Jonathan Freedland


Last quote by Jonathan Freedland

Social media algorithms have assumed a sinister supremacy, directing us in ways we barely understand. Are we content to let them control our lives?Forget the canary in the coal mine: these days, the warning comes from a cartoon pig in a dentist’s chair. And it’s no exaggeration to say it’s pointing to a threat facing all
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Nov 16 2017
This page is completely dedicated to what Jonathan Freedland has to say. All of Jonathan Freedland’s quotes are organized here by date and topic. The most recent quote attributed to Jonathan Freedland came from an article called We’ll never stop Brexit or Trump until we address the anger fuelling both: “The economic hardship, alienation and loss that motivated so many have to be tackled. There’s no point obsessing over impeachment or a second referendum. Perhaps we should call it the new special relationship. Liberal, enlightened types on each side of the Atlantic now share a common experience. While American progressives lament their fellow citizens’ decision to make Donald Trump president a year ago this week, their British counterparts have spent the same period gnashing their teeth over Brexit. When the two groups meet, they exchange apologies: “Don’t blame me,” they tell each other, “I voted the other way.””.
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Jonathan Freedland quotes

Sep 15 2017 - Israel

The award-winning play Oslo depicts the high drama of Israeli and Palestinian negotiations of the past. But on the ground today, the picture is much bleaker. If you want to see Israelis and Palestinians attempt to make peace, you should head for the National Theatre in London – because you certainly won’t see them doing it anywhere else, least of all in the land they both call home. On stage, it’s all there. The sweat, the tears, the angst are laid bare in Oslo, the Tony-award winning play whose London transfer is just beginning. It tells the improbable story of the secret back-channel opened up by two Norwegian diplomats in the early 1990s, which ultimately led to the White House lawn, where Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands, watched by a smiling Bill Clinton, 24 years

Sep 08 2017 - Brexit

With his war talk and support for illiberal regimes, the US president is reminding us what the European Union is for. To the remainer, and even to the neutral, our current politics contains a big mystery. Put simply, where is the sentiment we hoped to call regrexit? Where is the collective outbreak of buyer’s remorse? After all, the evidence that Brexit will be the greatest error in our national history since Munich is piling up. It’s not just that a process the leavers used to say would be quick and easy is proving to be long and torturously difficult, or that the European economies are growing while ours is sluggish. It’s more fundamental than

Sep 06 2017 - Immigration

The government’s nasty, foolish programme to put EU migrants off coming to Britain will make this country less attractive even to those born and raised here. Whoever leaked this document has done us all a great service. True, we don’t know what motive led the UK government blueprint for post-Brexit immigration to be handed to the Guardian. It could have been done by an enthusiast for the plan, keen to ensure that there’s no backsliding and that ministers stand firm. Or, more likely, the leaker was appalled by a document that sees migrants as a menace to be repelled – and hoped public disclosure might generate enough opposition to kill the plan

Aug 30 2017 - Labour Party

Don’t bet on a Corbynite putsch – the left is a crowded marketplace in Scotland and it’s best not to make assumptions. The obvious way to read the surprise resignation of Kezia Dugdale as leader of the Scottish Labour party is to cast her as the victim of a likely putsch by forces loyal to Jeremy Corbyn. According to this view, Dugdale jumped before she was pushed, pre-empting the challenge she would have faced sooner or later as punishment for opposing Corbyn from the start – a position rendered unsustainable by the UK leader’s better-than-expected performance in June’s general

Aug 11 2017 - American politics

Anyone hoping that the deep state will depose an unhinged American president before all-out war with North Korea needs to think again. Among the many terrifying facts that have emerged in the last several days, perhaps the scariest relate to the nuclear button over which now hovers the finger of Donald Trump. It turns out that, of all the powers held by this or any other US president, the least checked or balanced is his authority over the world’s mightiest arsenal. He exercises this awesome, civilisation-ending power

