Humpty Dumpty and novichok

When I was a Leftie, at Cambridge, my abler Tory contemporaries often argued that their Party ought to embrace liberalism. This had nothing to do with the Liberal Party. They were referring to economic and social liberalism: free market economics plus personal freedom. They were drawing on the Bow Group, as it had been when Geoffrey Howe and others founded it. He and other impatient youngsters - this was more than sixty years ago - were fed up with the economic sterility to which the post-War UK seemed condemned. They also believed in the social reforms which came to be associated with Roy Jenkins: legalising homosexuality, abolishing the death penalty, making divorce easier. They were all in favour of entry into Europe, as a means of promoting economic and social progress. They did not realise just what a divisive issue Europe would become.

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A Cardiologist Views Brexit

I am as British as any Brexiteer. I served as Regimental Medical Officer in the Gurkha Field Force in Hong Kong. An ancestor lost a leg at Waterloo. My family members were decorated in several wars. Thirty members of my family served around the world in the East Yorkshire Regiment and the Northumberland Fusiliers. Imperial glory runs in my veins. I feel the tingle of a special relationship when in Delhi or in “The Commonwealth of Connecticut”. But the past belongs to the past. I belong to the future. Although I enjoy reverie as part of my personal culture, it does not determine my destiny.

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Get a Grip or Go

It would be wrong to describe the Government and the Prime Minister as pathetic. Pathetic comes from pathos, something inviting sympathy. But this is not a case deserving of sympathy. The appropriate word is not pathetic. It is bathetic. This Government is wallowing in bathos.

Let us start with the most important issue of all: Brexit. Clearly, the UK faces a choice between maximising sovereignty or maximising access. The Chancellor seems to have become the leader of the access camp. The harder Brexiteers accuse him of wanting to shadow EU regulations in the way that Nigel Lawson shadowed the Deutschmark in the late Eighties. That is an interesting comparison, because back then, the growing division between Chancellor Lawson and Premier Thatcher brought about his resignation and gravely weakened her. There was an obvious conclusion. Unless the PM and the Chancellor are of one mind on all the most important questions - at least in public - the Government will be in big trouble. 

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