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German coalition: what’s going on now?

Well, people might not have liked the idea much, but Merkel sat down with the SPD and it looked like everything was going to plan to make a grand coalition. Merkel would be Bundeskanzler, and the SPD would hold the finance and foreign ministries. But in the last few days […]

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Finally home – journeys should not be like this!

You sometimes have to ask yourself whether anything else could possibly go wrong on a journey. I have had just about anything and everything over the past 22 hours. The fog at Baden Airpark was so thick yesterday evening that it almost looked like it was snowing under the floodlights. […]

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Off for my final swansong in JEF

Quick blog from Stansted Airport just before my 07h20 flight to Baden Baden, before heading on to Strasbourg for the JEF Congress. I have just a couple of days more in JEF, and it’s both with relief and sadness that I am on my way out. Fingers crossed that the […]

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A little bit of Europe in my pocket

No, Britain has not joined the Euro (alas). But UK citizens have finally been given European Health Insurance cards – pictured. A number of countries, including the UK, had 2 year derogations to the Directive. All EU citizens should have the cards by the end of 2005. Any information about […]

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The new two nations: the South East and the rest

Somehow intuitively anyone who has visited the UK will tell you the same thing: the country feels very divided between the rich South East (where I happen to live presently) and the rest (where I grew up). There have been numerous studies about this matter in the past, and there […]

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British media gets interested in Sweden [Updated, 25.10.2005]

Quite strange, but 2 articles about Sweden have appeared on the main UK news websites today. The first is a written account of a report on BBC 2’s Newsnight yesterday, about how Linkoping is pioneering the use of cow entrails for the production of biogas, and how this is then […]

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Hutton’s rallying cry [Updated, 24.10.2005]

He’s the newspaper columnist I have the greatest respect for, so when Will Hutton writes a alarmingly critical column about the EU, you need to listen. You can read the column here. His argument is not so different from ones I have advanced on this blog – that Europe just […]

EU Politics

Just bitterness from Schröder

He’s on the way out, and now he just looks bitter. Gerhard Schröder has today had a good rant at the EU in Die Zeit – see an article from EUObserver about it here. Now, I have written positively about how Schröder should have been willing to attempt a traffic […]

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What’s your religious standpoint or world view?

Have come across a fun quiz that deals with one of my favourite topics – the irrationality of religion. You can take the test here What is Your World View? I am not entirely sure I trust the results of this, but I do very much like question 28 – […]

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The value of public sector broadcasting

I’m sure there are few of the people reading this blog who have not turned on their TV at some point and been horribly depressed by the dire quality of some of what they are watching. With more than 4000 TV stations operating across the EU, is quality being sacrificed […]

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British obsessions: carpet

Where else in the world would you see as many carpets as in the UK? Now, I don’t mean smart hand woven rugs from Persia. I mean nasty grey or blue acrylic carpets that seem to be found everywhere in British public buildings, and horrible patterned fitted carpets in homes […]

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OK, being community spirited is not such a good idea

On my wave of being socially responsible in London (see this post), I decided to do the same again and try to prevent my fellow passengers on the Stansted Express last night getting stuck at Tottenham Hale. But this time I encountered opposition and inaction. Maybe that will teach me […]