John Harris

Journalist & Author

Let’s not go back to the denial and delusion of the Thatcher years | John Harris

Nostalgia, royal navel-gazing and angst: modern Britain is in danger of repeating the mistakes of 40 years ago
Midway through last week, I spent a couple of hours in Redditch, 15 or so miles south of Birmingham. My daughter plays the drums, and she wanted to see the new statue of the late John Bonham, who grew up in Redditch, joined the hugely successful hard rock group Led Zeppelin, and died a tragic death…

People are returning to the high street, but the retail crash has changed it beyond recognition | John Harris

The easing of Covid restrictions in England will reveal the effects of the loss of brick and mortar shops in our towns and cities
As what we now call non-essential retail reopens in England, the return of crowds to our high streets will presumably be hailed as a moment of unbridled collective joy: a great national pastime restored, money at last handed to businesses besides Amazon and the big supermarkets, and – amid hazard…

This is the legacy of Britain’s year of Covid: power unchecked, scrutiny sidelined | John Harris

Vaccine passports are just the start – we increasingly have a state that thinks it can do as it pleases
What a strange moment of ambivalence this is. The vaccination programme seems to have so far worked its expected wonders, the lifting of key restrictions looms, and a fragile sense of optimism has been boosted by balmy weather. But there is a slowly rising unease about something that may yet cut across that…

How do faithless people like me make sense of this past year of Covid? | John Harris

Many of us yearn for meaning. But in our individualistic, secular society we lack even the flimsiest of narratives to guide us
When my partner and I filled in our census form, we got to the section about faith, both ticked the “no religion” box, and seemed to think nothing of it. But for an hour or two afterwards, I felt a pang of envy that has occasionally surfaced in the past – this time…

English politicians are waving the union jack, but its meaning is tattered and torn | John Harris

The constant hoisting of the flag into public view serves only as a reminder that the union is all but over as a political entity
The new “briefing room” in 10 Downing Street reportedly cost an eye-watering £2.6m to commission and build. Its technical elements were supplied by a Moscow-based company called Megahertz. But aside from those two details, there is nothing terribly surprising about it: done out in a mixture of very…

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