I saw the cover of TNE #310 on Have I Got News For You. I found the image appearing to show Kwasi Kwarteng urinating to be crude and immensely disrespectful to the chancellor of the exchequer. Please keep up the good work.
Re: Kwasi Kwarteng on the cover of TNE #310. I know a joke about trickle-down economics… sadly, 99% of people don’t get it.
Trickle-down is a big lie, always has been. If you give wealthy people more money it goes straight into a bank account or to the Cayman Islands and is lost to the economy. Not only does it not trickle down, it disappears. Give more money to the poor and they spend it on essentials, boosting the economy.
A brilliant cover to TNE #310. It really takes the p*** without being rude.
It reminded me of a Tory election candidate I encountered a few years ago; a fairly wealthy financial adviser who claimed to be the best in the area I then lived in. We had weekly disputes in the local papers over Tory financial policy, in particular his obsession with “trickle-down economics”.
He came unstuck when he wrote a letter about a local single mother who had appeared in the paper complaining that she had a choice between buying food or paying her landlord. His verdict was that she should pay the rent first. The Lib Dems jumped on it and re-used this shameful opinion against him.
Not only did he fail to be elected, the Tory Party disowned him and barred him from the local Conservative club. Oh, and he was quickly identified as the landlord of the single mother in question.
Re: Alastair Campbell on Liz Truss (Diary, TNE #310). No one bar a small majority of a tiny selectorate voted to give Liz Truss free rein to rip up economic orthodoxies, to sack trusted civil servants and to present the uncosted economic plan to which the markets have responded with revulsion.
Truss may have chutzpah, but she and her chancellor are fatally arrogant. When the other 50 million of us get a vote, she will be out on her ear.
Liz Truss strutting around like a Thatcher impersonator reminds me of that line from the movie Working Girl: “Just because I jump around my bedroom in my underwear singing into my hairbrush, don’t make me Madonna”.
The recent statements from Liz Truss about “Treasury orthodoxy” reminded me of a scene from Blackadder II where Edmund hires a ship from Captain Redbeard Rum:
Blackadder: “I was under the impression that it was common maritime practice for a ship to have a crew?”
Captain Rum: “The opinion is divided on the subject… all the other captains say it is – I say it isn’t.”
Blackadder: “Oh God! Mad as a brush!” I fear stormy seas ahead for the good ship Britannia under Captain Liz.
Selly Oak, Birmingham
Watching the Tories in power over the last six years has been a bit like hurricane season. The PMs keep rolling in and wreaking havoc. The problem is, these aren’t one-in-200- year events and we’re not going to recover from the Category 5 that is Liz Truss.
Sharon Maria Boland
I am sick of reading about how Britain was “the awkward squad” while a member of the European Union and how we won’t be invited back (Letters, TNE #310). I’m sure hundreds of thousands of other Brits who have worked in Brussels feel the same.
We were never “the awkward squad”, we were valued members. British governments come and go and have occasionally played to the rabble at home, last time with devastating consequences. But the British people aren’t the government and for most of the last five decades we were content to be in the EEC and EU.
With a different government, the EU will be pleased to have us back because we are family. They keep saying that. It is about time we listened.
I much enjoyed Janet Berridge’s letter about whether the EU really would want us back, but she is wrong in one respect. Very unusually among legislatures, the European Parliament does not have an oath of allegiance to the Union. The equivalent in the UK is what prevents Sinn Fein from taking their seats.
Such an oath would have kept Farage and his crew out, or been grounds for expulsion.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Once we’ve got rid of the worthless ideologues that have done this to their own country, and normalised relations with our own continent, rejoining isn’t going to be anywhere near as difficult as is so often portrayed.
First we need electoral reform, and consistent approval for rejoining of over 66%.
Given what an utter catastrophe Brexit has been, this is achievable and ultimately inevitable.
I’ve lived on the mainland of Europe for nearly two years, and worked for the European Commission. The EU won’t rush to take the UK back, as it has been able to move much quicker on some key issues than when the UK was a member – specifically on finance issues, for example mutualising debt for a post-Covid recovery package.
