Opinion (UK)

Forget Britain’s nuclear deterrent – here’s what Russia is really afraid of

Russia is being weaponised to justify big-ticket buys for the UK military, yet there’s little talk of what Moscow thinks matters<p>British defence spending and capabilities are in the middle of a bitter review in which the potential threat from Russia is frequently invoked, whether that means cutting …

War

How I fell in love with a song called Delia

Learning about this song taught me more about the blues than years of passive listening<p>I fell in love with a song called Delia a few years ago. It’s an old blues song. Traced to the early 1900s when the blues was in its infancy.<p>It’s one of those haunting tunes generations of singers have passed …

Bob Dylan

Europe must wake up to the drastic consequences of a hard Brexit

The Netherlands knows what it will lose if the UK crashes out. It is less than the price of giving Britain a sweet deal<p>Because it is such a riveting clown show with new crazy episodes almost every day, Europeans can be forgiven for ignoring the fact that Brexit is going to hurt them too. But as the …

Brexit

'It's what ladies do'. Of course Jacinda Ardern can be prime minister and a mum

New Zealand’s prime minister isn’t the first give birth in office but could her no nonsense approach finally change attitudes?<p>If New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s beaming smile put a grin on our collective face when she swept to victory last year, her announcement on Friday that she will …

Jacinda Ardern

The biggest risk to American journalism isn't posed by Trump

Journalists in the US are facing an unprecedented crackdown on their work. This crackdown is at its most visible when it intersects with protest<p>Independent journalism holds the unaccountable to account and shines light on the darkest corners of our world. It seeks to inform, to ignite, to inspire …

Opinion

I’m 73 and a grandmother. Fracking has turned me into an activist

Until last year I’d never been in a protest. Now I’m due in court for trying to stop this destructive industry ruining our landscape<p>I am a 73-year-old grandmother. On a sunny day in the middle of July I found myself sitting in the central reservation of the A583 outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site …

Sajid Javid

This is not Corbynite coup, it’s a mandate for his radical agenda

He used to be a leader in name only, but now the Labour party is evolving in ways that make meaningful change possible<p>“Kings were put to death long before 21 January 1793,” wrote Albert Camus, referring to Louis XVI’s execution after the French revolution. “But regicides of earlier times and their …

Referendums

Tomayto or tomahto? That is the question I wrestle with

Working on UK and US versions of my book made me realise how much living in New York has affected my pronunciation<p>I have lived in the US for 10 years, and although I take the elevator down to the lobby from my apartment, when I go outside I walk on the pavement. My children wear diapers but, by and …

Cringe

Who’s afraid of the big bad escaped wolf? Not me

The panic about Torak the Berkshire escapee shows that facts cannot compete with our hoary old horror stories<p>“Rottweiler slipped his lead near school,” was the first hysterical headline. “Rottweiler on the loose after ESCAPING from owner near Middleton family home,” was another, as Rover, a …

Wolves

Don’t obsess on a second Brexit vote. Focus instead on trade

Of course it’s possible to change our minds in a democracy. But we have to be realistic about what can and can’t be achieved<p>They wander Westminster with staring eyes. “Repent,” they cry, “or be doomed. We are all doomed.” They are the second-referendum adventists, the priests of the afterthought, …

Brexit

Why are Tories like Ben Bradley so hung up on poor people having babies?

Paranoia of an overly fertile underclass seems to be a particular strain of Conservative horribleness that refuses to die<p>If you’re too poor to have children, get a vasectomy. Better that than leave the nation “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep”. So wrote Ben Bradley …

Michael Gove

Refugees can achieve so much if they’re not caged in isolated camps

Rooms were lying empty at the City Plaza hotel in Athens. Now it’s an autonomous hive where refugees are empowered<p>In May 2016, after the EU-Turkey agreement designed to close off mass immigration to Europe, a group of 120 migrants accompanied by volunteers stormed the well-known City Plaza hotel in …

Refugees

The Guardian view on prayer: the heart of a heartless world

The British still pray, even if they don’t think that it can change anything<p>Britain may be an increasingly secular country, but that does not make it rational or atheist. Thank God, half the country will respond: a survey recently published by Tearfund, a Christian charity, shows that about half …

Why I helped bring the Dutch case over Britons’ EU rights

This could transform the Brexit fate of UK citizens abroad, and also the negotiations as a whole<p>Spare a thought for the million-odd UK citizens living in Europe.<p>The Conservative manifesto of 2015 promised to scrap the rules barring those who had lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting. …

