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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 […]

EU Politics, Technology

How do you get to Augustusburg?

It had to happen at some point – delays to Ryanair flights. Considering how often I fly with them, it’s a miracle I am not delayed more often. Anyway, Saturday morning most of northern Europe was covered with fog and the incoming aircraft that would then take me to Altenburg […]

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A small good deed in Lambeth

When cycling home this evening from Waterloo towards Clapham, it soon became clear there was a major problem – no traffic southbound from Lambeth Bridge all the way to the Vauxhall Cross roundabout. Turned out there had been an accident there – quite serious, and apparently a fatality according to […]

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British obsessions: fire doors

There are some things that strike you as just plain odd in the UK. Have no fear – this entry, and similar ones to come, is not going to turn into generalised rants. It’s just that some things in the UK are a bit particular. The first of these that […]

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Ken Livingstone and the genius of Oyster

Shock horror! Tube and bus fares in London are going up again. Oh, no, they are not actually. Everyone has been ranting today that a Zone 1 tube fare will hit ??3 for a single – more than 3 times as much as Paris. But on the other hand, make […]

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Consumer power, and a new job

The blog has been a bit quiet over the last couple of weeks – I have started a new job and it takes a bit of time to settle. It feels like a breath of fresh air with a new start though – I am now at the National School […]

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Fischer, the negotiations, and why are the British so insular?

Joschka Fischer has now announced his withdrawal from a formal role in the Green Party, signalling he will not play a role in front line politics unless the Greens stay in government as part of a traffic light or Jamaica coalition. Seems a strange decision from Fischer, but I suppose […]

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German Elections – give us a traffic light

It???s about 4 hours after the polls have closed in a remarkable election in Germany. Probably for the first time in a few decades, it looks very hard to presently predict what is going to happen. A quick summary of the results (roughly): SPD ??? 33% (down 5%) CDU ??? […]

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Kroes should just be Trouw to the European ideal

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has put her foot in it by writing in a newspaper that the Germans electing Merkel would be a good idea. This has led to a chorus of howls from Social Democrat MEPs that she has no right to say such things about national politics […]