Newspapers should drop their courtesies

Charles Moore of the Spectator reports that the Times is dropping courtesy titles in its writing. Where once Charles would have been Lord Moore, he will now be merely Moore on second mention.

Such are the peculiarities of newspaper style guides. In my experience as a trade hack few subjects engage an editorial desk more than house style, which like the British constitution accrues unevenly and unwritten under various whims, until nobody really understands it.

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Rejoining the EU is a harder sell than remaining

Part of the argument against leaving the European Union was the huge rigmarole it would entail. Unrolling 40 years of integration was always going to be tricky, despite the assurances of some leavers.

While this argument was convincing remainers before we’d left the EU, it now seems to be working in reverse. The latest data from YouGov shows a marked contrast between the appetite for Britain rejoining the bloc compared to the desire for us not having left.

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Be less kind, my friend, try to be less kind

There is a song I’ve been listening to lately. I hear the words when silence fills my head. Although the message is quite crude, I must confess I like the tune. The song’s thoughts may be foolish, but they prompt what I write next.

That song is Be More Kind by Frank Turner. The lilting melody evokes Ralph McTell’s Streets of London, and the message is not so different. According to Turner, the world has decided it’s going to lose its mind. The answer is that people should try to be more kind.

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Scottish independence has little to no historical precedent

When the Covid-19 pandemic lifts, Boris Johnson will have one more crisis left to deal with: the potential breakup of the United Kingdom. Lately the Scottish National Party (SNP) has drawn up a ‘roadmap’ to independence, hoping to prompt a political or legal showdown.

The move capitalises on polls that are showing strong support for Scottish independence, sometimes outright and sometimes with neutrals discounted. And yet the Westminster government can probably veto it indefinitely. So what will happen?

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The United Kingdom is not an idea state

Political elites have spent much of the past decade worrying about why voters are revolting against globalisation. However, no political programme has proved as effective at grounding the global citizen as the apocalyptic horseman we’ve been living with for the last year.

Even open borders advocates have seen a use for port controls as the pandemic has rumbled on. Some Scotsman hope to make such arrangements permanent once the crisis is over. At such times it’s worth asking why we draw our state lines where we do, as well as who qualifies to live within them.

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