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What about the night we cried?
This week: what Remainers don't get, the reason there's a troll in the White House, and how much did Paul love John?
RAISING THE BLUE FLAG
Two years since Britain voted to Brexit. A recent report from the Centre for Social Investigation finds that "Leave voters characterise Remain voters more accurately than Remain voters characterise Leave voters". Leavers understand that Remainers care primarily about Britain's economic prosperity, but Remain voters underestimate the importance Leavers attach to sovereignty - that is, to the EU having no role in UK law-making. Along with immigration concerns, that was the key to the Leave vote. Remainers have never really grasped this, which has a lot to do with why they lost. I thought about that when I saw a picture, tweeted by Simon Schama, of Saturday's anti-Brexit march in London. Most of the flags on show are EU flags. In other images you can see that people brought Union Jacks too, but the prevalence of EU flags might almost have been calculated to trigger the fears of Leavers that a vote to Remain would have been a vote to surrender British identity and replace it with an EU one. Remain activists ought to do everything they can to avoid making this about identity. In general they should be looking for shared ground with Leavers, but many of them just haven't begun to see things from the other side's perspective. Sadly this is typical of the liberal mindset. As Jonathan Haidt has argued, liberals are generally worse at understanding conservatives than vice versa. That ends up hurting them, because in every arena of persuasion, if you don't empathise with your audience, it's much harder to change their minds or their behaviour.
On the latest episode of Polarised, a podcast I co-host with Matthew Taylor of the RSA, we get into the online subculture of trolling and look at how it's influenced American politics.
Between 2012 and 2017, video games expanded faster than any other major content sector, including music, film, and pay-TV.
By 2050, it is projected that 50% of the world's energy will be generated by wind and solar.
A roadside motel. A mysterious toilet blockage. A plumbing snake.
JOHN LOVED PAUL
If you haven't already, then do your soul a favour and watch Paul McCartney's Carpool Karaoke with James Coren. Which reminds me, last week I listened to an episode of my favourite Beatles podcast, Screw It in which the presenter sits down with a fan of the pod, Amy, who has done a whole lot of research into the relationship between John and Paul. Amy's point is that while they undoubtedly fell out badly around the time of the break-up and never regained their old closeness, it's wrong to think the friendship ended. One anecdote she uncovers is from a sound engineer who worked with Lennon on an album in the 1970s when everyone thought/thinks the two were not talking. He recalled that now and again someone would come into the studio to say, there's a phone call for John. It's Paul. John would stop the session and take it in a room off the studio. The two would talk for over an hour, and not about business, but life: what they were up to, how their wives were doing, their kids. Bursts of laughter would be heard. Amy observes that the narrative of the Lennon-McCartney relationship was shaped by male rock critics who could only imagine a male relationship as either super-competitive or basically gay; they found it hard to conceptualise what was, for all its ups and downs, an intimate male friendship. You get a powerful sense of that in the montage someone has put together here, for a Lennon outtake, and in Paul's performance of his song for John, Here Today.
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