45p is Not the Problem; 40p is the Problem

23 March 2009 17:47

I think James and Danny Finkelstein are correct. Political considerations trump the need to satisfy the Conservative party’s right-wing. And that means that, regrettably, George Osbourne is probably right not… Continue reading


Living with a nuclear Iran

23 March 2009 16:30

Dan Drezner asks his "realist colleagues" if they can think of any reason why Iran should or would give up its nuclear ambitions. Stephen Walt offers some reasons why, unlikely… Continue reading


English Cricket Welcomes the Enemy

23 March 2009 12:53

The news that England hope to host the IPL  is as unsurprising as it is depressing. After all, what better way to start an Ashes summer than with the distracting… Continue reading


Railway Dreams

23 March 2009 12:37

Place your bets, please, if you think this is actually likely to happen: The fastest, most frequent train service in the world could run between London and the North within… Continue reading


A Hungarian Lesson for Gordon Brown

23 March 2009 11:06

This seems an idea worth copying, doesn’t it? Hungary’s Prime Minister said today he is resigning because of his government’s low popularity amid a worsening financial crisis. Ferenc Gyurcsany, of… Continue reading


The Life and Times and Death of Jade Goody

22 March 2009 14:56

At some time in the future, historians will view the Jade Goody Affair with the same kind of bewilderment and revulsion that we reserve for the excesses of Victorian Britain.… Continue reading


Extreme Shepherding

22 March 2009 13:58

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Is the Left Waking From Its Slumber?

22 March 2009 8:42

A rather impassioned piece on unemployment from Polly Toynbee in yesterday’s Guardian made me realise that there are a number of people on the liberal-left in Britain thinking very hard… Continue reading


Valery Gergiev: Pawn of Putin?

20 March 2009 16:57

There was an interesting, if occasionally frustrating, profile of Valery Gergiev in last week’s New York Times magazine. Frustrating because the article was headlined "The Loyalist" (the cover line was… Continue reading


The Flower of Scotland Lies Cold in Flanders Clay

20 March 2009 13:46

Back in the days when the Edinbugh Evening News printed a "Saturday Pink" edition, it used to be said that there were two headlines on hand for whenever Scotland played… Continue reading


So Long Lynton Crosby

20 March 2009 11:37

Man responsible for Tories disastrous 2005 campaign now likely to have nothing to do with their 2010 effort. That’s the Lynton Crosby story, right? Surely this is excellent news for… Continue reading

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The Hermit Bugle: News from North Korea

20 March 2009 2:05

Good to see that the North Korean Central News Agency is offering a different view of life inside the gulag that balances the imperlalist propaganda to which we are otherwise… Continue reading


Damien Hirst & Art for Toddlers

20 March 2009 0:43

There’s an "Artist Rooms" exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art that features some of Damien Hirst’s work. Cue much excitement. Especially from his target audience: two year… Continue reading

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Whistleblowers United

20 March 2009 0:17

Good to see three of my favourite whistleblowers – Katharine Gun, Brian Jones and Derek Pasquill – giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee today. But it seems from the… Continue reading


My Long-Delayed Re-Entry

19 March 2009 23:43

Many, many apologies for my absence from the blog. I have been deep in the inner crevices and interstices of government searching for an escape route from the recession. Have I… Continue reading



19 March 2009 19:13

Selkirkshire: looking north from Harehead hill in the late afternoon sunshine. There are, risky though it is to say this, tentative signs of spring arriving…


Jeeves and Foreign Policy

19 March 2009 15:16

Timothy Garton Ash tries to explain the Anglo-American relationship in terms of another great partnership: Jeeves and Wooster. Here, in miniature, is a classic example of that whole British approach… Continue reading


France’s Spring

19 March 2009 13:44

People protest during France’s second nationwide strike in two months, to demand a boost to wages and greater protection form the crisis, on March 19, 2009, in Marseille, southern France.… Continue reading


The Gordon Brown Style

19 March 2009 12:51

A couple of revealing entries from Chris Mullin’s diaries that reveal the Prime Minister to be some ungodly (and unhealthy) combination of Uriah Heep and Lyndon Baines Johnson: Wednesday July… Continue reading


Obama and Genocide

18 March 2009 0:51

It’s nearly April which means it’s nearly Armenia time too. That is, we are approaching the latest edition of Washington’s reluctance to call the Armenian genocide what it is and… Continue reading


Debating Larry Summers

17 March 2009 23:57

Terrifying news. Terrifying that is for anyone reared in the free-wheeling yet genial and sensible world of British parliamentary style debate. It turns out that Larry Summers, erstwhile Saviour of… Continue reading


A Lib Dem future? Not so fast my friends!

17 March 2009 17:24

Tom Harris doesn’t much care for the Liberal Democrats: Having seen the damage done to the Labour Party through its association with the Liberals in the Scottish Parliament in previous… Continue reading


Corporate hari-kiri

17 March 2009 15:21

Things could be worse for RBS executives. They could be AIG executives receiving advice from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): "The first thing that would make me feel a little bit… Continue reading


The Advantage of Being a Confederate

17 March 2009 14:33

Henrick Hertzberg writes: Most of Europe’s individual “states” have governments that are not just democratic but also energetic and powerful. Hence the “European socialism”—i.e., universal health care, greater economic equality,… Continue reading


The Horrors of St Patrick’s Day

17 March 2009 12:17

Eammon Forde doesn’t much care for St Patrick’s Day: It says everything about what it means to be Irish these days that the biggest parades take place hundreds of miles… Continue reading