THE habitual reaction was to shy away. Saudi Arabia’s princes used to shrink from Britain’s press like women in purdah. A critical BBC documentary prompted King Khalid to cancel a trip to Britain in 1980. Royal visits, after all, were hunting season, rich in opportunities to bash the kingdom.
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AT 3.47pm on Sunday, a man and a woman strolled past a fitness club in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury. Roughly half an hour later, the police received a call about a pair discovered unconscious on a bench nearby.
LONDON — A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent in Britain this week, the British police said on Wednesday, heightening suspicions that the episode was an assassination attempt by a national government, amid rampant speculation that Russia was responsible.
WHEN Sergei Skripal left Russia in 2010, his fate seemed to have taken a bright turn. As part of a prisoner exchange with Britain and America, the MI6 double agent swapped a Russian jail cell for suburban life in Wiltshire.
SALISBURY, England — The gentle stroll from Zizzi’s, a restaurant in the center of this sleepy cathedral town, to Sainsbury’s, a popular nearby supermarket, could scarcely be less remarkable.
A working-class revolt has taken place, and frustration is spilling out in all sorts of directions. If Britain is to have a future, the escalating culture wars have to stop Britain has voted to leave the European Union: here is a statement that continues to shock leavers and remainers alike.
As a teenager I would just laugh at newsreels of Hitler and other fascists. I hope what happened next is not witnessed again by my grandchildren’s generation A chill of remembrance has come over me during this August month.
EVEN after 18 years, I never really knew where I stood with the English. Why did they keep apologizing? (Were they truly sorry?) Why were they so unenthusiastic about enthusiasm? Why was their Parliament full of classically educated grown-ups masquerading as unruly schoolchildren?
What do heroin, “paper” coffee cups that don’t biodegrade for 500 years and Kim Jong-un’s smart new collection of intercontinental ballistic missiles have in common? The answer is that they all contribute to the growth of the economy.
CRISIS? What crisis? So many have been triggered in Britain by the vote a year ago to leave the European Union that it is hard to keep track. Just last month Theresa May was reduced from unassailable iron lady to just-about-managing minority prime minister.
Ministers have had a tough time working out who Britain's new trading partners will be after it leaves the EU. At one point it was reported that the British government was hoping to reach out to countries that were once part of the British Empire.
“We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good!” So said Rudyard Kipling of the Boer war, and he might well say the same today. David Cameron’s wild European gamble has failed. He and the British establishment took democracy for granted.
WRITING to his wife in May 1942, Evelyn Waugh recounted a true story of military derring-do. A British commando unit offered to blow up an old tree-stump on Lord Glasgow’s estate, promising him that they could dynamite the tree so that it “falls on a sixpence”.
LONDON — Scrambling to combat a growing air pollution crisis, Britain announced on Wednesday that sales of new diesel and gas cars would reach the end of the road by 2040, the latest step in Europe’s battle against the damaging environmental impact of the internal combustion engine.
The anti-immigration election rhetoric is perverse – we fear the arrival of people that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them The anti-immigration election rhetoric is perverse – we fear the arrival of people that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them
Financing World War I required the UK government to borrow the equivalent of a full year’s GDP. But its first effort to raise capital in the bond market was a spectacular failure. The 1914 War Loan raised less than a third of its £350m target and attracted only a very narrow set of investors.
The table sheds light on just how difficult it can be for a foreigner to understand what the British really mean when they're speaking – especially for those take every word at face value.
LONDON — For hundreds of years, the royal prerogative has allowed Britain’s leaders to mint coinage, requisition ships, send troops into battle or authorize the mining of precious metals. But should a set of archaic rules also be used to take Britain out of the European Union?
Back in the old neighborhood in North West London after a long absence, I went past the local primary school and noticed a change. Many of my oldest friends were once students here, and recently—when a family illness returned us to England for a year—I enrolled my daughter.
BRUSSELS — Many Britons see their country as a brave galleon, banners waving, cannons firing, trumpets blaring. That is how the country’s voluble foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, likes to describe it. But Britain is now but a modest-size ship on the global ocean.
British politicians from both sides of the issue rallied on Wednesday for either staying or leaving the European Union ahead of a referendum vote set for Thursday. Here’s what they think.
