John Harris

Journalist & Author

In a country like Britain, obsessed with the now, libraries are a political battleground | John Harris

From library closures to relations with Europe, Britain is haunted by fear of cultural amnesia
Relative to our basic understanding of what a city’s main library ought to provide, it seems mind-boggling: 240,000 works of non-fiction, quietly taken from the shelves, and either given to other institutions or handed to a local company which “buy, recycle and find a second life” for old library stock – a polite formulation for a process that often results…

The new special educational needs maze, where parents go back to the start

Laws meant to ‘simplify’ support for children with SEN have made things chaotic, and in some cases catastrophic, say families, schools and experts
Besides the presence of a frisky Gordon setter, the scene when I arrive for my appointment with Melinda Nettleton and John Friel exudes simplicity and order: a pristine meeting room at a London legal chambers, tea and biscuits served on spotless white china and conversation of lawyerly precision.
What I’ve come to…

A lament for the death of bohemian London | John Harris

The eviction of the 12 Bar Club squatters is just the latest chapter in a devastating saga of politics aligning with business
At about 10 o’clock yesterday morning, police officers and bailiffs began to swarm into the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street in the West End of London to evict its occupants. In December, the management had been told to leave the premises by 14 January; soon after, this most cramped and rickety…

‘We feel betrayed’: the towns abandoned by Tesco

Tesco’s profits crisis means that plans for 49 shiny new stores have been ditched. Where does that leave places such as Kirkby, Bridgwater and Wolverhampton, where regeneration schemes linked to the supermarket chain now lie in ruins?
At first sight, you would think something terrible had happened to the town centre of Kirkby. And in a way, it has. To all intents and purposes, this is a new town, built in the 1950s and 60s…

‘Vote British, not Bolshie’: election posters that chart a changing Britain

When women got the vote, how were they wooed? Why was Harold Wilson forced to puff a pipe? A Manchester show chronicles a century of election strategy and spin

Britain Votes! A century of electioneering – in pictures

In a glass case on the first floor of the People’s History Museum in Manchester, there sits a pipe that once belonged to Harold Wilson. The Labour leader – who was resident in Downing…

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