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On the night itself I darted between election parties. One of the most enjoyable — at the start of the evening — was also the most ecumenical. I realised the exit polls heralded disaster when two things happened simultaneously. The first was the visible horror of a Conservative friend. The other was that one of the architects of the New Labour project got a phone message, leapt up and said he had to go. As I pondered the sudden possibility of a Corbyn premiership I wondered if some deal couldn’t be done — some other year if not this — between a decent portion of the Conservative Party and the decent remnant of Labour. Because of Brexit, probably not. But a “Keep Corbyn out” coalition should put out some feelers.


With the full electoral disaster becoming clear I texted some friends in Aldeburgh, saying it was unlikely I could take up their offer of a ticket the next night. But after waking up and staring at the ceiling for a while I decided that Benjamin Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Snape Maltings was exactly what I needed. What a wonderful decision it was.

Whereas London was overcast in every way, Suffolk was bathed in sunshine. The production had a cast of pretty much all the best young singers in Britain. Magnificent projections onto a screen which spanned the stage allowed the cast to blend in and out of the forest, without the usual stage business of pretending to be unseen by hiding behind a small papier-mâché tree stump. Best of all was the second act which ends with the lovers all asleep and the fairies singing the wondrous “On the ground, sleep sound . . . All shall be well.” The packed audience went out for the second interval to see that the only thing in the sky, hanging over the Suffolk broads, was a brightly shining moon.

I feel sorry for those people who seek much meaning, let alone happiness, in politics. I’m happy to go with Alexander Herzen’s summary: art and the summer lightning of personal happiness are the only goods we have.


A sad sign of our political times was the resignation of Tim Farron. I never praise Liberal Democrats, because there is so little to praise. But Farron suffered truly rotten treatment. He has private religious opinions that he has never sought to enforce on others or legislate about. Indeed, his own behaviour is of an actual liberal — recognising differences without imposing them on others. And yet throughout the campaign he was treated to a moral grilling that was disgraceful. There is an intolerant strain abroad in our politics. Farron turns out to have been a martyr to it. I wish him well.
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leon noel
July 1st, 2017
12:07 PM
ISIS and other groups are part-funded through Saudi royal networks, and the place is a centre of violent Wahhabism, rehearsed ceaselessly in its state-controlled media. Despite their support for the movement that brings killers to our streets, our leaders bow low to their kings and sell them arms. People dont care that Corbyn met a few provos decades ago. Your wilful hypocrisy blinds you to the reasons why the 'friend of killers' line didnt work against Corbyn

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