‘What do we do now?’: the New Labour landslide, 20 years on

David Miliband, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Ed Balls and others remember the day they won

They all remember the sunshine. Talk to those who were there on 1 May 1997, and everyone mentions the way the whole country seemed to glow under bright blue skies and a warm sun. It had been that way for much of the campaign, but those at the centre had barely had a chance to enjoy it. Now, on polling day, time at last seemed to slow down. For those few hours, there was nothing more that the small, tight group at the heart of New Labour could do, except wait.

Thanks to Theresa May’s decision to call an early election, the campaign of 2017 will encompass a poignant milestone: the 20th anniversary of the biggest landslide in British political history. On Monday, two decades will have passed since Tony Blair led Labour to a triumph so complete it eclipsed even the groundbreaking win of 1945. While Clement Attlee racked up a Commons majority of 145 seats, Blair managed 179. Nothing like it had been accomplished before – or since.

When you’d lost as many elections as we had, you believed right until the end that some unforeseen event could derail us

My pager kept going off: Labour gain, Labour gain, Labour gain, Labour hold, Labour gain, Labour gain…

I refuse to list Iraq as an upfront regret, because I don’t believe it

Nothing is more damning than the fact that, 20 years on, Jeremy Corbyn is leader and Labour is about to be annihilated

There have always been parts of the Labour party that find the discipline of government, of compromise, hard

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The lesson from Donald Trump’s first 100 days: resistance is not futile | Jonathan Freedland

We already knew the president is a bigot, a liar and a threat to world peace. But now we’ve learned he can be thwarted

Is anyone surprised that Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have confirmed him to be a dangerous, reckless bigot; a kleptocrat who puts the financial interests of his family first, closely followed by the wealth of his fellow billionaires; a serial liar whose view of the wider world hovers between frightening and incoherent?

Related: Donald Trump's first 100 days were a stress test for democracy | Lawrence Douglas

‘Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated,' Trump said, when in fact everyone but him knew that

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Why are the Tories letting Labour have the floor? Two words: Boris Johnson | Jonathan Freedland

The former mayor was a headache for the Conservative election campaign in 2015. He is again in 2017 – but for very different reasons

For four days straight, Labour has led the political news. On Sunday it was Jeremy Corbyn with a set-piece interview on the Andrew Marr show, an exchange whose focus on nuclear weapons was still leading bulletins on Monday. On Tuesday, it was the turn of Keir Starmer as he set out Labour’s position on Brexit. Today it’s been the shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, promising a pay rise for NHS staff.

In a normal election campaign, such dominance of the news cycle would represent a major triumph. The two sides usually scrap for attention, and for one side to have gained so much more airtime than the other would look like a serious win. But there’s a difference this time. The Tories are not fighting Labour for the spotlight.

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The ‘peaceful’ decade that set up our current turmoil | Jonathan Freedland

The 1990s felt like a holiday from history at the time, but landmines were being planted that would explode into Brexit and Trump

To voter fatigue we can add news fatigue. When Theresa May announced a June election, to add to the votes Britons had already cast in 2015 and 2016, to say nothing of the Scottish referendum in 2014, only part of the reaction – captured so perfectly by Brenda, she of the viral “Not another one!” video – was weariness at the prospect of enduring yet more politics. There is a wider exhaustion too, at the sheer pace of events.

Big, important news keeps happening, whether it’s Brexit and Donald Trump, murderous violence in Syria, nuclear confrontation with North Korea, or another act of terror in a European capital. Events of great moment refuse to let up.

Strange to imagine it now, but a staple of 1990s news coverage was the handshake ceremony announcing a historic peace

Related: Bashar al-Assad trained as a doctor. How did he become a mass murderer? | Ranjana Srivastava

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The real gamble for Theresa May would have been to wait until 2020 | Jonathan Freedland

The odds have never been so favourable for a prime minister who needs a firm mandate to push through her hard-Brexit vision

The standard way of describing a move such as the one Theresa May made on Tuesday morning is to call it a “gamble”. A prime minister with a Commons majority and three years left to run on her parliamentary term does not throw that away without risk. In that sense, May has gambled – but as gambles go, it’s about the surest bet any politician could ever place.

