opened her mouth to sing.

“In her plaintive voice, one could hear and feel every slight, every insult, every wound,” Gabler writes in an 11-page disquisition on Streisand’s voice – with its soaring melismas, its mixture of high and low registers, its distinctive use of tempo rubato, or singing off the beat, and its uniquely Yiddish rhythms – that is worth the price of admission on its own.

Gabler comes to Streisand from excellent biographies of Walt Disney and Walter Winchell and a wonderful book about the imprint of the Jewish moguls on the films of the 1930s and 1940s. Without sacrificing critical distance – Hello, Dolly! was a “lumbering atrocity” and many of the films between The Owl and the Pussycat and The Way We Were were “piffle” – he senses a connection between the thin-skinned perfectionism that made Streisand a nightmare to work with and the vulnerability that lit up the heart-lights of millions. Streisand seemed to take the entire world personally. Luckily, the world seemed to feel the same way about her.

Armed with this paradox, Gabler makes great headway into the films, uncovering an unexpected seam of realism not just in The Way We Were but in Funny Girl, What’s Up, Doc? and A Star Is Born. In all of these, Streisand usurps the male role, sweeping the man off his feet, before proving too much for him to handle. “You can’t fight a tidal wave,” said Ryan O’Neal of her logorrhoeic ditz in What’s Up, Doc?; Omar Sharif confessed that he fell in love with her and then felt emasculated by her, a pattern that repeats itself in film after film exploring the enduring heartache of romantic mismatch, in which Streisand breaks free but pays a price for her independence. That price is often love. There are few happy endings in her movies. “Streisand has more talent than she knows what to do with and the heart of a lion,” wrote the critic Pauline Kael. “There is a possible unpleasantness, of threat, in that red-hot talent – as there is in Liza Minnelli at full star strength – which produces unresolved feelings in us.”

Gabler deftly plots this dynamic between Streisand and her critics, with her career acting as a “lightning rod for male resentment”. Frank Rich described A Star Is Born as “the work of a madwoman”. Mad magazine caricatured her as Bubbly Strident; an episode of South Park cast her as a Japanese horror movie monster, Mecha-Streisand, which is prevented from destroying South Park when it’s boffed on the hooter. “Oh, for the gift of Rostand’s Cyrano to evoke the vastness of that nose alone as it cleaves the giant screen from east to west, bisects it from north to south,” wrote the critic John Simon in 1977; he described her as “a cross between an aardvark and an albino rat surmounted by a platinum-coated horse bun”.

Nowadays, we have Twitter to call out this bullying misogyny for what it is – likewise, the thinly veiled anti-Semitism of the various euphemisms for “Jewish woman” that Streisand has attracted throughout her career: bossy, bitchy, controlling, egomaniacal, loud, monstrous. What is most striking about Gabler’s handling of such ugliness is the way that he uses it to pivot back to the narrative of her career. Critics watched A Star Is Born and saw a bad film but her fans saw a woman mocked and misunderstood. This fed into what they liked about her in the first place and it became her biggest hit. The critics weren’t reviewing her movies. They were acting out their plots.

The hatred is with us still, as a quick Google search will confirm. One website lists the “top 15 reasons why people hate Beyoncé”. “Madonna Blows Chunks” is the title of another, “serving your anti-Madonna needs since 2003”. After reading Gabler’s book, you’ll never be able to see the haters in the same way again. As that master Hegelian, Taylor Swift, put it: “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” as she advised listeners to “shake it off”. She might equally have said: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Tom Shone’s “Woody Allen: a Retrospective” is published by Thames & Hudson

Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity and Power by is published by Yale University Press (296pp, £16.99)

After the Orlando attack, Pride matters more than ever

By Eleanor Margolis from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Barclays-sponsored parade floats or not, Pride is still important. Even more so after the horror of Orlando this year.

I’ve been accosted by two giant chipmunks. I’m four. No one’s told me what mugging is yet, but – still – I have a feeling I’m about to be mugged. At Disneyland. While my dad takes pictures.

The shifty chipmunks in question are Chip ‘n’ Dale. They’re about fifty feet tall, or so they seem to my minuscule self. I feel a phobia coming on. I freeze while they put on a show of sorts. One that involves the kind of non-consensual touching I won’t experience again for at least another twelve years, when I start going to bars. I wonder if this is supposed to be fun. Whatever “fun” is, I realise I’m not having it, and I begin to panic. Chip (or Dale, I’ll never know for sure…) picks a red flower from a nearby bush and presents it to me. I feel like I don’t deserve it. Later, I cry on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Even later (22 years so, to be precise) replace Chip ‘n’ Dale with Chippendales, and you have me at London Pride last year. I have no idea what Pride was like before the days of corporate sponsorship and the general vastness of Christmas. I’ve been going for ten years now, every single one of which has been spent battling the same nausea-inducing aversion to fun that was activated in me as a child by two grown humans in chipmunk suits. Pride, in fact, is a queer Disneyland with which I have a complicated relationship. It’s a Krakatoa eruption of bad music and free sachets of lube that wants, more than anything, to be loved. And I want to love it.

Pride – for someone who doesn’t find fun things fun – isn’t so much something you go to as something you do. You turn up, you stand amongst may thousands of what the papers always call “revellers” who are barging you in 17 directions at once, and you pay your respects to those who fought and those who continue to fight for LGBT equality. All the while, you day drink from a can of increasingly tepid Red Stripe and nod gravely at those you have dated. All of whom are crowded into Soho like very depressing cattle you had sex with.

The anxiety induced by the pressure to have fun – under, let’s face it, quite Boschian circumstances – is like no other. And let’s say you do start having fun; the moment  you realise you’re having fun, the entire experience – halted by self-awareness – turns into nothing but an embryonic memory. I think what I’m trying to say is, I just find Pride a real chore. But I hate to be so down on it. Barclays-sponsored parade floats or not, Pride is still important. After the horror of Orlando this year, even more so. I could let rip with buzzwords like “solidarity” and “community”, but I’m not sure I want to anymore. For me – fun or not – this year’s Pride is about something deeper; a sweet spot between gratitude and anger. Gratitude, I suppose, for all the love out there. Which sounds corny and perhaps just as buzzword-y as “solidarity”. But, within a marginalised “community” (sorry) love is actually this quite tangible thing. And something – like Pride in general – we need to do.

As is anger. Pride has never felt angry to me – it’s felt… drunk, tired and rained-on. But to quote – of all people – John Lydon, “anger is an energy”. It’s emotional Red Bull, which I’m going to need, because anxiety makes me very, very drowsy.

My instructions for those who, like me, don’t enjoy Pride but feel obligated to go may seem convoluted and vague: channel your various conflicting emotions into a sort of life force that will both energise you and turn getting hit in the face by an errant lube sachet into a beautiful experience. Maybe I haven’t quite figured out how to make the day less of a chore. Valium, maybe? Or would that dilute my Pride? 

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The EU’s Russia sanctions: Small carrot, medium stick

By from European Union. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  March of the machines Fly Title:  The EU’s Russia sanctions Location:  ST PETERSBURG AND WASHINGTON, DC Rubric:  Blocking investment has only slightly restrained Russia AT last week’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin’s flagship economic conference, a pair of guests raised Russia’s increasingly fervent hopes for a rapprochement with the European Union. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, regaled the crowd with references to shared cultural history. The European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, chided Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, but also spoke of building bridges. Nonetheless, when the sanctions come up for re-approval at the end of this month, the EU looks set to extend the toughest ones until January 2017. The EU is holding the line on sanctions with strong backing from Germany, despite the usual squabbling. But questions remain about their effectiveness. Some Western critics say the sanctions merely ...

Avengers unite!

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

IN THE Niger Delta, a gun is an investment that yields excellent returns. Jamnogo Blessing, a gang member, recently turned up in Yenagoa, a turbulent city in the oil-pumping Niger Delta, to buy a stash of weapons from militants who hung up their boots seven years ago. “The only language the government listens to is violence,” he says. Once rearmed, his gang will attack oil companies operating around his home town of Idheze, he adds.

An army of unemployed young men like Mr Blessing is threatening to rise up in southern Nigeria and blow up oil pipelines. The industry, on which Nigeria depends for nearly all government revenues, could be crippled, as it was for much of the early 2000s. Production has already fallen to about 1.5m barrels a day (b/d), down from 2.2m last year, as attacks gather pace. This has helped push the global oil price back up to almost $50 a barrel. And it could spell disaster for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is trying to stave off recession. His budget assumed almost double that level of output this year.

Responsibility for much of the damage has been claimed by a mysterious and skilful band called...Continue reading

Heating up

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

WHAT is hate speech? In Kenya, a country where most educated people speak three languages—English, Swahili and one of around 40 tribal languages—it is a question people are grappling with. This month Moses Kuria, an MP from Jubilee, the governing party, was recorded appearing to call for Raila Odinga, Kenya’s main opposition leader, to be assassinated. Mr Kuria, from the Kikuyu tribe, said that Mr Odinga should “eat corn”. In Kikuyu, “corn” is slang for bullets, but Mr Kuria says he was misinterpreted.

Whatever he meant, Mr Kuria’s words have landed him in jail on charges of “hate speech” and inciting violence, together with seven of his colleagues—three others from the government and four from the opposition. All eight are accused of stoking ethnic tension ahead of Kenya’s presidential election. Polling day is still over a year away, but the rhetoric is already heated.

The government now seems determined to calm things down: the arrests came as President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to negotiate with the opposition about the make-up of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). That brought an end to a...Continue reading

Charlemagne: Commented out

By from European Union. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  March of the machines Fly Title:  Charlemagne Main image:  20160625_EUD000_0.jpg Rubric:  Europe must rediscover the virtues of civil political debate “NEVER read the comments” is useful advice. It is rare for the discussions that take place underneath online articles to resemble Socratic quests for truth. Instead, warring antagonists stake out opposing positions and complex political debates are reduced to a stream of insults and vitriol. Easy enough to ignore. But what to do when life starts to resemble the comments box? Exhibit A is the United States, where polarisation has poisoned politics, gummed up lawmaking and bestowed Donald Trump upon the world. In Europe, by contrast, multiparty systems, consensual traditions and memories of war have long mitigated against polarisation. But here, too, the air has begun to grow foul. Start with the growing fashion for referendums, which by their nature force voters into opposing tribes. The Brexit campaign has ...

Teething pains or trouble ahead?

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

ON THE face of it, last July’s nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers (known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action) looks to be in good shape. Last weekend Iran announced that Boeing, an American aircraft maker, is to sell 20 airliners to its national carrier for around $25 billion. That followed a deal in January to buy 118 planes worth $27 billion from Boeing’s European rival, Airbus.

Nothing could better symbolise the transformation of Iran’s relations with the outside world than the re-equipping of its state airline with Western aircraft. However, both deals depend on the US Treasury issuing export licences (Airbus planes have many American-made parts, including engines). The approvals will probably be granted. But the uncertainty feeds a growing Iranian perception that America is using its remaining sanctions to stop Iran from getting its reward for meeting its nuclear obligations.

On that front, the news is mostly good. A month ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued its second report on Iran’s compliance with the deal. The impression it gave was of Iran acquiescing in all the verification and...Continue reading

Brutal king, cowardly allies

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Who will speak up for the sheikh?

OVER the past decade, Britain has stripped 27 people of their citizenship on national-security grounds. Bahrain’s native population is 1% of Britain’s, but since 2014 the kingdom has revoked the citizenship of over 300 people for supposedly similar reasons. The latest is Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, regarded as the spiritual leader of the country’s Shia majority. On June 20th the Sunni-led government said he had been promoting extremism and sectarianism. He was also an outspoken critic of an increasingly ruthless regime.

This is merely the latest example of a crackdown on peaceful dissent. On June 14th the authorities banned the biggest opposition group, al-Wefaq, having extended the prison term of its leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, from four years to nine. A day earlier they detained Nabeel Rajab, a human-rights activist. Another prominent dissident, Zainab al-Khawaja, fled the country in early June after being told that she would be rearrested.

The government, which is dominated by the royal family, claims the opposition is sowing discord. But activists blame the authorities...Continue reading

If you want a friend in this town...

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

FOUR years ago, when Muhammad Abu Khair took in his first dog, it caused a family feud. His daughter brought home a stray that was wandering the streets of Jabalia, a district of Gaza City. He was unhappy about keeping it, a common feeling in Gaza’s conservative society: Islam views dogs as unclean and frowns on owning them as pets. But he relented, hoping to make his daughter happy. His relatives were not so understanding. For a while they stopped visiting the house.

Today he struggles to keep the visitors away. A group of enthusiasts organised a dog show in a public park in February, the first of its kind in Gaza. The event was covered in local media, and the pictures set off a canine craze across the territory. A Facebook group called “German Shepherds of Gaza,” which posts photos and information about different breeds, has added more than 70,000 members.

Dozens of owners even hope to earn a living as breeders, though dogs are an impossible indulgence for many in Gaza, where nearly half the population of 1.8m is unemployed and 75,000 families are still internally displaced after a devastating 2014 war with Israel. A small puppy can...Continue reading

Why do polling stations provide pencils rather than pens?

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

#usepens conspiracy theorists might want to reconsider.

It’s polling day. A day ripe for conspiracy theories. Particularly about pencils. Take your own pen to the ballot box, suspicious voters say, because otherwise your vote could be erased by MI5.

This is summed up by the #usepens hashtag on Twitter, warning against using a polling booth pencil.

According to YouGov, 28 per cent of people believe that the EU referendum will be rigged. The percentage increases to almost half (46 per cent) among Leave voters. And 28 per cent of Leave supporters suspect the pro-EU involvement of the secret services (that MI5 is working with the government to stop Brexit), while 16 per cent of Remain backers are also wary of the involvement of security services.

Police were even called to a polling station in Chichester today to question a Brexit supporter handing pens out to voters.

But there are many reasons why polling booths provide pencils rather than pens. They’re cheap, they don’t run out of ink, they make a mark first time, and they’re easier to read for the tellers than thinner pen marks.

Also, the pencils used are a particular type that don’t smudge and are difficult to rub out, while pens are more likely to run or smudge if they get wet, or when the ballot paper is folded. It is also less likely that people will be able to graffiti polling booths with pencils.

Anyway, you are allowed to use your own pen or the pencils provided. It’s up to you. And campaigners can go and observe the count, to ensure no one shady is taking to the ballot papers with an eraser.

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Is this the long-predicted English Revolt – just as Celtic nationalism has plateaued?

By John Bew from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

 In Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was economic self-interest and inherent caution that ultimately trumped nationalism. Will England do the same?

What was so warming about the tributes paid to Jo Cox in parliament was the way in which the British can set aside party divisions when it really matters. Much has been made of Jo’s maiden Commons speech in 2015, in which she said: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” It was a mantra that she lived up to in her short but distinguished parliamentary career, during which she frequently sought out those in other trenches.

For a new MP, she was strikingly disregarding of tribalism. She had been working closely with a Conservative, Tom Tugen­dhat, on a report on humanitarian intervention, while Andrew Mitchell, the former international development secretary, joked about how she had made friends with “a crusty old Tory” in their shared concern for the plight of Syrian civilians. It is a reminder that such collaboration across the aisle is more common than we might presume.

Cynicism about political elites comes in cycles. In 1929, at the onset of the Great Depression, the historian Lewis Namier wrote that the politicians of the 18th century “no more dreamt of a seat in the House in order to benefit humanity than a child dreams of a birthday cake that others may eat it”. Perhaps no MP of the modern era ­offered a firmer rebuttal of this image than Jo. In the unpleasantness and occasional bitterness that appeared during the referendum campaign, it was easy to forget that ours is a healthier polity than most. For the most part, too, we are able to withstand robust debate in our public sphere without succumbing to extremes. Indeed, the act of violence that took Jo’s life is so shocking partly because it is the exception.

We should remember that many good-hearted and well-intended arguments were made on both sides during the referendum debate. This was one reason why the issue divided families as well as parties, and the greatest divide in views about Europe remains generational. Nonetheless, it is hard to deny that an unusual degree of sourness has crept into our political discourse. Rhetoric does matter. For many years, an ugly feature of life in Northern Ireland was something that came to be known as “what­aboutery” – a depressing cycle in which one side condemned the other for hypocrisy while failing to subject itself to the same standards. “Whataboutery” poisoned the air the last time an MP was murdered: when Ian Gow was killed by the IRA in 1990.

Among the reasons why the debate over the referendum was so draining was that it veered far beyond the issues at hand, exposing other fissures. Too many of those involved, on both sides, indulged in posturing and hectoring yet were remarkably quick to take offence. Some of this tetchiness has deeper sources and could be said to follow a pattern we have seen in the US and in parts of Europe.

A diminished faith in our political and economic establishment is one of the lag effects of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. Underpinning the sense of frustration are structural problems, such as entrenched income inequality and decreased social mobility. In many cases (though far from all), concern about immigration is not anger directed at another people but reflects a profound sense of lost control in a rapidly changing world. The failure to address this feeling of dislocation has left the door open to the deployment of “truth hyperboles” – the Donald Trump strategy of playing to people’s fears and fantasies.

Although we have shown that we are not immune to such crass populism, there is a uniquely British context to this debate and there remains a different flavour to it. Indeed, there is an underlying irony that the English are rousing themselves in the spirit of protest – the long-predicted “English Revolt” – just at the moment when the nationalism of the Celtic fringes might have reached a plateau.

