Is the EU merely ‘a continuation of Germany’ by other, sneakier means?

The argument that the EU is a cunning scheme by which Germany can finally achieve its ambition of constructing an empire across the breadth of Europe has always struck me as rather cheeky.

On the surface it appears hysterical, and indeed many of its proponents would likely be attacked as such by the ungenerous (and leftwing) critic that came across this suggestion.

…but on the other hand, there is something to it – especially in a week when the German chancellor Angela Merkel has been declared Time’s Person of the Year.

Continue Reading

Tim Farron backs strikes on Isis in Syria: ‘This is not Iraq’

Tim Farron, March 2011 by Liberal Democrats

In a surprise twist the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has backed airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria, claiming that the situation is not akin to the one that preceded the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Farron had previously set out five tests that would have to be met before he supported prime minister David Cameron’s plans to drop bombs in Syria, stressing the legality of such a move and whether it would be supported by other measures.

Continue Reading

Alan Johnson launches ‘Labour In For Britain’

Jeremy Corbyn’s prevaricating over the European question has not stopped a Labour faction from putting together their bid to promote Britain remaining within the EU.

Voiced by Alan Johnson, one-time postman and former home secretary, the group’s video harkens back to the similar referendum in 1975.

Back then Labour prime minister Harold Wilson and much of the establishment lobbied successfully to keep Britain in what was then the European Economic Community.

One wonders if this time round the inners will be as effective.

Tony Blair talks Jeremy Corbyn, George Bush’s humility and the failed standup career

Tony Blair, November 2012 by Chatham House

The shadow of Tony Blair is longer than that of any living British politician, the two-and-a-half term Labour prime minister now one of the most reviled and admired characters in Westminster and beyond.

But with much debate about him linked to his disputed status as a “war criminal”, it is fascinating to hear a different side of him in this interview with the comedian Matt Forde, a former Labour aide.

Continue Reading

Diane Abbott suggests Chairman Mao ‘on balance did more good than harm’

Labour chancellor John McDonnell may have provoked laughter in the Commons this week for quoting from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book, but at least he did not defend the views of the Chinese tyrant.

The same cannot be said, however, for international development shadow secretary Diane Abbott, who told the Beeb’s This Week that were some upsides to Chairman Mao’s murderous rule when asked why people wore t-shirts with his image on.

Continue Reading