Brexit

Boris Johnson's channel bridge isn't infrastructure, it's amour-propre

The foreign secretary’s latest headline-grabbing idea is a narcissistic political wheeze, not a serious proposal<p>I guess we should have expected it: Boris Johnson is not the kind of man to let himself be eclipsed by a piece of cloth. Until today, the big story of this week’s Anglo-French summit was …

Boris Johnson

The Guardian view on the private finance initiative: replace this failed model

Forty years of increasingly dogmatic approaches to the financing of public services have led to the collapse of Carillion and a damning National Audit Office report<p>Long ago, in a political galaxy far away, privatisation and outsourcing in public services were not always dogmas but instead acts that …

Economics

Steve Bell on Theresa May's meeting with Emmanuel Macron – cartoon

Theresa May

What we talk about when we talk about #MeToo

The conversations I’ve had around #MeToo are messy and emotional. Something’s happening but what it is ain’t clear<p>Has it really only been a touch over three months since the first tranche of Weinstein allegations aired in the mainstream media? It feels like a lifetime.<p>In the meantime, ordinary men …

Feminism

Through humility and understanding, we can still stop Brexit

A second referendum looks increasingly likely, and a new settlement addressing Britain’s inequalities could reverse our trajectory<p>When President Macron meets Theresa May at the Franco-British summit at Sandhurst, the elite military academy, on Thursday, the vital “take away” for him is that Brexit …

Brexit

Emmanuel Macron’s Bayeux tapestry loan is one in the eye for Brexiters

France’s gesture, which will allow most Britons to see the work for the first time, is every bit as political as it is generous<p>Although the word occasionally pops up in Tintin adventures, normally in the mouth of Captain Haddock, there are obvious reasons why a columnist shouldn’t utter the antique …

France

Now Norway’s decriminalised drugs, it’s high time the UK chose legalisation

The government must realise it’s hopelessly out of step with sensible drug policy. Legalisation would take the market out of the hands of criminals<p>In 2001 Portugal decriminalised all drugs. Last month the Norwegian parliament voted to follow its lead. Republican senators across the Atlantic are …

David Leyonhjelm

Should you give homeless people money? Absolutely

Gloucester city council’s poster depicting a faceless homeless person in a hoodie implies they are not worth our compassion. This is a travesty of human decency<p>Have the Tory members of Gloucester city council been busy reading George Orwell’s 1984 in their book club recently?<p>It seems someone read …

George Orwell

Instagrammers are sucking the life and soul out of travel

My view of Sri Lanka was spoiled by the peachy backsides of tourists obsessed with their social media feeds<p>A recent trip to Sri Lanka reminded me of that well known Buddhist proverb: “If you visit a temple but do not take a selfie, did it actually happen?” At these sacred sites, tourists are free …

Travel

Someone has to ask the Rohingya what they actually want

Refugees in Bangladesh don’t want to be repatriated to live in a Myanmar transit camp<p>In the last week, I have spent time in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh among the Rohingya refugees in the camps of Kutupalong and Balukhali. It has been a distressing experience to speak to so many people with so little …

Refugees

I was an outsourced Carillion hospital worker. Here’s what I learned

It’s low-paid workers who pay the price of shifting state debt off the Treasury’s books. I know: I’ve seen the process at work<p>A while ago I worked for Carillion as a hospital porter. Or at least I worked for an agency that provided labour for Carillion – as these outsourcers always themselves …

Jeremy Corbyn

The Guardian view on Anglo-French relations: Brexit’s entente cordiale

A weakened British prime minister and a dynamic French president may not see eye to eye over everything, but they can learn from one another<p>The recent history of relations between British prime ministers and French presidents is characterised by a gap in affection bridged by recognition of common …

Referendums

The Conservatives’ problem with young members started way before Ben Bradley

The new Tory vice chair for youth made toxic remarks about the unemployed. No wonder the party’s drive to attract young voters has been faltering for years<p>When Ben Bradley was appointed as the Tory vice chair for youth in Theresa May’s reshuffle, he told me that one of the biggest challenges he …

Iain Duncan Smith

Why the Bayeux Tapestry’s loan to Britain is a homecoming

The tapestry does not, as commonly perceived, depict the last time Britain was invaded and subjugated. It’s as much about our invasion of ourselves<p>As a British-born, adopted Norman, I am delighted that the Bayeux Tapestry may be going on a short holiday to Britain after 952 years. The tapestry, …

The Guardian view on China’s spreading influence: look in the gift horse’s mouth

There is growing concern about Beijing’s attempts to shape the thinking of politicians and the public overseas<p>The arrest of a former CIA agent this week is the stuff of a classic murky spy tale. Though he is charged with unlawfully retaining national defence information, the US reportedly suspects …

China

Steve Bell on Theresa May and Carillion's collapse – cartoon

Theresa May