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Bye-bye, Herr Juncker

Bye-bye, Herr Juncker

Why did the United Kingdom decide to abandon the European Union? Here are the main 20 reasons as I see them, in no particular order. Widespread international frustration with the global political and banking establishment manifested itself clearly throughout the United Kingdom in this referendum. Britons who felt that mainstream political parties and bureaucracy habitually over-rode […]

Food for Euro-thought

Food for Euro-thought

On June 23, the United Kingdom will make its most important political decision in more than 40 years. If you’re swithering about how to vote, or even are unsure if you’re going to vote at all, have a look at this YouTube link. It is a highly professional documentary, produced by a BBC-trained team, and takes 71 minutes, […]

Frank's theory returns to haunt us

Frank’s theory returns to haunt us

I had a sub-editor colleague at The Press and Journal in the late 1970s who was so famously cantankerous that people used to provoke him deliberately for entertainment on a slow evening. Let’s call him Frank. Most of it was low-grade grumbling about the state of the world, the inanity of celebrity and so forth. Truly spectacular […]

Farmers voting for Brexit

Farmers voting for Brexit

I had an interesting chat the other day with a farmer. I have known him for many years, and while we often disagree about our politics, our attempts to persuade each other are always good-natured and we agree on most other things. I find him highly entertaining company. He had taken a break from afternoon’s work and […]

Coping with oil-industry collapse

Coping with oil-industry collapse

We went out for lunch at a restaurant in Aberdeen a couple of Fridays ago. It seemed remarkably quiet compared to the last time we were there in 2013. The waiter, a bright and breezy lad in his late 20s, hit exactly the right tone of attentiveness, friendliness and efficiency without being overly matey. As […]

Victoria Wood: exceptional

Victoria Wood: exceptional

She was probably Britain’s finest observer and writer of character comedy across the last 40 years. Some have said the finest since Dickens. She had an ear for the ridiculous and unwittingly funny dialogue which trips daily from ordinary souls, and an eye for visual comedy that often touched genius. I have surprised myself by how sad I […]

Don't let them burst your balloon

Don’t let them burst your balloon

I had to smile the other day when I read a magazine column in which the writer said she had plucked up the courage in middle age to do in public what she had always done only in private: singing. She had been pressured into doing a turn at a charity event, but as the […]

Teacakes for brains

Teacakes for brains

Many years ago, when Michael Forsyth was the Scottish Secretary in one of the Thatcher governments, there was a meeting at Bute House, the Westminster base of the Scottish Office. Mr Forsyth was surrounded by eager young Tory pups and asked if any of them could help him remember the name of a high-tech company […]

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