Today's Liberal News

Tom McTague

The Work of Giants Crumbles

Barely a month ago, Northern Ireland’s former first minister David Trimble and his old partner in peace, the Republic of Ireland’s Bertie Ahern, were sitting together in Belfast reminiscing about what they had built. With John Hume’s death in 2020, Trimble and Ahern were among the last of the island’s old giants. And now Trimble has gone too.

England Can’t Cope With This Heat Wave

England isn’t supposed to be this hot. Certainly not London. Contrary to popular imagination, it doesn’t actually rain that much here: We have fewer rainy days than Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, or Zurich. London is a city with a gentle, undulating climate; of wispy red sunsets and cloudy, gray days; where drab winters give way to soft springs and mild summers; and where drinking indoors almost always feels right and eating outdoors just a bit forced.

The Game Is (Probably) Up for Boris Johnson

Don’t stop me just because you’ve heard this story before, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is once again fighting for his political life. And once again, this time it might be the end. After yet another scandal, once again made worse by an absurdly stupid cover-up, two very senior members of Johnson’s government—his finance minister and his health minister—quit in disgust.Is the game really up, then? For anyone else, the answer would surely be yes.

The Accidental Trumpification of NATO

If Donald Trump returns to power in 2025, he will find a world starkly different from the one he tried to construct while president. All hopes of normalizing relations with Russia have been obliterated in the slaughter of Ukraine. China is more powerful than ever. Iran is closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. And Kim Jong Un is still behaving like Kim Jong Un.But, in a narrow yet important sense, the world has become more Trumpian since he left office.

What Brexit Promised, and Boris Johnson Failed to Deliver

Britain today is a poor and divided country. Parts of London and the southeast of England might be among the wealthiest places on the planet, but swaths of northern England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are among Western Europe’s poorest. Barely a decade ago, the average Brit was as wealthy as the average German. Now they are about 15 percent poorer—and 30 percent worse off than the typical American.

Where Russia’s Declinist Rage Isn’t Enough

The novel Jamilia tells the story of a free-spirited woman trapped in a passionless marriage who is suddenly awakened by the arrival of a mournful, lonely outsider who touches something in her soul. Set in Kyrgyzstan, it achieved a degree of fame in the West after it was praised by the French poet Louis Aragon as “the most beautiful love story in the world.

Boris Johnson Has Only Delayed the Inevitable

Boris Johnson lives to fight another day. Britain, meanwhile, lives to endure another day in his shadow, a bit part in the soap opera of his life, watching on as the drama is set on an endless doom loop from comic farce to tragedy.

The West’s Long Haul in Ukraine

The Western world must prepare itself for a long war in Ukraine that will require ongoing support for Kyiv to guarantee Russia’s defeat, as well as reinforced defenses across Europe to ensure that Vladimir Putin does not underestimate NATO’s readiness to defend “every inch” of its territory, Jens Stoltenberg, the military alliance’s secretary-general, told me recently.

The Ugly Truth About the Beautiful Game

The philosopher Roger Scruton once wrote that people become conservative as they experience loss; the sense of passing, of dying and death. Loss gives them a love of things as they are, a desire to hold, to protect, to conserve—even if all attempts to do so come too late.I thought of this recently when I found myself in the absurd situation of feeling sad that a multimillionaire French soccer player had decided against joining the world’s most successful club.

Boris Johnson Isn’t the Only One to Blame for Northern Ireland

In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell introduced President George W. Bush to the “Pottery Barn rule”: “You break it, you own it.” Powell’s point was that military victory over Saddam Hussein would not be the end of America’s involvement, but the beginning. Something similar is true for Northern Ireland today, where the fragile peace settlement that has just about held for nearly a quarter century is close to breaking.

How Britain Wants to Rebuild the World

With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces bogged down in Ukraine, apparently unable to defeat one of the poorest nations in Europe, and China locking up millions of people in a seemingly never-ending battle to contain COVID-19, the once-ubiquitous idea of inevitable Western decline has suddenly been called into question. Out of nowhere, the free world once again stands for something, and is even showing signs of shaking itself out of its decades-long torpor.

Sinn Fein’s Win Brings a United Ireland No Nearer

Three seismic events have occurred in one go in Northern Ireland. One, for the first time in Northern Ireland’s 100-year existence, an Irish nationalist party placed first in an election—and not just any nationalist party, but Sinn Fein, the longtime political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

The Truth About Irish Unity

Three seismic events have occurred in one go in Northern Ireland. One, for the first time in Northern Ireland’s 100-year existence, an Irish nationalist party placed first in an election—and not just any nationalist party, but Sinn Fein, the longtime political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

Emmanuel Macron’s Win Offers Him a Chance to Be Great

Winston Churchill was once asked whether he thought that Charles de Gaulle was a great man. “He is selfish, he is arrogant, he believes he is the center of the world,” Churchill replied. “You are quite right. He is a great man.” Something similar might be true of Emmanuel Macron.

A Macron Victory Isn’t Enough

We live in a time of constant upheaval and infuriating inertia. Existential threats to Western democracy abound, but nothing seems to change. With new ideas and technologies transforming the ways we live and work, much of the public seems impatient, urging on change, while the rest demands control and protection. Amid such feverish division, elections morph from battles of ideas to totemic fights for a nation’s soul.

