- Style Refinery 29 UK
The second season of Killing Eve (this time, without Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s exquisite touch) has passed through me and my insides are not tingling in the same way they were at the end of the first series. Sandra Oh’s Eve is reliably impactful and Fiona Shaw’s performance as Carolyn Martens is somehow even sharper than I remembered. Hugo Chambers is attractive.
- News The Guardian
He may appear to be a centrists’ dream, but take a closer look at his voting record. These politically correct times make it difficult to keep up with the right nouns for thin-skinned online activists. Terms that attempt to pithily describe identities and behaviours are now slurs. You can’t even harass transgender women out of public life any more without somebody calling you a “Terf”; nor can you take pride in defending the centre ground of politics without highly unreasonable individuals defaming you as a centrist. No, the correct terminology for the custodians of legitimate discourse is simply: the grownups. The latest to win over the hearts and minds of the kind of people who describe themselves as “sensible” is the Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart. He’s managed to secure the endorsements of Kirstie Allsopp, David Aaronovitch, James O’Brien and Jane Merrick - all of whom, I’m sure, command a great deal of clout amongst the Ukip-ified Tory membership who will actually decide whether or not he becomes our next prime minister. But even if the politics of Stewart’s campaign don’t quite line up with the priorities of the Conservative grassroots , there’s no denying his cultural appeal. He’s a bit geeky, he’s posh, he makes car crash video content - in short, he’s relentlessly himself. Or to paraphrase the great political thinker Dolly Parton: Stewart found out who he was and did it on purpose, while ambling around Brick Lane to talk to Bangla uncles about parliament. It’s this ability to master his own amiable incongruity with his surroundings that has led people to greet him as nothing less than the centre-right’s own second coming. Ian Birrell, David Cameron’s speechwriter for the 2010 election campaign, hailed Stewart as “that rare beast in the Westminster bear pit: someone of deep substance, a grownup who has wandered into the noisy kindergarten of Brexit-infected politics”. I know it might sound childish to suggest that a politician’s voting record is a better indicator of their ideological affinities than their video output, but it’s worth pointing out that aside from a couple of deviations (in favour of gay marriage and against investigations into the Iraq war), Stewart has voted in line with his party on almost every issue of note. And even if self-identifying grownups can turn a blind eye to support for the bedroom tax and votes against the mansion tax, it’s striking that those who’ve spent the past three years railing against Brexit don’t seem to mind that their pin-up still wants us to leave the EU. Or that no one seems particularly bothered by the fact that Stewart’s impassioned condemnations of no deal don’t necessarily mean that he’ll take an opportunity to block it in a parliamentary vote, and that he’s willing to serve in a Boris Johnson cabinet. To my untrained eye, this simply looks like the politics of “always masquerading as a maverick turn”. I don’t think that the pundit class’s continued love affair with Stewart is hypocritical. Quite the opposite. It makes sense that those who find the naming of their own political tendency offensive are drawn to an MP who balks at the idea that grand gestures should be backed up with the voting behaviour of a centrist ideology that has always worked on the abstraction of cultural values from collective politics - in which capitalism and cosmopolitanism are presented as the compromise position between left and rightwing polarities. As much of the economic and social base of such a politics have fallen away, the former kingmakers of liberal technocrats are left grasping at totems. Stewart has been remarkably effective at marshalling the projected desires of upper middle-class journalists. His blinky demeanour is a kinder form of Etonian eccentricity than the gale-force bluster of Johnson; his affable civility a soothing contrast to the hard-edged moralising of leftwing populists. He’s an attractive figure around whom others who seem to represent something, and yet stand for nothing, could rally. In a now deleted tweet, the Times columnist Aaronovitch claimed “it is so obvious” that Britain now needs a party in which Stewart, Jo Swinson, Mike Gapes and Jess Phillips could offer something to the voters. Maybe they could even call it Change UK? I’m old enough to remember when the Independent Group for Change was exalted as a return to grownup politics and was still on its first name. As Chuka Umunna abandons Anna Soubry for the open arms of Vince Cable (despite having sworn never to forgive the Liberal Democrats for their role in inflicting austerity measures on his constituency of Streatham), it’s never been clearer that the adults in the room are just a collection of toddlers stacked up in a trenchcoat. And like toddlers, the breakaway MPs have exposed with each panicky spasm that their grasp of politics is mostly imitative. The Independent Group for Change tried, and failed, to dominate media-tised politics by doing a passable impressions of politicians they had seen elsewhere. The party formerly known as Change UK was meant to be Umunna’s En Marche!: an electoral vehicle whose acronym sounded a bit like his first name, capable of reviving the centre ground through sheer will alone. Unfortunately for Umunna, the centre ground was still occupied by its prior tenants. There’s no substitute for knowing where your voters are when they’re not on Twitter. What’s more, he had learned the wrong lesson from Emmanuel Macron. Had Umunna been paying attention, he would have been schooled in what happens when centrist illusions make contact with reality. The defining social forces of our time - nationalism, inequality, an aging population - are not so forgiving of flights of political fancy as the commentariat can be to a beguiling posho on the telly. It shouldn’t escape any of us that the two most influential figures on the direction of our politics are two such beguiling poshos. Nigel Farage and Johnson (who, saving a spectacular crash-and-burn, is likely to become our next prime minister) are experts at appearing to be themselves. It is an act that is also, somehow, not an act, like Lorraine Kelly playing a character called “Lorraine Kelly” for tax purposes. Their establishment pedigree has never seemed to stop Farage and Johnson’s supporters from seeing them as disruptors of the status quo. Nor have either of them ever felt a need to be encumbered by anything so petty as consistency or coherence. Johnson, in his Have I Got News for You days, did a convincing turn as a socially liberal Tory - any lingering reactionary whiff would just be put down to eccentricity and the perils of good breeding. For the kamikaze Brexiteers, the politics of gesture is heightened as the politics of fantasy, in which “what’s on offer” is liberated entirely from the dreary category of “what’s going to happen”. This isn’t the opposite of “sensible” politics, it’s the logical conclusion of politics being emptied of content. It’s time to grow up and realise the adults are never coming back. Our future, to them, was never anything more than child’s play. . Ash Sarkar is a senior editor at Novara Media
- Style Hello!