While the Catholic population of Northern Ireland is growing, the Irish nationalist vote has fallen. Polling figures suggest that support for a united Ireland is at an all-time low. Many conflate the continued success of the Scottish National Party with a desire for independence, yet its majority in Scotland is as much to do with the collapse of Labour north of the border, and the mini-revival of the Scottish Conservatives suggests an appetite for an alternative. There is no threat to the SNP’s supremacy in the short term, but the party’s strategists are far from convinced that it could win a second Scottish referendum, even after a Brexit.

Since 1998, there have been great exertions of energy and emotion on questions relating to the future of the UK. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was economic self-interest and inherent caution that ultimately trumped nationalism, rather than any great surge of enthusiasm for the status quo.

So, what lessons should we learn from recent experience? The first is that it is counterproductive to narrow the terms of political debate in a way that exasperates a large proportion of our population, even the famously phlegmatic English. Against this, we would do well not to jettison the sense of equilibrium and equanimity that has characterised Britain’s political development over the centuries.

In the 1860s, the constitutional ­theorist Walter Bagehot adapted Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to argue that the fair competition between ideas was one of the things that gave Britain a comparative advantage over other nations. Yet he also believed that the way in which the British expressed themselves in debate – vigorous and spirited but not excessive or cruel – was just as important. There is a happy median somewhere, in what Bagehot called “animated moderation”. 

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The best quotes of the EU referendum campaign

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

From Emma Thompson to Nicholas Soames, our favourite lines from the long campaign.

“It’s nonsense. Nonsense on stilts”

The former prime minister John Major, on claims that 88 million Turks will gain the right to live and work in Britain

 

“A cake-filled, misery-laden, grey old island”

Emma Thompson’s statement on Britain that led the Sun front page to tell the actress to “shut yer cakehole”

 

“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods . . . there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe”

Boris Johnson links the EU to attempts through history to create a “European superstate”

 

“I understand it is being suggested in some quarters that I would have agreed to the Maastricht Treaty. May I make it clear that I would NOT have done so”

Margaret Thatcher in a 1993 note to the Eurosceptic Tory MP Bill Cash

 

“Walking away isn’t the spirit of the suffragettes, it’s the spirit of surrendered wives . . . ”

The Labour MP Stella Creasy responds to Priti Patel’s attempt to claim that the Pankhursts would have backed Brexit

 

“The point about a swoosh is it goes down – even if you turn your trainers upside down”

David Cameron mocks Boris Johnson’s argument that the economy would follow a “Nike swoosh” after Brexit, going briefly down and then turning upwards

 

“We’ll turn round to the bureaucratic elite and say: ‘We’re just not into EU’”

Ukip’s Suzanne Evans references a classic romcom to bolster the case for Brexit

 

“What are the gilded elites up to this beautiful day? Elites pse report your Activities”

The Tory MP Nicholas Soames mocks Boris Johnson’s man-of-the-people pose

The latest EU referendum polls: is Leave or Remain in the lead?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

As the votes are finally cast, the latest Brexit polls are still in the balance.

Throughout the EU referendum campaign, polling has been too close to predict an easy victory for either side. And as voting closes, that’s still the case.

The final poll from YouGov gives Remain a sliver of hope with a 2 per cent lead, while ComRes puts Remain 6 per cent ahead – a sturdy margin, but one that is canceled out by other recent polling showing a clear majority for Leave or a very tight result.

The latest Brexit odds show that bookmakers continue to think Remain is the most likely outcome, and Remain will probably get the benefit of being the status quo when voters enter the polling booth. But will that be enough to compensate for a campaign that couldn’t match Leave on memorable talking points?

Read on to find out what the latest polls are saying - or come over to our EU referendum liveblog for the results as they come in. 

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What The Archers doesn’t tell you about EU food

By Felicity Cloake from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

We import 27 per cent of our food from the EU and 19 per cent from outside it. What would Brexit mean for our Brie?

Even the hungriest politico is unlikely to have much of an appetite for the referendum after four months of slowly stewed debate, which has been enlivened only by the occasional, somewhat spicy personal attack. But although we have heard quite a bit about the likely impact of Brexit on our farmers, with the subject even intruding on the otherworldly idyll of The Archers, discussion of the effects on the food industry as a whole doesn’t seem to have got much further than a plaintive cry: “Won’t someone think of the cheeses?!”

Yet the British Retail Consortium believes that leaving the EU could have more significant consequences for our food producers than for any other part of the retail sector – and it’s not just about the Brie. We import 27 per cent of our food from the EU and 19 per cent from outside it; to carry on doing so after Brexit would require new trade agreements, not only with the EU but with many other countries. Britain hasn’t negotiated its own deals of this kind since 1969.

Those in the industry – 60 per cent of whom believe that Brexit will be bad for business, according to a recent survey – worry about the cost of importing ingredients. The former Tesco CEO Terry Leahy claims that the supply chain will be “dislocated” by a Leave vote. Another area of concern is Britain’s access to export markets and labour, something that seems to have passed Adam by in The Archers. A man who employs seasonal workers from eastern Europe to pick his soft fruit should be more concerned about who might be harvesting next year’s crop if things go his way.

Instead, Adam’s argument in favour of getting out of the EU references those familiar Brexit bugbears: red tape and bureaucracy. There is no denying that the European project has not been straightforwardly positive for food producers such as this fictional farmer. The surplus scandals of the 1980s haven’t melted away as neatly as the notorious “butter mountain”, and the inequities of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies are evident to anyone who has ever been stuck behind a fleet of huge, shiny combines on a rural French road, or had anything to do with the British fishing industry. Yet reform is ongoing and Tim Lang and Victoria Schoen, the authors of a briefing paper on the likely impact of Brexit on our food chain, believe that there’s a good case “for further improvement rather than abandonment”.

Although the EU imposes thousands of regulations on its members, including many that relate to our food system, the infamous ban on overly curvy cucumbers was repealed in 2008 following pressure from member states including Britain, and the analyst Kate Trollope describes the current Brussels administration as having “a positive aversion” to new food legislation. Indeed, it is only reluctantly considering imposing limits on industrial trans fats in foods, even though they are banned in the US and in several EU member states. Does the UK food and farming industry want to lay itself open to claims from the Continent that our produce does not live up to EU standards?

Then there is the prominence the EU has given to regional specialities such as Herefordshire cider, Welsh lamb and Arbroath smokies, not only by protecting them from imitations but also by promoting them to the world. As Bee Wilson wrote recently, “It was the EU who reminded us how special our food could be when we had almost lost faith in it ourselves.”

If Britain wakes up on 24 June as an ex-member of the EU, we’ll still be able to wash down our croissants with a glass of champagne, celebratory or otherwise, and we’ll still have our French cheeses and Italian wines – but who knows what else will be on the menu, further down the line? 

KEVIN MALLETT/GALLERY STOCK

Ellie Butler murder: are the female partners of abusive men responsible for their crimes?

By Glosswitch from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Jennie Gray, mother of Ellie Butler, has been widely condemned for her “evil” part in her daughter’s death. But Gray was also a victim of Ben Butler.

On Tuesday Ben Butler was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison for the murder of his six-year-old daughter Ellie. It’s a death that is particularly tragic because not only was it predictable, but it was predicted, again and again.

Ben Butler was a violent man, with prior convictions for assaulting an ex-girlfriend and two strangers. He was jailed for attacking Ellie when she was six weeks old, but this conviction was later quashed. He and Ellie’s mother, Jennie Gray, won back custody of Ellie in 2012, despite Gray’s grandfather protesting that this would lead to the little girl’s death. It took just eleven months for this prediction to come true.   

Gray was not present when her daughter died, but she later helped Butler in his attempt to make the death appear to have been an accident. She has been sentenced to 42 months’ imprisonment for child cruelty. The Daily Mail describes her as “the twisted mother who sooner saw [Ellie] die than turn against the savage thug who beat her to death,” while according to the Mirror she is “evil” and “scheming”. But Gray was also a victim of Ben Butler. Despite her own protestations to the contrary, the physical suffering and mental torment endured by Gray – who wrote secret “letters of prayer” begging for Butler to “stop being angry, hateful and violent” – should not be in any doubt.

Gray was gaslighted by Butler, who told her to “please try harder with your mouth as it’s a trigger for me”. The judge who awarded custody of Ellie to her parents ignored the concerns of a junior doctor, who said he had seen Butler pushing and poking his partner. A police officer involved in the case described Butler’s treatment of Gray as “completely abnormal”: “And for her to tolerate it in the way that she does is not normal either.”

But Gray was an adult, Ellie a child. Gray is still alive, but Ellie is not. And I am aware that just by mentioning Butler’s abuse of Gray I may be accused of making excuses for her, of indulging in a kind of “victim feminism” which denies women agency and assumes they can do no wrong. Romantic love is, after all, a selfish indulgence compared to its mundane, frequently unrewarding maternal counterpart. Gray will be seen by some to have chosen the former over the latter, even if it happened to be with a man who treated her and their children appallingly.

In 2003, when Ian Huntley was sentence to life imprisonment for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, a female friend of mine expressed the view that Huntley’s ex-partner, Maxine Carr, had “got away with murder”. Yet Carr had not killed anyone.  She was found guilty of providing Huntley with a false alibi, although the court did not believe Carr knew of Huntley’s guilt when she did so. Since her release from prison in 2004 Carr has had to take on an entirely new identity due to threats to her safety.  It has always seemed to me that the anger directed at Carr is disproportionate to her actual involvement in the Soham murders. Yet as far as my friend was concerned, Carr might as well have been a killer, too.

I am suspicious of this urge to present the female partners of men who kill children as sharing in their guilt. While both Jennie Gray and Mareid Phillpot, sentenced to 17 years in prison for the deaths of her children in the fire orchestrated by her husband Mick, are more deserving of condemnation than Carr, I think something else is going on when we decide these women are morally no different to the men who abused them. It stops us having to consider the way in which male violence is not just tolerated, but seen as a necessary price to pay for order.

We may hate the harm male violence does but far from challenging it, our response is to look for ways of accommodating it. In particular, the responsibility of mitigating its worst effects– either by tending to the wounded or taking on the role of punch bag – falls on the women closest to violent men. Men create the shocks, women absorb them. Hence if male violence gets out of hand, it is not the fault of men alone. Some woman, somewhere, has not been doing her job.

We know that women are not held to the same standards as men. Our economies and social structures are absolutely reliant on the belief that women, as “natural” carers, will not only do the work of nurturing, but that of neutralising the most unwelcome aspects of male aggression, which is also “natural” and hence cannot be eradicated. There will, we tell ourselves, always be another Ben Butler out there, just as there will always be “some nutter” who’s  intending to rape you, or “some bigot” who wants to beat you up for wearing the wrong clothes. It is the role of women to prevent this from happening: why don’t you leave him? why don’t you stay in? why don’t you provide a safe space for those more marginalised than you? It is not considered unnatural for men to pose a threat; it is considered unnatural for women to do nothing to counteract it.  

Yet as most victims of abuse know, there is no safe way of responding to male violence. Women are most at risk from a violent partner when attempting to leave the relationship.  In a 2014 report for Buzzfeed, Alex Campbell identified 28 mothers in the US who had been sentenced to more than 10 years’ imprisonment for failing to prevent their partners from harming their children: “In every one of these cases, there was evidence the mother herself had been battered by the man.” Moreover, as Campbell explains, what outsiders may see as tolerance or complicity is frequently a woman trying her hardest not to provoke further attacks. “Any time I interfered,” says Victoria, currently serving 20 years for “permitting” the abuse and murder of her daughter Aubriana, “it would just make the situation worse.”

One could argue that Gray was not attempting to protect Ellie by staying with Butler, and I would agree.  However, she had bought into the narrative that it is down to women to limit male violence. She thought she could make him stop, not least because Butler himself was reading from the same script, suggesting that as long as Gray did not “trigger” him all would be well.

Both Ben Butler and Victoria’s husband, Daniel Pedraza, physically abused the women in their lives. It strange how often beating girlfriends and wives, so often the precursor to violence further afield, is not seen as a red flag. Perhaps it is assumed that as long as men stick to hitting the women they sleep with, male aggression has been managed and order maintained. Perhaps in some not-too-distant dystopian future, as well as being able to pay for women to penetrate and women to gestate their offspring, men will be able to pay for women to beat. Why don’t we make it all legal and see if we have offered men sufficient outlets for their natural male rage? If all else fails, we can blame the women for failing to be accommodating enough.

I know that at times like these one is expected to do the whole “as a mother” routine. And yes, as a mother I cannot tolerate the idea of anyone hurting my children. But when  I say I wish to protect them from the big bad world, I do not mean from wolves or monsters, nor even from people. I mean men. The biggest threat to my children’s safety comes from the violence of men.

The world does not have to be like this. As Joan Smith once pointed out, it doesn’t even matter if one believes there is a natural, biological basis for male violence. The pertinent question is “are you happy with this state of affairs?” I am not and nor should you be. The best of all possible worlds is not a world in which Ellie Butler would have suffered and died the way she did. But to see Jennie Gray as just as guilty as Ben Butler is to treat abuse as a relationship to be managed, not something one person does to another.  It is to accept the abuser’s own logic. For the sake of the women and children still out there, absorbing the blows we don’t see, we need to do better than this.

As Andrea Dworkin once asked a men’s group in 1983, “have you ever wondered why we are not all in armed combat against you?”:

It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.

Some women believe too much, but there’s a point in believing just enough to keep demanding real social change. We cannot leave this to those who are already too trapped and worn down to protect those closest to them. 

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The latest Brexit betting: what are the odds for the EU referendum?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Placing a stake on the Brexit result? Check the latest odds here.

Latest Brexit odds from Paddy Power:

Remain 1/4

Leave 3/1

 

It’s your last chance to place a bet of the outcome of the EU referendum. Since the beginning of the campaign, bookmakers have had Remain pegged as the most likely result. And with polling now open, the latest Brexit odds are even more emphatic: Remain’s have shortened, while Leave’s have lengthened substantially.

Whatever you’re hoping for, placing a bet on the other side might be a good way to soften the blow: after all, if you believe the OECD Brexit warnings about the consequences for Britain of being outside the EU, a fat payout on a Leave result could be just the thing to soften the shortfall in GDP.

Ready to put your money on Leave or Remain? Check out all the latest Brexit odds. 

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You can count on Podemos to fight for a better Europe - so vote Remain

By Anonymous from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The Spanish party's head of foreign affairs argues the European left should fight for a better EU.

Nearly 2,500 British men and women went to Spain in the 1930s to fight for democracy against the forces of fascism. Many of them lost their lives there, but their memory remains. The gratitude and the tribute of the Spanish democrats to those heroes lingers on. We admire you for that.

What a heavy price we paid for that defeat. Not only in terms of the precious lives that were lost. My country ensued 40 years of brutal dictatorship, a really difficult transition to democracy and a late and incomplete integration in the European project. For those who fought against the dictatorship, Europe was then an ideal of freedom, of the political and civil liberties that we lacked. It was a symbol of modernization, of progress, of social rights, of the welfare state.

It was a model of society where the dignity of our existence depended on the dignity of all, especially of those who had the least. A model of society where there were fair tax systems that allow for social redistribution. A society with strong unions, public health, education and pension systems. A society where the dignity and the rights of an individual did not depend on the neighbourhood you were born in, or on how much money your family had in a bank account.

Europe was a symbol of the noble values of peace, fraternity among nations, democracy, and social rights. It was a space for rights that would help overcome the worst nightmares of our shared past.

It is obvious that the European Union does not stand for those values any longer. Since the crisis of 2008 (a crisis, it is worth remembering it, which was not caused by the workers, the unemployed, immigrants or the refugees), the EU has been at the vanguard of a systematic attempt to dismantle that model of society. It has imposed cuts and privatisations, and demolished that system of rights that generations had struggled for.

In this year alone, we have seen how unelected, unaccountable bodies of power crush the democratic will of entire peoples. We have seen an irrational and unjust insistence upon the  economic paradigm of austerity politics. This is generating inequality, poverty, and social exclusion in our societies.

And we have seen the shameful contempt with which the EU, after 15 years of disastrous military interventions, now looks the other way when the victims of those conflicts get to our borders in search of safety for their kids, and entire families drown in the Mediterranean.

It is true this EU is failing the ambitions, hope and expectations that lie at the origin of the integration project. But it is equally true that these value - of peace, fraternity, democracy and human rights - are too precious to be left in the hands of oligarchs and xenophobes. Allowing this to happen can only mean a race to the bottom. Such a race would remind us of the worst nightmares of our history, precisely the ones that the British heroes of the International Brigades came to my country to fight against.

We ask our British friends to vote Remain in the referendum, not to let things stay as they are now, but to help us change this state of affairs. To fight for a democratic Europe worthy of the name.

We want Jeremy Corbyn to win the next election, so that your country can join the millions of others who do not accept this spiral of injustice, who want to live in a continent where poverty and hatred have no place.

We ask you to vote to defend your sovereignty. Not the sovereignty of the banks, not the sovereignty of the City of London, of the oligarchs and their tax heavens, but the sovereignty of the people. 

You can count on us in that fight. We, on our part, count on you to walk that path with us together.

Pablo Bustinduy is head of foreign affairs at Podemos, a left-wing Spanish political party founded in 2014 and now the second biggest party in the country. 

