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Landscape and the lost republic
Nicholas Allen

The landscape of John McGahern's novels and short stories is remarkable for the quality of its descriptive prose. McGahern's attention throughout his work to lakes, rivers and their banks is suggestive of the liquid landscape of historical motion. Until McGahern's treatment, the midlands were the landlocked heart of Irish culture. Amongst Women was McGahern's fifth novel and follows the fate of the Moran family over twenty years. Exam results are the measure of many of McGahern's stories, and an important register of change in Amongst Women. Education is the one uncontrollable element in the independent State's machine of measurement and control. The critical focus on Amongst Women has concentrated on the social construction of the novel and its implications for mid-twentieth-century Irish society. McGahern's continuing use of water as a symbol of flexibility in an otherwise fixed, and recurrent, world.

in John McGahern
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Nicholas Allen

This chapter provides an account of the Conservatives in government between 2017 and 2019 and the parliamentary deadlock that mired Britain’s political system. It begins by describing the outcome of the 2017 general election and how Theresa May was forced to form a minority government. The chapter then turns to the challenges of delivering Brexit, the dominant issue of the 2017 parliament. It describes both the May government’s attempts to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with the European Union (EU) and how internal Tory divisions contributed to the subsequent domestic impasse. It then considers how stalemate at Westminster impacted upon and distorted ‘normal’ politics. Finally, the chapter examines how Boris Johnson forced an early general election and framed it in terms of ‘the people versus parliament’.

in Breaking the deadlock
Britain at the polls, 2019

This book, the latest in the long-running Britain at the Polls series, tells the story of the remarkable 2019 general election and its outcome. As with previous volumes, the book provides general readers, students of British politics and professional political scientists with analyses of key political, economic and social developments, and an assessment of their impact on the election outcome. The book begins with an account of the 2017 Conservative minority government and how parliamentary deadlock thwarted Theresa May’s attempts to deliver on the 2016 Brexit referendum. It then analyses recent developments in the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as longer-term changes in the party system and voters’ values and identities, and how these laid foundations for the election outcome. After explaining why the Conservatives won a decisive majority under Boris Johnson, the book considers both the implications of the electoral realignment exposed by Brexit and the distinctiveness of Britain’s contemporary electoral politics.