Welcome to the age of Trump | Jonathan Freedland

Whether he wins the US presidency or not, his rise reveals a growing attraction to political demagogues – and points to a wider crisis of democracy

It was the night the American media were too demure to call Pussygate. At the time, Donald Trump had won nothing. Twenty-four hours later, he would be celebrating his first victory in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, setting him on the path to face Hillary Clinton in November. But on this frigid Monday night in February, while a blizzard whipped outside, Trump stood before a packed Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire and prepared to unleash his tongue.

After a rambling monologue that moved from his TV career to the happy, sunny world that would follow his elevation to the White House, Trump came to another of his pet themes: the inadequacies of his rivals. He was attacking the Texas senator Ted Cruz for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the torture technique of waterboarding when a woman in the standing area directly in front of the stage, a kind of Trumpian moshpit, called out, “He’s a pussy!” Trump pretended to look appalled, even walking away from the lectern in faux disgust, before finally, as if under pressure, repeating the insult for the benefit of the cameras that might not have caught it. “She said, ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible … Ma’am, you’re reprimanded,” he told the heckler, in the manner of a lax teacher going through the disciplinary motions.

Trump is funny. His speech pattern is funny. His flamboyant self-love is funny, his mocking of his enemies is funny

Related: Donald Trump tore up the rulebook of American politics – and is winning | Jonathan Freedland

This rage against the system powers many of the populist movements now making waves around the world

Continue reading...

Welcome to the age of Trump | Jonathan Freedland

Whether he wins the US presidency or not, his rise reveals a growing attraction to political demagogues – and points to a wider crisis of democracy

It was the night the American media were too demure to call Pussygate. At the time, Donald Trump had won nothing. Twenty-four hours later, he would be celebrating his first victory in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, setting him on the path to face Hillary Clinton in November. But on this frigid Monday night in February, while a blizzard whipped outside, Trump stood before a packed Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire and prepared to unleash his tongue.

After a rambling monologue that moved from his TV career to the happy, sunny world that would follow his elevation to the White House, Trump came to another of his pet themes: the inadequacies of his rivals. He was attacking the Texas senator Ted Cruz for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the torture technique of waterboarding when a woman in the standing area directly in front of the stage, a kind of Trumpian moshpit, called out, “He’s a pussy!” Trump pretended to look appalled, even walking away from the lectern in faux disgust, before finally, as if under pressure, repeating the insult for the benefit of the cameras that might not have caught it. “She said, ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible … Ma’am, you’re reprimanded,” he told the heckler, in the manner of a lax teacher going through the disciplinary motions.

Trump is funny. His speech pattern is funny. His flamboyant self-love is funny, his mocking of his enemies is funny

Related: Donald Trump tore up the rulebook of American politics – and is winning | Jonathan Freedland

This rage against the system powers many of the populist movements now making waves around the world

Continue reading...

Whatever the Queen says, this government is all about Europe | Jonathan Freedland

Like Blair’s in 2003, this Queen’s speech is going through the motions. The EU vote will be Cameron’s Iraq, and the battle lines drawn now will not fade

No one will blame you if you’ve forgotten it, but there was a Queen’s speech, outlining the upcoming programme of the UK government, in 2003 too. There were some things in it that would have a lasting impact, like the introduction of civil partnerships for same sex couples, preparing the ground for eventual equal marriage. And there were proposals that came to nothing. Her Majesty promised a “national identity cards scheme”, that would later be dropped, and amusing to recall, said that “A draft bill will be published to enable a referendum to be held on the adoption of the single currency subject to the government’s five economic tests being met”.

Related: Queen's speech 2016: UK government's legislative programme unveiled – live

The sight of Cameron and Gove – once such close allies – on the same side now seems unreal and fleeting

Related: Skype, iPads and in-cell education at heart of major prisons shakeup

Continue reading...

Whatever the Queen says, this government is all about Europe | Jonathan Freedland

Like Blair’s in 2003, this Queen’s speech is going through the motions. The EU vote will be Cameron’s Iraq, and the battle lines drawn now will not fade

No one will blame you if you’ve forgotten it, but there was a Queen’s speech, outlining the upcoming programme of the UK government, in 2003 too. There were some things in it that would have a lasting impact, like the introduction of civil partnerships for same sex couples, preparing the ground for eventual equal marriage. And there were proposals that came to nothing. Her Majesty promised a “national identity cards scheme”, that would later be dropped, and amusing to recall, said that “A draft bill will be published to enable a referendum to be held on the adoption of the single currency subject to the government’s five economic tests being met”.

Related: Queen's speech 2016: UK government's legislative programme unveiled – live

The sight of Cameron and Gove – once such close allies – on the same side now seems unreal and fleeting

Related: Skype, iPads and in-cell education at heart of major prisons shakeup

Continue reading...