The Ukraine war has added strength for “an ever-closer union” and more united foreign policy and defence, also taxation, which the UK was always against.
Of course, the EU and UK both benefit when a large economy is a member. However, I suspect a “Norwegian” (European Economic Area) association would be likely first, as it gives the three freedoms, cash contributions and participation in key programmes such as security, and research and development, but not all EU legislation has to be implemented.
What a great street food section in TNE #310. It will be kept alongside my other recipe books, for when (and if) energy prices come down!
I was particularly interested in the Bury Black Pudding Scotch Eggs as I was brought up on the Fylde Coast. However, I would like to point out that St Annes is not in Blackpool, but six miles down that coast.
Clitheroe, Ribble Valley
So long, Covid Unlike
Eleanor Longman-Rood, I won’t be watching This England (“The ghosts of Covid past”, TNE #310). I just want to forget Covid. We lost parents during the lockdown and we couldn’t attend their funerals. For some of us, this will be triggering.
Eleanor Longman-Rood asks when the public will be ready to consume real-life events on screen and, like her, I think This England takes us back into those near-recent, but overtaken, times in a brilliant, compelling and highly successful way.
My only complaint is that sometimes Kenneth Branagh speaks the words of Shakespeare far too well.
I enjoyed Rob Hughes’ piece on Totaal Voetbal (“The new oasis”, TNE #310). I was a footie-mad kid growing up in 1980s suburban Essex, long before the internet and multichannel TV. And yet I’d heard of Johan Cruyff and I knew what the “Cruyff turn” was (but hadn’t actually seen it).
I also knew about “Total Football” and the great, semi-mythical Ajax Amsterdam and Netherlands sides of the 1970s. These teams are, perhaps, the greatest and most romantic – in both their successes and failures – in football history.
I’m less and less interested in elite football these days, put off by the predictability and commercialisation (although the Lionesses’ Euros victory made me smile). However, I think that I’ll always return to and enjoy thinking about Dutch football in the 1970s.
While I was delighted by Damien Love’s comprehensive feature on the European influences of the Velvet Underground (“Velvet Revolution”, TNE #310), I can’t agree with the positive gloss he puts on their 1993 reunion tour.
Love writes of the opening night, “it felt like coming home.” I witnessed two dates on the tour – in Paris and at Glastonbury – and on both occasions felt like going home. The unloved tour album Live MCMXCIII commits an unforgivable sin: it makes this most daring of bands sound safe and dull.
As a regular reader of the New European I am amused by the contradiction between Peter Trudgill’s erudite and admirably lucid contributions on the subject of language and Will Self’s occasional use of words the meaning of which I feel sure most of your readers must find elusive. I had wondered if Will had shares in an English dictionary but, after failing to find several of the words he uses in any of the dictionaries on my shelves, I doubt if he has.
No doubt Will will consider me a “kvetch” as a result of my comments, but I trust he won’t consider this letter to be a “haiku” of hatred.
In her article about Kurds in Sweden, Suna Erdem mentions the country’s “culture of acceptance” (“Victims of Sweden’s right turn”, TNE #309). Let’s call it for what it truly is; a culture of self-interest. Kurds do all the work that Swedes would rather not.
The left in Sweden has rendered minorities victims of the right by using words like “acceptance” rather than stressing the liberal virtue of tolerance. Tolerance is telling people to respect people, acceptance is coercion and telling people what to believe. Why should everyone have to agree that the sine qua non of sociability is a non-judgmental mindset? It’s that pitch by the left in all countries and all cultures that has given rise to the right.
Thanks to Mandrake (TNE #309) for the appraisal of my delightful constituency MP Andrew Bridgen’s difficulties with his personal finances. Imagine my surprise when I heard the same Mr Bridgen being invited on to Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the British economic crisis.
Thank you for Charlie Connelly’s nice piece on Irving Berlin (Great Lives, TNE #309). Berlin is a role model not only for his work ethic, craftsmanship and generosity, but for his attitude to tax. The story goes that when advised to invest his money in tax shelters, he refused, saying, “I want to pay taxes. I love this country.”