Finally, the Eurosceptics have been vindicated. But will their dishonest opponents ever be held to account?
Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the
single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons.
Jim Murphy is that rare breed, a genuinely working-class, modern British politician. We meet on the eve of Labour conference in a café in an upmarket shopping centre in his native Glasgow and he begins by talking about his childhood. Labour’s 44-year-old shadow defence secretary was born on a Glasgow housing estate and spent his early years ‘sleeping in a drawer’, he says, in a one-bedroom house containing four generations of his family.
‘It’s very easy to be wise with hindsight,’ Nick Clegg this week told a BBC interviewer who had tasked the Deputy Prime Minister with his long-held view that the euro is a wonderful currency which Britain was crazy not to join. A cross-sounding Clegg went on to argue that ‘no one’ had envisaged that the eurozone might be in the plight it is today. This we can only describe as being foolish with hindsight.
A new programme to revive Latin and Greek in our schools
Some 15 years ago, at the behest of the then editor Charles Moore, I wrote a jovial 20-week QED: Learn Latin column for the Daily Telegraph. It attracted a huge following, and I still have four
large box-files full of letters from users. The majority of them expressed one of three sentiments: ‘I learned Latin at school x years ago, loved it and am delighted to renew my
acquaintance’; ‘I learned Latin at school, hated it, but now realise what I have missed’; and ‘I never learned Latin at school and have always regretted it’.
Lord Winston must have known he placed a puss among the pigeons when he aired his view, a couple of weeks ago, that nurses from Eastern Europe are putting NHS patients in danger. Citing Romanians in particular, he remarked upon their limited communication skills and told the House of Lords that they had been trained ‘in a completely different way’ from British nurses.Predictably, since then, there has been a flurry of concern about his first point; it is obviously troubling if medical professionals cannot speak adequate English, and it will continue to be troubling as long as the difference between a microgram and a milligram is a coffin.
Last week I headed to Maribor in Slovenia for a music festival featuring the Australian Chamber Orchestra under the directorship of maestro Richard Tognetti, the virtuoso violinist. I even briefly performed a couple of Edith Sitwell poems to music by William Walton, but my efforts were at the beginning and end of a long programme featuring the New York avant-garde of the Sixties, including a work by John Cage which contained a long movement of complete silence disturbed only by the sound of the audience leaving.
The West has much to learn from Afghanistan’s community courtsKabul, AfghanistanI was invited to take part in a shura this week. One of our masons had been hit around the head with an iron bar by a local mechanic. Shura describes a traditional Islamic approach towards sociopolitical organisation and comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘consultation’. An elderly alim (religious scholar) sat next to a younger mullah at the head of the room.
Do you paint yourself? Or...sing in a choir maybe? John Studzinski looks at me anxiously from the other side of a conference table, in a sleek little office belonging to his firm, Blackstone, the American private equity giant.
He’s normally a confident man; outspoken on the subject of leadership, networking and England’s art scene (which he generously props up). But getting him to answer a personal question is like trying to flip a cat on to its back.
Christopher Booker, of the Sunday Telegraph, proposed the motion by taking a blast at his own side.Christopher Booker, of the Sunday Telegraph, proposed the motion by taking a blast at his own side. The present Euro crisis had inspired Tory Eurosceptics to talk of "a re-negotiation" and a "repatriation of powers". This, he said, utterly misconstrued the EU project and its "sacred aim" to strip nations of their rights and "never to give back a power once ceded.