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One Hundred Troubled Years

The deep foreboding of the politics of Northern Ireland that I’ve carried since the Brexit Referendum is now made manifest. Young loyalists’ escalating attacks on Northern Irish police so alarmed President Biden that he’s led the international call for calm. That the history of the North is so freighted with conflict means it can be used to …

Two Rivers, Two Women

As this year began, I found myself wondering, after the General Election, what had become of class consciousness. Although my social class was determined by father’s membership of the academy, Edie’s mantra was “I’m from the working class.” ( And arguably, after kicking out my father she resumed that class position. )  Family lore of …

Après le déluge

Waking in darkness a month ago, I crept out of the house. Boycotting the BBC, I wanted to survey the array of banners at Brixton Underground’s newsagents. I wasn’t surprised: we had been here before.  In 1984, subdued by Labour’s defeat, I spoke with Raphael Samuel about the implications of Margaret Thatcher’s second victory, after …

On the Perils of Looking West

As the U.K. was forced to shift focus westwards, away from Europe, I returned this summer to America. On venturing across ‘the Pond’, my excitement at seeing New York City was as undiminished as when I was 10. In 1970, at my first Queens elementary school, I was impressed by a poster displaying myriad faces …