Carl Gardner, a former government lawyer, talks to Toby Young about Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, whether it’s constitutionally legitimate, and what the political ramifications are.
Toby Young reads Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man, his profile of Boris Johnson, Britain’s new Prime Minister. The piece was published in Quillette on 23rd July.
Jonathan Kay talks to Quillette‘s associate editor Toby Young about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new Prime Minister whom Toby first met 36 years ago when they were students together at Oxford. Toby recently wrote a profile of Boris for Quillette.
I first set eyes on Boris Johnson in the autumn of 1983 when we went up to Oxford at the same time. I knew who he was since my uncle Christopher was an ex-boyfriend of his mother’s and he had told me to keep an eye out for him, but I still wasn’t prepared for the sight (and sound) of him at the dispatch box of the Oxford Union. This was the world famous debating society where ambitious undergraduates honed their public-speaking skills before embarking on careers in politics or journalism, and Boris was proposing the motion. With his huge mop of blond hair, his tie askew and his shirt escaping from his trousers, he looked like an overgrown schoolboy. Yet with his imposing physical build, his thick neck and his broad, Germanic forehead, there was also something of Nietzsche’s Übermensch about him. You could imagine him in lederhosen, wandering through the Black Forest with an axe over his shoulder, looking for ogres to kill. This same combination—a state of advanced dishevelment and a sense …
It’s usually difficult to describe the lasting legacy of a British Prime Minister in one word. For many, Theresa May (2016–19) seems to be the exception: failure. She inherited a small Conservative Party majority in the House of Commons and was under no political or constitutional pressure to hold a general election until 2020, but she called one nevertheless in 2017 and ended up losing that majority, forcing her to govern in coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party for the remaining two years of her premiership. Her first attempt to get the House of Commons to approve the Withdrawal Agreement her Government had negotiated with the European Union was rejected by 432 MPs, the largest defeat of any British government in history. She attempted twice more to get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed and failed on both occasions, thus making her the self-styled “Brexit Prime Minister” who failed to deliver Brexit. Notwithstanding all this, she was a Prime Minister who presided over several successes which shouldn’t be overlooked. The Economy Just a month …
Toby Young discusses the European election results with Eric Kaufmann, author of Whiteshift, and Sunder Katwala, director of British Future. Is national populism in decline? If not, how concerned should we be? Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at Birkbeck College, wrote about the European election for Quillette.
Toby Young talks to the journalist and broadcaster Claire Fox about being a Brexit Party candidate in the forthcoming European Parliament election. How did a former Communist become a candidate for a populist, right-of-centre party?
Toby Young talks to Robert Tombs, Cambridge history professor, about why he supports Brexit, why so many of his colleagues don’t, whether the English intelligentsia’s loathing of their country is a uniquely English characteristic, and what their reaction is likely to be if the United Kingdom does eventually leave the European Union. Robert Tombs is the author of The English and Their History, described by David Frum as “a book for our times that should become the standard text for the century to come,” and co-editor of Briefings For Brexit.
Quillette‘s Toby Young talks to Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent and co-author of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberalism, about Brexit, Trump, the rise of national populism in Europe and America, and what its impact is likely to be on the future of social democracy.
In her article “The Case Against a Second Referendum,” Madeline Grant has written an extensive critique of my “The Case For a Second Referendum.” Restrictions of space preclude a detailed consideration of the numerous objections she raises. I ignore altogether the personal comments she makes in the section portentiously titled “Bias,” and elsewhere, on the basis that they are irrelevant. It is worth standing back and re-iterating the basic, and quite simple, position set out in my article—that the best argument for a second referendum is that the “Leave” proposition in the first referendum in 2016 was, necessarily, extremely general, and that the terms of Theresa May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement are, by contrast, very specific. The Withdrawal Agreement provides a glide-path to a future which many Leave voters did not and indeed could not have anticipated in 2016. The two most prominent advocates for the Leave proposition, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, have both said in terms that the Withdrawal Agreement is worse than staying in the EU. They also insist that the electorate not be …