Don’t bet on a Corbynite putsch – the left is a crowded marketplace in Scotland and it’s best not to make assumptions
The obvious way to read the surprise resignation of Kezia Dugdale as leader of the Scottish Labour party is to cast her as the victim of a likely putsch by forces loyal to Jeremy Corbyn. According to this view, Dugdale jumped before she was pushed, pre-empting the challenge she would have faced sooner or later as punishment for opposing Corbyn from the start – a position rendered unsustainable by the UK leader’s better-than-expected performance in June’s general election.
Confirmation of the untenability of her situation came, on this reading, with Corbyn’s successful trip to Scotland last week, in which he played to packed houses in 18 constituencies, suggesting Dugdale was out of step with her own party faithful on the Corbyn question. Viewed like this, her successor is bound to be a loyal Corbynite who will give the UK leader what he currently lacks: a majority on the UK party’s ruling national executive committee.
Related: Who will replace Kezia Dugdale? Some possible leadership candidates
If the Corbynites were ready to pounce, then there would be an obvious Corbynite candidate standing by. But there isn’t
Related: Labour urges swift contest to replace Kezia Dugdale as Scottish leader Continue reading...
The US president’s praise for the racists who marched in Charlottesville has broken a precious and necessary taboo
The word from the White House is that the events at Charlottesville are behind them now, and they’re ready to move on. Sure, there is still some fallout from the 12 August march by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as from Donald Trump’s subsequent declaration that those racists and fascists who carried flaming torches and swastika flags included some “very fine people”. There are reverberations too from the president’s initial non-condemnation condemnation, in which if he saw “hatred, bigotry and violence” at all, he saw it “on many sides”.
Related: Berlin police tighten security for neo-Nazi march after Charlottesville attack
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Anyone hoping that the deep state will depose an unhinged American president before all-out war with North Korea needs to think again
Among the many terrifying facts that have emerged in the last several days, perhaps the scariest relate to the nuclear button over which now hovers the finger of Donald Trump. It turns out that, of all the powers held by this or any other US president, the least checked or balanced is his authority over the world’s mightiest arsenal. He exercises this awesome, civilisation-ending power alone.
Related: Donald Trump warns North Korea that US is ‘locked and loaded’
The officer who receives the call at the Pentagon has no authority to question or challenge the order
Related: Trump's apocalyptic threats demand a moral case for disarmament | Daniel José Camacho Continue reading...
In previous nuclear standoffs, Trump’s predecessors knew when to hold back from further antagonising the other side. But now there is no such certainty
This was the moment many Americans, along with the rest of the world, feared. This – precisely this – was what alarmed us most about the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. Not that he would hire useless people or that he would tweet all day or use high office to enrich himself and his family or that he’d be cruel, bigoted and divisive – though those were all concerns. No, the chief anxiety provoked by the notion of Trump in the White House was this: that he was sufficiently reckless, impulsive and stupid to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Of course, cooler heads might soon prevail. China might find the diplomatic back-channel that persuades North Korea to step back from the current clash with Washington. The Pyongyang regime might calculate for itself that, despite its latest threat to attack the US airbase in the Pacific island of Guam, further escalation risks its own survival. Or the generals that now flank Trump – John Kelly as chief of staff, Jim Mattis as defense secretary – might succeed in talking their boss down from the ledge.
Related: US airbase in Guam threatened by North Korea as Trump promises 'fire and fury'
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What do Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? They all profess to be religious. As a new study shows, people think the worst of non-believers. What does this mean for US voters?
The notion that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is considering a run for president in 2020 seemed fanciful until the final days of last year, when he posted a message (on Facebook, naturally) that read: “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me,” referring to his wife, his daughter and his dog. A generic festive message from a CEO, you might think. But then a commenter reminded Zuckerberg that he had long identified as an atheist. What had changed? The answer was swift: “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”
This statement, more even than his proposed voyage around all 50 states or his much-hailed visits to key, first-in-the-nation states such as Iowa, suggested that the tech wizard was eyeing the White House. For Zuckerberg was tacitly acknowledging one of the golden rules of US politics: Americans won’t vote for an atheist for president. Continue reading...
That emotion-fuelled week in 1997 rocked the monarchy, and provided a foretaste of today’s populism
The first thing you notice is what’s not there. Gaze at pictures of the crowds that filled the streets of London in the days that followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – whether laying cellophane-wrapped flowers outside Kensington Palace or silently watching her flag-draped coffin head to Westminster Abbey – and there is a striking absence. No one is holding up a phone. Instead, people clutch handmade signs or newspapers whose sentiments they shared. Back in 1997, holding up a front page you agreed with was the closest thing we had to a retweet.
There has been much looking back to the years of Diana, as the 20th anniversary of her death approaches. There have been glowing TV portraits of her brief, ill-starred life and of the sons she left behind; but as 31 August gets closer, it’s the immediate aftermath of her death I find myself thinking of. Continue reading...
In the leaked interview that the Wall Street Journal didn’t publish, Trump’s confused ramblings on a post-Brexit US trade deal leave us none the wiser
There is, inevitably, much to feast on in the full transcript of the Wall Street Journal’s interview with Donald Trump, which that paper did not want published but which was leaked to Politico and is now available for all to see.
There’s a media story to tell, obviously. The leaker is presumed to be a Journal insider frustrated by the paper’s stance on Trump, which many at the WSJ fear is too cosy. They will not be reassured by some of the chummy chatter that passes between the Journal’s editor Gerard Baker, Trump and the presidential daughter, Ivanka. It’s all golf, parties in the Hamptons and the shared bond between Baker and Ivanka, who both have daughters named Arabella.
Related: Tony Kushner to write play on 'borderline psychotic' Donald Trump
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