Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell receives applause at a White House ceremony on Monday to mark the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as a justice of the US supreme court. Photograph: Samuel Corum/New York Times

US Politics: Developing trend of Democratic Party suggests a certain innocence

A spectator wears clothing in the colours of the US flag during a practice session ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course south-west of Paris on September 26th. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: How does a nation define itself when what made it distinct has become commonplace?

The words “Brett Kavanaugh must withdraw” are projected by demonstrators on to  the E Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.  Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The US president’s interests and those of nominee Brett Kavanaugh are not aligned

Donald Trump: Each of his broken treaties and tariff rounds can be read as a nudge towards that destiny: a bid to make America normal again. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/EPA

Janan Ganesh: Selfish logic of Trump’s America First doctrine will be aped by future presidents

US president Donald Trump reacts as pastor Paula White tells him she has a bible to give  him at a dinner hosted for evangelical leaders at the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: Evangelicals face a bleaker future despite their bargain with president

US president Donald Trump weaponised a popular suspicion of political elites that long predates Lehman. The root of that suspicion is not all that mysterious. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Janan Ganesh: The crash just brought to the surface what was already extant and pumping

US president Donald Trump salutes supporters after speaking at a political rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tuesday. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US constitution requires two-thirds majority of Senate for president’s removal

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is building a coalition of minority voters, topped up with liberal whites. Photograph: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: They needed to start distinguishing one kind of American from another

US president Donald Trump owes his grip on eminent Republicans to cravenness on their part and ruthlessness on his. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

US Politics: The president still participates in the world – just not in the way his critics want

President Donald Trump during a “Make America Great Again” rally in Florida, July 31st, 2018. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

The party can retrench or learn to helm, not dismantle, an interventionist state

Consciously or not, the president may also equate Bannonism with success. Photograph: Moritz Hager/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: Trump wants clear theme – and Bannon’s programme remains clearest

US president Donald Trump  and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit in Helsinki on Monday. Photograph:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images

US Politics: President’s foreign policy will last no longer than the time he remains in office

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (28), an avowed “democratic socialist”, defeated incumbent  Joseph Crowley  to become the Democratic Party’s Congressional candidate in New York’s 14th district. Photograph:  Annie Tritt/The New York Times

It is easy to mistake the failures of 2016 as a cry for a more radical manifesto

US Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Clarence Thomas in January 2017: Republicans talk a populist game while pruning the state through technocratic fiat and judicial appointment. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty

Janan Ganesh: Trump legal nomination likely to grind towards further deregulation

House Speaker Paul Ryan is newly relaxed about deficits he once saw as the beggaring of American youth. Photograph: Erin Schaff/New York Times

US Politics: The US public – and its politicians – has lost its appetite for budget-balancing

The southern border is the current seat of US anxieties, but the migration debate does not stop there. Photograph Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: Cutting number of legal immigrants will be next

Robert Mueller: A survey last week found that 44 per cent of Americans now see his investigation as a “political witch hunt”. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

History teaches us that impeachment could poison body politic for decades to come

Brexit: “Central to politics is the picking of battles, and Britain has picked an all-absorbing one.” Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK Politics: These are Britain’s Lost Years. We can only guess how many of them there will be

Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned as Britain’s diplomatic emissary to the EU in January last year. Photograph: Thierry Roge/EPA

UK Politics: Conservatives are in reasonable shape after this month’s local elections

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg: his use of “cretinous”, along with Boris Johnson’s “crazy”, to describe Theresa May’s customs partnership ideas suggests the histrionics of ham actors. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty

UK Politics: Leavers demand everything from Brexit deal except their names on paper

British prime minister Theresa May speaks to party supporters at Sedgley Conservative Club in Dudley last week ahead of local elections. Photograph: Anthony Devlin via Reuters

UK Politics: The mood of the electorate amounts to a kind of constructive indecision

British prime minister Theresa May arrives for a visit to Brooklands Primary School in Sale, near Manchester, on Monday as part of the Conservative Party’s local election campaign. Photograph: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

UK Politics: The British prime minister has no quest beyond Brexit and her own survival

 People gather for a Windrush generation solidarity protest in Brixton: the pattern of Theresa May’s behaviour is that of someone eager to appease a body of opinion she half-understands. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Nuisance brews for PM as Windrush emigrants command sympathies of nation

New political movements, such as French president Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche, are disparaged for their intellectual vacuity – until they win. Photograph: Charles Platiau via AP

UK Politics: The populist age is everywhere but on the statute books, at least for now

Peace process: President Bill Clinton in Belfast in 1998, flanked by First Minister David Trimble, of the UUP, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, of the SDLP. Photograph: Doug Mills/AP

Janan Ganesh: Good Friday deal blended high ideals with earthly political craft

British prime minister Theresa May: If she  owes her longevity to the roguish police line-up of bad alternatives, she can also claim to have come into her own of late. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Janan Ganesh: PM’s survival is an astonishing tribute to her ability to absorb stress

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, in London. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: The latest proposal for future UK-EU relations is yet another play for time

Steven Pinker: an Enlightenment man to the tips of his Newtonian hair, the Harvard professor bucks the zeitgeist with an argument that is both familiar and transgressive. Photograph: Chona Kasinger/New York Times

UK Politics: Should liberals defend globalism or match populists’ drastic promises?

