Tweet Checking: Why has the Russian Embassy Become an Expert Troll?

People you have no idea how close this column came to being a “Scary Skripal Special” given the amount of low-grade conspiratorial crap on Twitter over the past week, but even then some other stupidities couldn’t help but break through. We often deal with “fake news” here, but really, the big issue this time is not false information but the callous attitude that many have towards information that is in some way ‘inconvenient’ for them. The people demanding “evidence” are demanding it not because they genuinely need more but because they are, it seems, being awkward on purpose—they seem to not be able to accept that there has been a Russian attack on British soil, or give a modest baseline of support to the position of a government they otherwise despise.

Weekend Poetry: Two Poems

Starting out as a singer-songwriter, Henry's first collection Time Pieces was published by Seren Press in 1991, winning a Gregory Award. His poems have been widely anthologised and can be found in journals such as Poetry Review and The Times Literary Supplement. They have also featured on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please. The Brittle Sea, New & Selected Poems was recently reprinted by Seren in the UK and by Dronequill in India, under the title The Black Guitar. Mari d’Ingrid, Gerard Augustin's translation of his fifth collection, Ingrid’s Husband, is published by L’Harmattan. He was described by the late U. A. Fanthorpe as "a poet's poet who combines a sense of the music of words with an endlessly inventive imagination". Henry teaches creative writing at writers' centres and has lectured at the University of South Wales.

The Red Beach Hut Shapes the Reader into the Perfect Devil’s Advocate

I have often been described as a ‘challenging’ person, something I will admit to freely and without shame. I believe that the nature of existence is to challenge our perceptions, thoughts and experience of the world around us. Because of this, I am an active seeker of challenging, thought-provoking books, the more uncomfortable and controversial the better. In my humble opinion, those authors who seek to challenge the status quo and produce work which shakes up the reader’s point of view hold a special kind of magic. The conversations which result can and do change our world and the world of those around us. A tale which seeks to start those conversations comes from Lynn Michell in the Red Beach Hut, published by Linen Press, the UK’s only independent women’s press.

Immoral and Reckless Russia Deserves A Swift and Severe Response

To paraphrase the great football manager Brian Clough; we are not yet sure where the Putin regime sits on the list of suspects for the nerve agent attack on Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – but it is probably in the top one. It is hard to imagine who else might have carried out this sickening crime. Ordinary gangsters cannot realistically acquire or handle nerve agents. Few states have them either. Of those that do, only Russia appears to have a motive for attempting to murder Mr Skripal. It also has a record of being immoral and reckless enough to risk harming British police officers, medical personnel and other innocent bystanders.

Hail Britannia, Farewell Globe. Will the Next Political Generation Succeed Where the Present are Failing?

If you can bear it, listen to a phone-in on the LBC radio station on the topic of Brexit. If you are (un)lucky you may catch a call from a Brexiter celebrating that Britain is leaving the EU because it means the country is to regain its mantle of a wealthy, sovereign, global trading nation. Never mind that Britain was known as the “sick man of Europe” in the 1960s and 1970s. The real irony of this clarion call is that it ignores the obvious truth that it was anger about the perceived negative impacts of globalisation that was a driving force behind people’s Leave vote.

This Week on Planet Trump: President Goes High Risk With Trade Aggression and Olive Branch to Kim Jong-un

President Donald Trump on Monday dangled the possibility of lifting the new steel and aluminum tariffs he's imposed if NAFTA is renegotiated to terms more favorable to the US. "We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed," Trump tweeted Monday morning. Trump has said he is imposing a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNN Sunday that no country will be excluded from the tariffs.

Tweet Checking: Nigel Farage, Russophobia and Schooling Katie Hopkins on Assad

I apologise for my absence, but when you can no longer breathe properly either lying down or sitting up straight, nor walk down the street without having an overwhelming urge to faint, a little medical respite becomes paramount. Being laid up with your second pneumothorax (a collapsed lung in lay terms) in four months, along with a case of pneumonia in the same lung, that infernal draining tube threaded through your torso like a rogue stitch in a cheap face cloth, you end up lying there in the hospital bed (re-)considering the most important things in life, which a lot of the people below simply don’t seem to have done at any point, ever. Imagine wasting your life acting and thinking like this all the time

Weekend Fiction: Last Trumpet

Matilda had treacle feet again, like in bad dreams where she had to go places fast but couldn’t. Roza kept striding ahead, as if she actually wanted to get where they were going, which was past the precinct and up the hill, to where the bungalows were. ‘They’re like hutches for humans,’ whispered Matilda when they got there. ‘Snob.’ Roza knocked on the door of number six. It was a quiet spot with few cars and no people around. Each bungalow had a patch of grass outside and a white handrail that needed painting. No answer. Roza knocked again. Matilda was relieved. ‘There’s no one here. Let’s go.’ Roza lifted up the letterbox and peered through. ‘Hello?’

Weekend Poetry: Two Sonnets

Dorothy LeHane is the author of three poetry publications: Umwelt (Leafe Press, 2016), Ephemeris (Nine Arches Press, 2014) and Places of Articulation (dancing girl press 2014). She is currently engaging in a study exploring questions surrounding the social, ethical and perceptual implications of communicating the aberrant body in poetic practice. Dorothy has read her work to audiences at Université Sorbonne, Paris, Science Museum, the Wellcome Trust, the Barbican, the Roundhouse, BBC Radio Kent and contributed on innovative improvised collaborations, notably with synthesizer Matthew Bourne, and musician Sam Bailey. Recent poetry and reviews appear in SALT anthology Best British Poetry 2015, Shearsman, Cordite Poetry Review Tears in the Fence, and Long Poem Magazine. Dorothy has taught Creative Writing in primary, secondary, further and higher education institutions, including Canterbury Christ Church University, the Barbican Arts Centre, and London South Bank University.