Treating leaders as celebrities is nothing new. Nor are political anthems. The Roman legions of Gaius Julius Caesar sang a ballad too bawdy for the sensitive ears of the Twitter generation. So “Oh! Jeremy Corbyn” must be seen in this context. Caesar merely conquered Gaul. Corbyn conquered Glastonbury. If it was a fault of political commentators that they paid too much attention to precedent in predicting the future, the present danger is that social media becomes a new barometer of public opinion. The reaction to the fire at Grenfell Tower was one of the most consuming of modern politics. So many pointless deaths was a shock; it may be seen in future years as a transformational moment. The other reaction was more partisan.
“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” he tweeted. “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history -- led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Where to start with the distorted thinking exhibited in these tweets? On collusion, Trump is, at best, premature; there is not “zero proof” but a continuing investigation into campaign and transition contacts between Trump associates and Russian operatives -- contacts that Trump aides have consistently minimized if not lied about directly.
Mister Babadook, a grey-faced, spindly-clawed and top-hatted demon who inhabits a cursed children’s book, has become an unlikely gay icon. He is the antagonist of Australian psychological horror film The Babadook (2014), the debut of self-trained director Jennifer Kent and a work which has transcended the frequently panned horror genre to become culturally iconic. BBC critic Mark Kermode even named The Babadook as his favourite film of 2014. So why is it cinematically affective enough to have become such a phenomenon? Though The Babadook has a supernatural pretext like many horror films, it is unorthodox in lacking a happy-go-lucky setup, instead of having a sombre surface narrative that unnerves viewers from its beginning.
In an interview with Die Welt newspaper, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel offered what was essentially an invitation for the UK to change its mind. "It would naturally be best if Britain didn't leave at all," Gabriel said. "It doesn't look like that at the moment, but we want to keep the door open for the British. Those sentiments were echoed in an interview with the same publication by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator. But he also hinted that even should there be a British change of heart, there would be no return to the current status quo. "The path is open for the British to change their minds and become part of the European Union again," Verhofstadt told Welt. "But they'll find a different EU than the one they left, an EU with no special wishes, concessions and unnecessary complexity, but with more powers for Europe."
A world of angry nuns, a repressive father, sexual experimentation, and forbidden desire… Not, as you may be imaging, my school years (for that replace Nuns with Vicars and the word “repressive” for “hugely accepting” and you’re about there…), but instead “For the Love of God, Marie!” a stunning graphic novel by Jade Sarson, published by Myriad. Laying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, I rarely want to pick up anything too complicated to read, so pushed aside some of the weightier tomes on the pile next to my bed and uncovered the rather eye-catching cover of “For the Love of God, Marie!” With a ginormous mug of tea and a purring cat on my lap, I was ready to dive into the world of Marie – one filled with love, emotion, sex, and warmth – in short, the perfect read for a quiet morning.
It seems that the aphorism, coined after the Theresa May’s poor showing at the polls, is true. Denial is a river in Maidenhead. May called a snap poll in order to give her government a Brexit mandate. By losing her majority, she forfeited that mandate. Continuing to plough on as if nothing has changed, the Prime Minister is showing the same tin-ear that she demonstrated on Downing Street when she gave the same speech she might have given had she won a with commanding landslide. Although she hopes to carve out a majority by allying with the Democratic Unionist Party, she is now subject to the whims of her new partners and her rebellious backbenchers. The government is clutching to its political legitimacy with the tenderest of straws.
When it came, it came quickly. It is not that the fall was unexpected nor its rapidity surprising. The Prime Minister tried to ride the wave of Brexit populism. At times, she seemed almost daring but ultimately was unequal to the task. The impossible legacy of her predecessor made her fall inevitable but few realised it would happen so soon. Probably most expected it when she returned from Brussels with a deal and slogans alone could not steer her path. As it is, she has lost the last vestiges of her authority. When they write her political obituary, her response to the Grenfell tragedy will be written as the final nail.
Of course it is the case that Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are predisposed to believe the worst about the man. But the fact is that doing so is not obviously wrong or unreasonable. Trump apologists instinctively want to treat Democrats’ exaggeration and hysteria as contemptible scandal-mongering, but their defenses — no hard evidence of collusion with the Putin regime! — sound a lot like “no controlling legal authority.” The question isn’t whether the president is a crook. The question is: What kind of crook is he?
There now stands a grim tombstone that will dominate the skyline of the capital for many months and, for both Londoners and non-Londoners alike, will become a symbol in the years ahead. Like the Aberfan slag heap, post-Katrina New Orleans, the smoking wreckage of the Twin Towers, or the radioactive hulk of Chernobyl, Grenfell Tower will become the pictorial representation of a failure of those in charge of us. As in these others, the fire at Grenfell Tower killed many - far, far too many - but also affected others profoundly and negatively. The thoughts off all of us at Disclaimer are with those who were killed, injured, bereaved or traumatised by Wednesday's fire.