Lisa Armstrong has paid a loving tribute to her late father as she celebrated her first Father's Day without him. Taking to Instagram on Sunday to share a childhood throwback with her dad Derek, the Strictly Come Dancing makeup artist simply wrote, "Myfirstone," alongside a series of sad face emojis. The heartbreaking post comes one month after Lisa lost her dad to cancer. Derek, who was 71, was believed to have been diagnosed one year ago, but Lisa has never publicly spoken about her father's illness.Her friend, former X Factor host Kate Thornton, was one of the first to quickly respond to the latest Instagram post, writing: "Oh Lise, can't imagine how hard today must be. Thinking of you and sending love. Your dad was such a lovely man x." [sic] Another follower remarked: "He would be so so proud of you!" A third post read: "Always a hard day, especially the first one. You'll get through it but it's so tough. It’s just not fair is it." A fourth person added: "It’s my first one as well, I lost my dad last month. My heart is shattered and I’ve cried more than ever today. Sending love and hugs xxx."MORE: Are Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton getting married?It's been a difficult year for Lisa, 42, who was granted a decree nisi last October. Her ex-husband Ant, 43, had announced their split in January following an 11-year marriage. The couple had been together for 23 years. A few months later, the popular presenter embarked on a new relationship with the couple's former PA, Anne-Marie Corbett. During a recent chat with The Daily Star, Lisa revealed she struggled with "insecurities" following her split from Ant. "Nobody is immune to insecurities - nobody," she shared. "We all have issues that chip away at our confidence on a daily basis. The celebrity version of perfection that bombards us every day is not real."GALLERY: Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong - a look back at their love storyLike this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.
- Sports Goal.com
Former Reds striker John Aldridge believes proven Premier League performers would be preferable to a La Liga star generating summer exit talk
- Style Hello!
Congratulations may be in order! Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton have sparked engagement rumours after the journalist was spotted with a delicate engagement band on her wedding finger. In newly released pictures, obtained by The Mirror, the Strictly Come Dancing stars were seen looking more loved-up than ever during a low-key romantic stroll through London's Notting Hill on Sunday. Although the pair are yet to break their silence on the latest pictures, there's no denying that their relationship has gone from strength to strength since confirming their romance in April. HELLO! has contacted representatives for the stars for comment.Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton have been together since AprilThe stars, who won last year's series of Strictly, were unable to keep their eyes off each other and smiled widely as they joined a close group of friends for a chilled day out. The rumours come shortly after Kevin's ex-wife, Karen Clifton, reverted back to her maiden name. The dancer was professionally known as Karen Hauer until she married Kevin in 2015; her first husband was Matthew Hauer, who she split from in 2009. While the Strictly pro hasn't changed her Instagram handle, in her profile she is listed as Karen Hauer, and she captioned a recent photograph: "Hotlips Hauer".MORE: Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton take relationship to the next level in these amazing picturesMeanwhile, Kevin and Stacey's relationship has been tainted with controversy as the documentary maker was in a five-year romance with personal trainer Sam Tucknott when she joined the show. The new lovebirds kept their relationship relatively under wraps following Sam's explosive tell-all interview in March. After the interview, Stacey was forced to address the romance rumours, telling her Twitter followers: "Anyone with any adult life experience knows there are two sides to every story. I haven't got the time or energy to correct some of the utter nonsense I've read on here." The journalist added: "Re Sam, I loved him v much and only wish him happiness and success going forward."Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.
- News The Telegraph
A new biography about North Korea’s reclusive Kim Jong-un has revealed fresh details of a privileged, but cloistered childhood that paved the path to his tyrannical rule as the world’s youngest nuclear-armed leader.