Believe it or not, Nigel Farage can now be an inspiration for remainers | Jonathan Freedland

The years ahead will not be easy, but the Brexiteers showed that dogged determination can win through

It’s tempting to go full Farage. Not, perhaps, the pint, cigarette and cartoon grin – there won’t be too many pro-European takers for that look – but surely the many millions feeling despondent at this week’s formal triggering of Brexit can learn from the arch-Brexiteer.

Why shouldn’t remainers draw inspiration from those who refused to accept the 1975 referendum ratifying Britain’s entry into the European club and agitated tirelessly for a second vote? Surely the dogged persistence of a Nigel Farage, Bill Cash or John Redwood is a model for the 48% to follow.

Related: Future of Gibraltar at stake in Brexit negotiations

There is talk that, one day, there might be scope for an outer ring of EU associate members – that might include Britain

Related: EU's Brexit negotiation guidelines: what you need to know

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May wants security, free trade, liberal values: just what we’re throwing away | Jonathan Freedland

The prime minister’s talk of a brighter future for this country after triggering article 50 sounded like a fantasy. And now there’s no turning back

Nothing conveyed the madness of Brexit like the implementing of it. Theresa May’s speech to the Commons delighted the anti-EU warriors – of course it did. The likes of Victoria Borthwick, the Kensington MP who wore an alice band in Union Jack colours for the occasion, or Bill Cash and John Redwood, for decades dismissed as backbench eccentrics for demanding a British departure from the European Union, were ecstatic at the prime minister’s announcement of what they saw as Britain’s day of liberation. They bellowed their joy when the PM declared that article 50 had been triggered, and: “This is a historic moment from which there will be no turning back.”

They might have been hoping for some stirring rhetoric to match, a rousing reassertion of the case for Brexit. But in her speech and in her letter to Donald Tusk, May – no doubt inadvertently – reminded the country of something else: the value of what has just been lost.

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May wants security, free trade, liberal values: just what we’re throwing away | Jonathan Freedland

The prime minister’s talk of a brighter future for this country after triggering article 50 sounded like a fantasy. And now there’s no turning back

Nothing conveyed the madness of Brexit like the implementing of it. Theresa May’s speech to the Commons delighted the anti-EU warriors – of course it did. The likes of Victoria Borthwick, the Kensington MP who wore an alice band in Union Jack colours for the occasion, or Bill Cash and John Redwood, for decades dismissed as backbench eccentrics for demanding a British departure from the European Union, were ecstatic at the prime minister’s announcement of what they saw as Britain’s day of liberation. They bellowed their joy when the PM declared that article 50 had been triggered, and: “This is a historic moment from which there will be no turning back.”

They might have been hoping for some stirring rhetoric to match, a rousing reassertion of the case for Brexit. But in her speech and in her letter to Donald Tusk, May – no doubt inadvertently – reminded the country of something else: the value of what has just been lost.

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With all we know about terror, how can we risk Northern Ireland’s peace? | Jonathan Freedland

Despite the horror of this week’s Westminster attack, politicians seem to be forgetting the lessons of the hard-won settlement and stability since

On the news channels on Thursday, they were switching back and forth between updates on the Westminster attacks and live coverage of the funeral of Martin McGuinness. Often those juxtapositions, those split-screen moments, are jarring. Not this time.

For the murder and mayhem unleashed in Westminster and the life of McGuinness were two aspects of a timeless story. They were a reminder of the pain terror inflicts, and the precious fragility of any and every effort to make it stop. McGuinness’s life was so complicated, and the response to his death so fraught, because it encompassed both.

The murder and mayhem unleased in Westminster and the life of McGuinness were two aspects of a timeless story

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Bravery and simple humanity have shown Westminster at its best | Jonathan Freedland

The bastion of politics now has a human face, as vulnerable as the rest of us to an act of murderous violence

There are certain places that cease to be places in the public imagination. They become shorthand for a loathed political establishment or distant, overmighty government. In America, that place is “Washington, DC”. For Eurosceptics, it’s “Brussels”. And in Britain, that reviled, imperial citadel is “Westminster”.

Yet today, as the airwaves and social media timelines filled with dreadful, violent news, “Westminster” began to lose those quotation marks. As the afternoon passed, it became seen not as the widely despised bastion of the political class, but a real place inhabited by office workers, tourists, security guards and groups of visiting schoolchildren.

