The Madness of A Snap Election and Why the Tories Would Lose

Probably a week has not gone by without some kind of speculation about a snap general election. If Arlene Foster sneezes, front pages lead with stories of an imminent collapse of the government. The real story is that Theresa May’s absence of leadership has made her minority administration remarkably stable. Every time a political observer predicts an early poll, the one thing they do not do is tell us how. It is not just May’s vacuum that is propping up this government but the Fixed-Term Parliament Act. Designed to prevent the Conservatives playing dirty of their then coalition partners, the act means that weak governments can stay in office: MPs can only dissolve Parliament with a two-thirds majority, or bring down a government with a specific vote of no-confidence (ie a vote not linked to any bill or issue).

An economist’s powerful but flawed recipe for urgent political reform

Zambian-born, Harvard-educated economist Dambisa Moyo jokes that she wishes she had never written her bestselling book, Dead Aid, as every question and answer session reverts to Africa whatever the topic up for discussion. This is precisely what happens at her London School of Economics event this month to launch her latest work, Edge of Chaos, a harsh analysis of the potential threats to the western model of liberal democratic capitalism along with 10 radical solutions. It should be no real surprise to her given that Dead Aid — full title: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa — was a searing indictment of Western aid practices, which managed to gain huge publicity after software billionaire turned philanthropist Bill Gates called it “evil”.

The Week on Planet Trump: Chaos Reigns Abroad, At Home Yet Another School Shooting

President Donald Trump called for peace in the Middle East on Monday as the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem while Israeli soldiers battled protesting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 50 and wounding more than a thousand others. The images made for jarring split screens beamed worldwide, with U.S. officials, including Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka, cheering during the grand, historic ceremony held as smoke filled the air in nearby Gaza. The scenes offered a glimpse of how divisive Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been, and they bode poorly for his plans to offer a peace proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Adventures in Memes: CHILDISH GAMBINO AND THE ADVENTURE OF THE ARDUOUS INTERFACES

A good twenty years before the dawn of the world wide web, the American technopope Marshall McLuhan predicted that the rise of electronic communication would create what he called a “global village” – a connected community of absolutely everybody. It’s a phrase loaded with associations; while a village is a tightly-knit group of disparate but united individuals, prefixing the word with ‘global’ evokes a somewhat disconcerting scale. How can individualism, or individuality, prevail against the vastness of a globe swarming with billions of intricately associated social agents?

Best of times and worst of times: SATS and a tale of two Kittys

As every parent of a state-educated Year 6 child know, last week saw their son or daughter go through the Standard Assessment Tests, or SATs, in English and maths. Their very existence has caused controversy and there is a very vocal group of parents who appear in the press claiming that they cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. In this article, I use the examples of two children to show why I think SATS are flawed but that pulling your children out of them is plain daft. Kitty#1 is from a middle class family, is bright and sociable and enjoys school. She attends a community primary school with a broad curriculum in a high achieving borough.

Weekend Poetry: Five Limericks

ANTHONY MADRID lives in Victoria, Texas. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Fence, Harvard Review, Lana Turner, LIT, and Poetry. His most recent book is called TRY NEVER (Canarium Books, 2017). A book of limericks, from which the present selection derives, titled There Was an Old Man with a Springbok, is due out, summer 2018. MARK FLETCHER is an illustrator and cartoonist. He designed the cover for Anthony Madrid's two books I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Sayand Try Never. Mark earned his BFA and BA in Art History from the University of Colorado. He lives and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Weekend Fiction: An Evening With Madison Novak

Madison was driving a white van. It was a Ford Transit and it had more than enough room for the live human body she was hauling. She had considered buying a used M6, which would have had enough space for a body but only if that body kept itself very still. She picked the van in the end because she had been unable to disassociate herself from the feeling that if was she was the one tied up in the boot of an M6, she would find it uncomfortable and stiff and not very nice at all. It would have made it very difficult for her to drive, if she had to continuously linger on this empathic feeling.

The Week: The Politics of Having Your Cake and Eating it

Twenty-three months after the Brexit vote and the government does not have a clear position on its customs options. Ten months until Brexit Day. The clock is ticking. Labour’s problem is that it is still fudging its position on the ESM. In Starmer's words, Labour wants a “strong Single Market relationship with the EU that hardwires the benefits into the future agreement.” This essentially meaningless. Retaining the benefits can only be done by staying in the Single Market - which Jeremy Corbyn has rejected, and many Labour MPs who have fears over freedom of movement.

Vivid, Strange, Experimental Temptations Thrills With Sex, Violence and Wit

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it,” said Oscar Wilde - and it appears that Vesna Main agrees. Main’s new book Temptation: A User’s Guide is her first short story collection published by Salt, one of the UK’s foremost independent publishers, who are committed to the discovery and publication of contemporary British literature and are advocates for writers at all stages of their careers, striving to ensure that diverse voices can be heard. This collection of twenty short stories is indeed diverse in terms of story length and style, although there is a clear sense of cohesion throughout. Running through the central seam of Main’s collection is the notion of temptation - unsurprisingly - in all its varied forms