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Daily chart: Voter turnout in British elections and EU referendums

By from European Union. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

POLLING stations are now open for today’s EU referendum. The British electorate will spend the day deciding which side to vote for or, for some, whether to vote at all. As the final surveys put the Remain and Leave campaigns neck-and-neck, much will depend on whether those who are sitting on the fence get off it and head to the voting booths. Over the last few decades turnout for general elections has declined. It peaked in 1974 with 79% of registered voters, dipped to 59% in 2001 and then rose back up to 66% in 2015. Enthusiasm for the European democratic process tends to be even lower, with turnout for European Parliament elections consistently below 40%, reaching a nadir of 24% in 1999. But referendum votes—with their clear binary choice and sense of a direct say in the outcome—can draw more people to the ballot box. In the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014, turnout was 85%, the highest for any vote in Britain since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1928.Political engagement in Britain varies considerably by demographic. The biggest determinant of whether Brits will vote is age, with turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds 35 percentage points less than among over-65s at the last election. Today’s result may well rest on whether younger voters play their part. They ought to: they are the ones who will have to live longest with the outcome. ...

Brexit exit poll

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

With no exit polls, there’s nothing to do but wait once the polls have closed. 

There will be no exit polls for the EU referendum on 23 June. None of the broadcasters have invested in an exit poll for the EU referendum, so after the Brexit polls closing time, there’ll be nothing to do but wait for the result. (However, you can read our EU referendum live blog for rolling updates - and our slow descent into madness!)

As New Statesman special correspondent Stephen Bush explains, this is because exit polling methods developed for general elections don’t translate to referendums:

“British exit polls aren’t measuring voting intention – they don’t give us much of a sense of what the percentage of the vote will be, for instance – but change… The last referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union – then the European Economic Community – was in 1975. It is difficult in the extreme to measure change from that contest, not least as most of the people who voted in that election are dead.”

Without an exit poll, it will be several hours before we have a clear indication of the result. Wondering whether to stay up for the count, or get to bed early and wake up to the result? See our guide to what to look out for in the EU referendum results.

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Can you vote online in the EU referendum?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The only way to have your say on Brexit is to go to your polling station.

There is no online voting for the EU referendum. If you haven’t already cast you vote by post, or nominated someone to vote for you by proxy, the only way to have your say on Brexit is to go to your polling station.

Not sure where that is? Labour has produced this polling station finder: put in your postcode to find out where to go. You don’t need your polling card or ID. If you’re registered, you’ll be on the electoral roll.

If you’re not registered to vote, it’s too late for the EU referendum but you can make sure your voice counts in future elections by registering now.

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What date and time is the Brexit vote?

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The polls for the EU referendum are open until 10pm Thursday.

Voting in the EU referendum takes place on Thursday 23 June and polls are open from 7am until 10pm.

Ready to cast your vote in the EU referendum? Polls are open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday 23 June. If you haven’t already voted by post or appointed a proxy, all you need to do is head to your polling station to cast your vote (if you’re not sure where that is, just plug your postcode in at this site to find out).

According to Electoral Commission rules, anyone in the polling station at 10pm or waiting outside for the purposes of voting or to return a postal vote must be allowed to do so. But the finer you cut it, the more likely you are to miss out, so the earlier the better. 

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My final prediction is in: and it's Remain

By Peter Kellner from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Remain is on course to win, says Peter Kellner. 

Take your pick. If the telephone polls are right, then Remain is heading for victory, possibly by a comfortable margin. If the online polls are right, then the result could be extremely close, and we may not know the outcome until breakfast time tomorrow.

Here are the final polls, excluding don’t knows:

TELEPHONE POLLS:

ORB/Telegraph: Remain 54 per cent, Leave 46 per cent

Survation/IG index: 51-49 per cent

ComRes:  54-46 per cent

Ipsos-Mori:  52-48 per cent

TELEPHONE AVERAGE:  REMAIN 53 per cent, LEAVE 47 per cent

ONLINE POLLS:

Opinium: Remain 49 per cent, Leave 51 per cent

TNS: 49 per cent-51 per cent

YouGov:  51-49 per cent

Populus: 55-45 per cent

ONLINE AVERAGE:  REMAIN 51 per cent, LEAVE 49 per cent

Those figures incorporate the chosen turnout filter for each company. This sometimes makes a big difference. Here are two sets of figures from TNS and ORB; I have underlined the ones they chose to make their headline projection, on which they wish their accuracy to be judged

  • ORB: All voters: Remain 51 per cent, Leave 49 per cent, certain to vote: 54-46 per cent
  • TNS All voters: Remain 49 per cent, Leave 51 per cent, certain to vote, 46-54 per cent
  • In other words, there is little difference between TNS and ORB’s initial figures, when they count every respondent who takes sides
  • But if we count only those who are certain to vote, then a chasm opens up, with ORB reporting an 8 per cent Remain lead, and TNS an 8 per cent Leave lead.

Confused? You should be. Online and telephone polls have mostly been telling different stories; moreover, the polls can’t agree on whether, or how, to filter their figures to allow for differential turnout.

Indeed, TNS has muddied the waters even more by changing the basis of its headline figure. Last week, it stressed an 8 per cent leave lead, based on those it regarded as likely voters. This week, it looks at first sight as if the Leave lead has collapsed to 2 per cent. Not so. The Remain-Leave gap is precisely the same as last week, according to both ways of calculating the numbers; but this time, TNS has preferred the measure that points to a close outcome rather than a big Leave victory.

To predict the outcome, then, we must do two things: assess the state of play before the start of voting, and judge whether there will be an on-the-day shift. Neither can be done with absolute certainty. Here, with no money-back guarantee, is how I see it.

The simplest way to estimate the eve-of-referendum vote shares is to average the figures from the eight polls listed above. This poll-of-polls gives us:

Remain 52 per cent  Leave 48 per cent

Such a calculation, however, offers spurious precision. As I think the online surveys may be overstating support for Brexit, I reckon that the likely Remain vote ahead of today’s vote was 51-55 per cent, with 45-49 per cent plumping for Leave.

However, if the outcome is very close, then two groups of voters not covered by the polls might tip the balance: the 23,000 Gibraltarians with the right to vote, and possibly 200-300,000 expatriate voters living abroad. (Sadly we shall not know afterwards what the true number is, for these votes will simply be incorporated into the counts at the local authorities where the expatriates previously lived.) Both groups are likely to vote mainly Remain. This could add 0.2-0.3 per cent to Remain’s percentage and so widen Remain’s lead, or narrow Leave’s lead, by around 0.5 percentage points

Now to the possibility of an on-the-day shift. YouGov’s on-the-day Scottish referendum poll, it became clear that more voters were making a last-minute switch from pro- to anti-independence, and that the anti-independence supporters were slightly more likely to vote at all. Together these factors moved the dial two percentage points, from a 52-48 per cent lead for Better Together in YouGov’s previous survey, to 54-46 per cent on the day – close to the 55-45 per cent result.

I believe it’s likely, though not certain, that there will be a similar on-the-day shift today to the status quo. Answering a pollster can be done cost-free. Casting a vote is a decision with consequences. We know that some voters are torn between heart and head: the emotional pull of Brexit versus the worries of what might happen to jobs and prices. Do some people respond to pollsters with their heart, and then vote with their heads?

My judgement is that, if there is an on-the-day effect, it will help Remain rather than leave; so the overall Remain share will be 0-2 points higher than it was yesterday.

Let’s assume the polls haven’t screwed up completely, and the true eve-of-referendum position, including Gibraltar and expatriate voters, was Remain 51.2-55.3 per cent, Leave 44.7-48.8 per cent. Adding in on-the day effects that hover between neutral and a 2 point lift for Remain, the final UK result should be somewhere in the range of Remain 51.2-57.3 per cent, Leave 42.7-48.8 per cent

This gives us  a mid-point prediction of an 8.5 per cent lead for remain, or a majority of around 2.5 million of votes cast. But don’t be surprised if the gap is less than one million – or as much as four million.  And if the phone polls have been systematically overstating support for Remain throughout the campaign, then a victory for Brexit is perfectly possible.

My apologies if that is not precise enough for you. If you need a more exact forecast, I suggest you toss a coin or ask an astrologer.

This post originally appeared on the Politics Counter. 

Photo: Getty

What the EU referendum looks like when you have nothing else to lose

By Morgan Meaker from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Homeless Brits are also split on the question of the EU referendum. 


After three years of homelessness, George - not his real name - has noticed how politics can appeal to people like him to feel in competition with European migrants for housing. 

But he doesn’t buy it. He wants the UK to remain in the EU. Currently living in temporary accommodation, George doesn’t blame his circumstances on Brussels - in fact he’s worried that if the Leave Campaign win tomorrow, prices for everyday necessities could rise with inflation. 

“There’s no rational or logical argument for leaving something that enhances our way of life,” he says. He sees homelessness in the UK as our Government’s failure, not the failure of the EU. 

Between 2014 and 2015, over 160,000 people applied for homeless assistance in England, Wales and Scotland. And with the polls predicting a close race, they - like many minority groups - have the potential to swing the result. 

People who are homeless can vote. They can apply to have their poll card sent to a day centre, a hostel or a friend’s house. Although in theory voting is possible, in reality, it can be difficult - particularly for people who are moving around a lot. 

While George plans to vote, Munchie does not. Sitting on the pavement that wraps around London’s Old Street roundabout, he says living in and out of different hostels means it’s difficult to register. 

That doesn’t mean he has no opinion - he’s leaning towards the Leave Campaign because he worries about immigration. He believes the UK needs migrants to fill certain jobs but hints they should show more respect for British culture. 

But Munchie doesn’t think a win for either side would have an affect on people like him, who are homeless. “Whoever’s in power, it’s always the same,” he says. 

Matt Downie, director of policy at homelessness charity Crisis, says the UK does not take full advantage of EU funds to help homeless people. 

The €3.8 billion Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) gives member states access to funds to help people escape poverty. “The Germans take €80million from this fund to help homeless people,” says Downie. “But the UK only takes the minimum amount.” 

Homelessness campaigners, including Crisis and the Green Party’s Sian Berry, have called on the government to make more of these funds. But Downie believes the government is reluctant to see the EU as a solution to this country’s social problems. 

Considering the effect and in or out vote would have the country’s homeless, he says: “If we left, we wouldn’t have access to those funds anymore. But if we stay, we need to make more of our membership.”

Like Munchie, Grahame - who sells the Big Issue Magazine outside Cannon Street Station - doesn’t think the vote will have much impact on him.

Despite feeling fairly detached from tomorrow's outcome, he’s watched bemused as Brexit chaos unravels around him. Yesterday he saw people on Brick Lane - in East London - protesting the presence of a Leave Campaign car; they blocked the road so it couldn’t get past. 

“Crazy isn’t the word for it,” he says. “It’s a load of crap.”

 

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How Islamic is Islamic State? Shiraz Maher's new book investigates

By Tom Holland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Maher's Salafi-Jihadism: the History of an Idea draws on research and the author's personal experience to investigate the ideology which drives jihadism.

How Islamic is Islamic State? This question has prompted much agonised equivocation from politicians, broadcasters and pundits. Implicit in the BBC’s dogged insistence on referring to IS as “the so-called Islamic State” is a desperate yearning to believe that it has nothing to do with Islam at all. How much more reassuring it is to blame the ­organisation’s crimes – not to mention its appeal to Muslims who have travelled from across the world to join it – on Western ­foreign policy, or anomie, or perhaps a lack of sex. Anything, in short, rather than contemplate the possibility that the ­murderous savagery of the jihadis might indeed be fuelled by an authentically Islamic ideology.

Such a conceit has become a good deal harder to sustain, however, with the publication of Shiraz Maher’s groundbreaking study of what he terms “Salafi-jihadism”. A senior research fellow at King’s College London and a contributing writer for the New Statesman, Maher combines scholarly objectivity with something no less valuable for someone trying to make sense of Islamism: personal experience of campaigning for a caliphate. Radicalised after the 11 September 2001 attacks, he spent four years rising through the ranks of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Sunni organisation committed to establishing a global Islamic state, but repudiated it on the day of the London Tube bombings. When Maher delivers an evaluation of Salafi-­jihadism, he does so with the confidence of a man who knows whereof he speaks.

So, it is striking that he should open his book by slapping down his cards very firmly on the table. “Yes,” he ­acknowledges, “Islamic State is more brazen and ruthless than its predecessors but the ideas that guide it are well established in radical Sunni thought. Their roots are grounded in the experiences of Sunni Islam over the last century and beyond.” Maher’s ambition in his book is to justify this assertion, and to explicate the confluence of doctrines and ideals that, bred of old Islamic thinking, have combined over the past three decades to such novel and literally explosive effect. The result is a masterclass in how to do intellectual history, and one that nobody with an interest in radical Islam should miss.

“Salafism is a philosophy that believes in progression through regression.” The impulse that lies behind this striking formulation derives from the fundamentals of how Islam has historically conceived of itself. According to Muslim orthodoxy, there was only ever the one truly golden age. It was those who had been with the Prophet, as he delivered both the Quran and his rulings on what it was to be a good Muslim, who provided the surest model to the faithful. “For at that time,” as the Arab polymath al-Jahiz noted in a wistful tone two centuries after Muhammad’s death, “there was nothing in the way of offending action or scandalous innovation, no act of disobedience, envy, rancour or rivalry.” As such, an obvious recourse for those anxious to practise a pristine form of Islam, purified of all accretions and distortions, has always been to look back to the first three generations of Muslims: the “Ancestors”, or Salaf.

In that sense, Salafism has a venerable pedigree. Maher traces it back to Ibn Taymiyya, a medieval scholar whom radicals cherish today as “the shaykh of Islam”, and to al-Wahhab, a preacher from Nejd, in central Arabia, who in the 18th century inspired a reformist movement of such austere and enduring potency that “Wahhabism” is often used today – though most certainly not by Salafists themselves – as a synonym for Salafism. Nevertheless, just as Luther’s attempt to restore the Church to its primal condition helped to unleash the Protestant Reformation, so has ­Muslim reformers’ obsession in recent decades with returning Islam to its roots served to trigger its own revolutionary ferment. Maher’s book, with its cast of obsessional ideologues arguing furiously and often violently over details of scripture, all the while condemning co-religionists of whom they disapprove as idolators and waiting eagerly for the end of the world, will seem eerily familiar to students of Anabaptist Münster or Calvin’s Geneva. All those calling for an Islamic reformation should beware what they wish for. Maher’s book prompts the disquieting reflection that perhaps it has already arrived.

Why precisely the pace of this metastasis should have quickened so noticeably over the past few decades is a question that haunts Salafi-jihadism. Bred of the marrow of Islamic scripture though it may be, those who would identify the impact of the West as well on what has been happening are not wrong. The lethal doctrine of takfir, which has repeatedly enabled jihadis to justify the murder of fellow Muslims as apostates, and which they trace back to the intimidating authority of Ibn Taymiyya, was most dramatically pronounced in 1981 with the murder of the Egyptian president who had made peace with Israel, Anwar al-Sadat. The decade that preceded the assassination had been a time
of mounting anxiety on the part of many Egyptian Muslims that their country had become something sinister and hybrid: outwardly Muslim but infected by disbelief. Those who had permitted this to happen, it was argued, richly merited death. This conviction, over the decades since Sadat’s assassination and his murderer’s triumphant assertion that he had “killed Pharaoh”, has claimed countless Muslim lives. The motivation is always the same: to scour dar al-Islam of what is perceived as the baneful taint of the West, and to render it pristinely and uncompromisingly Islamic, as it is supposed to have been.

It seems no coincidence that the growth of jihadism, viewed in such a light, should so closely have paralleled the course of globalisation. The more that Muslims have come into contact with people of differing backgrounds and beliefs, the more some of them have come to fret that their religion is ­being diluted. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s heir as the leader of al-Qaeda, is not alone in mourning the world’s increasingly multicultural state. “Previously, Muslims resided in the realm of Islam and the infidels in the realm of war . . . Nowadays there is no such thing, and the people are mixed together.”

Al-Qaeda and its ideologues, looking for a solution to this crisis, naturally turned to the great corpus of Islamic scripture, which they interpreted as they believed the Salaf would have done. The consequence – by a familiar paradox of religious history – was to set them on a revolutionary course: for their reading of Allah’s purpose brought to the poetry and mystery of His revelations the literalism of the engineering manual.

“The violence of groups like al-Qaeda and associated movements is neither irrational nor whimsical,” Maher writes. His study of their motivation, detailed and definitive as it is, leaves no room for doubt about this. He writes as a scholar – and a work of scholarship is what he duly gives us. Nevertheless, it leaves hanging an unsettling question. If Islamic State is indeed to be reckoned Islamic, then how are the many Muslims, the vast majority of the faithful who recoil from their actions, to quarantine themselves and their beliefs? To that, Maher gives no answer. I hope, though, that he is working on it – and that it will not be long in coming.

Tom Holland’s books include “In the Shadow of the Sword” and “Dynasty: the Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar” (both Abacus)

Salafi-Jihadism: the History of an Idea by Shiraz Maher is published by C Hurst & Co (296pp, £25)

ABED ZAGOUT/PACIFIC PRESS/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

A political storm: bad weather delays transport and closes polling stations

By Barbara Speed from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Two polling stations in Kingston have been closed. 

