With each misstep, Jeremy Corbyn is handing Britain to the Tories | Jonathan Freedland

Every day, whether on terror or Chairman Mao, Labour is alienating its supporters and betraying those hit hardest by the cuts

There is rage coursing through the veins of today’s Labour party. Even before the latest act of self-laceration over Syria, it’s been bursting out from all but the truest of true believers in the new leader: rage, despair and bewilderment at whatever new low has been plumbed.

One minute it’s the shadow chancellor smiling as he quotes Chairman Mao in the Commons; the next it’s Jeremy Corbyn having to clarify that, yes, if a homicidal terrorist were massacring people on a British street, pausing only to reload, it might be OK to stop him with a bullet.

Related: John McDonnell under fire for quoting Mao Zedong in Commons

Related: End of austerity? A silent crisis in local services tells the true story | John Harris

Related: Len McCluskey criticises Jeremy Corbyn over shoot-to-kill policy comments

Continue reading...

Santa Osborne hands out autumn gifts, found down the back of a sofa

The chancellor flashed the hypothetical cash, with a shower of stocking-fillers he calculates he’ll never have to pay for

In July, George Osborne came to the House of Commons to play Scrooge. On Wednesday, in chilly November, the chancellor used his return appearance to play Santa.

The pre-show buildup had suggested the opposite. Austerity Osborne would unveil a spending review to make the eyes water, cutting and slashing at the state until it was left in bloody ribbons. In the event, he came bearing gifts, all but ho-ho-hoing as he told recipients of tax credits their payments would be safe (for now) or delivered similarly glad tidings to the nation’s police forces, assuring them their jobs would be safe after all.

Continue reading...

Three-minute video analysis: George Osborne’s autumn statement is a big gamble

Opinion editor Jonathan Freedland and economics editor Larry Elliott discuss the impact of George Osborne’s autumn statement and comprehensive spending review. The chancellor abandoned planned cuts to tax credits and police budgets after receiving healthier than expected projections of future public finances. But is it a gamble that will pay off for the government, and him personally?

Continue reading...

Let’s deny Isis its binary struggle – and celebrate the grey zone | Jonathan Freedland

Violent jihadism longs for a polarised world of black and white. We should not fall into that trap, even as we debate how to defeat it

The grey zone is where I want to live. Islamic State hates it, that place between black and white, where nothing is ever either/or and everything is a bit of both. Those who have studied the organisation tell us “the grey zone” – Isis’s phrase – is high on the would-be warriors’ to-eradicate list, along with all those other aspects of our world that so terrify them: women, statues of the past, the pleasures of the present.

Related: Mindless terrorists? The truth about Isis is much worse | Scott Atran

Related: I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes | Nicolas Hénin

Continue reading...

Diaspora Jews offer a rare chance for hope in the Middle East | Jonathan Freedland

Irish Americans helped settle the conflict in Northern Ireland. Jewish communities could play a similar role for Israel and Palestine

Diasporas can be trouble. Whether it was the German-Americans who agitated to keep the United States out of the war against Hitler, the Irish-Americans who bankrolled the IRA’s “armed struggle”, or the Cuban-Americans who lobbied to keep the US shackled to a pointless embargo of the island, émigré communities have a chequered record when it comes to the influencing of foreign policy.

The scholar Fred Halliday used to joke that there was a doctoral thesis waiting to be written on “irresponsible diasporas”, focusing on those who, when it comes to the affairs of the old country, strike poses that help no one.

Related: Cold comfort: the Syrian refugees trying to make a new life in Sweden

Related: Germany's 'failed' multiculturalism carries on regardless

Continue reading...

The spooks will keep spying on us Brits: we clearly don’t care | Jonathan Freedland

With no experience of life in a security state, and with James Bond and the Enigma codebreakers as our heroes, we’ve always believed the intelligence agencies protect us

I’m taking a wild guess here, but I reckon that little camera on your computer or phone is not covered up by black tape. I also suspect that, were I to look up your house on Google Street View, I’d be able to see it clearly, and not be confronted by a fuzzed-out blur. And, pushing my luck, my guess is that when the census form plopped on to your doormat in 2011, you duly filled it in and sent it back.

Related: This surveillance bill threatens investigative journalism | Gavin Millar

British intelligence still bears the halo of its finest hour, delivered by the code-breaking geniuses of Bletchley Park

Related: Theresa May’s investigatory powers bill is a step in the right direction | Keir Starmer

Continue reading...