04/05/2013
4 May 2013

Farage against the machine

4 May 2013

Farage against the machine

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Features
Jonathan Rugman
A visit to Bulgaria with Nigel Farage

One Sunday evening, while I was trying to avoid ironing my shirts, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to take Nigel Farage to Bulgaria or Romania. The Ukip leader is convinced that hordes of people from these countries are poised to pour into Britain when the rules are relaxed next year, so why not go there with him to see if he’s right? A few weeks later, I put my proposal to him. ‘But nobody will come here from Romania,’ said Nigel.

A visit to Bulgaria with Nigel Farage
Molly Guinness
We must save the bread-and-butter letter from extinction

When my parents received a thank-you letter from a good friend recently, we all read it with (I’m afraid) not affectionate pleasure but a rising sense of indignation. The trouble with the letter was its extreme banality. It had been a lovely party, wrote the friend, the food delicious and the company great. The nerve, we all thought. He must think we’re mindless, to send us such a string of clichés.

We must save the bread-and-butter letter from extinction
James Forsyth
Ukip vs the world

Ukip hope that this week’s county council elections are just the fireworks display before the big bang. In 2014 they think they can blow open British politics by winning a nationwide election. If they can succeed in doing that, they would almost certainly force Labour into matching the Tories’ pledge to hold a referendum on the EU after the next general election. This would guarantee the public its first vote on Britain’s EU membership in 40 years.

Ukip vs the world
Paul Wood
The Free Syrian Army is being taken over by groups of jihadist thugs

Ghadi had spent the past two years on the run from the Syrian regime but it was the rebels fighting against the government, the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) who finally caused him to abandon the revolution and flee Damascus. He had made the mistake of speaking out against one of the big FSA brigades running the Yarmouk district of the capital. ‘They are thieves and gangsters,’ he told me. ‘One Facebook post about what they’re doing will get you killed.

The Free Syrian Army is being taken over by groups of jihadist thugs
Douglas Murray
If there was ever a time to intervene in Syria, it has passed

It is more than ten years since I first sat down with members of the Syrian opposition. Back then they included real moderates, but even these didn’t predict a bloodless transition. ‘We will have to unite the country against the Alawites,’ I remember one saying, referring to the minority from which the Assad dynasty comes. ‘Kill them?’ I asked nervously. ‘Or chase them into the mountains,’ he replied.

If there was ever a time to intervene in Syria, it has passed
Mary Dejevsky
Why Russia’s diplomats should learn swimming-pool etiquette

The first couple of evenings there was just me and a middle-aged couple swimming decorously up and down. On the third day it changed. There were three more people, spread out at the shallow end. You would not have thought that an extra three people in a decent-sized pool could have caused such irritation and havoc. They contrived to occupy an inordinate amount of space and move around in a way that caused maximum disruption.

Why Russia’s diplomats should learn swimming-pool etiquette
Freddy Gray
Investment special: Confessions of a stock picker

My name’s Freddy and I’m an online gambling addict. The problem started a few years ago when I opened an account on Betfair.com. At first it was small bets on football games, maybe the odd greyhound. A fiver here, a tenner there. Click, click, click. It was fun. Pretty soon, however, the hobby had developed into a minor obsession. I moved on to the harder stuff: cricket, tennis, even X Factor results.

Investment special: Confessions of a stock picker
Tim Price
Investment special: The case for gold

Few assets are more misunderstood than gold. I might even refine that statement — if you’ll pardon the pun — and say that few assets are more misunderstood than money. Gold happens to be both. Technically, of course, we are constrained by government edict to use pounds sterling for the payment of our taxes and debts. My take on this dismal state of affairs, but also my optimism, can best be summarised in the title of Nathan Lewis’s recent book, Gold: The Once and Future Money.

Investment special: The case for gold
Merryn Somerset-Webb
Investment special: How Shinzo Abe has revived Japan

Thank goodness for Shinzo Abe. Back in 2007, I wrote here that ‘over the next two to five years Japan will turn out to be one of the best investments UK-based investors can make’. By the middle of 2012, nearly five years on, that wasn’t looking like much of a prediction. Then prime minister Abe appeared on the scene. Since his election in November the yen has fallen 20 per cent against the dollar and the Japanese stock market has risen not far off 50 per cent.

Investment special: How Shinzo Abe has revived Japan
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