Anger from the heavens? Sheer bad luck? Whatever the reason, storms have hit the UK as voters attempt to make their way to the polling station.

Kingston has reportedly closed two polling stations in response to the flooding, and has directed voters to nearby stations instead:

Transport links have also been delayed or shut thanks to flooding around London and in other parts of the UK. This is one factor, unlike bad weather alone, which has been shown to affect turnout levels in the past. 

By 10am this morning fire services had dealt with 400 weather-related incidents, and rain and thunder is expected to continue across the country for most of the day.

Last night saw lightning storms hit the South, which, according to LightningMaps.org last night, formed an eerily prescient pattern:

A sign from god? 

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Does weather affect voter turnout on polling day?

By Stephanie Boland from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Are clear skies better for turnout – and what happens if there's a downpour?

It's a commonly-held belief that adverse weather can affect the number of voters who make the effort to head to the polls. Ahead of the EU rerendum, the Telegraph ran a news article suggesting that thunder storms on the day could boost the Leave campaign, "which is most likely to benefit from a low turnout". 

Even Anthony Howard once said that evening rain before the polls close "has always been a frightening prospect for Labour", as working-class voters would often go to the polls between tea and 10pm.

But does the weather actually have much of an impact? While evidence certainly suggests that it does in the US, a study published by Democratic Audit based on voter turnout in Sweden suggests that, as long as voting is convenient, weather does not affect turnout.

"Previous studies," the authors write, "focused on the United States, a country where the costs associated with voting are high in a comparative perspective". 

In Sweden, where voting is easier  registration is not required and election day is on a weekend – the results are different. "Even when using datasets covering almost 150,000 persons and very detailed rain data, we do not find any meaningful effects of weather conditions" the report says.

Using the same metric of difficulty, voting is "easier" in the UK than America, but more difficult than Sweden. So what happens in the UK?

According to Stephen Fisher, a politics researcher at Oxford University, there is little correlation between good weather and voting patterns. He told the BBC in 2002 that data from the last 15 general elections showed no link.

Even if there was some relation between the weather and turnout, Fisher points out, a higher proportion of people voting by postal ballot would diminish the effect.

There is one caveat, however. "If you had a January snowstorm", says John Curtice from the University of Strathclyde, "it would make a difference but for the most part the weather is mildly inclement at these times of year. So you might need to take a brolly with you or you might have sunshine but you won't have a howling gale or snow or serious travel disruption."

That last point is important. While rain might not put people off voting, difficulties getting to the polling station can – which means there is a chance that disruptions like today's, where rail lines and even polling stations themselves are affected, could have an impact.

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Celebrity Brexit wars: which famous people are for and against leaving the EU?

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

In-listers and Out-listers.

The In-list

Richard Branson

Patrick Stewart

JK Rowling

 

Martin Lewis

Helena Bonham Carter

Peter Davison

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Karren Brady

Emma Thompson

Tracey Emin

 

Philip Pullman

Eddie Izzard

 

Ian McKellen

Arsene Wenger

Olly Alexander

 

Idris Elba

Jeremy Clarkson

Elton John

Jo Brand

Armando Iannucci

 

James May

Sophie Okonedo

Steve Coogan

Alexa Chung

 

Hi, I'm IN. Either way PLEASE remember to vote. @villoid

A photo posted by Alexa (@chungalexa) on

 

Mike Leigh

Daisy Ridley

Stephen Hawking

Benedict Cumberbatch

Paloma Faith

Vivienne Westwood

 

A photo posted by lily cole (@lilycole) on

 

Danny Boyle

Dominic West

Damien Hirst

 

Bob Geldof

Richard Curtis

Carol Ann Duffy

John le Carre

Keira Knightley

 

Brian Cox

Bobby George

Kristin Scott Thomas

Jude Law

Lily Cole

 

John Hurt

Derek Jacobi

Dan Smith

David Beckham

 

I'm passionate about my country and whatever the result of Thursday's referendum, we will always be Great. Each side has the right to their opinion and that should always be respected whatever the outcome of the European Referendum. I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince. Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona. I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world. Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people. We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone. For these reasons I am voting to Remain

A photo posted by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

 

Rebecca Front

Juliet Stevenson

Matt Damon

Simon Cowell

Sylvester McCoy

Daniel Craig

 

Billie Piper

Gillian Anderson

Bill Nighy

David Walliams

Rio Ferdinand

Florence Welch

 

Victoria Beckham

Thandie Newton

John Barnes

Douglas Booth

 

He's in, I'm in - are you? #voteremain

A photo posted by Samuel Muston (@smuston) on

 

The Out-list

Julian Fellowes

Roger Daltrey

Ian Botham

Bryan Adams

 

Michael Caine

Keith Chegwin

Duncan Bannatyne

Sol Campbell

John Cleese

Liz Hurley

 

Joan Collins

Katie Hopkins

Cheryl Baker

Instagram/chungalexa

Ten things to watch out for on EU referendum polling day

By Philip Cowley from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Gilts, pencils, and dogs.

The ten things to watch out for today, while there are the reporting restrictions.

1. Turnout rumoured to be very low. Or very high. Often simultaneously. The word “brisk” will be used a lot. Or “slow”.

2. Pencils! Watch for people proclaiming: “I refused to use a pencil”. A full 28 per cent of people think that the referendum will be rigged, rising to 64% of UKIP voters, and rubbing out Xs is obviously the easiest way to do this.

3. Photos of dogs at polling stations on twitter, #dogsatpollingstations. Ahhhhhh.

4. Problems at polling stations. This one is guaranteed. Either folk turning up and not being on the electoral roll, or overly keen activists outside (“harassment”) or late queues caused by a “last-minute rush” (which is always used as evidence for #1, even though it is really just evidence that lots of us do things at the last minute). Probably all three. Please note: these problems, and the inability of the government to run a vote smoothly, does in no way invalidate beliefs about a fiendishly clever conspiracy to fix the result.

5. Theories about the effect of the weather on turnout, lacking any evidence whatsoever. 

6. Everyone suddenly becoming an expert on share price movements and linking these to secret polls that they have heard are circulating in the City. Ditto sterling. Plus, people having to google gilts.

7. People taking photos in polling stations and posting them online. Idiots.

8. “Is there going to be an exit poll?” 

9. “Why is there no exit poll?” 15 per cent of people think this is so the vote can be fixed without anyone knowing, rather than the methodological problems involved.

10. “No, that’s not an exit poll”.

Philip Cowley is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London; his latest book, More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box is out in September, containing a chapter on the impact that the weather has on turnout.

Twitter/@Tigerlightmusic

"Don't take a leap into the dark": the final EU referendum newspaper front pages

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Britain decides.

Today's the day: Brits are heading to the polls to decide whether we stay in the European Union, or leave it.

Throughout the campaign it's become clear that this is perhaps the biggest political event for Britain in recent memory. The papers have responded accordingly with their front pages, opting either for bold pictures or dire warnings (Mirror and Mail, we're looking at you).

Here they all are, courtesy of the BBC's Nick Sutton:

British newspapers

German newspaper BILD to take up tea and give up suncream if Britain votes Remain

By Media Mole from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

Plus: they'll stop making fun of Prince Charles's ears, reserve us some sunloungers and play every Bond villian we want them to.

There have been some strange promises, and even stranger interventions, in the EU referendum campaign. Experts on both sides have made warnings about the economy, trade agreements and the possibility of longer queues at passport control when you go on holiday. 

But what does the vote mean for our brothers and sisters over in mainland Europe?

Well, if the front page of BILD is anything to go by, there's just as much strong feeling there as here.

Tweeted last night by editor Tanit Koch, today's edition of the German newspaper features a series of promises to tempt us to vote Remain - each informed by the German people's heartfelt sympathy for British idiosyncrasy.

Aside from promising to acknowledge that Wembley goal, BILD also promises to:

- Stop making fun of Prince Charles's ears

- Wear no suncream on the beach - in "solidarity" with British sunburn

- Go without a goalkeeper at the next penalty shootout, to make it exciting

- Introduce tea time, serving tea from buckets "ballermann" style (ballermann is a style of music, and partying, derived from the slang term for heavy drinking combined with the word "man" - presumably another reference to British holidaymakers)

- Of our free will, play the villian in every James Bond film

- "Tick" with you by putting our clocks back an hour

- Create an EU directive to ban foam from German beer

- Use our towels to reserve sunloungers for you around the hotel pool

- Joachim Löw, the head coach of the German national team, will guard the crown jewels

- All come to the Queen's 100th birthday

Tempted? Polls are open until 10pm tonight; you can find your local polling station here.

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Immigration dominates as voters head to the polls

By Stephen Bush from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 23, 2016.

The latest IpsosMori issues index puts the European Union and immigration at the height of voters' concerns.

What’s the European referendum about? Britain Stronger In Europe, the cross-party campaign to secure a Remain vote, want to make it a vote on the economy, the economic benefits that accrue thanks to membership of the European Union, and the risks that a leave vote would represent.

IpsosMORI’s monthly issues index is out – and it makes for nervy reading for pro-Europeans.

Immigration dominates

The number of people listing immigration as an important issue facing the country has increased in the campaign's final days. 27 per cent of respondents list it as the “most important issue” facing the country today, a six point increase on May’s IpsosMORI issues index. 48 per cent list it as “one of” the most important issues, a 10 per cent increase on May’s issues index.  These are both well outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

Concern over the European Union is highest among groups that incline towards Brexit

The number of people listing the European Union as an important issue facing the country is at a 17-year high, as 20 per cent make it the most important issue facing Britain today while 32 per cent make the issue one of the most important issues facing Britain today.

Concern about the European Union is highest among the groups of voters that are most likely to back a Brexit vote, at least according to previous polling. 44 per cent of rural voters list it as a top concern against just 26 per cent of urban voters.

But ABs, Remain’s most loyal group, are also concerned about the European Union.

People in NRS grades AB are the most likely to back a Remain vote, and concern about the EU is higher in that group than the national average, at 40 per cent.

Economic worries remain in the margins

But pro-Europeans will be nervous that just eight per cent of people make the economy their most important issue and only 27 per cent make it one of the most important issues, suggesting that economic worries may be marginal as voters decide which side to back in the referendum contest.

However, few voters expect a Brexit vote

It is worth noting that most voters across all polls expect Britain to vote Remain. It could be that economic worries are penetrating but that voters believe that Britain will avoid the economic hit of a Leave vote. 

Photo: Getty

“You’re getting on a bit”: Sheila Hancock steals the show in Channel 4’s chaotic celebrity EU debate

By Anoosh Chakelian from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Hours of crazed Z-list melodrama, with second-tier politicians occasionally interrupted by furious celebrities you’ve nearly heard of.

In what played out like a bizarre budget Celebrity Big Brother where they only fight about sovereignty, and you don’t get to vote them out, Channel 4 hosted the final EU referendum debate tonight. (Well, the last one for 24 hours before campaigning immediately resumes after the result and net migration massively drops because everyone leaves the country. But it was a nice thought).

The idea was to bring voices from different industries into the conversation, as the vote isn’t “only about politicians”. So on came Yvette Cooper, Louise Mensch and Ann Widdecombe. To be fair, the rapper Akala joined them. They needed someone to quote facts.

It continued like this throughout the one and a half hours of crazed Z-list melodrama, with second-tier politicians repeating the same lines occasionally interspersed with furious celebrities you’ve nearly heard of.

Its host, Jeremy Paxman was like the lone disembodied voice in the diary room. But less soothing, and far less in control.

“I’VE BEEN SITTING HERE QUIETLY,” said the Sixties singer and audience member Sandie Shaw, loudly, when Paxman attempted to chair a panel about security. “I AM AN ARTIST.”

“We’re supposed to be talking about security, not your music career,” retorted the inevitable Julia Hartley-Brewer.

“There’s not much more to give” immigrants in Britain, added that boy from Outnumbered. Which was very unrealistic adlibbing, because the family on that show is obviously Lib Dem.

Edwina Currie yelled that the wine bought in by Wetherspoons boss and ubiquitous euroranter Tim Martin is “RUBBISH”. “That’s a very funny joke,” he responded, as it slowly dawned on him that the business model of his cheap booze empire had been rumbled.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re getting on a bit,” Paxman sneered at Sheila Hancock. She responded graciously, by making the speech of the campaign:

 

“I’m probably the oldest person here,” she smiled. “NO YOU’RE NOT!” heckled Nigel Lawson from the crowd.

Then ex-Downing Street blue-sky thinker Steve Hilton did some gesticulating from beneath his short-sleeved bomber and box-fresh trainers – before giving way to the former breakfast TV presenter Selina Scott, who FINALLY spoke up for the two-month-old lambs who suffer personally at the hands of barbaric Brussels bureaucrats. She concluded that there would be no point in her voting ever again if we Remain.

Alex Salmond and Alastair Campbell said some things.

Katie Price argued that the debate had made her “more confused” about the issues. Speaking for the nation, there.

But congratulations to Channel 4 for putting on the truest, most representative debate so far – the mayhem perfectly encapsulated the entirety of the EU referendum campaign: unnecessarily chaotic, lots of shouting, weird celebrity endorsements, poorly umpired, inappropriate interventions, and groans from people on the sidelines who are just as unbearable as the experts they purport to loathe.

Happy voting!

Channel 4 screengrab

Moment of destiny for Britain and Europe

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Thursday’s referendum is proof that the UK remains a sovereign state

Neither side told the truth about immigration in the EU referendum campaign

By George Eaton from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Remain refused to speak of the benefits of increasing immigration. Leave refused to speak of the costs of reducing it. 

In the record store of politics, Euroscepticism was long to be found in the “alternative” section. The UK voted by 67 per cent to 33 to remain in the EEC in 1975. Six years later, Labour endorsed immediate withdrawal but at the next general election it endured its worst result since 1918. In 1997, James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party won just 2.6 per cent of the vote and disbanded soon afterwards. William Hague’s call to “save the pound” in 2001 did not save him. When David Cameron told his party five years later to stop “banging on about Europe”, he was offering sound psephological advice.

But at the start of this decade, the EU’s opponents came up with a hit record: immigration. It was this issue that enabled Ukip’s ascent and, more than any other, spooked Cameron into offering a referendum. As the New Statesman went to press, a victory for Remain appeared likely but far from certain. Were it not for immigration, the outcome would not have been in doubt.

At the outset of the campaign, a strategist for Vote Leave told me that it would adopt a “full-spectrum” approach. Rather than focusing narrowly on immigration, the Brexiters vowed to make a liberal and internationalist case for withdrawal. It was a commitment institutionalised in the separation between Leave.EU (backed by Nigel Farage) and Vote Leave (backed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove). But as the campaign progressed, liberals looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and could no longer tell which was which.

On 19 June, Gove declared that he had “shuddered” when he saw Ukip’s “breaking point” poster, which sinisterly depicts a lengthy queue of refugees. But many similarly bridled at the Vote Leave leaflets that misleadingly claimed: “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU.” Only last year Gove argued on Question Time, “Our country has succeeded in the past by being open, by being inclusive.” He lamented: “The debate on immigration has been poisoned by those who say we should pull up the barriers.” Yet during the campaign, he warned that immigration represented “a direct and serious threat to our public services, standard of living and ability to maintain social solidarity”. Uncomfortably for those on the Remain side, many voters agreed with him. It was by presenting Brexit as an even less tolerable outcome, rather than arguing for immigration, that they responded.

Most members of the public want fewer immigrants. For years, politicians have struggled either to appease this demand or to appear to do so. Cameron pledged to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” a year, a level not seen since the early 1990s. As the Prime Minister was daily reminded during the referendum campaign, it stands at 333,000. Cameron’s response was to argue that the planned welfare reforms, which would bar EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits for four years, would make “a big difference”. Yet there is little evidence that they will.

Few, if any, base their decision to emigrate on a comparative assessment of European welfare systems. Most migrants enter the UK to work, not to claim, and the financial benefits from doing so will endure. The new National Living Wage, which is expected to rise to £9 by 2020, has given the UK one of the highest guaranteed minimums in the world. Cameron’s insistence that his benefits ban would have a deterrent effect raised expectations that he can only disappoint. At other times, he pleaded that it was proving “difficult” to control non-EU immigration (which accounts for half of the total). What he knew but could not say was that the difficulty lay in reconciling an economic positive with a political negative.

At the 2015 general election, a Labour mug promised “controls on immigration”, a pledge that implied a limit on numbers when none existed. A rare moment of candour came recently when Jeremy Corbyn stated that the free movement of EU migrants made such a guarantee impossible. One of the sub-stories of the campaign was Labour’s widening schism over the issue. Figures from the party’s old right, including Tom Watson, Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls, demanded limits on free movement. But after refusing to grant Cameron this concession only four months ago, there is little prospect of the EU relenting in the near future. By promising what it cannot deliver (even if it should return to office), Labour risks merely advertising its impotence.

The Leave campaign drew pride from “telling it straight” on immigration – yet it did not. Johnson and Gove complained that the present policy “discriminated” against non-EU migrants, while also vowing to pursue Cameron’s “tens of thousands” target. Only through a sharp reduction in the former could the latter be achieved. What Johnson and Gove knew but could not say was that this would come at a baleful
economic cost.