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson: he must spell out the uses to which Britain can put the freedom that comes with life outside the customs union. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

UK Politics: Hard Leavers have moral duty to paint vague portrait of post-Brexit freedom

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a backbench MP with the profile of a royal. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

UK Politics: The Tories are so drained of talent that almost anyone can aspire to lead them

British prime minister Theresa May: anger at the PM is redirected anger at Britain’s diplomatic mismatch with the EU.   Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

UK politics: what blinder would a new prime minister play that May is not able to?

British prime minister Theresa May: it is not that she has ever had much interest or enthusiasm for the market-liberal side of Conservatism. Photograph: Eddie Mulholland/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May’s attitude to markets amounts to the intellectual self-disarmament of her party

 French president Emmanuel Macron: At the Anglo-French summit on Thursday, he is expected to bring ideas for military co-operation. Photograph: Francois Mori/EPA

Emmanuel Macron displays regal certainties just as Britain turns hesitantly inwards

The NHS is underfunded by rich-world standards. It also contains inefficiencies that would be quaint if the cost was not human life. Photograph: Will Oliver

Janan Ganesh: Absence of politics paints NHS as benevolent spirit not costly system

British prime minister Theresa May and members of her front bench react as Labour  leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph:  PA Wire

UK Politics: Self-abasing political leaders invite only more disdain from disaffected electorate

British prime minister Theresa May, accompanied by her chief of staff Gavin Barwell, leaves 10 Downing Street for the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday.  Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Endurance testifies to PM’s tactical artfulness and personal fibre, but Brexit has been the real career-saver

Britain’s Brexit secretary David Davis aspires to a “Canada-plus-plus-plus” deal. Photograph: PA Wire

UK Politics: London and Brussels should aspire to a Brexit trade deal but take their time about it

Brexit secretary David Davis: Another politician who salvaged so little from his original vision might have quit out of embarrassment or principle. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

UK Politics: Leavers have been on what a Californian life coach might call a ‘journey’

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond is resigned to higher levels of public debt than were thought conscionable not long ago. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

UK Politics: Brexit may turn out to be a mid-stage event in a longer meltdown of trust

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond, photographed with prime minister Theresa May during  a visit an engineering training facility in  Birmingham on Monday. Photograph:  Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

UK Politics: Philip Hammond’s Tory critics lack the experience to know better

Former British prime ministers Gordon Brown and  Tony Blair. Brown’s memoirs 'remind us that no living prime minister thinks Brexit is a good idea'. File photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

Gordon Brown’s memoirs illustrate the stamina and seriousness needed to reshape UK

Britain’s new defence secretary  Gavin Williamson is in charge of the world’s fifth-largest defence budget. Photograph:  Victoria Jones/PA Wire

UK Politics: Little protects the British public from a weak, or strong but wrong, government

An anti-Brexit protester  outside the Houses of Parliament in London: There is no folk memory of a nation losing its mind to endless referendums, so we discount the prospect. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Politics: There are actually a number of dark futures to which our system can succumb

People wave Catalan independence flags at a demonstration in Barcelona on Saturday. Photograph:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Politics: European nations are too young to deserve the assumption of permanence

UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond: rose because of the baseless hunch  people with little outward charisma must possess great depth. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Pragmatic people appear unwelcome in Brexit-era public life

Theresa May is greeted by primary pupils during a visit to the Dunraven School in Streatham, south London,  on Monday. Photograph: Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire

Like an Ishiguro character, the PM could string this out for longer than seems feasible

A delegate at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, England. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Janan Ganesh: The longer Britain tarries, the more unlikely its EU departure becomes

Jacob Rees-Mogg: the MP’s stance on abortion horrified audiences that cherished him as previous generations cherished Oliver St John-Mollusc and other spoof aristocrats from Monty Python. Photograph: Parliament.uk

UK Politics: Brexit conservatives have stolen a battle in a war already lost

Bank of England governor Mark Carney (right) and deputy governor for monetary policy Ben Broadbent. Carney is due to leave the role in 2019 – a period when the UK’s Brexit crisis may become apparent. Photograph:  Adrian Dennis/PA Wire

UK Politics: It is the toll paid in decades, not moments, that promises the worst

Cast adrift: British prime minister Theresa May with the chief operating officer of PD Ports, Jerry Hopkinson,   during a visit to Teesside on August 23rd.  Photograph: Scott Heppell/PA Wire