Related: Westminster attack: four confirmed dead including police officer and attacker - live

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Rex Tillerson is clearly out of the loop and out of his depth in Trumpland | Jonathan Freedland

The former oil executive’s apparent reluctance to be Trump’s secretary of state could be a sign that he knew he’d be serving in a sham administration

There is a charitable reading of Rex Tillerson’s interview with the previously obscure Independent Journal Review. When the secretary of state told the IJR that “I didn’t want this job, I didn’t seek this job,” that he was “stunned” when Donald Trump offered it to him, and that he only did it because “my wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” it’s possible that he was displaying a charming modesty. Think of it as an elaborate version of the formulation favoured by celebrities on receiving an award: “I’m humbled.”

Related: Rex Tillerson: 'I didn't want this job … my wife told me I'm supposed to do this'

Related: Is Rex Tillerson the weakest secretary of state of all time? | Isaac Stone Fish

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The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart – a liberal’s rightwing turn on immigration

Is your tribe the ‘Somewheres’ or the ‘Anywheres’? A book on the faultlines that divide Britain is timely but misguided

Forget the title, there will be plenty of people – Guardian readers among them – who’ll take one look at this book and refuse to get past the author’s name. For many on the liberal left, David Goodhart became persona non grata more than a decade ago.

In 2004, he wrote an essay for Prospect magazine, which he both founded and edited, that earned rapid notoriety and saw him branded a “liberal Powellite”. In “Too Diverse?”, he argued that there was a trade-off between increased diversity, through mass immigration, and social solidarity, in the form of the welfare state. Goodhart said that for citizens willingly to hand some of their hard-earned cash to others via their taxes, they needed to feel a basic level of affinity with those others. He wrote that in the homogenous societies of old that was never a problem: citizens felt the mutual obligation of kinship. But in the highly mixed societies of today, such fellow-feeling was strained. Goodhart offered copious data to show that people bridled at subsidising the housing, education or welfare benefits of those whose roots in the society were shallow. As he wrote, “To put it bluntly – most of us prefer our own kind.”

Somewheres are rooted in a specific place, often less educated; Anywheres are footloose, urban, socially liberal

Immigrants have not caused the fragmentation he laments: globalisation, automation and 1,000 shifts bear more blame

Related: The Guardian view on immigration: avoid false Brexit promises | Editorial

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The leave fanatics will have their hard Brexit – even if the price is the union | Jonathan Freedland

Though hardliners are pursuing the most destructive version of Britain’s divorce from the EU, there may be a way to avoid the breakup of the UK

What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels – only to destroy our country. Their infant brows will furrow in confusion when we tell them that in order to make Britain great again, we smashed it to pieces.

Was this some kind of terrible accident, they will ask. And we will have to say no, this was deliberate. Our leaders thought escaping the European Union was so vital it was worth shattering the deeper, closer union that had defined our country for more than three centuries. So great was their professed patriotism that they had to break the thing they loved.

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Since the Brexit vote, the British feel more European than ever | Jonathan Freedland

Dutch elections rarely raise an eyebrow on our island, but now, both leavers and remainers are obsessing over the populist battle in Europe

It would be an irony more bitter than delicious, but could Brexit be having an unexpected effect on the people of Britain – turning us, finally, and despite everything, into good Europeans?

The question arises because of a curious shift underway since the referendum last June. For many years, the intellectual bedrock of the Eurosceptic case was that there was no such thing as a European demos, no European nation underpinning what Eurosceptics believed was an emerging European super-state. The notion of a United States of America made sense because Americans were a true people, sharing a language and sense of common destiny. But a United States of Europe was absurd because Europeans did not see themselves as bound together in the same way.

Related: Dutch election: Geert Wilders warns 'genie will not go back in the bottle'

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The 1930s were humanity’s darkest, bloodiest hour. Are you paying attention?

A decade haunted by mass poverty, violent extremism and world war gives us one crucial advantage: the chance to learn the era’s lessons and avoid its mistakes

Even to mention the 1930s is to evoke the period when human civilisation entered its darkest, bloodiest chapter. No case needs to be argued; just to name the decade is enough. It is a byword for mass poverty, violent extremism and the gathering storm of world war. “The 1930s” is not so much a label for a period of time than it is rhetorical shorthand – a two-word warning from history.

Witness the impact of an otherwise boilerplate broadcast by the Prince of Wales last December that made headlines: “Prince Charles warns of return to the ‘dark days of the 1930s’ in Thought for the Day message.” Or consider the reflex response to reports that Donald Trump was to maintain his own private security force even once he had reached the White House. The Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s tweet was typical: “That 1930s show returns.”

The 1930s function​​ as a historical rock bottom, a demonstration of how low humanity can descend

European nationalists are keen to overturn the view of the 1930s as a period of shame, never to be repeated

In Europe now, only Hungary and Poland have governments that seem doctrinally akin to those that flourished in the 1930s

Related: What the 21st century can learn from the 1929 crash | Larry Elliott

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