Aug 09 2017 - Trump Presidency

In previous nuclear standoffs, Trump’s predecessors knew when to hold back from further antagonising the other side. But now there is no such certainty. This was the moment many Americans, along with the rest of the world, feared. This – precisely this – was what alarmed us most about the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. Not that he would hire useless people or that he would tweet all day or use high office to enrich himself and his family or that he’d be cruel, bigoted and divisive – though those were all concerns. No, the chief anxiety provoked by the notion of Trump in the White House was this: that he was sufficiently reckless, impulsive and stupid to bring the world to the brink of nuclear

Aug 02 2017 - Wall Street

In the leaked interview that the Wall Street Journal didn’t publish, Trump’s confused ramblings on a post-Brexit US trade deal leave us none the wiser. There is, inevitably, much to feast on in the full transcript of the Wall Street Journal’s interview with Donald Trump, which that paper did not want published but which was leaked to Politico and is now available for all to

Jul 28 2017

Anger over the president’s repulsive behaviour is important. But it needs to be shaped into a coherent political argument• Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist. Who can resist the 241st season of “America”? The dialogue crackles, with new, if outlandish, characters popping in to keep things fizzing. The latest is the president’s communications director Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, who called a reporter on Wednesday to tell him that one senior White House colleague, the chief of staff, was a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic”, while contrasting himself with another by declaring: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”.feedback

Jul 26 2017

Don’t be fooled. The Tories’ plan to ban diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 is driven not by a love of clean air, but by European environmental standards• Jonathan Freedland is Guardian columnist. Might today’s date live on in the history books as the official end of the industrial revolution, which began more than a century and a half ago? That’s probably a stretch, but the UK government’s announcement that all petrol and diesel cars and vans are to be banned by 2040 sounds like the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine, the invention that changed human life for

Jul 17 2017 - Brexit

The chancellor may have an abacus where his conscience should be, but cabinet leaks should give us pause. He wants a sane Brexit, and hardliners want him out of the way• Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian

Jul 14 2017 - Goldman Sachs

The key is timing. The people may well want a rethink once the clock runs out in March 2019 – when the disaster will be clear• Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist. Project fear is becoming project reality. Each day brings new evidence of the dire consequences of Brexit. Sometimes it takes the form of a big company announcing that it’s moving operations from the UK to the continent, taking hundreds or thousands of jobs with it. It could be JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs or Samsung, depending on the day of the

Jul 12 2017

The rush to lash Britain’s fortunes to the US president was always humiliating. Now, after Donald Trump Jr’s Russian revelations, it looks even worse• Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist. There are few more perilous lines of work than being an ally of Donald Trump. Vouch for him one minute, usually by insisting that the latest accusation against him is bogus, and the next you’ll be left looking like a fool – as he or his family confirm that the very charge you dismissed as fake is, in fact,

Jul 07 2017 - G20

As the G20 summit shows, the US under its erratic president is losing its soft power – and its friends. In the movie version, they would have talked for a few minutes and then found an excuse to dismiss their foreign ministers and interpreters. At long last, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump would be alone and in private. Putin would look the American up and down, as proud as a father gazing upon his grown son. “We did it,” Putin might say softly, almost to himself. “We actually did it.”.feedback

Jun 30 2017 - Fake news

Fake news, alternative facts – US politics continually outstrips even the most outlandish imaginations. Thriller writers need a radical rethink. Fifty six years ago, a young Philip Roth despaired at the apparent inability of his chosen trade to compete with the world around him. “The American writer in the middle of the 20th century has his hands full in trying to understand, describe, and then make credible much of American reality,” the novelist declared in his essay Writing American Fiction. “It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one’s meagre imagination. The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures almost daily that are the envy of any novelist.”.feedback

Jun 23 2017 - Brexit

One year on, the certainties of the leave case are collapsing. We’re no longer shackled to that verdict. One year on, the political weather has changed and suddenly a once unthinkable question can be asked: might Brexit be stopped?feedback

Jun 21 2017

The Tories are in a hole. But to get out the party needed to promise more: the easing of austerity, the end of tuition fees and more taxes for the wealthy. If I were a Tory MP, I’d have listened to the Queen’s speech with an unease that turned steadily into