Boris Johnson Travels With Fortuna

If one week could somehow sum up Boris Johnson’s chaotic premiership, this was it. Last Saturday, Johnson was feted after becoming the first G7 leader to travel to Kyiv since the Russian invasion. He was hailed by Volodymyr Zelensky, cheered by Ukrainians in the streets, and even grudgingly praised by his enemies at home and his critics abroad.

Why Boris Johnson Gets Away With It

If one week could somehow sum up Boris Johnson’s chaotic premiership, this was it. Last Saturday, Johnson was feted after becoming the first G7 leader to travel to Kyiv since the Russian invasion. He was hailed by Volodymyr Zelensky, cheered by Ukrainians in the streets, and even grudgingly praised by his enemies at home and his critics abroad.

Putin Has Made America Great Again

Donald Trump was supposed to have changed the world, robbing America not just of its luster but of its allies’ trust. Here was a president of such gauche ignorance and hostility, it seemed impossible that American power would ever be seen in the same light again. For Europe, in particular, Trump’s jingoistic belligerence was poised to be an adrenaline shot to the heart, Pulp Fiction–style, jolting the continent out of its American dependency.

Putin Has Made America Great Again

Donald Trump was supposed to have changed the world, robbing America not just of its luster but of its allies’ trust. Here was a president of such gauche ignorance and hostility, it seemed impossible that American power would ever be seen in the same light again. For Europe, in particular, Trump’s jingoistic belligerence was poised to be an adrenaline shot to the heart, Pulp Fiction–style, jolting the continent out of its American dependency.

Vladimir Putin: Modern Man

There is a peculiar modern tendency to describe things we don’t like as belonging to the past. The Taliban are medieval, Donald Trump supporters backward, Brexiteers nostalgic for empire. Under this rubric, Vladimir Putin is a Soviet throwback and the war he may soon start in Ukraine, as John Kerry once remarked, is like some 19th-century skirmish transplanted into the 21st.

The Battle for the Future of the West

Vladimir Putin likes to say that playing chess with the United States is like playing against a pigeon: It struts around the board, knocks over the pieces, shits everywhere, and then declares victory. Playing chess with Europe, in contrast, must be like playing with a child who has forgotten the rules of the game, claims to have invented new ones, and then sulks when no one wants to play.For so long, many people in Europe, including the U.K.

The Tears of a Clown

We were in the White Room in 10 Downing Street, and Boris Johnson was joking around with the photographer who was taking his portrait. “You’re like the kind-of taxidermist in The Godfather,” Johnson said, laughing. “Do you remember? The funeral—the undertaker?” He then launched into his Don Corleone impression. “‘Buona sera, buona sera, see what a massacre they’ve made of my son.

How Encanto Explains America

In Disney’s latest blockbuster, Encanto, a magical family called the Madrigals have escaped the violence and chaos of their homeland by crossing a river into an enchanted paradise that endows each with wondrous gifts that they use to protect and enhance their community. As the generations go by, however, the magic of the new world starts to fade and the family buckles under the pressure of their responsibilities while struggling to maintain the illusion that everything is fine.

Boris Johnson’s Watergate

In Boris Johnson’s office at 10 Downing Street, a vista of London hangs above the fireplace. The work was painted by his mother, Charlotte Wahl, who died four months ago at the age of 79, having lived long enough to see her son become prime minister and then win an election by such a margin that it seemed to have ushered in a new era in British politics: the Johnson era.

Will Britain Survive?

Photographs by Robbie LawrenceThe grim reality for Britain as it faces up to 2022 is that no other major power on Earth stands quite as close to its own dissolution. Given its recent record, perhaps this should not be a surprise.

What Is the Point of Boris Johnson?

By April 1968, Charles de Gaulle was bored. “None of this amuses me anymore,” the French president told his aide-de-camp, Admiral François Flohic. “There is no longer anything difficult or heroic to do.

Britain’s Distasteful Soccer Sellout

In the northern English city of Newcastle upon Tyne, there is no Duomo di Firenze or Sagrada Familia standing tall, representing the city, its soul and spirit. There is no St. Paul’s Cathedral, Notre-Dame, or Basilica di San Marco. No, in Newcastle, the cathedral and castle are of secondary importance—so too the Roman wall built by the emperor Hadrian. In Newcastle, the soul of the city is its great, hulking, lopsided (and somewhat dilapidated) soccer stadium, St.

Is Boris Johnson a Liar?

A few months ago, I saw Boris Johnson recount a story about his life that I’d never heard before—and he said something that was not, strictly speaking, true.With most politicians, hearing a new tale can be unremarkable, but with Johnson—the subject of at least two biographies, countless newspaper and magazine articles, and someone who has been at the center of British political life for decades—almost everything that can be known about him is already known.

Joe Biden’s New World Order

A new world is beginning to take shape, even if it remains disguised in the clothes of the old.The United States, Britain, and Australia have announced what is in effect a new “Anglo” military alliance. The basics are these: In 2016, Australia struck a deal with France to buy a fleet of diesel-powered submarines, rejecting an Anglo-American alternative for nuclear-powered vessels.