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The Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death

Who are you planning to kill this Christmas? Is there an aged aunt who you haven’t seen for a while? Perhaps your parents? If you’re young enough, maybe you have your grandparents in your sights. After all, it is the time to spread peace, goodwill and Covid-19 to all mankind. But, I hear you protest, you have no intention of spreading any disease and you would be horrified to think that you might. Of course you don’t and of course you would be.   And that’s…

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Increased geography. Devolution, independence, and Brexit

Increased geography. Devolution, independence, and Brexit

I have been a disappointment to many people.  One niche group emerged in 2012, when my previous firm, Pinsent Masons, merged with the largest Scottish firm McGrigors.  For some time afterwards, whenever I met one of my new Scottish partners, I could see the faint shrinking when they realised that, despite my given name, I’m as English as they come.  They were always kind to the afflicted, of course, but a sense of the closest kinship would take much more…

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The Fall of The West

The Fall of The West

I sometimes wonder if Francis Fukuyama regrets his 1992 book ‘The End of History’, written in the heady aftermath of the Cold War. It is commonly believed to have argued that mankind’s ideological evolution had ended, and the universalisation of liberal democracy was its endpoint. In truth, this does him a disservice: he framed his original essay as a question, not a statement, and was careful to say that totalitarian “events” could still happen in future but democracy would become…

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Dropping the pilot

Dropping the pilot

To listen to some Conservatives, you would have thought that Carrie Symonds had slain the wicked witch of the west with a click of her shoes. Excitable munchkin MPs are cavorting with joy at the sudden fall of Dominic Cummings. These MPs, who divide equally between cowardly lions, tin men without hearts and scarecrows with no brains, all now expect a return to true Conservative government (though they disagree about what this would mean in practice). Let us be clear. This is…

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In other news

In other news

There’s been a lot going on recently, what with the resurgence of Covid-19, the new lockdown, the US elections and French terror attacks.  What else has been going on that might be important but which might have escaped your attention?  Lots, obviously.  Here are three things that deserve more attention than they’re getting. 1 – Armenia has lost control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenia and Azerbaijan have vied for control of Nagorno-Karabakh (an enclave within Azerbaijan that is ethnically majority…

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Has to be Hunt

Has to be Hunt

Boris Johnson is losing the support of his party. There are enough straws in the wind now to indicate his perceived usefulness is coming to an end, and his popularity is rapidly diminishing in the country. If there’s anything more likely to confirm MPs worries it’s the polling, and the most recent show him behind Keir Starmer as best Prime Minister and his support fracturing in the Red Wall. Many have had concerns about Boris all along, and many more…

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The decline and fall of the GOP

The decline and fall of the GOP

The story of 2016 was tycoon businessman Trump running against Dem nominee Clinton whose appeal I could personally never work out. Neither could the voters that mattered in the rust belt, so Clinton lost albeit by a small margin.   4 years on and the USA looks very different. In the midst of a global pandemic, Trump and Mitch McConnell have built an unholy infrastructure which threatens the very existence of the USA’s democracy. The courts Trump and Mitch McConnell have…

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Hunger for change. The messed-up debate about free school meals

Hunger for change. The messed-up debate about free school meals

In the midst of this pandemic, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts. A few of us, led by Marcus Rashford, are endeavouring to provide the poor with some meat and drink. The government has decided for now to set its face against helping and…

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