The referendum campaign was one in which Remain refused to speak of the benefits of increasing immigration, while Leave refused to speak of the costs of reducing it. No longer can it be said that politicians “don’t talk about immigration” – at times they talk of little else. But they do not do so with honesty. In 2014, acknowledging this inconvenient truth, Nigel Farage remarked: “If you said to me, would I like to see over the next ten years a further five million people come into Britain and if that happened we’d all be slightly richer, I’d say I’d rather we weren’t slightly richer.” The Ukip leader has since learned to speak less freely, contenting himself with the false claim that, owing to immigration, GDP per capita has fallen. 

In recent history, there has only been one reliable way of reducing net migration: a recession. Newcomers from the EU halved after the 2008 crash. Should the UK suffer the downturn that historic trends predict, it will need immigrants more than ever. The truth that no politician will utter is that voters may only miss them when they’re gone.

Getty Images.

Brexit: Why isn't there an EU referendum exit poll?

By Stephen Bush from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Will there be a Brexit exit poll? No, and here's why. 

When Britain votes at general elections, minutes after voting ends at 10pm, the broadcasters reveal the results of their exit poll – a massive survey of around 150 seats in the country, paid for the BBC, Sky and ITV – which, mostly, gives us a fairly clear idea of how the country has voted.

But on the night of the referendum, there will be no such poll. There will be two on-the-day polls from YouGov and Survation that will come out after 10pm – but they are very different from the usual exit poll, and shouldn’t be treated as the same thing.

Why? Well, British exit polls aren’t measuring voting intention – they don’t give us much of a sense of what the percentage of the vote will be, for instance – but change. Although there are many more Labour voters in Hackney than there are in Harrogate, for instance, for the most part, if there is a five per cent increase in the Labour vote at the expense of the Conservatives in Hackney, there will be a five per cent increase in the Labour vote at the expense of the Conservatives in Harrogate – and, more importantly, in Harlow, a marginal seat.

Although almost every election is accompanied – and followed – by commentators predicting the “death of national swing”, this model of predicting elections has worked so far – and indeed has outlived some of the people who have pronounced it dead. In the last election, for example, Bridget Phillipson’s Sunderland South and Houghton seat was a routine hold for the Labour party – but the vote share showed the Conservatives doing even better than the exit poll – which put the Conservatives on 316 seats, higher than any of the polls hitherto but lower than the 330 seats they would end up with.

The last referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union – then the European Economic Community – was in 1975. It is difficult in the extreme to measure change from that contest, not least as most of the people who voted in that election are dead.  (Although, just as we were able to see a Conservative victory in a Labour landslide in Sunderland South at the general election, we will be able to have a good idea of the overall result as soon as Sunderland votes, even if it does as the polls suggest and backs a Brexit vote by a significant margin.)

To fill the time between close of polls and the first result – likely from Sunderland – broadcasters and pundits will discuss the public polls by YouGov and Survation. A number of hedge funds will be conducting their own private polls, so some people will try to guess the result based on how the market behaves the hours after polls close. However, referendum polling is as hard as it gets – a lot of polling is based on assuming that people are forgetful, lying or both. But with the last European referendum so far back, it is very difficult to readjust people’s voting intention. (To take the last election as a guide, the Conservative lead on the economy and leadership mirrored the real result much better than the headline voting intention did. We have no idea whether economic prosperity will prove a more persuasive message than closing the borders on this occasion, as there is insufficient data.)

So I would hold off any gloating/stockpiling of tinned goods/selling off your share portfolio until the results come in, instead of worrying about the polls from Survation and YouGov.  

Photo: Getty

Big music’s misguided assault on YouTube

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Changing safe harbour laws is not the answer to musicians’ woes

Leader: Pandora’s box has been opened

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

The referendum has unleashed dark forces and furies into the body politic and we shall be living with the consequences for years to come.

“The weight of this sad time we must obey.
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”

Edgar, at the end of “King Lear”

The House of Commons is at its best and most dignified during national crises or at times of personal tragedy, when politicians of all parties can speak what they feel, not what they ought to say. On Monday 20 June, MPs returned to parliament to honour the memory of their fallen colleague, Jo Cox, the 41-year-old married mother of two young children who was murdered as she carried out her duties. It was a solemn and moving occasion.

Ms Cox was a local girl in the best sense. Educated at grammar school and Cambridge, she represented the town in which she was born and grew up, Batley in West Yorkshire, and she was killed close to a local library where she had come to hold her weekly surgery. No pious ideologue, she was a humanitarian and internationalist. As a former head of policy for Oxfam, she had a special interest in and knowledge of foreign affairs, international development and the struggles and suffering of the wretched of the Earth.

As our correspondent John Bew – who started working with Ms Cox on a project about humanitarian intervention when she contacted him after reading one of his NS articles on Syria – writes, she “frequently sought out those in other trenches” and was “strikingly disregarding of tribalism”. She was one of the brightest talents of the 2015 intake.

Ms Cox was murdered just as the referendum campaign turned especially nasty, with the intensification of xenophobic, anti-migrant rhetoric, and with each side accusing the other of lying and bad faith. Goaded on by Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party but aided and abetted by the smooth-talking Michael Gove, the increasingly preposterous Boris Johnson and the right-wing press, the Brexiteers ensured that immigration became the central issue of a dispiriting campaign. Their gambit was calculated and born of desperation, because they knew that the economic case for Brexit was feeble and had been discredited by any number of independent bodies, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Bank of England to the International Monetary Fund.

Yet, in the aftermath of the referendum, it will be difficult to reseal Pandora’s box. Dark forces and furies have been unleashed into the body politic and we shall be living with the consequences for years to come.

Never in recent times has our trust in elites been so weak nor our faith in the wisdom of elected representatives so fragile. Expertise is wilfully dismissed or disregarded. Independent organisations such as the IFS are traduced as being in the pay of Brussels. Conspiracy theories abound and proliferate. No sooner has a referendum been held than there are immediate calls for the exercise to be repeated. David Cameron has not helped matters by setting bogus net migration targets, knowing full well that they can never be met while there is free movement within the European Union. At least Jeremy Corbyn spoke the truth on this matter, however inconvenient it might have been for Remain campaigners.

Our European partners have been watching the unfolding events in Britain with bewilderment. Ours is a superficially becalmed society, but eruptions keep happening. The United Kingdom is far from united. The English Question has yet to be answered. Our two main parties are divided and fractious. The referendum, as Stephen Bush writes in our cover story, has exposed a new culture war between metropolitan liberals and those who have been left behind by globalisation. And the Labour Party is discovering just how disaffected many of its traditional voters are.

The death of Jo Cox brought an abrupt halt to the campaign. Suddenly there was world enough and time for pause, reflection and even re-evaluation. It did not last. Nor should it have. However, the way we do our politics must change. A new spirit of realism and honesty should take hold after the referendum, which must mean no more net migration caps or false promises. We must aspire to move on from what Peter Oborne has called “post-truth” politics, and this can only happen if our media – the way we report on and write about politics – change as well. The political culture has grown rank and foul. There has to be a better way. 

Hulton Archive/Getty

Latin America: Under new management

From Analysis. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

The region is rejecting populism even as the US and Europe flirt with it

Down, but not yet out

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

ON JUNE 18th Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, declared that his forces had regained control of Fallujah, a stronghold seized by Islamic State (IS) two and a half years ago that lies just 60km (40 miles) from the capital, Baghdad. Yet the next day the thud of mortars and rockets could still be heard inside the supposedly liberated city, and armoured convoys were still rumbling into the fray. “Daesh is still here,” said Qusay Hamid, an Iraqi special-forces major, using the Arabic acronym for IS as he waited on a sun-baked Fallujah street to move his men into battle near a mosque.

Lieutenant-General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, dressed in a T-shirt and black trousers, commands the battle from a plastic table on the concrete floor of a construction site that has been turned into an improvised command post. Officers radio back grid co-ordinates to Australian counterparts, who then guide American Hellfire missiles to strike IS positions in the city.

The crash of a rocket fired towards Fallujah from a nearby sector controlled by the Iranian-backed Badr organisation punctuates the roar of fighter jets. Two years into the...Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn makes his final case for Remain: "Things can, and they will, change"

By George Eaton from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

It is the EU of tomorrow, not today, that the Labour leader truly supports. 

Of all the experiences Jeremy Corbyn has endured since becoming Labour leader, delivering speeches in favour of the European Union must rank among the strangest. Until the referendum campaign, almost every word that Corbyn had spoken about the EU had been critical. In the Bennite tradition, he voted against EEC membership in 1975, against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. Though he never advocated withdrawal (at least partly because the question did not arise), he was agnostic about Brexit as recently as last summer. 

Corbyn is now a convinced Remainer (as those shadow cabinet ministers who have probed him confirm) but he has rarely hidden his lack of enthusiasm for the EU. Though his enduring scepticism mirrors that of the public, Labour MPs have long feared that his apathy could result in a Leave vote (privately vowing to launch a leadership challenge in the event of Brexit). But at the party's final EU rally, in the impeccably Remain surroundings of Granary Square (opposite Waitrose no less), Corbyn delivered something close to a passionate case for membership. "Vote for jobs! Vote for rights at work! Vote for our NHS! Vote to Remain in the European Union," he cried.

But this being Corbyn, his speech soon took a far more idiosyncratic turn. Country-by-country tax reporting, a financial transaction tax, zero-hour contracts, and the Posted Workers' Directive ("absolutely nothing to do with the post office") were the subjects that truly roused him. These issues are not, to put it mildly, the talk of swing voters. But they are true to Corbyn's socialist soul. His speech was not a case for the EU of today but for that of tomorrow. The Labour leader aspires to build a "Europe of solidarity" capable of remedying the the maladies he diagnosed. He spoke excitedly of the "stream of messages" he had received from "trade unions, socialist parties and many others" urging him to work for reform. He ended with the words with which he closed his leadership acceptance speech: "Things can, and they will, change". 

Many on the Labour side would have preferred a more conventional account of the economic risks of leaving (a subject with which Corbyn has little engaged), not least because the party is no position to deliver reform. But having agreed to make a case for the EU, Corbyn was only ever going to do so in his own way. Labour, a europhile party led by a eurosceptic, can now only wait to find out whether it has been enough. 

Getty Images.

EU referendum: 6 of the most convincing articles on why you should vote Remain

By Julia Rampen from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

We've looked back at the long weeks of the EU referendum campaign to find the best articles summing up the case for Remain. 

The EU referendum is upon us. The campaign has been colourful, farcical, poisonous and tragic in turn.

The New Statesman is backing a Remain vote, in order to work towards a reformed Europe. But many voters are still on the fence. 

Here are some articles that put the case for staying in the European Union, for everyone from the hard-headed bean counter to the idealistic cosmopolitan:

1. It’s time for leftwing supporters of Brexit to wake up

Michael Chessum

"If Britain comes out on 23 June, a small portion of the left will cheer it on. Some are just on another planet, campaigning in a referendum that exists only in their own heads - in which Brexit will form part of a pushback against austerity. For others the calculation is that, yes, the right will benefit, and yes, migrants and workers will suffer – but it’s worth it in order to offer an abstract protest against the status quo. At best, this logic is wishful thinking."

2. I suspect I’m a freak, but I feel emotional about the European Union

Jonn Elledge

"At the moment, however strange or irrational this opinion may sound to those who don’t share it, I don’t quite consider the continent to be foreign. I feel like European history is my history; that what happens in France, or Germany, or Poland, is connected to me in a way that happens in, say, Argentina isn’t. I consider myself European." 

3. Do we really send the EU £350m a week?

Caroline Crampton

"It might have been Boris Johnson, or Michael Gove, or Chris Grayling – you can’t quite remember. But one thing they kept saying did stick in your mind: apparently, we pay £350m a week to the European Union, and all we get in return is a load of faceless bureaucrats and a bunch of non-bendy bananas."

4. Europe is not an elite conspiracy against the public

Doreen Lawrence

"For me, co-operation with our partners on the European continent and the restriction of the power of our government is a positive, not a negative. Unrestrained power is a dangerous thing, and we have a system that is already at risk of putting a huge amount of authority in the hands of the state."

5. Your EU referendum vote could change things forever in Northern Ireland

Stephanie Boland

"Walking through West Belfast last week, I was struck by the roads hung with Union Jacks and 1916 flags (no, not that 1916 - these flags mark the sacrifice of soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division in the Somme), and how many also featured Leave posters in residents' windows. A few streets away, on the Falls Road, the Irish tricolour and Irish-language murals were joined by signs urging voters to back Remain."

6. The day after Brexit: what happens if we vote to leave the EU?

Stephen Bush

"It is 10.01pm, 23 June. The polls have just closed. There is consternation in Downing Street that turnout is surprisingly low – well below not only the bookmakers’ prediction of roughly 80 per cent but even the more conservative estimate of a showing similar to the one in the 1975 referendum (65 per cent). It is just 48 per cent, and that has favoured Leave. Britain is out of the European Union."

 

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People have been so kind to MPs since Jo Cox died – but it’s just another reminder that she’s gone

By Mary Creagh from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

Labour MP and pro-EU campaigner Mary Creagh writes this week’s Diary.

“What shall I pray for?” asks Clive Hicks, vicar at Trinity Church in Ossett, a small market town outside Wakefield, West Yorkshire. We were chatting after the annual National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, last Tuesday morning. I ask him to pray for the Remain campaign and for the wounds the referendum had caused in our country to be healed. I could not have imagined how much we would need Clive’s prayers.

Later that day the Commons environmental audit committee, which I chair, holds a meeting with the farming minister George Eustice. We grill him for an hour on the government’s approach to tackling microplastics, which are in body washes and are accumulating on our coasts and in seafood. It is satisfying to hear Eustice, a former Ukip candidate and Leave campaigner, stating he wishes to work with the EU on a ban.

 

Wednesday

The day starts with me chairing a conference for the waste and recycling industry, then PMQs. I decide to wear a bright red Remain T-shirt. The Leave campaign have got their green-and-black ties, so why shouldn’t we do a bit of red Remain campaigning?

I have lunch with Mick and Pam Yates. Mick runs our Black Horse poetry group in Wakefield, which was set up by my predecessor-but-one, the late, great Walter Harrison MP. Every year I judge the poetry competition and offer the winner lunch at the House. We sit on the terrace and listen to Bob Geldof berating Nigel Farage from his boat. I tell them they picked a good day to see the full spectrum of parliamentary passions. Then I’m off to Yorkshire for an ill-tempered BBC Radio Leeds debate. We have just moved house in Wakefield so I hope I’ve remembered the alarm code.

 

Thursday morning

My office is above the Labour Party Yorkshire headquarters. I spend a couple of hours phoning voters and chatting with colleagues from other offices as they come in to collect leaflets. Then Ciaran, a regional organiser, bursts in with the terrible news that Jo Cox has been stabbed and shot. I have a moment of total disbelief. We must evacuate the office. A gunman is on the loose in West Yorkshire and we must go somewhere safe. I burst into tears of shock and Michelle, my wonderful office manager, gives me a hug.

Everyone comes back to my house. There is no TV aerial, so no TV. We drink tea. I speak to Rosie Winterton, the chief whip; Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary; and our regional director. We wait. I send my caseworkers, Jo and Shaf, home. There was so much to do this morning. Now all we can do is wait, hope and pray. Michelle and I move chairs around. Then Brendan Cox tweets a picture of his wife by their boat and I know that she is dead. Jo Cox is dead. I go for a walk with Michelle and I repeat those terrible words. It is a waking nightmare.

 

Thursday night

Journalists are ringing, apologetically asking about Jo. They are just doing their job but I want the world to rewind to the morning, to when Jo was alive and doing a school assembly. I write about Jo, to tell the world what a fantastic woman she was.

We buy flowers and Michelle drives me to Birstall. I have no paper to write a note and head into a fast-food restaurant and write my note on one of their order pads. I am an idiot. I have written my message to Jo on a fast-food order pad. I realise that she wouldn’t have cared; she would have laughed. This is all part of the galloping surrealism that her loss has brought.

The vigil that night at St Peter’s Church in Birstall is solemn, tearful, prayerful. We are all in shock. Caroline Flint, Dan Jarvis, Mel Onn and their partners, Phil, Rachel and Chris, come back to my house with me, Yvette Cooper and her two staff. We toast Jo’s memory and eat curry. This is my housewarming with my friends. It is all so wrong. When they leave, I call Radio 5 Live and do an interview. I want to talk about Jo. It is so comforting to tell people about her energy and joyfulness, and it stops me feeling the pain of her loss. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want the day that began with Jo alive in the world to end without her.

 

Friday

The next day sees us back in regional office, stunned, helpless, red-eyed. I head to Leeds to do interviews. It is now my mission to talk about Jo. The journalists are grieving as well. They knew and liked Jo. When I stop talking I am overwhelmed by a terrible rage. We stand on the steps of Leeds Civic Hall for a minute’s silence. On the train back to London, I do a radio interview with US National Public Radio. The man in the next seat overhears and leans over. “I just want to say how sorry I am, and what a great job you all do.” I start crying. I want to go back to how things were, with people treating us with disdain. Jo was alive back then.

 

Sunday

The weekend is my daughter’s First Holy Communion. Our church prays for Jo. Neighbours have left cards and friends all over the world have sent texts.

