It’s time to destroy the sport of kings: our humanity is at stake.

(from left) Rudi Giuliani, Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, some guy, and Billy Crystal

“They call it golf because all the other four letter words were taken.”

— Raymond Floyd, golfer

The best thing I can say about Tony Blair is that despite being born in Scotland, he is not a golfer. He’s often seen enjoying other games, for instance tennis, but aside from any times his partner in crime George W. Bush might have dragged him along to play a few holes, there is blissfully little golf-related Blair content out there.

On the other hand, the…


Five years ago today, the weirdest scandal in modern British politics delighted the internet: “Pig Gate”

The rituals and secret-keeping of Britain’s privately educated elites are a cornerstone of Conservative Party unity.

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First published in The Leveller (which sadly no longer exists), I’m celebrating the fifth anniversary of “Pig Gate” by republishing my viral article here. Enjoy.

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Whether or not it’s true, the Internet has decided for the time being that British Prime Minister David Cameron probably put his private parts into the mouth of a dead pig when he was at Oxford. …


Empires die, but their propaganda echoes in eternity

Are you not entertained?

Everyone’s favourite swords and sandals epic Gladiator (2000) has a lot to answer for. Not because it’s riddled with factual inaccuracies, those are awesome — even historians (the cool ones at least) will agree. Historical films don’t need to be accurate, they need to be fun. The nerds don’t get it: no one has to care what kind of tridents real-life gladiators would have used, or who won which forgettably horrible war in the woods, or how “Roman chariots didn’t have obvious gas canisters in them,” apparently. …


An extremely unserious exercise in watching Star Wars as if every character was queer.

Image: DanB

Ever since Poe and Finn gazed at each other in that special way in The Force Awakens (2015), their latent homosexuality has been gleefully asserted on the internet by the side of the Star Wars fandom that has more fun at parties. The franchise has been lovingly given such makeovers by LGBTQ fans since the beginning, ranging from tongue-in-cheek to tongue-in…well, to outright horny.

(And those are still more innocent than the covetous sleaze of JK Rowling: they’re not retconning their own franchise — for profit…


In loving memory of the last British hero

If Boaty McBoatface is the creation of idiots then Britishness must mean being an idiot, because we have been telling this joke for a long, long time.

“tHe WiLL oF tHe PeOpLe”

It’s April, 2016. Nobody has been forced (yet) to utter the words “President Trump” but it’s only a matter of time, and Brexit looms large — only a few weeks to go now until the referendum. The corpse of an old friend is about to be thrown into the waves. You never met that friend. Nobody ever did. He never knew you existed. But for a few weeks he mattered to you, because one day you felt something, and felt it enough to give him a name: Boaty McBoatface.

It won’t be a totally unceremonious funeral. There will be a…


The polyjuice potion has worn off.

“ Corbyn. Is. Not. Dumbledore.”

In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, things are often not as they seem. You think you’re looking at a cat or a beetle, but those are powerful witches. That nasty potions master is in fact a Nice Guy™ deep undercover. Ron Weasley’s heroic sidekick aesthetic is little more than a cunning illusion spell to conceal an entitled blowhard whose endless gaslighting never faces any real consequences. And for all these years we believed in JK Rowling the progressive icon, until a spate of cruel outbursts forced fans to watch her…


Despite its erudite appearance, the Economist is a pit of closet anti-intellectualism and victim blaming.

Originally published at The Leveller, July 6th 2016

Consider your average Internet moron, the noble knuckle dragger who proudly thinks that any solution more complex than “lock them all up” or “deport the lot of em” is either an establishment coup, or gay. He likes to post comments on the Mail Online under a name like DEFENDER OF BRITAIN, even though his location is listed as Benidorm. …


A man with no values wishes you would love Trump like he does.

Originally published at The Leveller, January 17th 2017

One day I want to meet someone who likes Piers Morgan. Not because we could ever be friends but because I will be able to ask them: ‘how?’ Piers has that amazing Lena Dunham quality of being famous without appearing to have any actual fans. I am not certain that this person who likes him exists. Imagine meeting some ordinary bloke down the pub who says ‘yeah I really like how down to earth and in touch Bono is’…


Worker cooperatives are birthing a new world in the wreckage of a dying one.

Originally published on ragged.media

In the wake of the 2008 global financial crash, a little-known but remarkably durable model of business began to quietly make waves in the United States: the worker cooperative. And even under the most right wing government of the century, the cooperative model might just offer a path for the left to fight back.

Democratically run and equally owned by everyone employed there, the worker co-op model claims to offer lasting solutions to some of the most pressing issues in America — especially inequality and environmental destruction — and, radically, it proposes to transform democracy from…

Laurie Charles

I write about empires. Bylines in the Guardian, ThinkProgress, Dazed, Huck, etc.

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