The Republicans have taken control of the Senate. Photo: Getty
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Republicans win control of the Senate in the US mid-term elections: UK parallels?

Gridlock ahead.

In the US mid-term elections, the Republicans have won control of the Senate, meaning Barack Obama will be hamstrung for his final two years in power.

The Republicans framed their campaign as a vote on dissatisfaction with Obama, essentially approaching the vote as a referendum on his presidency.

The BBC's North America editor, Jon Sopel, says this terrible result for the Democrats is both down to Obama's "unpopularity" and also because "American people are fed up with all their politicians".

That last point sounds particularly familiar, as many UK voters switch their support to Ukip in what is thought of as, among other reasons, a vote of disillusionment with the Westminster establishment.

Also, like our local and European elections in May, and the by-elections that keep cropping up unexpected, providing voters with an opportunity to make a protest, the mid-terms similarly were used by voters to cast a judgement on - and a condemnation of - Obama's performance. This isn't so unusual for non-general/presidential elections, but the results are particularly striking when voters are disenchanted to such a great extent with the leading regime, both in the UK and the US.

Another parallel is key: immigration. A Republican speaking on the BBC's Today programme this morning insisted that if Obama took a decision to change the status of illegal immigrants already residing in the States, it would suggest the President doesn't want to compromise with the Republicans. Indeed, they have very different priorities on immigration, as highlighted by David Davenport, writing for Forbes:

The difficulty with immigration reform is that everyone wants to do what they find important first. Republicans want to strengthen border security first. Business leaders want to improve legal immigration for workers first. Liberals want to deal with children and others who are already here first. That’s where immigration reform is stuck—no one trusts the other parties to get to their issue unless theirs is first in line. 

And of course, as in the UK, these concerns being made into electoral battlegrounds distract from what should be the government's main priority: the economy.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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How Jeremy Corbyn and an Arsenal player roasted Piers Morgan… in Spanish

Muy burn.

As if politics in the UK wasn’t spicy enough, watch what happens when you do it in Spanish.

It all started when backward ham Piers Morgan complained in a piece for the Mail that Jeremy Corbyn and his wife froze him out of a conversation with the Arsenal player Héctor Bellerín at the GQ Awards:

“Later, fellow Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn came over to speak to him. When I tried to interrupt, the Labour leader – whose wife is Mexican – promptly switched to fluent Spanish to shut me out of the conversation.

‘What did you tell him?’ I asked.

Corbyn smirked. ‘I told him to please send Arsène Wenger my very best and assure him he continues to have my full support, even if he’s lost yours, Piers. In fact, particularly because he’s lost yours…’

A keen-eyed tweeter picked up the passage about speaking Spanish, and the anecdote went viral:


So viral, in fact, that Bellerín himself commented on the story in a tweet saying, “Come on mate, don’t take it personally” to Morgan – punctuated masterfully with a crying laughing emoji.


Then the Labour leader himself joined in the great burning ceremony, replying to the thread in full Spanish:


His response translates as:

“It was nice to meet you. It’s better that we don’t tell him what we were talking about, he wouldn’t understand. Well-played in the game on Sunday.”

And muy buen juego to you too, El Jez.

I'm a mole, innit.