Monday is the recall of parliament. We can see Jo’s family in the gallery. The tributes are beautiful, and being with colleagues, all wearing our white roses, is a comfort. Afterwards we go to St Margaret’s Church, in the shadow of Westminster Abbey. We hear St Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “Finally beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things.” The Speaker’s chaplain, Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, urges MPs to honour Jo’s memory by continuing to follow her example. “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in Jo Cox.” Rest in peace, Jo.

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I'm a Welsh Nationalist. That's why I'm voting to stay in the EU

By Anonymous from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

I believe in a different type of nationalism to the one offered by Nigel Farage and the Brexit brigade.

“How can someone who wants independence for Wales be ready to ‘give up’ power to the EU? Surely a Welsh Nationalist would want out?”

They’re fair questions on the face of it, and ones that I’ve heard asked during this referendum campaign. Ukip members in the National Assembly for Wales have asked them. However I would suggest that’s because they don’t quite understand what Welsh nationalism is. Perhaps they think it’s similar to the kind of British nationalism that’s been a driving force behind the Brexit campaign. It is not. Far from it.

We’ve all enjoyed Wales’ success at Euro 2016. I’ll never forget that weekend in Bordeaux! Wales is more to me than sport, of course. We’re not just a team. We’re a nation.

But are we? The Slovakians teasing us outside Café Brun in Bordeaux we’re quite right when they said that we’re just part of another country really. Most people have a pretty clear idea of what a ‘country’ is. We can argue until we’re red in the face that Wales is “a nation in its own right”, but the Slovakians know what our ‘real’ ‘status is. Of course, that in itself doesn’t amount to much – football banter is football banter, but of course our lack of ‘real’ national status has wider impact.

The reality now is that a government in London has the last say on a whole host of matters, not because we in Wales have decided that’s for the best, but because the United Kingdom has. It refuses to let us control our own Police or have our own legal jurisdiction (the only ‘nation’ in the world to have our own parliament and no legal jurisdiction). Limits on our Assembly’s powers affect our ability to grow the economy and make our nation more prosperous. Even devolution isn’t devolved! If we get more powers, or get to decide some pretty basic things about running our own affairs (like when we hold elections and who gets to vote) it’s only if London decide generously to give us those new powers.

But we have a Wales football team. That’s the important manifestation of our nationhood surely! And rugby! Accidents of history, I’m afraid. Want a Welsh Olympic team? Sorry – but the IOC knows what a real nation is, and we’re not one of them. The UK is the state. The ‘country’ the Slovakians recognise.

Brexiters want us to “take our country back”. They want Britain to be Britain, and for the EU to stop meddling and diluting Britishness. Brexit wants Britain to pull up the drawbridge, put up barriers. Great Britain jealously guarding its freedom to do its own thing. Isn’t that what I want for Wales? Far, far from it.

My Wales is one whose independence is built on its relationship with other nations. I don’t see the pursuit of independence for Wales as merely a plot to extract us from the United Kingdom. That’s the negative view. “Let’s get out!!” - that’s the Brexit way.

I see it as a redefinition of the relationship between the nations within these islands. Welsh nationalism has always been internationalist in outlook – it’s about how Wales can become a nation that stands alongside others and seeks positive cooperation with others. For very practical reasons, the most important relationship Wales needs is with England.

So my independent Wales is part of a close British Union of independent states, working closely together for the common good, but each with its own distinct voice. For those for whom ‘sovereignty’ is important, then yes, I see Wales as my sovereign nation, but my internationalism includes a willingness – an eagerness, even – to compromise that sovereignty in or international relations and links.

So whilst this Wales is part of a Union of Britain, it MUST be a member of the European Union too. The EU has proved its worth in terms of the sheer scale of its free trade market, but has been a driver of progressive change also, in areas such as workers’ rights and environment policy – areas which bind us all across international boundaries.

I don’t want to be a part of an isolationist Great Britain. My Welsh nationalism isn’t about shutting others out. It’s about reaching out. And reaching out to our British and European partners in formal cooperation is vital.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM is a Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales member in the National Assembly for Wales

Photo: Getty

Strong UK national press bias in favour of Leave revealed by Press Gazette’s Brexitometer front-page tracker

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

The majority of British newspapers supported Brexit in the EU referendum, according to Press Gazette’s Brexitometer.

Press Gazette has been tracking the coverage of Europe in all of Britain’s national newspapers, and has discovered that more of us read a publication that backs Leave than read one that backs Remain. The Brexitometer counts front-page stories favouring either Leave, Remain or neither and then totals the circulation of the newspapers involved.

At a glance, you can see how many readers are getting each type of endorsement.

Strong UK national press bias in favour of Leave revealed by Press Gazette’s Brexitometer front-page tracker

The below graph lists the UK daily newspapers we have tracked since 23 May and counts the number of front pages which contained stories judged to favour Leave, Remain or neither.

Brexit Bias in UK newspaper

In the days leading up to the EU referendum, the Daily Mail, Sun, Sunday Times, Express and Daily Telegraph have endorsed a Leave vote, while the Guardian, Mirror, Times and Mail on Sunday have backed Remain.

However, the Press Gazette analysis has found that the Times and Guardian have been relatively even-handed in their choice of front page stories, while pro-Brexit titles such as the Sun and Mail have reflected their stance more strongly in their coverage. The Mirror, Metro and Evening Standard have largely run apolitical front pages throughout the campaign.

In this week's magazine | Divided Britain

By New Statesman from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

A first look at this week's issue.

24 - 30 June issue
Divided Britain

 

Divided Britain: Stephen Bush on how the referendum exposed a new culture war.

George Eaton on how the EU referendum became about immigration, not Europe *PLUS* Why two-thirds of Conservative MPs are Brexiters in their hearts, and a second referendum is likely.

Mary Creagh writes the Diary in tribute to her fellow MP Jo Cox.

John Bew on the English in revolt.

Simon Heffer recalls his father, who fought at the Somme aged 17.

Jeremy Seabrook on the death of Britain’s industrial way of life.

View from Bilbao: Christopher Finnigan on why the far left is poised to make gains in the Spanish general election.

First Thoughts: Helen Lewis on a father’s murderous rage.

Kevin Maguire’s Commons Confidential: Win or lose, the walls are closing in on Dave.

Tom Gatti meets the award-winning novelist Kevin Barry, author of Beatlebone, at home in Ireland.

John Gray on what The Face of the Buddha tells us about the genius of William Empson.

Tom Holland traces the doctrinal roots of Islamic State through a new book by Shiraz Maher.

****

Cover story: The battle for the soul of Britain.

The EU referendum exposed a gaping fault line in our society, argues Stephen Bush in this week’s cover story – and it’s not between left and right:

There are streets in Hampstead, the wealthy northern suburb of London, where the pro-EU posters outnumber cars. A red “Vote Remain” in one. A “Green Yes” in another. The red, white and blue flag of the official campaign sits happily next to a poster from the left-wing campaign Another Europe Is Possible proclaiming that the world already has too many borders.

If you were looking for an equivalent street in Hull, in the north of England, you would look for a long time. In the city centre when I visited one recent morning, the only outward evidence that there was a referendum going on was the special edition of Wetherspoon News plastered on the walls of the William Wilberforce pub in Trinity Wharf. Most of the customers agreed with the message from the chain’s founder, Tim Martin: Britain was better off outside the European Union.

“Far too much Hampstead and not enough Hull” – that was the accusation levelled at the Remain campaign by Andy Burnham in the final weeks of the campaign. He wasn’t talking about geography; Remain’s voice is persuasive to residents of Newland Avenue in Hull, where I drank a latte as I eavesdropped on a couple who were fretting that “racists” would vote to take Britain out of the EU.

Rather, Burnham was talking about an idea, the “Hampstead” that occupies a special place in right-wing demonology as a haven of wealthy liberals who have the temerity to vote in the interests of the poor. The playwright and novelist Michael Frayn, in his 1963 essay on the Festival of Britain, called them “the Herbivores”:

. . . the radical middle classes, the do-gooders; the readers of the News Chronicle, the Guardian, and the Observer; the signers of petitions; the backbone of the BBC . . . who look out from the lush pastures which are their natural station in life with eyes full of sorrow for less fortunate creatures, guiltily conscious of their advantages, though not usually ceasing to eat the grass.

For Hampstead then, read swaths of Islington, Hackney, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Oxford today – all areas that were most strongly in favour of Remain and where Jeremy Corbyn is popular. But Remain never found a tone that won over the other half of Labour England; the campaign struck as duff a note among the diminishing band of pensioners on Hampstead’s remaining council estates as it did on Hull’s Orchard Park Estate.

The rift between “Hampstead and Hull”, in the sense that Andy Burnham meant it, is one that has stealthily divided Britain for years, but it has been brought into sharp focus by the debate over Europe.

Academics use various kinds of shorthand for it: the beer drinkers v the wine drinkers, or the cosmopolitans v the “left behind”. “It’s not just that [Britain] is divided between people who buy organic and people who buy own-brand,” says Philip Cowley, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, “but between people who wouldn’t understand how anyone could buy own-brand and people who wouldn’t buy organic if you put a gun to their head.” Equating political preferences with shopping habits might sound flippant, but on 21 June the retail research company Verdict estimated that “half of Waitrose shoppers backed a Remain vote, against just over a third of Morrisons customers”.

The referendum has shown that there is another chasm in British politics, beyond left and right, beyond social conservatism v liberalism, and beyond arguments about the size of the state. The new culture war is about class, and income, and education, but also about culture, race, nationalism and optimism about the future (or lack of it). This divide explains why Ukip’s message has been seductive to former Labour voters and to Tories, and why Boris Johnson, an Old Etonian, led a campaign that purported to despise “elites” and “experts” and spoke of “wanting our country back”.

 

George Eaton: How immigration took over the EU referendum.

The NS political editor, George Eaton, explores the paradox at the heart of a referendum campaign in which Remain supported immigration but struggled to speak of its benefits, while Leave opposed immigration but refused to speak of the costs of reducing it:

In the record store of politics, Euroscepticism was long to be found in the “alternative” section. The UK voted by 67 per cent to 33 to remain in the European Economic Community in 1975. Six years later, Labour endorsed immediate withdrawal but at the next general election it endured its worst result since 1918. In 1997, James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party won just 2.6 per cent of the vote and disbanded soon afterwards. William Hague’s call to “save the pound” in 2001 did not save him. When David Cameron told his party five years later to stop “banging on about Europe”, he was offering sound psephological advice.

But at the start of this decade, the EU’s opponents came up with a hit record: immigration. It was this issue that enabled Ukip’s ascent and, more than any other, spooked Cameron into offering a referendum. As the New Statesman went to press, a victory for Remain appeared likely but far from certain. Were it not for immigration, the outcome would not have been in doubt.

At the outset of the campaign, a strategist for Vote Leave told me that it would adopt a “full-spectrum” approach. Rather than focusing narrowly on immigration, the Brexiters vowed to make a liberal and internationalist case for withdrawal. It was a commitment institutionalised in the separation between Leave.EU (backed by Nigel Farage) and Vote Leave (backed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove). But as the campaign progressed, liberals looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and could no longer tell which was which.

PLUS, on newstatesman.com: George Eaton explains that a narrow victory for Remain will probably result in a second vote under a future Conservative government on Britain remaining a member of the EU. A Tory minister tells Eaton that two-thirds of current Conservative MPs are Brexiters “in their hearts”, including some cabinet ministers who supported Remain:

He spoke of knowing winks and nudges from cabinet ministers officially on the opposing side.

The European question will not endure among a weary public. Should Remain win, there will be no mass movement to rival Scotland’s “45 per cent”. Ukip will not achieve an SNP-style landslide at the next general election. But it is a certainty that many Tories will repudiate Cameron’s 2006 advice and keep “banging on about Europe”. The Prime Minister’s successor, as he privately acknowledges, will likely be a Brexiter. Few voters rank the EU as one of their top ten concerns. Few Tory members rank it outside of their top three.

A Remain victory will not be regarded by Leavers as a definitive endorsement of the EU. Rather, it will be heralded as proof that voters were duped by “Project Fear”. The grievances itemised throughout the campaign, such as the government’s £9.3m leaflet campaign and the Treasury’s economic warnings, will be repeatedly recalled. There is a ready-made audience for this. A YouGov poll found that 46 per cent of Leave supporters believed the result would “probably” be altered by the authorities.

The Eurosceptic MP Bill Cash adds:

“I’ve campaigned on this for 30 years; I’m not going to change my opinion about the need for democracy. I don’t believe that the EU is capable of it.”

 

Diary: Mary Creagh’s tribute to Jo Cox.

The MP for Wakefield, Mary Creagh, reflects on a week in which she and colleagues mourned the loss of the MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox.

Thursday morning
My office is above the Labour Party Yorkshire headquarters. I spend a couple of hours phoning voters and chatting with colleagues from other offices as they come in to collect leaflets. Then Ciaran, a regional organiser, bursts in with the terrible news that Jo Cox has been stabbed and shot. I have a moment of total disbelief. We must evacuate the office. A gunman is on the loose in West Yorkshire and we must go somewhere safe. I burst into tears of shock and Michelle, my wonderful office manager, gives me a hug.

Everyone comes back to my house. There is no TV aerial, so no TV. We drink tea. I speak to Rosie Winterton, the chief whip; Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary; and our regional director. We wait. I send my caseworkers, Jo and Shaf, home. There was so much to do this morning. Now all we can do is wait, hope and pray. Michelle and I move chairs around. Then Brendan Cox tweets a picture of his wife by their boat and I know that she is dead. Jo Cox is dead. I go for a walk with Michelle and I repeat those terrible words. It is a waking nightmare.

Thursday night
Journalists are ringing, apologetically asking about Jo. They are just doing their job but I want the world to rewind to the morning, to when Jo was alive and doing a school assembly. I [want to] write about Jo, to tell the world what a fantastic woman she was.
 

We buy flowers and Michelle drives me to Birstall. I have no paper to write a note and head into a fast-food restaurant and write my note on one of their order pads. I am an idiot. I have written my message to Jo on a fast-food order pad. I realise that she wouldn’t have cared; she would have laughed. This is all part of the galloping surrealism that her loss has brought.

 

John Bew on the English in revolt.

The historian John Bew notes that the appearance of the long-predicted English Revolt – just as Celtic nationalism is waning – is one of the many ironies springing from the EU referendum campaign:

A diminished faith in our political and economic establishment is one of the lag effects of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. Underpinning the sense of frustration are structural problems, such as entrenched income inequality and decreased social mobility. In many cases (though far from all), concern about immigration is not anger directed at another people but reflects a profound sense of lost control in a rapidly changing world. The failure to address this feeling of dislocation has left the door open to the deployment of “truth hyperboles” – the Donald Trump strategy of playing to people’s fears and fantasies.

Although we have shown that we are not immune to such crass populism, there is a uniquely British context to this debate and there remains a different flavour to it. Indeed, there is an underlying irony that the English are rousing themselves in the spirit of protest – the long-predicted “English Revolt” – just at the moment when the nationalism of the Celtic fringes might have reached a plateau.

While the Catholic population of Northern Ireland is growing, the Irish nationalist vote has fallen. Polling figures suggest that support for a united Ireland is at an all-time low. Many conflate the continued success of the Scottish National Party with a desire for independence, yet its majority in Scotland is as much to do with the collapse of Labour north of the border, and the mini-revival of the Scottish Conservatives suggests an appetite for an alternative. There is no threat to the SNP’s supremacy in the short term, but the party’s strategists are far from convinced that it could win a second Scottish referendum, even after a Brexit.

Since 1998, there have been great exertions of energy and emotion on questions relating to the future of the UK. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was economic self-interest and inherent caution that ultimately trumped nationalism, rather than any great surge of enthusiasm for the status quo.

So, what lessons should we learn from recent experience? The first is that it is counterproductive to narrow the terms of political debate in a way that exasperates a large proportion of our population, even the famously phlegmatic English. Against this, we would do well not to jettison the sense of equilibrium and equanimity that has characterised Britain’s political development over the centuries.

In the 1860s, the constitutional theorist Walter Bagehot adapted Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to argue that the fair competition between ideas was one of the things that gave Britain a comparative advantage over other nations. Yet he also believed that the way in which the British expressed themselves in debate – vigorous and spirited but not excessive or cruel – was just as important. There is a happy median somewhere, in what Bagehot called “animated moderation”.

 

Personal Story: Simon Heffer remembers his father, James, who fought at the Somme.

Simon Heffer tells the story of his father, James, who was enlisted in the army in September 1914 and found himself fighting on the Western Front at the age of 17:

On 30 June 1916, the day before the Battle of the Somme began, my father’s regiment, the Cambridgeshires, were 40 miles north at Richebourg-Saint-Vaast. What happened the next morning was a great acceleration of attrition along the front. My father’s diary – a black hardbacked book, fraying at the edges 100 years on, but with his immaculate pencil handwriting still legible – records that the Royal Sussex Regiment, in the line in front of his, launched an attack but “had to retire with great loss leaving hundreds of dead and wounded behind”. The Cambridgeshires also suffered; 28 were killed or wounded.

