John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for December, 2019

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Anywhere but Westminster | Scotland: fear and Lothian on the campaign trail – video

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

As election day nears, John Harris and John Domokos head for a SNP/Labour marginal and talk to people whose lives have been turned upside down by universal credit, a policy imposed by the Tories in Westminster. But they also get immersed in grassroots social activism that gives cause for hope, and a working-class self-help organisation blazing a trail into the future

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Whoever wins this week, the Tories should worry about their future | John Harris

Monday, December 9th, 2019

A Boris Johnson victory would do nothing to hide the growing gap between Conservatism and the country at large

Where are the Tories? Boris Johnson appears on TV from time to time, and his party machine is said to be in the midst of a social media blitz. But wherever I have been over the past month, the supposed likely winners in this election have been all but invisible. I have encountered Labour, Liberal Democrat and Brexit party activists, but no teams of Conservatives. The party and its leader come up in conversation, and plenty of people say the Tories will get their vote, but there is a strange, almost ghostly aspect to the story: amid the noise, there is a party trying to creep back into power while making as little impression as possible.

Related: The gloves are off in Uxbridge, but Johnson is nowhere to be found

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Anywhere but Westminster: will Labour’s ‘red wall’ hold in this election? – video

Friday, December 6th, 2019

John Harris and John Domokos continue their election road trip, travelling through crucial seats that have traditionally been loyal to Labour but where a majority voted leave and the Tories are now encroaching. What they find defies the usual political cliches: people desperately want change, but there’s a deepening mistrust of national politics, whether red or blue

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We spent 10 years talking to people. Here’s what it taught us about Britain

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Vox pops attract fierce criticism, but they can tell you things that opinion polling and election data still can’t.

By John Harris and John Domokos

If you do the kind of political journalism that involves talking to the general public, something faintly magical can sometimes happen. As events swirl around and you try to make sense of huge, complicated themes, a single conversation will bring everything into focus. And not via words alone: facial expressions, gestures, and the way individual words are emphasised can give you a vivid sense of how people think, and the way their feelings could create political change. The encounter might be fleeting, but a connection can be made; as one side understands, the other feels heard.

Since 2010, we have been responsible for the Guardian video series Anywhere But Westminster, in which we try to explore the gap between high politics and life as it is lived. With so much political coverage now based on opinion polling, we are interested not just in how people might vote, but what is behind their political choices. Vox pops have long been a crucial part of what we do.

Never seen Anywhere But Westminster? Here is John Harris’ pick of ten of the most memorable episodes:

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Labour’s ‘red wall’ is looking shaky. But the problems started decades ago | John Harris

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Some kind of Brexit must happen before progressive politics has a chance again in post-industrial England

Acombination of long-term cultural shifts and the fallout from the 2016 referendum have disrupted the electoral map in this general election, and two kinds of English places stick out. In one group – exemplifed by such recent Labour wins as Canterbury and Kensington, and talk of the Tories losing some Home Counties suburbs – are the kind of constituencies where a broadly liberal, educated element is repulsed by the Conservatives’ reinvention as an anti-European, decidedly nasty party. Meanwhile, politicos are newly obsessed with the second: a very different swath of seats that are post-industrial and less affluent, where a majority of people voted leave and politics seems to be in a fascinating state of flux.

We are facing an estrangement between progressive politics and the people it once spoke to as a matter of instinct

Related: In the Tory heartlands of the commuter belt, remainers may revolt | John Harris

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