UK

Catalonia Again

I’m sitting here trying to write an article about the election in Catalonia on Wednesday, because there’s nothing else to write about. It would be more interesting if the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party for the past 23 years, elects a new leader who is not Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife, but the results on …

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Brexit Blues

Politicians never lie. Well, hardly ever. They’re not into full disclosure, as a rule, but they know that if you lie, sooner or later you will be caught out, and then you are in deep trouble. So just change the subject, or answer a different question than the one you were asked, or just keep …

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The Irish Border

History never leaves Ireland alone. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the lethal alliance of the Conservative Party in Britain and the Unionist Party, which represented the Protestant minority in Ireland, made it impossible for the British parliament to pass a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. A Home Rule Bill might have let …

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Brexit: May’s Strategy

So far, so good. Boris Johnson, the face of the “Out” side in last month’s Brexit referendum and now Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, got through his first encounter with the 27 other foreign ministers of European Union countries on Monday without insulting anybody. They were gathered in Brussels for a meeting with US Secretary of …

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Brexit: The Apocalyse

How’s this for apocalyptic? “As a historian I fear Brexit (a British vote to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June) could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety,” said Donald Tusk, the President of the European Union, in an …

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Recognising Palestine

It’s a slow process, this business of getting recognised as an independent state, but the Palestinians are making progress. In September of last year, Mahmoud Abbas, the long-overdue-for-an-election president of the Palestinian National Authority, was given permission to sit in the “beige chair”, the one that is reserved for heads of state waiting to go …

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A Scottish Neverendum

10 March 2014 A Scottish Neverendum? The referendum on Scotland’s independence is only six months away, and suddenly the cautious sparring between the Conservative-led coalition government in London and First Minister Alex Salmond’s pro-independence government in Edinburgh has turned into open war. London won the first battles, and the “No” side will probably win the …

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