The 2010s have proved a decade of two halves

I won’t have been alone in enjoying some of the end of the decade pieces emerging in the dying gasps of the last ten years. To take one example, the declinists at the Guardian have published  this immense piece by Andy Beckett, citing signs of disaster as diverse as phrases like ‘trigger warnings’ and the growing presence of puffer jackets.

History is written in and about the present, and the left is looking to a second decade out of power as much as it is the lapsing first in its gloomy reviews. For a rightwing contrast you can find Matt Ridley of the Spectator, who argues “we’ve just had the best decade in human history”. His optimism must be informed by the fact Boris Johnson, a former editor of that magazine, has 365 seats in the House of Commons, the highest Conservative count for 30 years.

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Good riddance to anti-democrats

The past few years in politics have seen many events that could be described as watersheds, not least the EU referendum result, David Cameron’s subsequent resignation, or the exit poll that showed Theresa May had miscalled the general election in 2017.

The exit poll in the last month that secured Brexit and perhaps ushered in another decade of Conservative rule will doubtless conclude many documentaries in future. But a more satisfying event for me was the quiet unwinding of the People’s Vote campaign, its communications director Tom Baldwin telling the Guardian last week, “There’s no chance of stopping Brexit now.”

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Podcast Ep. 149: General Election – The End

In the final podcast of the year we discuss the results of the general election, the defenestration of the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson, the future of Labour without Jeremy Corbyn, and the prospects of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

Joining us is the ghost of the yearly round-up we recorded then lost.

Voting reform requires a Labour strong enough to rule, but not on its own

When people criticised the democratic deficit inherent in the EU’s structure, many remainers responded that Britain was hardly an example of unvarnished democracy itself.

They were correct about this, although wrong about the implications. First, having two layers of flawed democratic government is worse than having one. Second, the UK has a much better claim to represent a political ‘people’ than the EU, which is a desirable quality in a democracy. And third, even if the UK were less democratic than the EU, the prospects for Britons to reform it are much better.

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Corbyn’s anti-patriotism was never likely to be a vote winner

The polling evidence for Labour’s defeat in the general election last week is pouring in as I type. And while more knowledgeable people than me are working out the full reasons behind the result, it’s obvious that a big factor is the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

There are several reasons why people took against Corbyn, but the must standout is his attitude to his own country. He is notable for having backed Britain’s adversaries in many conflicts since he became an MP, most damagingly by inviting IRA members to parliament after the Brighton hotel bombing, which killed several people linked to the Conservatives, and might have claimed the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

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