Does Europe love a man in uniform?

Among the key disputes of the Brexit years has been whether the European Union fancies itself as a full sovereign state or merely an international club. Leavers tended to believe that statehood is the ultimate destination, with mainstream remainers arguing such a view is paranoid.

The distinction has been seen in a squabble over whether the EU ambassador to Britain deserves full diplomatic treatment. The Foreign Office has said that the ambassador will only be given the same privileges as representatives of other international organisations, which are more limited than those granted to diplomats from proper countries.

Given this debate, it is interesting to see a recent video tweeted out by Frontex, the bloc’s border agency.

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Among Us shows the joy of sociable gaming violence

I’m old enough to recall when the establishment was opposed to video gaming. Derided as the hobby of nerdy teenage boys, the links to anti-social behaviour only increased as graphics became more realistic and games more violent. Some titles, for example Manhunt, were even linked to real life murders.

Such real life violence was played up by the likes of activist lawyer Jack Thompson, who sought to ban the latest filth. It was also common to view the hobby as unproductive, rotting the brains of the yoot. But lately this has changed, and one game that exemplifies it is the ‘social deduction’ hit Among Us.

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Biden’s odds of completing his first term aren’t that different to Trump’s

It is less common than it should be for pundits to lay out predictions in a falsifiable way. Many are simply overconfident about what can be guessed about the future. Others couch their predictions in such slippery language that they are hardly predictions at all.

Almost four years ago I gave Donald Trump an 83% chance of completing his first term as president of the United States. As of a few hours ago he has achieved this, albeit with plenty of controversy along the way. While it is tempting to bask in this apparent success, this seems a good moment to assess the value of such forecasts.

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Calling Trump a fascist is a bad idea

Our politics have an unhappy habit of falling into language debates during crises. You’ll recall – and I won’t tire of repeating – the kerfuffle about whether ‘China virus’ was a racist term for what became better known as Covid-19 or the coronavirus last March.

I blame the surfeit of humanities grads who fill our media organisations, which were previously more likely to be staffed by those who had come from school via the local newspaper. The trade has an interest in hiring wordsmiths, but often wordsmiths’ interests hurt the trade.

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Online voting is no fix for Covid-19 elections, or any others

In the past fortnight we’ve heard suggestions that the local elections scheduled for 6 May will be delayed, some for the second time since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted. Local authorities tasked with running them are cash-strapped and unsure they can do it safely, and such elections have dismal turnouts anyway.

As I argued in The Article earlier this week, such thinking devalues democracy. Officials like London mayor Sadiq Khan have been holding office without a mandate for months already, and voting is the most fundamental function of any democratic government – not an optional service.

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