The Tory party is in a deeply emotional state. Remain-supporting MPs cry tears of rage when they discuss the referendum. Bitter emails and text messages have been exchanged. Leave-supporting MPs have been accused of unleashing dark forces that they cannot control, of putting immigrants in Britain at risk. Yet the leadership candidates who have so far emerged seem strangely united in their vision for post-Brexit Britain.
It ought not to be a surprise that Alex Salmond, Scotland’s former First Minister, has declared that the vote to leave the European Union is the trigger for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Salmond thinks everything is an excuse for another go. If a new Bay City Rollers album suffered poor reviews south of the border, or an English football pundit failed to declare Archie Gemmill’s wonder goal for Scotland against Holland in the 1978 world cup the best ever, Salmond would be right there on the UK’s television screens, chortling at the brilliance of his own wit, before intoning gravely that this insult is surely the final straw for the United Kingdom.
It may sound both Pollyannaish and paradoxical to say this, but leaving the EU will enable us to have stable, friendly, cooperative relations with all our EU neighbours. Being cooped up in a dysfunctional system, where so much depends on backroom arm-twisting and competing for favours in a zero-sum game, doesn’t produce stable friendships. For those of us who feel (as I do) like real Europeans, it will be so much better to be the friendly next-door neighbour than the unwanted in-law in the quarrelling family home.
In Italy, media coverage of the triumph of Brexit has been wall-to-wall as Italians worry about the collateral damage and wonder if they too dare…
So far La bomba Britannica has hit the Milan stock market much harder than the London one. On Friday, Milan fell by 12 per cent against the FTSE-100’s 3.5 per cent.
Italy’s banks — too numerous, too small, undercapitalised and saddled with alarming levels of toxic debt — took the biggest hit.
Please don’t go. I know you’re even more unpopular than the England football team right now — your shadow cabinet is currently emptier than the promise of a weekly £350 million for the NHS. Every few seconds a disloyal minister sends you an insincere letter full of veiled enmity which might as well say: ‘Dear Jeremy, since nobody likes you I’ve decided I don’t like you either, so I’m taking my ball back! Find someone else to play with — if you can.
Boris Johnson famously said that Winston Churchill would have voted for Brexit. The wartime leader’s grandson — staunch Remainer and Tory grandee Nicholas Soames — dismissed such claims as ‘appalling’ and ‘totally wrong’. This bad-tempered referendum rift between two traditionalist, Old Etonian Conservatives symbolises, somewhat incongruously perhaps, the broader state of the nation. Deep and traumatic divisions have been drawn between friends and families everywhere — and, of course, within political parties.
There have been three great captains of Pakistan. The first was A.H. Kardar, the country’s first Test captain. Born in Lahore, and talent-spotted by the senior Nawab of Pataudi, Kardar played for India before Partition. He led Pakistan to victory over India in its second-ever Test match in Lucknow in 1952, and even more famously over England at the Oval Test in August 1954. Uniquely, Kardar won at least one Test match in Pakistan’s inaugural series against each other country.
The most striking thing about Britain’s break with the EU is this: it’s the poor wot done it. Council-estate dwellers, Sun readers, people who didn’t get good GCSE results (which is primarily an indicator of class, not stupidity): they rose up, they tramped to the polling station, and they said no to the EU.
It was like a second peasants’ revolt, though no pitchforks this time. The statistics are extraordinary.
Is Donald Trump an idiot or a genius or a mad idiot genius? He seems driven by some demented force that even he doesn’t understand. What else made him come to Scotland on Friday last week? The ostensible reason, and probably the motive in Trump’s head, was that he wanted to reopen one of his golf courses. That’s weird enough in itself, given that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, and in a few months could be leader of the free world.
On Saturday at Mont St Michel, the 103rd edition of the Tour de France begins, and the favourite to win is again British. As a long-term cycling fan, even typing those words gives me a frisson. When I started watching in the 1980s there were few British riders to cheer on — and none challenging for overall victory. Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win in 2012. He was followed by Chris Froome in 2013 and 2015.