Jun 16 2017 - Inequality

The evil of rampant inequality is nothing new. But this disaster must bring us to a turning point. You walk around and it might be Westminster or the Manchester Arena or London Bridge, or even New York in the days after 9/11. In the shadow of Grenfell Tower, the trappings of grief: the signs pleading for the safe return of the missing, the vigil candles, the notes and messages left for the dead. People stand in stunned clusters, talking to each other, to police, to reporters, telling of the horror they’ve witnessed, recalling the pain of a friend’s final message or a father whose phone rang and rang but was never

Jun 14 2017 - Brexit

Conservatives are putting their poll failure down to either too hard a Brexit stance or too much austerity. If May is the reason, another dangerous election looms. They say success has a thousand parents while failure is an orphan. But judging by the argument now raging inside the Conservative party, what failure lacks in parents it makes up for in guides and tutors – all now queuing up to explain last week’s Tory debacle in terms that, surprise, surprise, neatly fit their prior political

Jun 10 2017 - British elections 2017

After a Labour success that defied predictions, the assumptions about how British elections are fought, and maybe won, have to be revisited. Of the three political earthquakes that have shaken the western political landscape in the past year – Brexit, Trump and Thursday’s general election – the latest has a claim to be the biggest shock of all. Remember that remain and leave were neck and neck in the opinion polls in the days leading up to the EU referendum: a leave win always looked a possibility. In the US, surveys regularly showed Donald Trump just a couple of points behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, which is exactly how things turned

Jun 08 2017 - Labour Party

If you think that May v Corbyn is a uniquely British horror show, Hollywood has plenty of parallels – from ultra-cynical campaign tales to a much-loved Christmas

Jun 07 2017 - British elections 2017

From dementia tax U-turns to ducking interviews, if the Tory leader triumphs on Thursday, it will be despite the campaign she’s fought – not because of it. After the experience of the last couple of years, surely only a mug would offer a rash prediction about the outcome of the general election – as Prime Minister Ed Miliband, President Hillary Clinton and the winning remain campaign can testify. But here’s one all the same: whether she wins or loses, and even if she bags a much enhanced majority, Theresa May will not fight another general

Jun 02 2017 - Climate change

The president’s White House seemed pure TV drama, but his move out of the Paris climate change agreement gives it a sickening twist. Until now, at least for those watching from afar, the Trump show has been a spectacle. It has shocked and appalled, but with the compulsive appeal of something like entertainment. The accelerating investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has followed the story arc of a gripping political thriller, a real-life rival to House of Cards. Indeed, the latest episode of the Trump-Russia drama promises a cameo role for our own Nigel Farage, now named as a “person of interest” to the FBI’s inquiry (even if voters in seven UK parliamentary contests deemed him anything but).feedback

May 26 2017 - Iraq

When it comes to violent jihadism, the motives are many – American and British military intervention is just one of them. For most people, in most places, something like normality resumes. This weekend Britons might be planning a barbecue, watching the FA Cup Final or just hoping to soak up some sun. In Manchester, in a show of almost comic defiance, the Great CityGames are going ahead, so that today, Deansgate will be converted into a sprint track and there’ll be pole vaulting in Albert Square – just days after it was packed for a hushed

May 24 2017

We need our election to go ahead undisturbed, lest we give the murderers behind the Manchester atrocity even the scent of victory. The prospect of nearly 1,000 troops emerging from their barracks and on to the streets of Britain will be a shock to the system. Other countries may be used to the sight of soldiers outside palaces and parliaments, at stations or large venues, but not Britain. This, remember, is a country that prides itself on the fact that most of its police are armed with nothing more than a

May 19 2017 - British elections 2017

It’s bad news for the Labour party. Despite the popularity of its general election manifesto proposals, credibility matters more. By rights, Labour should be on course for a landslide win on 8 June. The manifestos of the two main parties are now out, and Labour promises lots of things that people really like, while the Conservatives are offering bitter medicine that will especially hurt those who turn out in big numbers: the old. Surely voters will pick the party of sweet over the party of