The polls show May and the Conservatives stretching so far ahead of their opponents that their lead over Labour is about the same size as Labour’s total vote. One survey on Monday showed Labour at 23%, with the Tories on 44%. At that rate, Labour could be on course for a performance worse than their trouncing in 1983. Some have been dusting off the record books to look at 1935, when Labour won just 154 seats.

Related: General election 2017: Theresa May says opposition to Brexit plan behind decision - Politics live

Related: Labour is in deep trouble, but it’s our only defence against a Tory landslide | Owen Jones

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The new age of Ayn Rand: how she won over Trump and Silicon Valley

Her novel The Fountainhead is one of the few works of fiction that Donald Trump likes and she has long been the darling of the US right. But only now do her devotees hold sway around the world

As they plough through their GCSE revision, UK students planning to take politics A-level in the autumn can comfort themselves with this thought: come September, they will be studying one thinker who does not belong in the dusty archives of ancient political theory but is achingly on trend. For the curriculum includes a new addition: the work of Ayn Rand.

It is a timely decision because Rand, who died in 1982 and was alternately ridiculed and revered throughout her lifetime, is having a moment. Long the poster girl of a particularly hardcore brand of free-market fundamentalism – the advocate of a philosophy she called “the virtue of selfishness” – Rand has always had acolytes in the conservative political classes. The Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, is so committed a Randian, he was famous for giving every new member of his staff a copy of Rand’s gargantuan novel, Atlas Shrugged (along with Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom). The story, oft-repeated, that his colleague in the US Senate, Rand Paul, owes his first name to his father Ron’s adulation of Ayn (it rhymes with “mine”) turns out to be apocryphal, but Paul describes himself as a fan all the same.

Related: How Ayn Rand became the new right's version of Marx | George Monbiot

Related: Confessions of a recovering Objectivist | Victoria Bekiempis

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Trump’s airstrike: a convenient U-turn from a president who can’t be trusted | Jonathan Freedland

The attack on Bashar al-Assad was welcome – but the US president’s own aims were more important than saving Syrian babies’ lives

Sometimes the right thing can be done by the wrong person. Donald Trump’s bombing of a Syrian airfield seems to belong in that category, though even that verdict depends on events yet to unfold. For one thing, we don’t yet know if the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles that rained down on the Shayrat base in the early hours of Friday morning were a one-off or the start of something more.

Antony Blinken, who served as Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of state, recalled that the US intervention in Libya, which he backed, began with a very narrow, legitimate goal – the protection of civilians from an imminent threat of slaughter – but “ended in regime change”. Blinken warned Trump of the dangers of “mission creep”, urging him “to avoid falling into an escalation trap.”

Related: Syria bombing: Russia PM calls Trump's airstrike 'good news for terrorists' – live

It’s not reassuring to think that the American president only acts when a tragedy hits primetime

Related: By bombing Assad base, Trump made his point. But what happens next?

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Inaction over Syria’s gas attack will exact a terrible price | Jonathan Freedland

Condemnations ring hollow. Bashar al-Assad’s impunity is being noted by the world’s most brutal regimes – this is what you can get away with

Let’s not speak of our horror. Let’s not hold emergency meetings or pass urgent resolutions expressing our outrage at the poisoning of Syrian children and adults in Idlib province through a nerve agent, probably sarin gas. Let’s have no declarations worded in the “strongest possible terms”. Let’s utter no more cliches about acts that “cannot be ignored”. Let’s not even condemn these attacks any more – because our condemnations ring so hollow.

We know what the use of this kind of chemical weapon does to people. If you have a strong enough stomach, and you make yourself look at the photos, you can see the bodies of dead children, arranged like sardines, under a threadbare quilt. You can read the accounts of how they died: “writhing, choking, gasping or foaming at the mouth,” according to the New York Times, killed by a substance so toxic that “some rescue workers grew ill and collapsed from proximity to the dead”.

Related: Syria chemical weapons attack toll rises to 70 as Russian narrative dismissed

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