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It’s months since Godfrey Bloom ruined the UKIP conference: one sexist joke overshadowing the all‑encompassing bigotry of the rest of the event. But he still pops up in the media, one of those colourful, loose‑cannon, blah-blah figures that journalists like because they’re ‘off‑message’. People tire of Farage already. The booze and fags are wearing thin, as he flaps around, trying too hard to be liked.
Today’s politicians are boring. Perhaps that’s why they get away with so much. Who can be arsed to hate Grant Shapps, a man whose personality is so lacking that he had to invent another one? Work must have been a joy for Mike Yarwood. For Rory Bremner, it is surely a grind. Hague is worth impersonating and might buy a round. Ken Clarke has shaken off his history to become an occasionally-undiplomatic uncle, bumbling around in a likeable daze like Paddington Bear after a car accident.
But who else is there? Even retired politicos such as Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson are interchangeable planks. Ann Widdecombe is a character, in the sense that it would be better if she were fictional, but that’s about it for funny-looking people with funny voices.
So professional interviewers must long for a quirky bigot: ‘Please God, not Chuka Umunna again – what the hell am I going to ask him?’ Far better the ravings of right‑wingers who pose as anti-establishment rebels. Journalism itself is full of people like that, ranters who tell us you can’t say anything these days, while being amply rewarded for spewing whatever filth they like.
But whether you love or hate the pantomime reactionaries, they catch the eye, while a grey parade of functional dullards do their evil work in semi-obscurity. Gove desperately tries to get our attention, but is so uncharismatic even he fails.
Michael Coates reviews a new film revealing the shocking state of housing inequality in the UK.
The vicious media campaign against trans people is part bigotry, part strategy, writes Roz Kaveney
Jon Trickett MP reports on 'Dickensian' levels of poverty and hardship felt across the UK.
Natasha King busts some myths around the No Borders debate
He was once a radical icon, but now he's a mouthpiece for racism and nationalism. Time to get off stage, writes Michael Calderbank
Consensus seems to have shifted, but austerity is far from over. The chancellor has committed us to yet more years of misery while the rich get richer, writes Richard Seymour.
Frustrated at the idea of another royal wedding? You're not alone. Joana Ramiro argues we should stop idealising a fundamentally undemocratic institution.
Liberal elites are using Russian interference to minimise their own political failures, writes Matt Turner
Nick Dearden from Global Justice Now argues that after years of colonial domination and dodgy trade deals, the UK must make amends and support Zimbabwe in this uncertain time.
Last month's mass far right demonstration can be linked to a toxic mix of government tolerance of fascism and neoliberalism on steroids. Ewa Jasiewicz investigates.
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke