09/02/2019
9 Feb 2019

Carmadeggon

9 Feb 2019

Carmadeggon

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Features
Ross ClarkRoss Clark
Carmageddon

When Nissan announced it would not, after all, produce its new X-Trail in Sunderland, this was reported as proof of an impending Brexit disaster. A Labour councillor in South Wales even suggested that ‘all those who voted to leave should be laid off first’. But Nissan’s decision has little to do with Brexit, and everything to do with the turmoil of the global car industry. It is not that overall car sales are plunging — they grew by a modest 0.

Carmageddon
Melissa Kite
Hold your horses

‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’ asked the lady as she sat beside me in the caravan. The old farmer, a horse dealer, sat on another seat looking stunned. ‘You look exhausted,’ she said. I was. I’d driven hundreds of miles looking for horses I had seen seized from the horse dealer’s farm. But I didn’t want to worry her by telling her where I thought I had found them. I had set off in pursuit of a fleet of lorries marked with the address of a Yorkshire company, after 123 horses were seized by the RSPCA and the police in a joint operation with Trading Standards, from Hurst Farm, just down the road from my house in Surrey.

Hold your horses
Liam Halligan
The wrong track | 7 February 2019

No one is in any doubt about the problem facing Britain’s railways. Over the past decade, rail fares have risen twice as fast as salaries. Yet across the national network, overcrowding is at record levels, cancellations are spiralling and passenger dissatisfaction is at a ten-year high. Yet ministers are about to start pouring £4.5 billion a year, every year for a decade, into building a single new railway route: HS2.

The wrong track | 7 February 2019
Zoe Strimpel
Bad romance | 7 February 2019

I interviewed a prominent 1970s women’s liberationist recently and ended up discussing the sexual culture of her political heyday. ‘Everyone was sleeping with everyone,’ she said. ‘You had to have a good reason not to sleep with someone.’ I felt a stab of envy, a sharpened version of what I feel browsing black-and-white snaps from back in the day. There is often a dishevelled sexiness. There are the gleefully knowing expressions from women newly unafraid of unwanted pregnancy, and the ‘why not?’ insouciance of slouching shaggy-haired men and their slender sheepskin-coated girlfriends leaning against doorposts.

Bad romance | 7 February 2019
Mary Wakefield
The edge of reason

My husband, usually a cool customer, watched Free Solo from behind his fingers, sometimes jumping up from the sofa and backing away from the TV. Audiences at Imax showings have behaved the same way, rising to their feet, clenching their sweaty fists as they watch  Alex Honnold, a 33-year-old rock climber from Sacramento, make his way up El Capitan, 2,700 vertical feet of granite in Yosemite National Park.

The edge of reason
Thomas Kielinger
Both sides will blink

What can the EU do to help the Britons out of their Brexit quagmire? Until very recently, the answer would have been ‘little, if anything’. There is a deal on the table, which Theresa May herself pronounced to be non-negotiable. Well, parliament directed her — and by implication, the EU — to think again and to reconsider the vexed question of the Irish backstop. Does anybody on either side of the channel really want to wreck the future relationship between the UK and the EU over the unsolved issue of the Irish border, as well as risk creating renewed enmity along it? God forbid.

Both sides will blink
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