20/02/2010
20 Feb 2010

20 February 2010

20 Feb 2010

20 February 2010

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Features
Mihir Bose
The deflating world of English football

The Premier League has never been more popular — globally as well as at home, says Mihir Bose. But the explosion of money is pushing clubs into insolvency — and squeezing British players outAs a global brand, English football has never been more powerful. The Premier League crosses all cultural barriers and has devotees in every corner of the world. Fans in Singapore, for instance, even change their sleeping patterns to keep up: on match days, they go to bed early evening and get up at 3 a.

The deflating world of  English football
Rod Liddle
Why not let politicians call each other ‘scum-sucking pigs’?

David Wright, the Labour MP for Telford, should get out more, he should be more inclusive. I have attended many Conservative party conferences and mingled late at night with the delegates, and I have to say it always seemed to me that the party was composed almost exclusively of scum-sucking pigs. Sometimes I would go to these conferences with the notion, maybe at the back of my mind, that perhaps next time an election came around I might vote Conservative, given the state of the country and the Iraq war and Harriet Harman and what have you.

Why not let politicians call each other ‘scum-sucking pigs’?
Mark Wood
An axis of pragmatists

Mark Wood says that David Cameron would do well to ally himself with Germany’s Chancellor — Angela Merkel is a conservative realist in the Thatcher mouldA new government sweeps into power and orders £20 billion of tax cuts. Fundamental tax reform to follow. Unashamedly pro-business policies are given top priority, cushioned by comforting, voter-friendly commitments to maintaining public services. Sound like the Tories already in office in some parallel universe? Not quite.

An axis of pragmatists
Daniel Kalder
The madness of Turkmenbashi

Tearing down the statue of a megalomaniac dictator is usually a joy reserved for the citizens of a newly liberated country. But when, last month, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan ordered the removal of his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov’s Neutrality Arch, he was probably the only Turkman with any illusions of freedom. For more than ten years this extraordinary monument — a giant, futuristic tripod, topped by a gold figure of Niyazov in a superman cape, which rotates to face the sun — has hovered menacingly above the skyline of the Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat.

The madness of Turkmenbashi
Daniel W-Drezner
Uncle Sam vs the Dragon

The growing rift between the United States and China has chilling similarities to America’s old rivalry with the Soviet Union, says Daniel W. DreznerWhen Barack Obama burst into the room to disrupt China’s meeting with its fellow climate change sceptics at the Copen-hagen summit, it was clear that something was not right in the relationship between the two countries. The American president had made his way past reporters, with a face like thunder, and shouted at his Chinese counterpart, ‘Mr Premier, are you ready for me?’ Wen Jiabao was not; and according to numerous press reports, Mr Obama was berated by a mid-ranking Chinese official for his rudeness.

Uncle Sam vs  the Dragon
Stephen Pollard
Stick to making your schmaltzy films, Mr Curtis

Richard Curtis’s films — rose-tinted, upper-middle-class parodies of modern Britain — are bad enough, says Stephen Pollard. But his politics are even worseThere are few film-makers whose name instantly conjures up a style, an atmosphere, a set of recognisable characters, even a plot. Richard Curtis is one of them. From Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill to Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary, the label ‘Richard Curtis’ on a film tells you straightaway pretty much all you need to know.

Stick to making your schmaltzy films, Mr Curtis
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