Ken Clarke: ‘Brexit is like a parody version of student politics’

The twin pillars of Tory pro-Europeanism, the two men who defended that lonely cause in the Thatcher heyday and through the long trudge of the Major years, have responded very differently to Brexit. On one side stands Michael Heseltine, belated darling of the remainers, the lion in winter who won a deluge of Twitter love for his speech before a vast crowd at last month’s People’s Vote rally, where he spoke lyrically of his lost European dream. And there, on the other, is Kenneth Clarke, 79 this summer, not in the House of Lords but still slugging it out as a working MP, on his feet asking pointed questions, moving amendments in nail-biting midnight sessions, even tabling the alternative Brexit proposal – continued membership of a customs union – that came closest to success, falling short by just three votes.

Just societies need referees. We abuse them at our peril

A plea to those of you who are not fans of sport. There might be a little bit of football and, to my own surprise, even some basketball in what follows. But I promise it’s not the whole story. My concern here is with something that goes far beyond sport, that points to a trend spreading into every aspect of our lives and across much of the globe. But, I confess, it begins at the Emirates stadium watching Arsenal.

Just societies need referees. We abuse them at our peril

A plea to those of you who are not fans of sport. There might be a little bit of football and, to my own surprise, even some basketball in what follows. But I promise it’s not the whole story. My concern here is with something that goes far beyond sport, that points to a trend spreading into every aspect of our lives and across much of the globe. But, I confess, it begins at the Emirates stadium watching Arsenal.

Netanyahu’s victory means life is about to get worse for Palestinians

Think of it as Israel’s groundhog night. It begins with exit polls that delight Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents and send a shudder through Likud headquarters, and ends several hours later with a crowd of supporters cheering “Bibi, king of Israel”. It happened that way in 1996, when Netanyahu won his first term as prime minister, it happened again in 2015, and it happened once more last night. The initial projection, which saw Netanyahu lagging behind Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of the military, melted away as the night wore on, until both men had an even number of seats – but with Netanyahu the obvious winner thanks to the overall strength of the bloc of rightist and religious parties that he calls his “natural partners” in coalition. Not all the votes have been counted, but barring an arithmetical miracle he will soon embark on his fifth term in power.

Muslims and Jews face a common threat from white supremacists. We must fight it together and Mehdi Masan

The two of us have been having the exact same conversation for the past decade. About antisemitism and Islamophobia. One of us a Muslim, the other a Jew, we have conducted it in public and in private, on Twitter and on TV. We’ve agreed; we’ve argued; we’ve even wandered off topic to trade tips on how to get through a fast. Now we’ve come together because of the urgent and common threat that we face. Both of our communities are under violent attack from far-right white supremacists.

Look past the May-Corbyn Brexit talks. There’s another solution

The objections to Theresa May’s 11th hour offer to work with Labour on Brexit are obvious. It goes without saying that this is not how the process should have ended but how it should have begun, the day after the referendum or, at the very least, the day after the June 2017 election wiped out May’s Commons majority. Instead, Brexit has been like one of those high-end artworks where the narrative runs backwards. Think of it as Brexit in the style of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, to pick a play whose title the hard Brexiters might find bleakly resonant, in which first comes the triggering of article 50 and two years of negotiations with Brussels, followed by cross-party talks to find a parliamentary consensus – when it clearly should have been the other way around.