How literary criticism replaced real politics

Calais Jungle, January 2016 by Malachy Browne

After David Cameron’s “gaffe” at prime minister’s questions last week, many will no doubt be wondering just what the appropriate term for a group of migrants is.

Bunch”, it was made clear, is off the table. Perhaps it should be a “school”, as in fish? A “murder”, as in crows? Or maybe even a “swarm”?

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Why would a straight couple want a civil partnership over a marriage?

Bride and groom figurines, June 2012 by David Precious

When the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act passed in 2013 the issue of whether straight people should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership was quietly left to one side.

Given that civil partnerships were brought in by Tony Blair’s government in part to avoid having to call gay marriage “marriage”, it is understandable that many felt straight couples would have no need for the newfangled contract.

Yet this week Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will dispute the government’s ban on straight civil partnerships in the Royal Courts of Justice, arguing that the discrimination breaches their rights to family life.

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Oliver Letwin’s memo was a Thatcherite document, not a racist one

Oliver Letwin, September 2013 by Policy Exchange

The annual cache of old Whitehall documents provides much-need rations for the starving press over the quiet weeks around Christmas and New Year, and this year a memo from 1985 concerning race riots is proving particularly nourishing.

On the menu is Oliver Letwin, current chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a trust fund for Lizzie Windsor) and former policy wonk in the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher, for penning a memo in November 1985 on the social malaise in inner cities that led to riots in Tottenham and Brixton.

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The Department for Education might allow Christian propaganda, but it doesn’t demand it

Leamington Church, February 2014 by barnyz

Much hullabaloo erupted on Monday over the education secretary Nicky Morgan’s policy update on religious teaching in schools, which swatted atheists aside whilst pushing Christianity to the fore.

Morgan was forced to revise the policy following a court ruling in November that found atheism, humanism and other non-religious views were being excluded unlawfully from the religious studies curriculum at GCSE level.

The resultant updates have since led to some amusing headlines from newspapers both sympathetic and hostile to faith-heads, which on first sight would lead one to believe the Tories are launching some mass Christian propaganda exercise.

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Tim Farron backs strikes on Isis in Syria: ‘This is not Iraq’

Tim Farron, March 2011 by Liberal Democrats

In a surprise twist the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has backed airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria, claiming that the situation is not akin to the one that preceded the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Farron had previously set out five tests that would have to be met before he supported prime minister David Cameron’s plans to drop bombs in Syria, stressing the legality of such a move and whether it would be supported by other measures.

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