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25 September

The new face of the Greek left

Stefanos Kasselakis, a former Goldman Sachs associate, has won Syriza’s leadership race.

By Wolfgang Münchau

Greece is Europe’s cradle of philosophers and mythology. The quick ascent from nowhere, and final victory, of Stefanos Kasselakis as the new leader of the left-wing Syriza party last night (24 September) has the quality of a Greek epic. Yet he must prove that he can complement his Homeric heroism with the philosophical acumen to take the party through its internal battles without losing momentum. The Greek weekly newspaper To Vima described Kasselakis's success as the result of his capacity to go with the flow of favourable circumstances. Thanks to a short campaign with lots of uplift through social media, he was elected as the new party leader with 56 per cent of the votes, beating his opponent Effie Achtsioglou. No ...

25 September

Assassination in Canada makes a mockery of the West’s alliances

Justin Trudeau says he has evidence India was responsible, yet commentators tell him to be quiet in service of unity.

By Bruno Maçães

During the Cold War, Western democracies often allowed their partners and allies in distant corners of the world to brutalise their citizens for the sake of paramount geopolitical goals. Now that a second Cold War may well have begun, must we allow our own citizens to be brutalised by our allies and partners? That, at least, is the unavoidable question after Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, announced that his government had credible evidence that the Indian state was involved in the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist, in a Vancouver suburb in June. The truth is that the reaction to the assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil has been remarkably muted. We know that Western ...

23 September

Right-wing papers are preparing the Tories’ downfall over net zero

As with their coverage of Liz Truss’s leadership, the Sun, Mail and Telegraph are out of touch with public opinion.

By Jonn Elledge

It’s just coming up to a quarter to doomsday so let’s take a look at the papers. Wednesday’s Mail has gone with “Finally! Common sense on net zero” (two of the paper’s favourite idioms in one headline, there), and also asks: “Is this the moment Rishi turned tide?” Thursday’s Sun has modestly claimed that it was the Sun wot won it, greeting the Prime Minister’s speech as a victory for its previously unnoticed “Give us a brake” campaign: “Given us a brake”, that’s the headline. Meanwhile the Telegraph has given the ever rational Allister Heath, editor of its Sunday sister title, space for a column warning that, “The furious Blob will try to destroy Rishi Sunak for his net zero ...

22 September

The case for a national Holocaust memorial

Detractors forget we won’t always be able to depend on the living testimony of Holocaust survivors.

By Ian Austin

It was disappointing to read the arguments advanced by Rowan Williams last month about the new UK national memorial to the Holocaust. It has never been the intention to use the memorial to give a "generic message about genocide". Nor will it lay a "self-congratulatory stress on British parliamentary democracy as a bulwark against totalitarian atrocities". In fact, the foundation leading the project says the aim is to create a memorial that will “convey the enormity of the Holocaust and its impact; in particular the loss to mankind of the destruction of European Jewry”. It states specifically that “the narrative will be balanced, addressing the complexities of Britain’s ambiguous responses to the Holocaust, avoiding simplistic judgements and encouraging visitors to critically reflect ...

22 September

Banks hate Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on net zero

City financiers may not be tree-huggers, but uncertainty and risk are expensive.

By Will Dunn

Britain’s bankers may have assumed this time last year that Rishi Sunak, formerly of Goldman Sachs, was one of their own. As chancellor and then Prime Minister, he’s pursued a deregulatory agenda – the “Edinburgh Reforms” – that many in the City welcome, but for financiers, this week’s U-turn on net-zero policies is another matter. The City is not known for its tree-hugging politics – British banks still finance fossil fuels projects to the tune of tens of billions of pounds a year – but if there is one principle that unites bankers worldwide, it is this: risk is expensive. Uncertainty of any kind is a cost, and political uncertainty is one of the big ones. Over the past two days, while ...

21 September

Rishi Sunak can’t have it both ways on net zero

It isn’t credible for the Prime Minister to promise the UK will meet the 2050 target while also avoiding any painful measures.

By David Gauke

Rishi Sunak’s speech on green policies has received plenty of criticism but he began by making a very fair point. He is right to argue that if the public are hit with unexpected costs as a consequence of the net zero policy, there is a risk they will turn against it. Too often, politicians have set ambitious targets but have shied away from explaining what this would involve, leaving the difficult stuff to their successors. (As a member of the cabinet that signed up to the 2050 net zero target, I cannot exempt myself from this criticism.) Yes, the public like ambitious targets while they are abstract; but that support may not hold when the costs become specific. Politicians who ignore ...

20 September

Rishi Sunak is dancing to Nigel Farage’s tune

The Prime Minister’s U-turn on net zero is only the latest concession to the former Brexit Party leader.

By Lewis Goodall

Net zero is a project which is about the next 30 years. If the polls are to be believed, Rishi Sunak won’t last another 30 months as prime minister. That is the context in which his speech today (20 September) has to be seen. A prime minister whose premiership was predicated on political recovery seems close to lifeless. The Conservatives are polling close to the nadir reached under Liz Truss (one Deltapoll survey puts them 24 points behind Labour). Sunak’s personal ratings are at their lowest ever. Time is running out. In a political environment as poor as this, the thinking goes that Sunak must do something different to shift his fortunes. One of the few glimmers of hope was the Tories’ ...

20 September

Rishi Sunak’s net zero U-turn is riskier than it looks

The backlash from businesses, Tory MPs and voters may outweigh any political gains.

By Rachel Cunliffe

Rishi Sunak has announced he is watering down key measures to help Britain meet its legally binding target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Delivering a hastily arranged speech in the press room at Downing Street after the plans were leaked to the BBC last night (19 September), the Prime Minister attempted to reassert his authority. The slogan on the podium read “Long-term decisions for a brighter future” as Sunak confirmed U-turns on a series of policies.  The ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be delayed from 2030 to 2035. So will the ban on new gas boilers, from which some households will be entirely exempt. A number of measures which were not government policy ...