“THE English are not intellectual,” wrote George Orwell. “They have a horror of abstract thought, they feel no need for any philosophy or systematic ‘worldview’.” England’s finest chronicler had a point. The country is rightly known for its pragmatism and suspicion of wide-eyed ideas.
BIRMINGHAM, England — If not for the trifling matter of Britain potentially abandoning the European Union, Rowan Crozier figures the factory he oversees would already be clattering away with extra urgency.
Under Thatcher and Blair, it looked unassailable. But now both Britain’s main parties are turning away from unfettered capitalism. By Twelve years ago, shortly after winning his third consecutive general election, Tony Blair gave the Labour party a brief lecture on economics.
Article 50 is almost upon us. We need a fresh vision to take us forward
After democracy finally shunted aside hereditary lords, they found new means to protect their extravagant riches. For all the modern tales of noble poverty and leaking ancestral homes, their private wealth and influence remain phenomenal
NO MATTER that Theresa May lacks a parliamentary majority, that many in her party want her gone, or that her approval ratings are on the floor.
THE world has enjoyed an unprecedented run of peace, prosperity and cooperation the last 25 years, but now that might be over. At least when it comes to those last two. That, more than anything else, is what Britain's vote to leave the European Union means.
LONDON — THE city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes.
Britain faces a decade of disruption after Brexit with low growth, stagnating incomes for the poor and the public finances at breaking point, according to a bleak analysis by a leading thinktank.
“THE Golden Cross Welcomes you to Redditch!” The greeting, on the wall of a pub outside the town’s railway station, is valiant. But the dingy wire fence and mossy concrete beneath it let down the enthusiasm of the sign’s welcome. Redditch is struggling. In recent years, wages have fallen.
LONDON — An observer of Britain’s “Brexit” debate would be forgiven for thinking that the country’s economy is one of the European Union’s star performers.
Just over 40 years ago, I wrote a play called Knuckle which tried out for two weeks at the Oxford Playhouse, before going on to open in the West End. It was my fourth full-length play, and one that suffered an extremely difficult birth. I was 26.
LONDON — Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West.
During the campaign the very worst impulses were given free rein and voice. Britain is not greater for this decision but smaller, weaker and more vulnerable In the end those who placed their faith in the “experts” were always going to be disappointed.
When historians examine Britain’s departure from the European Union, one of the things that will puzzle them is the behaviour of the Conservative Party. Thanks to copious demographic and geographical analysis, we are already in a position to make sense of the referendum result itself.
While the US argues about whether to tear down monuments to the supporters of slavery, Britain still celebrates the shameful era The area I grew up in, leafy Wimbledon in south-west London, is bordered by memorials to two towering historical figures.
LONDON — How I wish that Christopher Nolan’s new film, “Dunkirk,” had not been released at this moment in history. The reviewers have been near unanimous in their praise: searing, complex, uncompromising about the savagery of war and death.
JUST over a year has passed since Britain voted to leave the European Union and Theresa May subsequently became prime minister. Nearly four months have elapsed since Mrs May invoked Article 50 of the EU treaty, setting a two-year deadline for Brexit that will expire on March 30th 2019.
As the UK’s delusions and denial continue, continental Europeans are rethinking all those stereotypes about a liberal island set in a sea of reason and pragmatism As the UK’s delusions and denial continue, continental Europeans are rethinking all those stereotypes about a liberal
THE mother of parliaments has spoken. On February 8th a large majority of MPs backed a bill authorising the government to begin Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union by triggering Article 50 of the EU treaty.
Britain’s retreat from empire is remembered in a popular iconography that contains only a little violence. Gandhi goes on hunger strikes and performs acts of passive resistance; the Suez debacle calls time on our pretensions as a world power; Macmillan heralds the wind of change in Africa.
YouGov conducts one of Britain's biggest ever post-election surveys to chart how the nation's political character is shifting Since last week’s election result YouGov has interview over 50,000 British adults to gather more information on how Britain voted.
The great sweep of economic history is a series of “rises” and “falls”—from the fall of Rome to the rise of China. The intriguing episodes that spark the “what ifs” of history come lower down—when a medium-size power suddenly reverses an inevitable-seeming trajectory.
TERRORISTS often set out to slaughter the innocent. But none could be more innocent than eight-year-old Saffie Roussos (pictured). She was one of the children, most of them teenagers, who flocked to see Ariana Grande give a concert in Manchester on May 22nd.