UK Politics: Prime minister’s office has become the equivalent of a zombie company

 Donald Trump and   Theresa May: Britain’s bind is that Trump is not the cash cow that some had hoped.    Photograph: Reuters/Matt Dunham/Pool

UK has nothing to show for its flattery of Trump, other than some reputational damage

Nigel Farage poses in front of a pro-Brexit campaign poster in Clacton-on-Sea days before the referendum in June 2016. Photograph: Justin Tallis/ AFP/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: Powerlessness of governments against human foibles is common theme

An EU flag flys in front of the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

UK Politics: A broad political movement would alienate supporters from the start

British prime minister Theresa May, whose commitment to  “strong and stable” leadership is now a line recited more in black humour than in awe. Photograph: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

UK Politics: A strong government can destabilise a nation if it does foolish things

Heading for the door... an  EU official in Brussels carries a  Union Jack. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

UK Politics: The fainter our memory of trauma, the greater our appetite for risk

British prime minister Theresa May: one scandal or misjudgment from oblivion. Photograph:  Peter Byrne/PA Wire

UK Politics: British prime minister a moveable object encountering a stoppable force

British prime minister Theresa May: The chemistry of politics is the atmosphere in which it takes place. We know when real-world events change the public mood. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Remainers silent in May now suggest a deal keeping Britain open and competitive

Postelection blues: if Theresa May were to say that she will quit as prime minister by the Conservative Party conference in October, some of the rancour against her would ease. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty

Theresa May’s Conservatives cannot call another election – and cannot not call one

British prime minister Theresa May waits for the results to be declared at the count centre in Maidenhead. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

A long time has passed since British were enthused by anyone offering to govern them but Brexit has raised stakes

Britain’s prime minster and Conservative Party leader Theresa May gives a campaign speech in  London on Sunday. If politics is to stay serious, more is required of May. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Counterterrorism is inescapably political, and the current leaders are proving wanting

An attendee holds a placard reading ‘The Best Brexit Deal’ behind prime minister Theresa May, during a Conservative Party campaign event in Twickenham, London, on Monday. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

May and Corbyn are pushing a vision of a poorer but happier Britain that no-one’s buying

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: the question is no longer what her government stands for, but whether it is any good. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Reuters

UK Politics: The prime minister’s wobbles bode badly for Britain’s prospects in Brexit negotiations

French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel   upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin on Monday. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: Britain will be more isolated in EU bolstered by tighter Berlin-Paris bonds

 Britain’s prime minister Theresa May with head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at Downing Street, London, on April 26th. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: For the rest of the world, the UK election is a complete non-event

Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, a restless campaigner whose natural stage is the upper end of local government. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

UK Politics: Theresa May could not get away with saying so little if people paid attention

Emmanuel Macron standing with a  bodyguard in Paris on Monday. He is the best-liked and least hated politician in France. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

We get so caught up with the zeitgeist it is easy to forget the allure of the individual

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: a big majority  for the Conservative Party after the June election will free her from bothersome colleagues. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

UK Politics: Scotland set to be only limit on prime minister’s power after June election

Theresa May: The British prime minister has her own view of the world and it comes, if not from scripture, then at least from the Anglican cast of mind. Photograph: Paul Grover/AFP/Getty Images

UK Politics: Bitter news for liberals – the prime minister really believes in her policies

Britain’s trade minister Liam Fox: his keenness for a trade deal with India, if it were to hinge on freer migration, would not be shared by his voters. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

UK Politics: If the British are guilty of anything, it is too much introspection

In his new book, MP Douglas Carswell argues that people want a small state over which they can exercise round-the-clock democratic mastership through some kind of digitised hive mind. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Trump and Brexit show that what voters really want is a paternalistic government

Sceptics of globalisation feel queasy to be on the same side as Stephen Bannon, the Trump adviser who favours a “nation with a culture” over a market economy porous to foreign capital. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

UK Politics: The electoral shocks of 2016 have forced those on the left to reorder priorities

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson, pictured in Kenya on March 17th, continues to overpromise on Brexit at every stage. Photograph:  Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: Boris Johnson is like an incompetent doctor with good bedside manner

 Nicola Sturgeon has  earned herself some leverage over the Brexit negotiations themselves. Theresa May cannot sign off on hard exit terms without risking the loss of Scotland, three-fifths of whose electorate voted for the EU. Photograph: Justin Tallis/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: Tory enthusiasm for hard Brexit forces Scottish first minister’s hand

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond. Expect some well-intentioned futility in his budget on Wednesday. Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty Images

UK fiscal management matters less than its future accord with the European market

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn greets newly-elected  MP Gareth Snell at the House of Commons on Monday. Corbyn done as badly in his job as conventional wisdom predicted. Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK Politics: Labour’s decline is a loss to the world, not just a tragedy for British politics