May 17 2017 - Watergate

The latest revelations that Trump tried to shut down the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn could be the ‘smoking gun’ that spells the end for the president. First there were the uncomfortable similarities. Then there were some striking echoes. Now, with the revelation that Donald Trump asked the director of the FBI to shut down an investigation into his former national security adviser, the parallels with Watergate are becoming uncanny – and full of foreboding for the beleaguered

May 10 2017 - Trump Presidency

For a president to sack an FBI director who is investigating their links to a hostile foreign power is abnormal to the point of absurdity. Immediately after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president in January, the word of the hour was “normalisation”. That, Trump’s opponents agreed, was the danger to be resisted: the prospect that people would soon grow used to the Trump presidency – that, despite everything, it would somehow come to seem

May 05 2017 - Labour Party

Labour should be winning, but even its supporters say they can’t vote for a party with Corbyn as leader. What more evidence do they need? What more proof do the Labour leadership and its supporters require? This was not an opinion poll. This was not a judgment delivered by the hated mainstream media. This was the verdict of the electorate, expressed through the ballot box, and it could scarcely have been clearer – or more

Apr 28 2017

We already knew the president is a bigot, a liar and a threat to world peace. But now we’ve learned he can be thwarted. Is anyone surprised that Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have confirmed him to be a dangerous, reckless bigot; a kleptocrat who puts the financial interests of his family first, closely followed by the wealth of his fellow billionaires; a serial liar whose view of the wider world hovers between frightening and incoherent?feedback

Apr 21 2017 - British elections 2017

The 1990s felt like a holiday from history at the time, but landmines were being planted that would explode into Brexit and Trump. To voter fatigue we can add news fatigue. When Theresa May announced a June election, to add to the votes Britons had already cast in 2015 and 2016, to say nothing of the Scottish referendum in 2014, only part of the reaction – captured so perfectly by Brenda, she of the viral “Not another one!” video – was weariness at the prospect of enduring yet more politics. There is a wider exhaustion too, at the sheer pace of

Apr 18 2017 - British elections 2017

The odds have never been so favourable for a prime minister who needs a firm mandate to push through her hard-Brexit vision. The standard way of describing a move such as the one Theresa May made on Tuesday morning is to call it a “gamble”. A prime minister with a Commons majority and three years left to run on her parliamentary term does not throw that away without risk. In that sense, May has gambled – but as gambles go, it’s about the surest bet any politician could ever

Apr 09 2017 - Syria conflict

Sometimes the right thing can be done by the wrong

Apr 07 2017

The attack on Bashar al-Assad was welcome – but the US president’s own aims were more important than saving Syrian babies’ lives. Sometimes the right thing can be done by the wrong person. Donald Trump’s bombing of a Syrian airfield seems to belong in that category, though even that verdict depends on events yet to unfold. For one thing, we don’t yet know if the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles that rained down on the Shayrat base in the early hours of Friday morning were a one-off or the start of something

Apr 05 2017

Condemnations ring hollow. Bashar al-Assad’s impunity is being noted by the world’s most brutal regimes – this is what you can get away with. Let’s not speak of our horror. Let’s not hold emergency meetings or pass urgent resolutions expressing our outrage at the poisoning of Syrian children and adults in Idlib province through a nerve agent, probably sarin gas. Let’s have no declarations worded in the “strongest possible terms”. Let’s utter no more cliches about acts that “cannot be ignored”. Let’s not even condemn these attacks any more – because our condemnations ring so

Mar 31 2017 - Brexit

The years ahead will not be easy, but the Brexiteers showed that dogged determination can win through. It’s tempting to go full Farage. Not, perhaps, the pint, cigarette and cartoon grin – there won’t be too many pro-European takers for that look – but surely the many millions feeling despondent at this week’s formal triggering of Brexit can learn from the

Mar 29 2017 - Article 50

The prime minister’s talk of a brighter future for this country after triggering article 50 sounded like a fantasy. And now there’s no turning back. Nothing conveyed the madness of Brexit like the implementing of it. Theresa May’s speech to the Commons delighted the anti-EU warriors – of course it did. The likes of Victoria Borthwick, the Kensington MP who wore an alice band in Union Jack colours for the occasion, or Bill Cash and John Redwood, for decades dismissed as backbench eccentrics for demanding a British departure from the European Union, were ecstatic at the prime minister’s announcement of what they saw as Britain’s day of liberation. They bellowed their joy when the PM declared that article 50 had been triggered, and: “This is a historic moment from which there will be no turning back.”.feedback

