According to the United Nations, Norway is the happiest country in the world, edging out previous winner Denmark and third placed Iceland. The UK was 19th happiest out of 155 countries. Not bad. Of places with decent weather, Australia led the way at 9th.
But here is the thing. The top three all have quite high suicide rates. Much higher than the UK. Which stands to reason, in a macabre sort of a way: if the most miserable people in any population commit suicide in substantial numbers, then those who are left will be, on average, less miserable. Continue reading
Tony Blair freely admitted (but only after leaving office) that his faith was “hugely important” to the decisions he made.
This week, he has made a speech telling us that the Brexit referendum result was wrong, and that the people should now change their minds.
I wonder if he was told this by a messenger from his God? And if so, was it the same angel Continue reading
The New Statesman has opined that
No, the fall of François Fillon doesn’t mean Marine Le Pen will win
This follows, of course, revelations that Fillon, the former darling of the centre-right in France, has had his nose in the trough a bit too deeply, even by French standards, by paying his wife “wages” of hundreds of thousands of Euros of taxpayers’ money for doing, it seems, no work at all. Perhaps the French, who are usually quite relaxed about these things, have been roused from their usual boredom by the fact that the wife is Welsh. It might have been OK if she were a Parisienne? Fillon looks to be finished as a runner.
Anyway, since the New Statesman is typically wrong about everything, this might well mean that the road is indeed now rather more open for Marinne Le Pen to win the forthcoming French presidential election.
I watched the whole of Ken Clarke’s speech in the House of Commons on the Brexit vote. He did not look or sound at all well, and cut Continue reading
Having listened to a great deal of commentary about the complexity attach it on to the Brexit negotiations, I have come to the conclusion that there are two separate projects underway, one which is comparatively straightforward and the other being very complex.
The straightforward project is leaving the European Union. As the Prime Minister has said “Brexit means Brexit”. And so the answers to all sorts of questions ought to be very easy Continue reading
I am no believer in the notion that Jack is always as good as his master. Just occasionally, he might be. But far more often, the captains of industry are smarter, have trained more and now work harder than most. I have no problem with them earning, say, 20 times what the person sweeping the floor in their business earns. Or even 20 times what their average employee earns. As my old friend Will Hopper noted in his excellent book The Puritan Gift, that was pretty normal among the great companies of the Western World as they were becoming great.
But 200 times? No. That is obscene. No one needs 200 times. Not only is it grossly unjust, but it is bad for business. But it is happening, in the USA, and also in the UK. The Spectator Continue reading
The resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers as the UK’s ambassador to the EU is both welcome and appropriate.
This is not criticise his professional abilities. But to have a Remainian in post during the Brexit negotiations would be like having a fascist as PM during WWII, or a communist as head of MI6 during the cold war, or a member of the KKK in charge of race relations.
We need as our ambassador someone who wants in his or her heart to get on with Brexit, and to do it promptly, properly and thoroughly.
A particularly striking need for the UK to escape the EU emerged a week or so ago from the Government’s consultation document Technical consultation on motor insurance: consideration of the European Court of Justice ruling in the case of Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d (C-162/13). It does not sound very exciting, but it is a real Continue reading
They used to call Edinburgh the “Athens of the North”.
It looks like those days might well be back soon for Scotland as a whole, under SNP governance. The effect of their distaste of what they call “austerity” (it used to be called “living within one’s means”) is that they will soon be as broke as Greece; see eg http://www.businessinsider.com.au/scotland-faces-500-million-black-hole-in-local-government-spending-2016-11?r=US&IR=T.
The question is whether or not they will soon be under the same German fiscal domination as Greece? They already be there if they had voted for independence from Continue reading
There is an irony in the fact that the decision handed down last month in Miller v Secretary of State  EWHC 2768 (admin) was the week of Guy Fawkes’ Day night. There are parallels between the two events. I will come back to this parallel a little while.
The judgment, which ruled that the government does not have power to give notice of withdrawal from the European Union and Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, is a remarkable document for all sorts of reasons. As with so many events in British history over the last millennium, it has much to do with the question of Britain’s independence from, or subservience to, Europe.
It should be said at the outset that the judgment will have come too many of us as a surprise. We have been Continue reading
In some parts of the world, old-style religion based on what might have been said by someone the millennium before last still holds sway. But it most parts of the western world, it is now the neo-religions, staffed by a neo-clergy, which have had the more impact. There are several overlapping sects; in (roughly) chronological order, we have
- The Unilateral Disarmists
- The Feminists
- The Global Warmists
- The Refugists.
The neo-clergy preach, not from old fashioned pulpits, but through the modern media. They pack the press galleries of the western world. Inherently hostile to the notion of doing anything for profit, they prefer to work for governments or, even better, charities or NGOs. They have all but wiped out dissent in Continue reading
Watching the American presidential election unfold, one has the feeling of drifting uncomfortably into an episode of Game of Thrones.
The barking mad Sur Dunald now looks as if he has been completely out-manoeuvred by House Clinton, and so we expect a particularly gruesome bloodbath scene coming up, with him and all his ladies of House Trump about to be savagely murdered. Then again, we have been made wary by the scriptwriters’ habit of springing unlikely surprises. Will Lady Heelary be interrupted abusing one of House Clinton’s sex slaves, carted off by the High Sparrow’s henchmen, thrown into jail and made to atone for her past sins?
Like Game of Thrones, is not that one likes any of Continue reading