The next morning was a “lovely day, very hot”. Relieved in the afternoon, his company “passed graves of men who fell on the 30th. It was a sad sight to see the rows of dead waiting to be buried, with a chaplain reading the burial service over them.” He was 18 years and six months old: 2578 Signaller James Heffer, 1/1st Cambridgeshires, had enlisted on 7 September 1914 at the Hills Road recruiting office in Cambridge, aged 16 years and eight months, two days after the Kitchener poster was published in the press. He had lied about his age, claiming to be 19, the minimum at which one could be sent abroad. He was a tall, healthy lad and the recruiting sergeant might just have been taken in. He was on the Western Front by May 1915 and served there for most of the rest of the war as a signaller (he was fluent in Morse code even in old age) and despatch rider before manning the first tanks. The war, and particularly the Somme, coloured the rest of his life and cast a perspective on everything. If you could survive that, you could survive anything.

I was a child of his second marriage. He was widowed in his late fifties and was 62 when I was born. I recall the Saturdays before Remembrance Sunday in the 1960s, when he would drive to Cambridge for his regimental reunion. He came back uplifted: he was in no doubt about how awful the war had been, how duped the people had been, and what a terrible price men such as those with whom he served had been called upon to pay for the mistakes of politicians. Yet he made friendships in the trenches that lasted for life; the Cambridgeshires had their share of losses but were not devastated in the way that some other regiments were.

James Heffer and his three brothers all served on the Western Front for over three years and came back in one piece. When I was a child, he would take out some maps he had of the front, used so often that their seams were patched with brown Sellotape. He had marked the trenches on them and would talk me through passages in the diary with reference to the maps and recall long-dead men whose names he had noted. Visiting war cemeteries in the 1990s, many years after his death, I found some of them. For him, remembrance was never abstract.

[. . .]

James Heffer went back to France early in 1917 and was still six weeks from his 21st birthday when the Armistice was signed. He talked of the Somme, like the rest of his war, with the detachment of a historian (he became a tax inspector) rather than with the emotion of one who had been up to his ankles in blood there. Perhaps even for one so calm and as philosophical as he was, any detailed introspection was, even half a century afterwards, more than would be wise.

 

First Thoughts: Helen Lewis on a father’s murderous rage.

The NS deputy editor, Helen Lewis, recalls an encounter with Ben Butler, the man who has just been found guilty of murdering his six-year-old daughter, Ellie:

She had head injuries that looked like she’d been in a car crash, according to the pathologist, possibly the result of being thrown against a wall. Her mother, Jennie Gray, 36, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, placing a fake 999 call after the girl was already dead.

When the trial first started, I clicked on a link and saw a picture of Ben and Ellie. My heart started pounding. I recognised them: as a baby, Ellie had been taken away from Butler and Gray (who were separated) after social services suggested he had been shaking her. He had been convicted of abuse but the conviction was overturned on appeal. So then he wanted his daughter back.

That’s when I spoke to him. He had approached the Daily Mail, where I then worked, to tell his story: a father unjustly separated from his beloved child by uncaring bureaucracy. I sent a writer to interview him and he gave her the full works, painting himself as a father victimised by a court system that despises men and casually breaks up families on the say-so of faceless council apparatchiks.

The Mail didn’t run the story; I suspect that Butler and Gray, being separated, didn’t seem sufficiently sympathetic. I had to tell him. He raged down the phone at me with a vigour I can remember half a decade later. Yet here’s the rub. I went away thinking: “Well, I’d be pretty angry if I was falsely accused and my child was taken away from me.” How can you distinguish the legitimate anger of a man who suffered a miscarriage of justice from the hair-trigger rage of a violent, controlling abuser?

In 2012, a family court judge believed in the first version of Ben Butler. Eleven months after her father regained custody of her, Ellie Butler was dead.

Social workers and judges will never get it right 100 per cent of the time, but there does seem to be one “red flag” that was downplayed in Ben Butler’s history. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend Hannah Hillman after throttling her outside a nightclub. He also accepted a caution for beating her up outside a pub in Croydon. (He had other convictions for violence.) The family judge knew this.

Butler also battered Jennie Gray. As an accessory to his crime, she will attract little sympathy – her parents disowned her after Ellie’s death – and it is hard to see how any mother could choose a violent brute over her own child. However, even if we cannot excuse her behaviour, we need to understand why she didn’t leave: what “coercive control” means in practice. We also need to fight the perception that domestic violence is somehow different from “real” violence. It’s not; it’s just easier to get away with.

 

Kevin Maguire’s Commons Confidential.

The NS’s chief snout in Westminster, Kevin Maguire, reports on an embarrassing episode for the Prime Minister while canvassing for Remain:

David Cameron suffered a series of indignities during a bruising campaign, though perhaps none greater than in Henley, coincidentally Johnson’s old Oxfordshire stamping ground. My local snout muttered that a town hall-style gathering with the Prime Minister was moved to a smaller space when it was noted that even a busload of Remainers driven down from Oxford would fail to fill the venue that had been booked. Win or lose, the walls are closing in on Dave.

Plus

Laurie Penny argues that our attitude to drugs must change.

Peter Oborne on The Panama Papers by Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier and Parliament Ltd: a Journey to the Dark Heart of British Politics by Martin Williams.

The NS Poem: “I am signing none of the emails with an ‘x’ ”
by Kathryn Maris.

Anna Leskiewicz investigates problems with “marketplace feminism” in Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Once.

Film: Ryan Gilbey explores the breadth and limits of a director’s imagination with Omer Fast’s Remainder and Julio Medem’s Ma Ma.

Television: Rachel Cooke feels stuck in the middle of messy divorces
in the BBC2 series Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator.

Radio: Antonia Quirke scrutinises the marginalia of great composers in Radio 4’s Tales from the Stave.

For more press information, please contact Anya Matthews: anya.matthews@newstatesman.co.uk / 020 7936 4029 / 07815 634 396.

“I am happy to be proved wrong”: Amanda Feilding on drugs, trepanning, and the benefits of LSD

By Barbara Speed from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

For the first time, scientists are investigating the effects of drugs on the brain. Meet the woman leading the charge to bring evidence into drugs policy. 

In December 2002, a backbench Conservative MP stood up in the Commons and argued for a more compassionate approach to drugs, based on treatment rather than punishment. He ended with a plea: “I ask the Government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried, and we all know that it does not work.”

That MP was David Cameron, who, since becoming leader of the Conservative Party, and then later prime minister, seems to have U-turned on the issue. In October 2014, he refused to carry out a drug policy review despite pressure from the pro-drug reform Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister at the time, said that he begged Conservative politicians both “privately and publicly” to “pluck up the coverage to face up to the evidence…if you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform”.

Cameron retorted: “The evidence is what we’re doing is working. I don’t believe in decriminalising drugs.” The current Conservative government has since introduced the Psychoactive Substances (or "legal highs") Bill, to further restrict drug use with legislation. 

“The poor Home Secretary [Theresa May] is behaving so ridiculously with her new bill,” Amanda Feilding, the 73-year-old Countess of Wemyss tells me, over tea at the headquarters of her drug research body, the Beckley Foundation. “It won’t work, it will cause a lot of suffering and spoil lives. David Cameron should know better.” 

Cameron's story shows that the political route to drug reform is beset with obstacles, which is perhaps why Feilding’s greatest successes after a life spent fighting the stigma around drugs have been in science, not politics. “For the first years I concentrated on the drug policy, because without changing drug policy you can’t change the science.” 

And it's paid off. In the past several months, the Beckley Foundation, founded in 1998 and based on Feilding's estate at Beckley Park, Oxfordshire, has released two groundbreaking studies into the effects of drugs on the body. “Two weeks ago, we released the results of the first imaging study on the brain on LSD,” Feilding explains. “On Monday we’re launching the first study ever to use psilocybin [the active ingredient in magic mushrooms] for depression.”

Both studies are unprecedented, partly because of the obstacles to obtaining approval for any experiments involving illegal drugs. The UK government classifies both LSD and psilocybin as having “no recognised medicinal or legitimate uses beyond potential research use”, and even for research, you need a special £5,000 license from the Home Office to use them at all. 

This explains the giddy excitement in the air at the launch of the LSD brain imaging study at the Royal Society weeks before we meet at Beckley. Feilding sits alongside David Nutt, the former government drugs adviser who was sacked after Alan Johnson, home secretary at the time, accused him of “campaigning against government policy”. (Two other members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs stepped down in disgust, and the three then set up the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.

This piece of research was crowdfunded through a campaign which initially asked for £25,000, but ended up raising over £50,000. As multicoloured scans of the brain on LSD flicker behind him, Nutt tries to explain just how momentous this day is, and how glad he is that the barriers to this kind of research are beginning to break down. “I’m getting old,” he says, as Feilding nods. “I want to open the door for the next generation.” 

Feilding presents a Beckley report on drug reform on at the Presidential Palace in Guatemala. Image: Courtesy of the Beckley Foundation.

The psilocybin study, launched a month later, could be even more groundbreaking. Twelve volunteers with medication-resistant depression were given two doses of psilocybin a week apart. The drug lifted depression in all the volunteers for three weeks, and in five of them for three months. 

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the lead researcher on both this and the LSD study, has pointed out the study’s limitations – it did not involve a placebo, for one. But he adds that “new treatments are urgently needed” in this field, and the study shows, if nothing else, that this is a “promising area of future research” – indeed, if its results could be replicated on a larger scale, it could be the most effective treatment ever found for serious depression. Feilding compares the effects of psychadelics to spoken, therapy, as opposed to existing anti-depressants: “What is so good about this psychadelic-assisted therapy is that it seems to reach a much deeper level of the self awareness in a relatively quick period of time.” 

The theory behind both of these studies, which is yet to be fully proven, is that many mental illnesses come from an overly-rigid “default mode network”, or pattern of activity in the brain. As our brain matures, its functions harden into repetitive patterns, which are necessary for us to live our lives, but can also be repressive and over-efficient. Feilding believes that drugs like LSD “loosen” the network, and that these effects can outlast the drug in your system. These treatments could be a chemical form of cognitive behavioural therapy, which relies on the same idea: that damaging thought patterns could be overriden, and mental illnesses thus conquered. 

“There’s been a kind of big breakthrough in the acceptability of... these psychadelics to be classified as the amazing tools they are for healing some of our most intractable diseases, like OCD and depression,” Feilding tells me now. Seen against the backdrop of our political landscape, the medical route to drug policy change looks extremely clever, as it focuses on scientific progress and medicine, rather than liberal social values. It is, it seems, far less palatable to stand in the way of science than to condemn drug users as criminals. 

 

***

 

Feilding first rose to notoriety as a pro-trepanning activist and artist, who performed the operation on herself, and filmed, it, in 1970. She was 27 at the time, and a piece in the New Yorker on the film described her as a “young Englishwoman of fetching looks and formidable family”, who, in the film, “cut off her fringe and applied the drill”.

By then, she had already studied art and eastern religions, after leaving formal education at the age of 16. At Beckley, she gestures out of the window at the lush grounds: “I grew up here, which is a very isolated environment – nothing much to do except mooch around and think about the self. So I had a passionate interest in the mystics from a very early age.” She describes herself as “self-educated, with no letters after my name”. However, her family, as the New Yorker noted, is indeed formidable: her father, Basil Feilding, and mother, Margaret Feilding, were both descended from the Habsburgs as well as two illegitimate children of Charles II. 

In the 1960s, she also discovered psychedelics (which were then legal), and found them to be “an amazing tool with which one could enhance one’s life”. Since then, her focus has strayed from trepanning, though she would one day like to return to it: “I long to have time to put together some really good research on it,” she says. I ask what effects it had on her, and she responds with a scientist’s scepticism: “It’s very difficult to be sure. I think I observed a relaxing. At the time, I put it as being like the tide coming in, a lifting and relaxing.”

She shows me a human skull on her sideboard: a gift from a friend, she says. It is peppered with six marble-sized holes.“He was an Irish nobleman thousands of years ago,” she tells me with hushed excitement. He was certainly trepanned, but one really doesn’t know why he did it so many times!”

Both Amanda’s long-term partners, Joseph Mellen, with whom she has two children, and her current husband, James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss, have also undergone the operation. “In both I’ve noticed a change, though very subtle. My husband had chronic headaches from childhood upwards, and would lose a day a week to it. After trepanation, he’s never had a headache.

“All the historical explanations for trepanning about ‘letting the devils out’ and so on were obviously inaccurate, but I would suggest we’ve thrown away the baby with the bathwater there.”

 

*** 

 

Since moving her focus from art and trepanning to scientific research, Feilding has benefited from a slowly changing approach to drugs. She has found a strong ally in David Nutt, who has long campaigned for a more evidence-based approach. Meanwhile, Johann Hari’s book Chasing the Scream, published January 2015, shows the tangled politics of drugs policy all over the world, and piles up evidence that global drugs policy is not designed to reduce drug death and addiction. Since Alan Johnson's sacking of David Nutt, the atmosphere has changed even in parliament itself: during a debate on the Psychoactive Substances Bill, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt said he had used poppers himself, and called the bill “fantastically stupid”. In recent years, MPs like the Conservative Charles Walker and Labour’s Kevan Jones have even talked openly in the House of Commons about their own mental health problems.

Last week, the Royal Society for Public Health released its strongest statement yet on drug policy, in the form of a report that argued drug use should be viewed as an issue of public health, not a criminal matter. Moreoever, it suggests that the policies around illegal drugs should be merged with alcohol and tobacco policy, not least because “alcohol and tobacco cause far greater harm to health and wellbeing than many of their illegal counterparts”.

Statements of this kind would have been unthinkable two decades ago, and it may be that Feilding has had something to do with the changing landscape. When the Beckley Foundation was first set up in 1998, Feilding began inviting key figures to “carefully designed seminars at the House of Lords”. “It was Chatham House rules, as the whole subject was completely taboo,” she explains. She claims that the head of Russian drug policy, neuroscientists, and European police chiefs all attended these seminars. “A lot of those people have become key players now.” Since then, she has continued to advise political leaders worldwide on drug policy. 

Feilding as a young woman. Image: courtesy of the Beckley Foundation.

The Royal Society for Public Health report also notes that “most UK adults use psychoactive drugs”, whether they be alcohol, cocaine, or prescribed by a doctor. As such, psychoactive substances are embedded in human experience, as they have been for thousands of years. Almost all societies have well-recorded use of drugs as social practice, whether that be Ayahuasca, khat, or Bacardi breezers. Feilding points out that yoga, meditation and fasting are all a form of consciousness-altering high: “I don’t think Christ was against this practice. Fasting gets you high. I would imagine, probably, Christ would come from a background of mystical use of altered states of substances.” 

The Beckley Foundation is now building on its bedrock of successful studies, often working from the instincts of Feilding and other scientists about the possible benefits of certain compounds. “I used to be rather a good Go player, and in the 1960s when it was all legal, I won more games of Go if I was on LSD. I’m a good pattern recogniser.” The sheer lack of scientists working in this field, however, means that a lack of testable hypotheses isn't really an issue. “It’s like an orchard rich with fruit which no one’s been gathering,” she says with a smile, “So the fruit is just there, waiting to be picked.”

So is she suggesting that we all have unfettered access to all drugs, all the time? No – unless the evidence suggests that this would reduce their harm. Much of Feilding’s work is about establishing a more evidence-based scale for measuring the positive and negative effects of drugs, and through this research she has concluded that the western world's decision to lump for alcohol and tobacco as our legal, accepted drugs of choice was an unfortunate one. “We made the wrong choice. The sad thing is, alcohol has many good qualities, but it kills millions of people worldwide. Cannabis does not kill people, even from an overdose. One would never pass alcohol now as a legal drug. It would be seen as too toxic – whereas psychadelics are not toxic, at least pscilocybin and LSD aren’t.”

Feilding’s core message and life’s work, despite its trappings in history, science and art, is simple: the fact that we know so little about these compounds is wrong-headed, even dangerous. She wants the evidence base to be established – even if it contradicts her instincts about the benefits of psychadelics in particular. Beckley-partnered research into LSD’s effects has actually shown it reduces blood flow to the brain, contrary to what Feilding hypothesised about increased blood flow and freer thought. For now, she guesses that this may be because patients were lying in CAT scanners, and had nothing to do or think about.

“But who knows? I am very, very happy to be proved wrong,” she says. “I am happy whatever way it goes. What I want to do is know.

Robert Funke

The only thing apocalyptic about the Independence Day sequel is its script

By Ryan Gilbey from New Statesman Contents. Published on Jun 22, 2016.

A modern follow-up to the Nineties sci-fi alien invasion adventure is plagued by threadbare characters, poor dialogue, and a rambling plotline.

The knockabout science-fiction adventure Independence Day could never be mistaken for a classic. But while it lacked the satirical bite of other late-1990s alien invasion comedies such as Mars Attacks! and Starship Troopers, it had a buoyant sense of B-movie fun to temper its pomposity about protecting the American way of life.

That didn’t seem like much at the time. But it represents an embarrassment of riches next to the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.

All the most interesting ideas in the new film are squeezed into the first few minutes. In the 20 years since the events of the original, there have been no wars or conflicts on our planet. The magnitude of the battle against the aliens has left civilisation so humbled, so grateful for its hard-won peace, that we have been more or else inoculated against strife. That means no IS, no Al-Qaeda, no Israeli-Palestinian conflict and presumably no industrial tribunals or marital disputes either.

What’s more, mankind has absorbed the technological innovations of the aliens it subdued. But there is trouble on the horizon. An unidentified presence has been detected near the moon and all the signs are that it isn’t sightseeing.

