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Better to be a dragon than a bear : the Chinese...

content discovered on Saturday, August 12, 2017

Part 1 Russia famously was described by Winston Churchill as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. What is less frequently noted is that Churchill went on to solve his riddle. The key to understanding Russian actions was to look at Russian national interest. But is this not simply to state a truism? Isn’t the key to understanding any country’s action to simply reflect on its national interest? Is Churchill actually saying anything at all? Then again, it was not straightforwardly in the Am...

British citizenship confounds both Irish & Scot...

content discovered on Saturday, August 12, 2017

One of the main benefits of travel and meeting people from different places is to discover that ideas that are almost universally shared in one place are unknown in another. There is a tendency in the West to suppose that what we think everyone thinks. Left/Liberal values are held to be universal even if some of them have only developed recently even here. Take the concept of nationality. In Britain we almost all accept that nationality is fundamentally a matter of citizenship. All British citizens are e...

Ireland shows why Scotland will never leave

content discovered on Saturday, August 05, 2017

Apparently the Irish Taoiseach wants the UK to remain in the EU. He is trying to keep the door open to the European Union and if that door fails, then he wants Britain to at least remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union. The Republic of Ireland is also concerned about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and it wishes to maintain the passport free Common Travel Area that allows citizens of the Republic to travel anywhere within the British Isles without even showing a passp...

Turning gold into base metal

content discovered on Saturday, July 29, 2017

There was a period in British politics where we all more or less agreed with each other. Tony Blair was a somewhat more Left-wing Thatcherite, while David Cameron was a somewhat more Right-wing Blairite. The two main parties shouted loudly at each other, but this just hid their fundamental agreement about nearly everything. At this point voting became largely a tribal matter. Did I belong to the red team or the blue team? In the end, competence or the lack of it mattered more than policies. Either party’...

Socialism is theft

content discovered on Saturday, July 15, 2017

In order to understand a thing you have to strip it back to its essence. The fault of too much political thinking has been that it is too abstract. It tries to impose a theoretical system on human nature rather than accept human nature as the basic building block. This is especially the case with the political ideas of the Left and it is the reason the same pattern follows whenever they are implemented. Finding that socialism/social democracy comes up against the ordinary human nature of the workers, the...

Everything is permitted except morality

content discovered on Saturday, July 08, 2017

We live in a relentlessly secular society. In some ways I am glad that we do. I would far prefer to live in a secular society than a theocratic one. I don’t want laws to be governed by any religion. I don’t want a government to say to me that I can or I can’t do something because of religious rules. I believe in freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe or not to believe. But I think this freedom should cut both ways. Religion should not attempt to impose its beliefs on society, but nor should soc...

The SNP goal is receding into the distance

content discovered on Saturday, July 01, 2017

Did anything happen this week of consequence? Nicola Sturgeon turned up in the Scottish Parliament and said something about delaying indyref2. If this meant that we would have this referendum in a couple of years’ time, then what she said would have been of small consequence. What does it fundamentally matter if we have to go through all that divisiveness again in one year or two or even three? But the moment has passed when Sturgeon’s latest threat matters very much or indeed her withdrawal or delay of ...

We must learn to be British again

content discovered on Saturday, June 24, 2017

Something happened to Britain in the past fifty years or so. We were famous for not making a fuss no matter what happened and we were famous for not showing emotion. When Lord Uxbridge had his leg shot off at Waterloo, he is said to have remarked casually to the Duke of Wellington that it seemed he had lost his leg. The Duke equally casually agreed with him. Both were unruffled, neither showed much emotion. It doesn’t matter if this story is true, because it used to express something about the British ch...

The frostbite of her hopes

content discovered on Saturday, June 17, 2017

In the aftermath of an election emotions are high, levels of spin even higher and judgement barely there at all. Politics in Britain has become uncertain. This is the third election in a row in which we have woken up to a surprise and not only one surprise but sometimes a multiple of surprises. There is a lot of noise. Everyone is trying to manoeuvre. Contradictory views are leaked to the press. Journalists are briefed behind the scenes and then when they write up the story, it is denied sometimes profan...

Bursting the SNP bubble

content discovered on Saturday, June 10, 2017

A few months ago there were two main strategic challenges facing Britain. How to leave the EU successfully and how to keep our country intact? There are in addition, of course, the usual challenges facing any government. How to keep the economy growing? How to earn more than we spend? How to keep our people safe? Other unexpected challenges will arise from time to time. But these challenges are different in kind from the two main ones. Leaving the EU and keeping our country intact are existential challen...

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