How to save a Union

The situation in Catalonia has become troubling. The Spanish Government’s decision to suspend local autonomy and the response by the Catalonian Parliament to declare independence must be frightening for people living in a country that had a Civil War in the 20th Century. In these tense circumstances there is little that a British politician can say other than to hope that the two sides will be able to come together peacefully. It would be wrong to presume to offer solutions to so complex and sensitive a situation but it is interesting to consider how the United Kingdom avoided the same level of angst over its own separatist difficulty.

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True Valour

President Trump seems determined to defame his country, dishonour its values, trash its traditions and insult its fighting men. Under him, for 'duty, honour, country' read 'decadence, vulgarity and profanity.' One can understand why many sensible Americans concluded that he was the lesser of two evils: Hillary would have been ghastly. But she would at least have been sane ghastly. As it is, Caligula threatened to make his horse a Consul. American voters chose as their President - a horse's ass.

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No need to fear the Turnip Bogle. Putting some flesh on a ‘Bare Bones’ Brexit.

David Davis is due to brief the Cabinet soon on the implications of a ‘no deal’ Brexit – perhaps on Halloween itself. But we should not be too scared.

Discussions about the prospect of ‘no deal’ frequently generate more heat than light. Often, this is because the participants are not talking about the same thing.

At one extreme, some people interpret ‘no deal’ to mean an outcome where the UK leaves the EU in 2019 without any agreement on the future relationship. In addition to dropping out of the Single Market and Customs Union, this implies the end of cooperation in a wide range of other areas, including aviation, trade in medical isotopes, and security. Planes wouldn’t fly, cancer patients would be denied drugs, and terrorists would find their ghastly work even easier.

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Britain and Europe: Confusion worse Confounded

According to your tastes, the embarrassments over Mrs May's table-talk may arouse amusement, or despair. But this should not distract us from more important matters. We Brits ought to apologise to the EU, for our relations with Europe do not redound to our credit. Any foreigner who wished to defend the proposition that the British are not an intellectual race could easily do so by reference to the evasions and muddle which we have brought to bear on European questions.

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She's Got To Go

Today, commentators on Tory politics face a dilemma. The chronicling of chronic incompetence is a necessary duty. But how can one prevent this from declining into repetitious tedium? Thinking about that took me back to the Sixties and Seventies: the era of vinyl records. Those of us who were underwhelmed by Bruckner's symphonies had a recurrent problem. 'Bababa, bababa, bababa:' was the record stuck, or was it merely the composer?

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