Mar 22 2017 - 2017 UK Parliament attack

The bastion of politics now has a human face, as vulnerable as the rest of us to an act of murderous violence. There are certain places that cease to be places in the public imagination. They become shorthand for a loathed political establishment or distant, overmighty government. In America, that place is “Washington, DC”. For Eurosceptics, it’s “Brussels”. And in Britain, that reviled, imperial citadel is “Westminster”.feedback

Mar 22 2017 - Oil

The former oil executive’s apparent reluctance to be Trump’s secretary of state could be a sign that he knew he’d be serving in a sham administration. There is a charitable reading of Rex Tillerson’s interview with the previously obscure Independent Journal Review. When the secretary of state told the IJR that “I didn’t want this job, I didn’t seek this job,” that he was “stunned” when Donald Trump offered it to him, and that he only did it because “my wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” it’s possible that he was displaying a charming modesty. Think of it as an elaborate version of the formulation favoured by celebrities on receiving an award: “I’m humbled.”.feedback

Mar 22 2017 - Immigration

Is your tribe the ‘Somewheres’ or the ‘Anywheres’? A book on the faultlines that divide Britain is timely but misguided. Forget the title, there will be plenty of people – Guardian readers among them – who’ll take one look at this book and refuse to get past the author’s name. For many on the liberal left, David Goodhart became persona non grata more than a decade

Mar 17 2017 - Scottish independence

Though hardliners are pursuing the most destructive version of Britain’s divorce from the EU, there may be a way to avoid the breakup of the UK. What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels – only to destroy our country. Their infant brows will furrow in confusion when we tell them that in order to make Britain great again, we smashed it to

Mar 15 2017 - Dutch elections 2017

Dutch elections rarely raise an eyebrow on our island, but now, both leavers and remainers are obsessing over the populist battle in Europe. It would be an irony more bitter than delicious, but could Brexit be having an unexpected effect on the people of Britain – turning us finally, and despite everything, into good Europeans?feedback

Mar 11 2017 - Extremism

A decade haunted by mass poverty, violent extremism and world war gives us one crucial advantage: the chance to learn the era’s lessons and avoid its mistakes. Even to mention the 1930s is to evoke the period when human civilisation entered its darkest, bloodiest chapter. No case needs to be argued; just to name the decade is enough. It is a byword for mass poverty, violent extremism and the gathering storm of world war. “The 1930s” is not so much a label for a period of time than it is rhetorical shorthand – a two-word warning from

Mar 10 2017 - Article 50

The triggering of Article 50 will kickstart negotiations of mindbending complexity. Brexiteers should drop the hubris and get to work. In the coming days, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, Brexit will turn from abstract to concrete. A near-theological argument that raged in one form or another for nearly three decades will become hard and material, with a fixed deadline. Theresa May is about to trigger article 50, starting the clock on a two-year journey towards the exit from the European Union. And yet those in charge of this fateful, epochal process – and especially those who most loudly demanded it happen – seem utterly unprepared for

Mar 08 2017 - Labour Party

Hammond left a series of holes in Tory defences that would normally be easy for the opposition to exploit, but Corbyn could not even land a punch. In normal times, this was a budget that – while thin on detail, light on policy and devoid of surprise giveaways: all hat and no rabbit – would have been judged to be full of risk. In his most striking announcement, a Tory chancellor hit a core Tory constituency where it hurts, by raising the taxes of the self-employed. In normal times, Philip Hammond could have expected a bucket of tabloid ordure to be poured over his head, punishment for declaring war on white van man and the millions of others who work for

Mar 03 2017 - US, Russia relations

The US president’s links to Russia reflect the depth of the political crisis. This is a scandal of the entire American right. Who’s the villain here? Naturally our rage focuses on Donald Trump, a pantomime baddie drawn, as he would put it, from central casting. But behind him stand many others, and it’s about time they shared in the

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