This time last year, three Labour Party members were expelled for having agreed a “progressive alliance” to unseat the Conservative health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, at the general election in the constituency of South West Surrey. They had been involved in trying to implement a local agreement whereby the local Labour Party, Green Party and Liberal Democrats stood to one side and backed a single candidate – a local GP – to run against Hunt under the colours of the National Health Action Party. One of those expelled had been a member of 50 years standing; another was the constituency Labour Party secretary. The rationale for this progressive alliance was that there was a far better chance of unseating the health secretary – who had a majority of more than 28,000 – if all the forces of social justice united behind one candidate rather than being split between other parties. Given the immense damage Hunt has caused to the NHS, this seemed eminently … [Read more...] about Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have similar problems in their parties – and it’s starting to damage our democracy
4 differences between weather and climate
After eight years of displeasure with the presidency of Barack Obama and faced with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Dennis Schminke of Austin, Minnesota, didn't have to think hard about how he would vote in 2016. A retired corporate manager, a staunch conservative and a county Republican official, he supported the New York businessman. Since then, there has not been a day that Schminke wished that Clinton, rather than Trump, were president. But week by week, month by month, as he has watched the events of Trump's presidency, he has become increasingly conflicted and concerned about what he has seen. The turmoil, he said, has often left him feeling "motion sick." By early spring, he expressed a different sentiment. He had not fully broken, but he was no longer as emotionally invested in the president or a reconstituted Trumpian Republican Party. "I find myself drawing back a bit," he said. Schminke lives in a section of the Upper Midwest that responded … [Read more...] about Loyalty and unease in Trump’s Midwest
To understand how big a deal Jeremy Thorpe was some four decades ago, it is helpful to transplant him into the modern day. Imagine then a Liberal political leader who burst onto the scene with even more verve and energy and impact than Nick Clegg did in 2010, if you can cast your mind back to Cleggmania. And did so with the result that he almost single-handedly denied either main party a majority at a general election. Imagine too a man with the charisma and style of a character such as Nigel Farage (though far from sharing his politics). Top that lot off with the ready wit and celebrity of the likes of Boris Johnson. He was married to an ex-wife of the cousin of the Queen and he had once toyed with the idea of wedding Princess Margaret. That was Thorpe. Now imagine someone combining those talents and of that stature in national life being put on trial at the Old Bailey on a charge of conspiracy to murder. Read more Ben Whishaw cast in Russell T Davies … [Read more...] about Jeremy Thorpe: Who was the Liberal Party leader and what led to his spectacular fall from grace?
In just one week in February 1847, 49 residents of Cork Workhouse died of hunger and dysentery. Visitors to the city recorded their shock at the sight of the dead and dying in doorways and ‘ragged spectres’ of people begging in the streets. The Great Famine, which occurred between 1845 and 1852, was neither the first nor the last of Ireland’s famine experiences, but it was the most profound, and probably the most catastrophic event in our modern history. The population had more than trebled in the century prior to the Famine’s commencement, from approximately 2.5m people in 1750 to about 8.5m in 1845. Rapid population growth put enormous pressure on the country’s land and food resources, and reduced the impoverished peasantry, the bulk of the population, to a dangerous dependency on a single food source, potatoes. In September 1845, the fungal disease phytophthora infestans, late blight, appeared in Ireland for the first time, and destroyed about one third … [Read more...] about Brutality of Cork’s Famine years: ‘I saw hovels crowded with the sick and the dying in every doorway’
The Jaguar XF has been around for a while but constant revisions have kept pace with its German rivals. But what is it like to live with day to day? Our car: Jaguar XF Portfolio 3.0 V6 Turbocharged Diesel 300ps RWD List price: from £47,600 Price as tested: £64,595 (includes £16,995 of extras) Official fuel economy: 51.4mpg (EU Combined) Read more long-term tests May 9th, 2018 Fuel economy this week: 37.4mpg If you like listening to music, the right sound system will be a crucial part of the decision-making process as to which car you'll buy. This car is fitted with the optional 825 Watt Meridian 20 strong front, side and rear speakers working with a dual channel subwoofer. This combination of sound is blended with Trifield Technology. What this means in terms of sound experience is rather impressive. Shockingly though, I almost condemned this system when listening to my music through Spotify, in favour of the ones fitted to BMWs and Audis - these seem to … [Read more...] about Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 diesel – long-term test: still a viable alternative to Audi, BMW and Mercedes?