Some Thoughts

MACRON – THE CHOICE FOR EUROPE

The constitution of the Fifth Republic and the role of its presidency was designed by General De Gaulle for General De Gaulle. For mere mortals the demands of the presidency, the extent of its powers and the mystic relationship between the head of state and the nation...

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COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE MAN

There must be something about Bloomberg speeches. Tony Blair’s speech this week has caused a furore, about both the man and the hour. Two preliminary comments. He said little new. His view that Brexit was a disastrous mistake and that a second referendum should not be...

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SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

For the Labour pro-Europeans this must seem about as bad as it gets. But I have news for you. It is going to get worse. The Brexit we will get is a Tory Brexit and, contrary to the weasel words of Sir Kier Starmer, Mrs. May will indeed dare to bring back to the...

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THE AGONY OF ST. PENELOPE

The troubles of Penelope Fillon would require the art of a Bernini or a Tintoretto to do them justice. While one may have a few shreds of sympathy for the lady in question, it would take a heart of stone not to smile just a little at the unfolding saga which is now...

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LABOUR’S ‘SALTO MORTALE’

Labour will this week write the latest chapter of the long and tortuous history of its divisions on Europe. It all goes back to the late 1940s when the left of the party supported ‘the United States of Europe’ against the official line laid down by Ernie Bevin...

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A WEEK OF REVELATIONS

We have learned something more this week about Brexit, and a lot more about British politics. Not, alas, thanks to Mrs May’s speech. About Mrs May’s Mansion House address, and her poorly received encore at Davos, we can be brief. I am afraid that our Prime Minister...

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COALITIONS: GRAND OR GRUBBY?

On January 17th the European Parliament will elect its next president. This used not to be a ‘hold the front page’ moment but it is a tribute to the outgoing President, Martin Schulz, that there is now much greater awareness of the post, and its importance. His own...

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TIME TO LEAVE THE WINTER QUARTERS

2016 has done little to make Europeans love Europe. They do not want disbandment of the EU but are unpersuaded that they need more of it. The Union’s problem is that its successes (maintaining the peace in Europe for seventy years; the single market; free movement;...

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THE DELUSIONAL LEFT

This is a tale of two delusions: or more accurately a familiar delusion in two cities. Some people on the left seemed to imagine that the announcement by François Hollande last week that he would not be seeking a second term as President of France would herald a new...

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