The original film’s President (Bill Pullman) is now retired and has taken to waking up babbling, drawing a mysterious shape repeatedly on his bedside jotter: a circle bisected by a straight line. It looks rather like the Transport for London logo, which is bad news for him, since that’s already been invented.

The shape is appearing in other places too. The scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) finds it scrawled all over a settlement in “Central Africa”, where he also encounters his old flame Dr Catherine Marceaux, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg – an actor who most definitely counts as an alien life form in the hothouse of the Hollywood blockbuster. There is a greater sense of wonder at Gainsbourg’s appearance than at the unveiling of any of the film’s aliens, or the inevitable scenes of mass destruction when battle commences.

But then audiences can’t be blamed for feeling jaded at the sight of the planet being destroyed. We’ve seen it so many times on screen that the natural reaction is to say: “It’s not the end of the world.” Even when it is.

The first Independence Day had a nice triple-thronged selection of heroes who played an equal part in victory – one was cool (Pullman), one had brains (Goldblum), one brawn (Will Smith, whose character does not reappear here).

The new film seems at first to be even more varied, more Benetton, in its composition. There is a female president (Sela Ward), a female Chinese starfighter (Angelababy), a fearsome African warlord (Deobia Oparei) and the African-American son (Jessie T Usher) of the pilot played in the first film by Smith.

What this means in practice is simply that the gobsmacked but wordless reaction shots have to be shared out between a greater and more ethnically diverse number of people than usual. It doesn’t translate into thrilling cinema.

This is a film that thinks characterisation means having someone gaze sorrowfully at an old family photograph. Five writers (including the director Roland Emmerich) are credited with the screenplay but none of them has come up with any memorable lines. Not to worry. At least Goldblum proves, as ever, that it’s not what you say but how you say it. No amount of data or research on the subject could ever predict accurately how one of his line readings will turn out.

A key revelation in the plot involve cores: it turns out that the aliens want our molten one, and will stop at nothing to get it. That’s ironic because the main problem here is that the film itself has no centre. The plotlines and characters are too numerous and disorganised; the action feels diffuse, and we can never be certain what is happening in which part of the world, or how Group A got to Location D so speedily when they seemed to be many hundreds of miles away and all the intervening roads were destroyed in an alien attack.

If the filmmakers don’t care to explain themselves, they shouldn’t be surprised if the audience begins to share their complacency. Pour all the money you like into snazzy effects – and the movie has those in spades – but the devil is in the detail, and Independence Day: Resurgence doesn’t have any.

It would be unfair to blame a film for the sins of its press notes, but it seems only fitting that the publicity for this slapdash production boasts of a scene in which “London’s Ferris Wheel is sent crashing into the Thames”. Ah, London’s Ferris Wheel, only a stone’s throw from Large Ben and the Parliamentary House.

Observers of up-and-coming actors will be pleased to see the splendid, sleepy-eyed Maika Monroe (so good in The Guest and It Follows) and the vivid, sharp-boned Travis Tope (as a twitchy pilot who seems to swoon over his colleague, a bland hunk played by Liam Hemsworth) but less delighted to see both wasted in threadbare parts. Then again, what other sort of parts are there here?

The film’s closing moments make it abundantly clear that the direst threat to humanity comes not from an alien race at all but from the prospect of further instalments in the Independence Day series.

Independence Day: Resurgence is on release from 23 June.

Independence Day: Resurgence trailer still.

Bahrain crackdown fans the sectarian flames

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

Appeasement is no answer to the brutal suppression of civil liberties

Germany’s judges give ECB a grudging nod

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

The Karlsruhe constitutional court should allow flexibility in monetary policy

Ireland: Too many houses in wrong place

From Analysis. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

A country that once built more homes than it needed is now not building enough

A Bid for Greater Transparency on Refugees

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

Italy’s detention and identification centers for arriving migrants are poorly monitored and shielded from public view.

Risky allure of Italy’s Five Star Movement

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

The populist party is not a credible contender to govern the country

Rajan’s exit raises doubts about reforms

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

Without its central banking talisman, Modi’s drive may lose impetus

EU referendum: Fight for hearts and wallets

From Analysis. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

A poll to settle Tories’ Europe issue has unleashed fierce passions Cameron is struggling to control

Romania's Role in CIA Torture and Rendition Comes Before European Court

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 20, 2016.

Romania’s efforts to draw a veil over its support for the Central Intelligence Agency’s program of torture and secret rendition a decade ago will come under unprecedented scrutiny at the European Court of Human Rights.

China like a bully in South China Sea row

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 19, 2016.

But the US must ratify international rules if it is to exert pressure

Brexit dominates fears for global economy

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 19, 2016.

Central banks can limit market turmoil, but not long-term damage

Volvo: Remaking the marque

From Analysis. Published on Jun 19, 2016.

Under Geely, the carmaker is back in profit and selling well in China. But is it big enough to compete with its rivals?

Russian athletes out of the Olympics

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

The IAAF decision to maintain a suspension is harsh but necessary

Lessons from the life of Jo Cox

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

Britain’s MPs are too vilified and the language of debate is too coarse

Japan: The dash to stash

From Analysis. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

Negative rates should be spurring country’s consumers to spend, but hottest-selling item is the safe

The Immigration Detention Puzzle

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

Many countries have conflicting, secretive policies on detaining migrants and asylum seekers. More transparency would make these systems work better for everyone.

The Immigration Detention Puzzle

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

Many countries have conflicting, secretive policies on detaining migrants and asylum seekers. More transparency would make these systems work better for everyone.

Fighting Islamic State in Libya

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 17, 2016.

FOR a wonderful few days, it seemed that Libya’s new Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Serraj, the prime minister, was on the verge of a momentous victory last week. Forces aligned with Mr Serraj had driven the jihadists of Islamic State (IS) back over 100 miles. They then captured the airport and seaport of Sirte, the group’s stronghold and the hometown of Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan dictator overthrown (and killed) in 2011. The jihadists were pinned down in the city centre. “The operation will not last much longer,” said Muhammad Ghassri, the GNA’s spokesman, on June 9th.

But up to that point, IS had not put up much resistance. Now the jihadists are hitting back in an attempt to retake the port and other areas. Hundreds of its fighters, many from abroad, remain holed up in Sirte. The GNA’s offensive has stalled. Its forces, made up mostly of militias from Misrata, in the west, have thus far shown a willingness to take casualties. More than 100 of their men have died and some 500 have been injured. But in order to clear Sirte of jihadists, more sacrifice will be needed.

The fighting has certainly...Continue reading

Finance: Blessed returns

From Analysis. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

Pope Francis has little good to say about capitalism but has championed impact investments

Nigeria changes course with devaluation

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

The CBN’s move should allow the economy to right itself

Poland must take care rebalancing economy

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

Market principles have delivered striking success over two decades

Sibling rivalry

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

The Brotherhood bemoans the loss of its leader

WHOM does one call when one wants to talk to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main Islamist group? Most of its leaders are in prison, many of them sentenced to death. Other members are in hiding from the regime of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the general-turned-president who toppled the Brotherhood-led government in 2013 and then banned the group over alleged terrorism. Hundreds more have fled Mr Sisi’s persecution for more sympathetic countries such as Turkey and Qatar.

To make matters more difficult, the Brotherhood cannot agree on who speaks for it these days. Late last year Muhammad Montasser, a pseudonym for the group’s combative spokesman, was sacked by some of its leaders. But other leaders rejected the move, which, they said, did not follow procedure. The disagreement is symptomatic of a deep conflict inside the Brotherhood over its leadership and priorities. After 88 years of religious, political and social activity, which inspired the creation of similar groups across the region, the Brotherhood is tearing itself apart.

On one side are several members of...Continue reading

Plus de kutub, please

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

TO JUDGE by Librairie Antoine in Beirut, books are faring well in the Middle East. The bright, airy branch in Beirut Souks, a shopping centre, has ceiling-to-floor shelves on all three levels. Yet even if the bookshop is as swish as any on a British or American high street, publishing in Arabic is struggling.

One reason jumps out: most of Antoine’s books are in foreign languages rather than Arabic. French and English each account for about 40% of sales; Arabic, for only 20%, according to the company. “People aren’t reading as much in Arabic, not just here but across the region,” says Emile Tyan, Librairie Antoine’s commercial director, who also heads HachetteAntoine, a joint venture with a French publisher.

Most books in Arabic are written in a formal variant that is rarely spoken, difficult and often taught badly. Mastering it takes a lot of study—and that is time many parents think would be more usefully spent learning English. HachetteAntoine has improved sales of Arabic books by using glossy covers and attractive fonts—something that has been rare for local books. But that cannot turn the tide.

Piracy is another...Continue reading

The scramble for .africa

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

THE ruler-straight lines and strange squiggles of Africa’s borders are a reminder of how the continent was carved up by European powers around a conference table in Berlin at the end of the 19th century—with scant regard for the wishes of its inhabitants. (Several squiggles represent the shifting of a port or mountain into a different country.) Now a virtual version of this scramble for Africa is taking place in a court in California, over ownership of the continent’s internet address, or technically its “generic top-level domain” (gTLD).

The .africa name, which would grace the end of web and e-mail addresses, was meant to have joined existing ones such as .com about two years ago, when the web’s address book was opened up to thousands of new names. These included some flippant ones such as .cool or .rich as well as company brands such as .barclays. It would have joined regional names such as .asia or .eu that had been allocated a few years earlier. But a dispute over who should control the .africa address has dragged on for years and been further delayed by a recent ruling.

At issue was a decision by the Internet Corporation for...Continue reading

Free at last

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 16, 2016.

 

 

 

 

BARE shelves in supermarkets and soaring inflation would worry any central-bank governor. For Godwin Emefiele in Nigeria, the added twist is that both problems are partly his fault. The central bank’s policy of trying to maintain the value of the naira, Nigeria’s currency, in the face of a slump in the price of oil, which used to account for about 90% of the country’s export earnings, has failed miserably. Now it is being scrapped.

Mr Emefiele tried heroically to conserve the country’s dwindling reserves of foreign exchange. In effect, he banned the import of a huge range of goods, from tinned fish to toothpicks; arbitrarily rationed the supply of dollars from the central bank to importers; and threatened to clamp down on people trading dollars on the black market. Mr Emefiele maintained this policy even as other oil exporters such as Russia, Angola and Kazakhstan allowed their currencies to slide to make exports more competitive and to dampen demand for imports.

Commodities: Noble’s House of woe

From Analysis. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

Asia commodity trader brought low by weak markets after questions over accounting practices

Britain should vote to stay in the EU

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

Historic plebiscite with far-reaching consequences for the continent

Case Watch: Italian Migrant Expulsion before the European Court of Human Rights

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

In the case Khalaifia v. Italy, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR will consider the due process rights and protections for migrants being subjected to deportation procedures.

In need of an opposition

By The Economist online from Middle East and Africa. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

ROWS of black marble headstones mark the graves of those who died in the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, when South African police fired into a crowd of demonstrators, killing 69 of them including James Buti Bessie, who was 12. It is a solemn yet peaceful place. Last month police invaded it. They were chasing looters who were hiding among the graves after a mob of 200 ransacked two nearby supermarkets.

The looting had spilled over from a day of what South Africans call “service delivery” protests—expressions of outrage at the government’s failure to provide housing, running water, acceptable schools or, as in Sharpeville, reliable electricity. Service delivery protests take many forms—roads, even motorways, can be blocked for hours, sometimes by burning tyres; buildings can become targets, too. In May protesters set fire to more than 20 schools in Limpopo province, in an argument over local-government boundaries.

South Africans have cause to be angry. The economy is in dire shape: thanks partly to slowing sales of iron ore and platinum, it shrank by an annualised 1.2% in the first quarter of this year, after growing by only...Continue reading

Beam Suntory: A volatile Japanese-US blend

From Analysis. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

Combining the corporate cultures of the two drinks groups after $16bn merger has proved a headache

The eurozone is no obstacle to UK growth

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

A vote to leave would destabilise Britain’s main trading partner

Russia’s football hooligans on the march

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

Moscow must crack down on sporting violence and drugs cheating

Parliamentary power and Sir Philip Green

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

Billionaire should appear before Commons select committee on BHS

A deadly assault on tolerance in America

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

The Orlando shootings show the US can no longer put off gun control

Civil Society Fund for Roma Integration 2020

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

The Roma Initiatives Office invites national coalitions of Roma and pro-Roma organizations to apply for support for monitoring and advocacy work within the framework of the Roma Integration 2020 initiative.

Britain: A time to lead or leave?

From Analysis. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

The European debate with its questions of history and sovereignty has not changed much since 1960

Pooled sovereignty has advanced UK goals

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 12, 2016.

The union is a platform from which Britain can promote its interests

Kazakh leader needs to address real grievances

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 12, 2016.

Any domestic instability could have repercussions internationally

Russia: Magnitsky’s bitter legacy

From Analysis. Published on Jun 12, 2016.

The ‘established’ story of an accountant who died in police custody and a fraud is being challenged

Open Society Fellowship

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

The Open Society Fellowship is designed to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges.

Wrong lesson to take from negative yields

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

Central banks should be pushing ahead with monetary stimulus

Corbyn must rally behind the Remain camp

From Financial Times - FT View. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

Labour’s confusion undermines the campaign to stay in the EU

BHS: No cash, no experience, no problem

From Analysis. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

MPs will ask Sir Philip Green why he had such faith in the group that took over the retail chain

US election: When the gloves come off

From Analysis. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

Clinton is now taking a more aggressive stance but Trump still appears immune to criticism

North Sea oil: The £30bn break-up

From Analysis. Published on Jun 08, 2016.

It will end one of the UK’s most successful industries but decommissioning also offers a silver lining

Why Roma Integration Is a Rare Opportunity for the Western Balkans and Turkey

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 08, 2016.

On the heels of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, the Roma Integration 2020 initiative will differ from the preceding effort in key ways.

Sovereign debt: Curing defaults

From Analysis. Published on Jun 07, 2016.

The payout of $2.4bn from Argentina to Elliott Management spurred efforts to tighten the restructuring process

Croatia Rallies in Support of Education Reform

From Open Society Foundations - Europe. Published on Jun 07, 2016.

In Croatia, protests stretching across the country voiced a clear call to reform an outdated education system. Now it’s time for the government to respond.

Croatia Rallies in Support of Education Reform

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Jun 07, 2016.

In Croatia, protests stretching across the country voiced a clear call to reform an outdated education system. Now it’s time for the government to respond.

Wells Fargo: Branched out

From Analysis. Published on Jun 06, 2016.

With interest rates static, the San Francisco-based bank is tweaking its retail operation in a bid to lift revenues

Inside McKinsey’s private hedge fund

From Analysis. Published on Jun 06, 2016.

McKinsey quietly runs an investment arm for partners but experts warn of conflicts of interest

Belgium: Journeys to jihad

From Analysis. Published on Jun 03, 2016.

The trial of one of Brussels’ most notorious terror recruiters revealed the depth of the challenges facing Belgian security forces

Vivendi: Bolloré’s master plan

From Analysis. Published on Jun 02, 2016.

The media group chairman believes he can compete with global players, but is his strategy right?

Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Jun 02, 2016.

This conference brings together institutional, academic, and civil society actors to discuss the role and responsibility of the EU in supporting a credible democratic process in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

EU Directive on Combating Terrorism: A Roundtable Event

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on May 26, 2016.

The EU is in the final stages of negotiating a new directive on combating terrorism. This roundtable meeting will inform and raise concerns ahead of trilogue negotiations and the adoption of the directive.

Roma and EU Funds

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on May 12, 2016.

The Roma Initiatives Office invites Roma and pro-Roma organizations to apply for advocacy grants aimed at keeping civil society involved in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of EU financial assistance.

Rethinking Human Rights in EU External Policies

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Mar 15, 2016.

This paper is a contribution to the review of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.

Reforms in Ukraine: Milestones for 2016

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Mar 02, 2016.

Experts from the Reanimation Package of Reforms and the EU Support Group for Ukraine take stock of reform efforts in 2015 and examine areas of critical importance for the year ahead.

Jennifer Daskal

From Open Society Foundations - European Union. Published on Feb 18, 2016.

Jennifer Daskal is investigating efforts by several nations—including the United States, the UK, and Brazil—to gain access to data stored outside their borders, in ways that have significant implications for privacy and related human rights across the globe. As electronic evidence becomes increasingly crucial in fighting crime, states are understandably frustrated by rules that prohibit direct access to highly mobile data, based solely on where it happens to be stored. But the response is concerning: data localization measures, alternative (and less transparent) means of accessing the data, unilateral assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction, and mandatory de-encryption requirements. Meanwhile, companies—the new gatekeepers—are increasingly playing a key, and largely unregulated, role in determining when and under what circumstances data should be turned over to investigating officials. Through a series of articles, blog posts, and op-eds targeted at key government officials, corporate actors, and opinion leaders, she is working to develop and promulgate effective and just approaches to this new problem.

Daskal’s latest article on the issue, “The Un-Territoriality of Data,” came out in the Yale Law Journal in December 2015. She joined American University’s Washington College of Law in 2013 and teaches and writes in the fields of criminal law, national security law, and constitutional law. From 2009 to 2011, she was counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice and served on the Secretary of Defense and Attorney General-led Detention Policy Task Force. Prior to joining DOJ, she was the senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and clerked for the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff. She is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School, and Cambridge University, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She is founding editor of the Just Security blog.