Former British prime minister Tony Blair: all insight and no standing. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

UK Politics: Remainers should make it their mission to shape Britain after EU exit

Theresa May: could have got her excuses in early. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

British PM has not prepared ground for getting a bad deal from EU, and will pay price

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister “and dreamboat of cosmopolitan piety”. Photograph: Chris Bolin/Reuters

Politics: Liberalism will prevail if its leaders act more like Tony Blair than Justin Trudeau

UK prime minister Theresa May and US president Donald Trump in the Oval Office. May “flew out of Washington on Friday an acclaimed stateswoman. By Saturday she was a case study in overpromotion.” Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK prime minister’s reaction to US president’s borders move typically ponderous

For unclear reasons, perhaps to do with the youth of the crowds, protests tend to the cultural over the material. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Patience will pay off after populist political propositions are tested by reality

 Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: “She can set a goal and chase it with a greyhound’s blinkers.”  Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/ EPA

Britain’s Eurosceptics are wrong: other countries are not clamouring to leave the EU

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: the picture of her as an uncommunicative vacillator is becoming an emotional crutch for people who cannot believe that she means what she says. Photograph: Steve Parsons/Getty Images

Image of an ‘indecisive’ prime minister ignores the evidence of her words and actions

Tony Blair with Noel Gallagher of Oasis at 10 Downing Street in 1997. Against the background rumble of the early Oasis albums, the 1990s was the last time that felt dynamic enough for Britain’s urbanites and familiar enough for its hinterlands. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/PA

UK Politics: Advances in commerce, technology and art cannot be entirely undone

When German chancellor Angela Merkel talks up the indivisibility of the four freedoms, a good time-saving exercise is to believe her. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The EU cannot afford to set the precedent that exit can lead to a better life outside

Former British prime minister Tony Blair: A politician who made his career by judging the moment must rediscover the knack. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK Politics: Tony Blair may be moving too soon in trying to reverse Britain’s EU exit

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond: The person on £20,000 has a strong claim on his marginal pound; the person who dreams of earning that much has a stronger one. Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/Reuters

UK Politics: There are worse things than just about managing. Try just about not managing

US president-elect Donald Trump, who who has already softened his line on various subjects. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Politics: The only intelligible lesson from 2016 is that ‘nobody knows anything’

Nobody should pretend British rule of law came under serious threat during last week’s populist growl at that old tautology: unelected judges. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

UK politics: painful national projects require leaders to demonstrate some class

Bank of England governor Mark Carney leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Monday. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Bank of England governor is Patient Zero of Eurosceptic vilification campaign

Maybe British prime minister Theresa May has a genius plan for a more managed economy stored away, but do not bet on it. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Ideas do not need a sponsoring party to thrive, just to be better than their rivals

British prime minister Theresa May: her government  has no plan for Brexit beyond a preference for the end of free labour movement. Photograph:  Danny Lawson/PA Wire

UK Politics: Voters were not given an honest choice – economic loss for national control

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: overdoing the nativism to feed a Eurosceptic id she does not understand? Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Britain’s mastery of its own affairs is an idea that must be allowed to run its course

British prime minister Theresa May: as she takes Britain out of the EU, and probably the single market, she wants to preserve enough time, energy and that ineffable thing called political capital to forge a “People’s Conservatism”. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

UK Politics: Britain’s future hinges on what the prime minister asks for – and gets

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith congratulates Jeremy Corbyn on his re-election as leader. Now the people who brought us Smith, pallid flatterer of Corbyn’s worldview,  demand to be reckoned with. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

UK Politics: Sentimentality keeps Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents in a fight they can’t win

Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May: these are the best weeks she willl ever know. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

The British prime minister is floating free of trouble, but political gravity will return

British prime minister Theresa May: wants a society where individual potential, performance and reward are aligned. But is she willing to see more people of her class take a tumble in life, and to will the means via government policy?  Photograph: Nick Ansell/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May wants to encourage social mobility - but will she tackle entrenched privilege?

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: if she doesn’t secure an electoral mandate, trouble will find her. Photograph: Nicolas Asfonri/Reuters

UK Politics: British prime minister should call an election to preserve moral authority

Major success:  Britain’s Mo Farah celebrates winning the men’s 10,000m final at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph:  Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

UK Politics: Britain’s resurgence as an Olympic nation is traceable to John Major’s policies

David Cameron’s resignation honours list reportedly included peerages for his former director of operations, Liz Sugg (left) and chief of staff Ed Llewellyn (right). Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Britain is not corrupt, but insiders look after each other and mediocrities fail upward

 Former British  prime minister Margaret Thatcher: oversaw a period of sound government. Photograph: Dan Chung/Reuters

Former leaders won’t get kudos for it, but UK has been governed well for 40 years now

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