01/04/2017
1 Apr 2017

A new Europe

1 Apr 2017

A new Europe

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Features
Nicholas Farrell
The rescue racket

What is happening in the 300-mile stretch of sea between Sicily and Libya, day in and day out — in other words, what ‘we’ are doing there — is beyond reasonable doubt insane. A sane person would assume that the 181,436 migrants (a new record) who made it by sea to Italy last year had done so under their own steam in flimsy fishing boats and dinghies at least some of the way across the Mediterranean.

The rescue racket
Fredrik Erixon
There will be a trade deal

Most diplomats in Brussels will tell you that Theresa May has just embarked upon a fool’s errand, that Britain might wish for a free-trade deal with the European Union but will have to learn that it can’t cherry-pick. Anyway, they say, nothing of any value can be agreed in two years. This received wisdom can be heard, under various iterations, in most capitals in Europe — and it’s natural that the EU will be sore, perhaps a little defensive.

There will be a trade deal
James Forsyth
The friendly alliance

On 29 March 2019 the Queen should have a state dinner and invite the European Union’s 27 heads of state and its five presidents. The evening’s purpose would be to toast the new alliance between the United Kingdom and the EU: one based on free trade, security cooperation and shared democratic values. This celebration of the new alliance will be especially welcome after two years of negotiations which are bound to be fraught and, at times, ugly.

The friendly alliance
Damian Reilly
Fighting chance

Middle age is OK by me. National Trust membership, a Waitrose loyalty card, lying on the sofa drinking red wine and yelling at the telly — since I turned 40, this stuff all just feels right. But by a mile, the best consolation of middle age I’ve found is the cagefighter Conor McGregor and living vicariously through his kicks, punches and verbal smackdowns. How dull my previous enthusiasms for cricket, tennis and football now seem by comparison with the heroic derring-do of this 28-year-old killing machine, a former plumber from Crumlin in Dublin.

Fighting chance
Ross Clark
A hard lesson is coming

It is one of the great mysteries of modern British politics: how public schools managed to survive three periods of Labour government with their tax breaks intact. How was it that an education secretary, Anthony Crosland, could say: ‘If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England, and Wales and Northern Ireland’, and yet do nothing to make life difficult for independent schools? Suzi Leather, Tony Blair’s appointment as head of the Charity Commission, demanded private schools do more to justify their charitable status.

A hard lesson is coming
John Hemming
Lost city of fantasy

The new film The Lost City of Z is being advertised as based on the true story of one of Britain’s greatest explorers. It is about Lt-Col Percy Fawcett. Greatest explorer? Fawcett? He was a surveyor who never discovered anything, a nutter, a racist, and so incompetent that the only expedition he organised was a five-week disaster. Calling him one of our greatest explorers is like calling Eddie the Eagle one of our greatest sportsmen.

Lost city of fantasy
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