Britain should have a referendum on the EU treaty.Chair:
For the motion:
Rt Hon Lord Lamont of Lerwick
Against the motion :
Sir Stephen Wall
Vernon Bogdanor CBE
David Aaronovitch. It was like an eclipse. Wednesday’s debate on the EU referendum exactly coincided with a parliamentary vote on the same issue. ‘Over at the Palace of Varieties,’ prophesied Andrew Neil, in the chair, ‘the debate will be dull, predictable and whipped.
Theodore Dalrymple issues a global warning
Thank goodness I retired in time from the National Health Service: it has cut down enormously the number of forms I have to fill in.
The latest proto-genocidal form sent out to employees by my erstwhile employers was called ‘a data cleanse’, though it soon became known as ‘an ethnic cleanse’ since it related, inter alia, to the staff’s ethnic group. Each member of staff was asked to choose one of 17 ethnic groups to which they belonged, one of six marital statuses, five sexual orientations and nine religious affiliations.
As the US presidential race gathers steam, Westminster is abuzz. Like the Derby Trials, MPs across the political spectrum are watching their horses anxiously. Some are seasoned observers. They know the trainers and even the thoroughbreds themselves. Others are more recent spectators, but with no less passion. The outcome of the presidential election matters in Westminster, for the course of US policy certainly, but also for UK domestic politics.
There is a term for what Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, did at the weekend. She announced that she would not feel safe walking the streets of London alone after dark. This, I believe, is called ‘doing a Ratner’. If you remember, Gerald Ratner was the boss of the eponymous down-market jewellery company which dissolved into nothing in 1991 when he cheerfully pronounced that his products were ‘crap’.
Call me old-fashioned, as Dame Edna says, but I don’t fancy spending my remaining years in semi-darkness because this poxy government has performed yet another knee-jerk reaction and decreed that all incandescent light bulbs will be phased out, whether we like it or not. A warning bulletin from Defra informs us that should we be careless enough to break a long-life bulb, we must immediately vacate the room in which the tragedy occurs for at least 15 minutes.
Iran was in the cross hairs last Tuesday. At the Intelligence Squared debate the mellifluously worded motion, ‘It’s better to bomb Iran than risk Iran getting the bomb,’ was proposed by Dr Emanuele Ottolenghi, a distinguished Italian political scientist. He argued that letting Tehran acquire nukes would create turmoil in the Middle East — and beyond. The Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin, which currently operate as a sort of all-night Texaco garage to the world’s economies, would fall under the spell of a dangerous anti-Western regime.
Allister Heath says that Brown’s poll tax on Britain’s 114,000 non-domiciled residents will drive away talent when our economy most needs it. Shame the Tories would do the sameYou would have thought that with the economy weakening, the stock market sliding, house prices tanking and Northern Rock’s botched rescue a daily humiliation, Gordon Brown would be doing all in his powers to help the City of London weather the gathering storm.
Do you feel safe? Every time you go to the airport do you worry that you might be blown up by Islamist militants? Do you avoid using public transport, or frequenting louche nightclubs, for fear of being targeted by fanatical suicide bombers?While the 7 July bomb attacks against London’s transportation system in 2005 have rightly dominated the public’s consciousness in terms of the tangible threat posed by Muslim terror groups, there have been many more foiled attacks that would have created far more carnage had they succeeded with their deadly designs.
In the week of the World Economic Forum Rani Singh talks to Angel Gurría, head of the OECD, who has sharp words on capitalist ‘schizophrenia’ and a coded warning for Gordon‘Because of the miners’ strike we were all asked to have only one light bulb on. My wife and I had to take baths together in order to economise on heating the water and since then we’ve always taken baths together, for 35 years,’ booms Angel Gurría in a surprising aside, recalling Ted Heath’s premiership.