Whatever the Queen says, this parliament’s all about Europe | Jonathan Freedland

Like Blair’s in 2003, this Queen’s speech is going through the motions. The EU vote will be Cameron’s Iraq, and the battle lines drawn now will not fade

No one will blame you if you’ve forgotten it, but there was a Queen’s speech, outlining the upcoming programme of the UK government, in 2003 too. There were some things in it that would have a lasting impact, like the introduction of civil partnerships for same sex couples, preparing the ground for eventual equal marriage. And there were proposals that came to nothing. Her Majesty promised a “national identity cards scheme”, that would later be dropped, and amusing to recall, said that “A draft bill will be published to enable a referendum to be held on the adoption of the single currency subject to the government’s five economic tests being met”.

Related: Queen's speech 2016: UK government's legislative programme unveiled – live

The sight of Cameron and Gove – once such close allies – on the same side now seems unreal and fleeting

Related: Skype, iPads and in-cell education at heart of major prisons shakeup

Continue reading...

Post-truth politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are no joke | Jonathan Freedland

Rather than laughing along with the Republican candidate and former London mayor, media interrogators should confront them

In this era of post-truth politics, an unhesitating liar can be king. The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper. And those pedants still hung up on facts and evidence and all that boring stuff are left for dust, their boots barely laced while the lie has spread halfway around the world.

Related: Sheldon Adelson endorses Donald Trump for president – campaign live

Fact checking is laborious, especially compared with the brio that can be generated by a sweeping (but false) assertion

Related: Donald Trump makes Rupert Murdoch dance to his tune

Continue reading...

Post-truth politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are no joke | Jonathan Freedland

Rather than laughing along with the Republican candidate and former London mayor, media interrogators should confront them

In this era of post-truth politics, an unhesitating liar can be king. The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper. And those pedants still hung up on facts and evidence and all that boring stuff are left for dust, their boots barely laced while the lie has spread halfway around the world.

Related: Sheldon Adelson endorses Donald Trump for president – campaign live

Fact checking is laborious, especially compared with the brio that can be generated by a sweeping (but false) assertion

Related: Donald Trump makes Rupert Murdoch dance to his tune

Continue reading...

Post-truth politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are no joke | Jonathan Freedland

Rather than laughing along with the Republican candidate and former London mayor, media interrogators should confront them

In this era of post-truth politics, an unhesitating liar can be king. The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper. And those pedants still hung up on facts and evidence and all that boring stuff are left for dust, their boots barely laced while the lie has spread halfway around the world.

Related: Sheldon Adelson endorses Donald Trump for president – campaign live

Fact checking is laborious, especially compared with the brio that can be generated by a sweeping (but false) assertion

Related: Donald Trump makes Rupert Murdoch dance to his tune

Continue reading...

Iain Duncan Smith’s Brexit intervention is ridiculous but effective | Jonathan Freedland

The former Tory leader claims David Cameron was controlled by Germany in the EU renegotiations. But this was always going to be a sideshow to the main debate

Iain Duncan Smith’s latest intervention in the Brexit debate could be that rare thing: both ridiculous and effective.

The former work and pension secretary and – though this is easy to forget – former Tory leader told the Sun that David Cameron dropped one of his key demands in Britain’s EU renegotiation under pressure from Germany. According to IDS, Cameron had planned to call for an emergency brake on migration into the UK of EU citizens but abandoned it at the last minute because Berlin said it wouldn’t accept it. IDS says of the Germans: “It’s like they were sitting in a room, even when they were not there.” The Sun front page duly depicts the prime minister as the puppet of Angela Merkel.

Tuesday's Sun front page:
Cam's in her hans - PM's surrender to Germany#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/ubzsVqlHlN

Related: Iain Duncan Smith: Cameron let Germans veto 'emergency brake'

Continue reading...

Iain Duncan Smith’s Brexit intervention is ridiculous but effective | Jonathan Freedland

The former Tory leader claims David Cameron was controlled by Germany in the EU renegotiations. But this was always going to be a sideshow to the main debate

Iain Duncan Smith’s latest intervention in the Brexit debate could be that rare thing: both ridiculous and effective.

The former work and pension secretary and – though this is easy to forget – former Tory leader told the Sun that David Cameron dropped one of his key demands in Britain’s EU renegotiation under pressure from Germany. According to IDS, Cameron had planned to call for an emergency brake on migration into the UK of EU citizens but abandoned it at the last minute because Berlin said it wouldn’t accept it. IDS says of the Germans: “It’s like they were sitting in a room, even when they were not there.” The Sun front page duly depicts the prime minister as the puppet of Angela Merkel.

Tuesday's Sun front page:
Cam's in her hans - PM's surrender to Germany#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/ubzsVqlHlN

Related: Iain Duncan Smith: Cameron let Germans veto 'emergency brake'

Continue reading...