John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for January, 2018

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Theresa May can rally her troops, but the Tory party is dying on its feet | John Harris

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

The botched reshuffle is a short term fix for the Conservatives, who haven’t even begun to address the structural problems they face

In all the noise surrounding this week’s reshuffle, one sound in particular has been unmistakable: that of rising Tory angst about the party’s future. It might be strange to witness such self-doubt at the moment Britain’s departure from the EU looks set to realise so many Conservative dreams. But Brexit is perhaps one of those classic pyrrhic victories that cheers the troops while sowing the seeds of a seismic defeat that may lie just around the corner.

Yes, it is quite something that the Tories are still neck and neck with Labour in the polls, and they could still win the next election. But their position nonetheless suggests encroaching twilight, for reasons that run much deeper than the prime minister’s shortcomings, the fact that she is now on to her third work and pensions secretary in 18 months, or the way that Jeremy Hunt’s howling failures have been rewarded with even more responsibility.

Related: Toby Young jumped ship. But the toxic Tories’ culture war goes on | Owen Jones

The loudest elements of the Tory tribe speak a paranoid, backward-looking language, at odds with anything modern

Related: This tepid reshuffle will do little to revitalise the Tory rank-and-file | Andrew Gimson

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Take it from the insiders: Silicon Valley is eating your soul | John Harris

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Related: When Facebook asks if social media is bad for us, it’s time to listen | Nigel Kendall

Former Facebook president Sean Parker warned that it ‘literally changes your relationship with society, with each other’

Related: How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into evil | John Naughton

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