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Just join Germany

An argument you sometimes hear from those sitting on the Brence (the Brexit fence) is that it’s a pity the EU couldn’t have stayed the same as it was when we first joined it in 1973. Back then, say the Brence-sitters, it was a trading bloc with only nine members, which made sense. Greece wasn’t

Sex, lies and tax returns

Call this a scandal? A few years ago, it wouldn’t have made the cut. If any reporter had taken the David Cameron tax ‘scoop’ into the now-defunct News of the World, he would have been laughed out of the building. ‘OK, just run it by me again. The Prime Minister’s dad was a stockbroker, right?

The devil in footnote 351

Last week we reached the beginning of the end of the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio — the ‘great reformer’ of the Catholic church who, it appears, has been unable to deliver the reforms that he himself favours. This despite being Pope. On Friday, he published a 200-page ‘exhortation’ entitled Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love’

The politician’s daughter

Like millions of non-Americans hooked on the US election, I’m backing someone even though I don’t have a vote. I love Cruz and I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m not talking about the oleaginous Ted, but Caroline, his seven-year-old daughter. Caroline is that rare thing in politics — an actual human being. Her eyes glaze

The cult of clean

How clean are you? I ask not as a mother confessor. I’m not interested in the state of your soul. What I want to know is: how clean is your sock drawer? Your fridge? Your gut? These are the pressing questions of the new cult of clean. Its apostles urge us to divest ourselves of

Caught in the tourist trap

There are few more beautiful places in this world than Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas. I know this because, right now, I am staring down the sub-tropical Punakha valley, gazing at an untouched rural landscape where singing women hoe the sunlit chilli fields. It’s glorious. And gloriously devoid of tourists. Though apparently Prince William and

Notes on...

Tarot reading

It’s 8.57 on a Friday evening and I’m at home, waiting for an obscure American radio talk show to come online. For the next hour I’ll be answering listeners’ love queries with the aid of my Tarot-reading skills, and out of respect to all the lovesick Americans out there I’ve made a real effort to