[audioplayer src="http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/fightingovercrumbs-euroscepticsandtheeudeal/media.mp3" title="James Forsyth and Vote Leave's Stephen Parkinson discuss Euroscepticsm"]
[/audioplayer]Eurosceptics could hardly have asked for more favourable conditions for a referendum. After barely surviving a financial crisis, the European Union has been overwhelmed by an immigration crisis — one made much worse by its failure to control its own borders.
The decline of the Church of England has been one of the most astonishing trends in modern Britain. The pews of churches in this country are emptying fast. Next week, a book was to be published about this collapse entitled That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People. But suddenly the publishers, Bloomsbury, decided to pull it. The book, it seemed, was a little too incendiary.
The terrorist attacks of 13 November have had an enduring effect on people living in Paris and France’s other big cities. Hotel bookings and restaurant reservations are down, and some people will no longer go out in the evening. There have been several other minor terrorist outrages across the country since November, and tension — prompted by repeated government warnings — remains high. The campaign for the 2017 presidential elections will start in July, but François Hollande’s popularity, which soared after the Charlie Hebdo attacks a year ago, has been sliding again.
The Royal Navy is known as the Senior Service because of its illustrious history; Francis Drake and all that. But the days when it ruled the waves have long gone. In 1945 it had almost 900 warships and a million men. By the time of the Falklands War it was down to 70 warships and 70,000 men. Now it is less than half that, with more admirals than there are fighting ships.
The arrival this year of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the much-heralded new aircraft carrier that has cost £6 billion (for 50-odd years of life), will draw unwelcome attention to the Navy’s significant manpower shortages.
According to my former colleagues, history teachers in an urban English state school, anyone who votes for the Conservative party is ‘thick’, the British Empire was ‘unambiguously evil’ and capitalism leads to ‘mass inequality and misery for the vast majority of working people’. The only answer was, you guessed it, socialism. Yes, the cliché of the Little Red Book-carrying schoolteacher is alive and well.
I’ve never understood the phrase ‘died peacefully’. Two weeks ago I watched my mother die, in the very same NHS hospital where I watched my father die almost ten years earlier.
There was nothing peaceful about it, at least from my unwanted ringside seat. The end — acute pneumonia providing the final nail in a soon-to-be purchased coffin — was painfully slow. It dragged on and on and on. She struggled for her last breaths and appeared distressed, confused and frightened to the end.
Baby George was born into a happy family. His mother and father love him dearly. He lives in a cottage in a pretty village, with a six-year-old sister who adores him, and his grandmother lives nearby. His parents both have good jobs and his nursery is filled with toys. By most measures, George has had a good start in life.
It was only when his mother was diagnosed with post-natal depression that George’s prospects looked bleaker.
There are plenty of places to fly to for winter sun, but only one place that offers five-star hotels for the price of a B&B in Lyme Regis. South Africa has always been good value for British visitors, even five years ago when there were 11 rand to the pound. Now that figure is closer to 23 rand. For visitors, an entire country is half price. This freak situation may not last; so there might never be a better time to visit.