Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin

A match made in heaven


Ah, this is a beautiful thing. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (our cover story), facing each other on Fox this week, the Statue of Liberty looming in the background. About halfway through the clip, Glenn Beck leans across to Palin and searches for a personal connection:

You and I both were, I think, the number one and number two Halloween costumes of the year.

He carried on:

Did you know that? We both have been nailed on Saturday Night Live as being stupid. We are also both just recently voted on the Most Admired list of people in the world. We both have been on the cover of major magazines in the last year. We're both probably top five Most Hated People in America.

It's one way to bond. But this interview, if you watch it, is really the most amazing example of vague paranoia. They talk for the first ten minutes in the most part about "trust", the fact that there's no one you can trust, the moment they both realised that they could trust ANYONE AROUND THEM. I think they use the word trust approximately 48 times in the space of ten seconds.

Then there's the "system". Don't, for God's sake, get them started on the "system". Can you survive out of the "system", wonders Beck. "The system is broken," responds Palin. Not only that:

The system creates disenchantment with the people looking at the political system saying we don't like that.

The people! I nearly forgot about the people. Beck and Palin seem to have a hotline to the people. The people, all of them, seem to like exactly what they like and hate exactly what they hate. Why do they bother having elections when you could just ask these two?



Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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Lord Geoffrey Howe dies, age 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.