Recent Posts

German Politics

What’s going on in Germany?

It’s the economy, stupid. Or this election is stupid. I can’t make up my mind. After 10 days away, I’m back in touch with the world and the level of interest in the German election, even in the UK media, seems to be growing. A stinging attack on Gerhard Schroeder […]

EU Politics

Cost offsetting & climate change

A really ingenious suggestion at bowblog has made me think once more about cost-offsetting and climate change. The idea would be to put a small levy on purchases made using eBay to account for the distance that goods would have to be shipped. Read the post here. It has made […]

EU Politics

The challenges to globalisation

There’s a very lucid and internally coherent column in today’s Guardian from Larry Elliott entitled Edwardian Summer, drawing parallels between today’s economic stuggles (oil prices, flexiblility, worker backlash etc.) and the period pre-1914, the first era of globalisation. You have to take what Elliott says with a pinch of salt […]

EU Politics

The couch potato, the chav, and the Oxford English Dictionary

Apparently we should not use the term couch potato [Wikipedia definition] any more as this is giving the humble potato a bad image, according to the British Potato Council. Read more here. They are apparently mounting protests outside the offices of Oxford University Press – printers of the Oxford English […]

UK Politics

Britain’s Dire Houses

An Englishman’s home is his castle. So goes the old phrase anyway. In truth, it’s probably more likely to be a nasty, damp, poorly maintained house on a anodyne street in some suburban area. Oh, and the house will cost a fortune to buy or rent, the windows will let […]

EU Politics

Schüssel’s Reactionary Carrot

So is this the price we have to pay to keep the European Constitution alive: to slow down the pace of enlargement, as suggested by Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang Schüssel in today’s FAZ, reported by EUObserver? I suppose that such comments from a centre-right leader of a country in which […]


iBook in the fridge

How do you breathe new life into an old Apple iBook? Put it in the fridge! Seriously, I was about to remove the memory from a 3 year-old and bashed-to-death iBook that had packed up a few months ago and thought ‘Ah, well, let’s see if it turns on’ and […]

Lingon Berry

What is a lingon berry?

There are some small things about spending time in other countries that it’s just hard to get your head around. Matters that are more complex than translation difficulties. One such complication in Sweden has been the lingon (-et) which literally translates as lingon berry. So what, you ask, is a […]

EU Politics

The strange world of Swedish football

My previous experience of football outside the UK has been quite grand. While on my travels I have watched Inter vs. Helsingborg FF at the San Siro in 2000, and FC Barcelona vs. Club Brugge at the Nou Camp in 2003 (both Champions League). In the last fortnight, I have […]


Two tests every blogger should take

You might have read some of the other entries here and thought "what is this guy on about". That’s for sure the way I feel when reading many blogs! So here’s an idea to do something about it. There are 2 tests that give a good idea of what a […]


Why Europe (but not the people) will run the 21st century

It is seldom that you come across a political book as clear and straightforward in its prognosis as Mark Leonard’s "Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century". The chapters flow with a clarity that is unusual for such a book, and it for sure really makes you think. But there […]