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James Forsyth

What Britain will lose if Scotland goes

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_3_July_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth, Fraser Nelson and Eddie Bone discuss whether the UK could survive without Scotland” startat=41] Listen [/audioplayer]On 19 September, people over all Britain could wake up in a diminished country, one that doesn’t bestride the world stage but hobbles instead. If Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom, it would be Britain’s

Vote yes, Scots – and set the English free

It is a sign of how no one expects Scotland to vote yes in September that no serious planning has been done about the consequences. By contrast, Gladstone shut himself away for days in the spring of 1886 drawing up the Bill that would have bestowed Home Rule on the Irish, plotting what it would

The terminal confusion of Dignity in Dying

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_3_July_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”James Harris and Madeleine Teahan discuss the Assisted Dying Bill” startat=874] Listen [/audioplayer]If you were around in the days when the US series M*A*S*H was a regular feature on British television, its sing-song theme is probably still lodged in your memory: ‘Suicide is painless/ It brings on many changes/ And I can take

How Napoleon won at Waterloo

In a one-horse town called Hestrud, on the Franco-Belgian border, there’s a monument which encapsulates Europe’s enduring fascination with Napoleon. The story carved upon this plinth is more like poetry than reportage. As Napoleon passed through here, on his way to Waterloo, he struck up a conversation with a bold little boy called Cyprien Joseph

The sheer stupidity of artificial intelligence

The latest US census found that 43 per cent of the population in Santa Clara County, California, were members of a religious institution. This is slightly less than the American national average of 50 per cent, but you’d probably expect that because the area includes Silicon Valley, where geeks are busy designing our online, gadget-laden future. You


Baghdad notebook: “Things were better in Saddam’s time”

In the passport queue at Baghdad airport, my heart sinks. This place vies with Cairo for the title of most venal airport in the Middle East. Our luggage is minutely examined by the Mukhabarat, or secret police, then customs. Early morning becomes mid-afternoon. Our papers (scrupulously in order) lie unattended on a desk. Eventually, a

Notes on...

Hundreds of years of history in a £2 plate

Next time you’re in a shop that sells Chinese blue and white porcelain, pick up a piece and turn it over. Chances are good it will carry an inscription in blue on the bottom. Called a reign mark, it tells you which emperor ruled when the piece was made. As the last reign ended in