IN “ATLAS SHRUGGED”, published 60 years ago this October, Ayn Rand asked what would happen if society’s most talented businesspeople got so fed up with being taxed, regulated and otherwise messed about by government that they went on strike. Innovation would cease. The economy would stagnate.
Since last Friday I have been angry. I began by feeling angry towards those who voted Leave, all those who campaigned on that side.
Britain voted Thursday to leave the European Union, a decision that surprised many and one whose consequences still aren’t totally clear. We don’t know quite yet what this will mean for the future of Britain’s economy, its policies, and its relations with other European countries.
ON FEBRUARY 20th David Cameron, Britain's prime minister, set June 23rd as the date for a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union. His announcement followed a protracted renegotiation of the current conditions of Britain’s membership at a summit in Brussels.
Between its towns and cities, the rumpled skin of lowland Britain is covered and pierced in many ways, by church steeples, nuclear reactors, safari parks, six-lane highways, ruined monasteries, radio telescopes, wind turbines, landfill sites, golf courses.
LONDON — In the summer of 2013, Britain’s Home Office unveiled a new campaign to tackle unwanted immigration. For a month, vans toured six London boroughs, bearing a poster that read: “In the U.K. illegally? Go home or face arrest.” The campaign was a failure.
THE Conservative-Lib Dem coalition formed in 2010 wanted universities to expand. Much to the chagrin of thousands of youngsters, it got its way in 2012 by nearly trebling the tuition-fee ceiling to £9,000 ($14,000) a year.
And so to the big question. The one that has dogged us ever since the EU referendum and haunts every Brexiteer’s chlorinated daydreams. What is Britain for? Cliche-mongers will tell you that Britain lost an empire then couldn’t find a role. They are wrong.
PARIS — The rest of the European Union nations are looking at the possibility of a British departure from the bloc with disbelief, trepidation and anguish. But they are also preparing to retaliate.
LONDON — British voters will go to the polls this month to decide whether their country should remain in the European Union.
To understand the sensational outcome of the British election, one must ask a basic question. What happens when phony populism collides with the real thing? Last year’s triumph for Brexit has often been paired with the rise of Donald Trump as evidence of a populist surge.
Our nation must confront the inconvenient facts of its history rather than glorious versions of an imperial past. That’s why we need a museum of empire
THE battle is joined, at last. David Cameron has called a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union for June 23rd, promising to campaign hard to stay in. What began as a gambit to hold together his divided Tory party is turning into an alarmingly close contest.
MANY Brexiteers built their campaign on optimism. Outside the European Union, Britain would be free to open up to the world. But what secured their victory was anger. Anger stirred up a winning turnout in the depressed, down-at-heel cities of England (see article).
LONDON — Even before the first snowflake had fallen, alarm bells were sounding across Britain. Bold red signs went up in shop windows, prompting panicked Brits to empty supermarket shelves: “SNOWMAGGEDON! Stock up on essentials now.”
Ten years ago, when metal detectorists were out near the village of Stixwould in Lincolnshire, UK, they turned up bronze fragments. These turned out to be the remnants of not just one precious object, but many: swords, ferrules, and one spearhead after another.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — When Britain voted last June to leave the European Union, Northern Ireland voted to remain by a clear majority. Along the border with the Republic of Ireland, that majority was even larger, about 64 percent.
DESPITE its vote to leave the European Union, plenty of Europeans still seem keen to move to Britain: in eastern European cities such as Kiev and Chisinau leaflets promising “English visas” still flutter.
WASHINGTON — It can be difficult to notice history as it happens. Pivotal moments are often recognizable only in hindsight; decisions that seem minor at the time turn out to mean everything. Thursday’s referendum in Britain is different.
“IT’S a simulation, no?” asked a confused tourist, as the emergency services hurried into action and a helicopter flew low overhead. This time, it was not. At 2.
FOR the past few months Theresa May and her ministers have allowed some ambiguities to swirl around Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.
Is it finally closing time in the gardens of the West? The wails that have rent the air since the Brexit vote and Trump’s victory rise from the same parts of Anglo-America that hosted, post-1989, the noisiest celebrations of liberalism, democracy, free markets and globalisation.