German muscle threatens European solidarity

  • 16 July 2015
  • From the section Europe
A woman holds a tree branch with a Greek flag tied on it during a rally in support to the Greek government
Greece feels it has been harshly treated

This is not the end of the drama for the European Union. Perhaps, the passion play we are witnessing is just the prologue to tragedy.

Tragedy, after all, depends upon the blossoming of flaws that undermine an otherwise noble character.

In this case, it makes the Europe Union wrestle with the central conundrum behind its existence.

The European dream was conjured out of a nightmare - it was, in origin, a project to exorcise the family ghost: the vast power of one country, Germany.

There are many other, more obvious, flaws to be examined.

Read full article German muscle threatens European solidarity

Greek debt crisis: Mr Varoufakis's exit stage left

  • 9 July 2015
  • From the section World
Yanis Varoufakis leaves the Ministry of Finance after resigning with his wife Danai on his motorbike
Yanis Varoufakis rides off after resigning as minister of finance - with his wife behind

A few hours after his surprise resignation, I chanced upon Yanis Varoufakis sitting in a cafe surrounded by friends.

His exit raises questions that go far beyond Greece, to the heart of Europe's future, so naturally I wanted a word.

Read full article Greek debt crisis: Mr Varoufakis's exit stage left

Cameron is not asking the big question on Islamic State

  • 2 July 2015
  • From the section UK
The wreck of the Number 30 double-decker bus is pictured in Tavistock Square after the 7/7 London bombings
Hundreds of people were injured and 52 died in attacks in London on 7 July 2005

The continued rise of violent, anti-Western, Islamic fundamentalism is one of the defining challenges of our time.

There is no lack of emotive words and stirring phrases from politicians around the world - it is questionable if they have a coherent strategy to counter it.

Read full article Cameron is not asking the big question on Islamic State

Confederate flag: Why it is so potent in the US

Confederate flag

The whole family was astounded by what we found in Tuskegee.

The town in Alabama is important in American history for several reasons: the university founded by Booker T Washington is there, so was the all-black air force squadron and it was the site of an awful medical experiment on black men.

Read full article Confederate flag: Why it is so potent in the US

Could the EU fall apart completely?

  • 18 June 2015
  • From the section Europe
EU flag

The European prime ministers and presidents who gather in Brussels next Thursday will face two separate crises.

Simple, eh? But their plight is a lot more serious than that.

Read full article Could the EU fall apart completely?

Why we should all be worried by Mr Cameron's muddle

David Cameron

Generosity of spirit is a virtue and one should perhaps give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, and presume he is telling the truth.

But accepting that his briefing to journalists at the G7 - at which he was reported as saying ministers would have to back him on EU reform or quit - was about the behaviour of ministers right now before any reforms have been negotiated, rather than in a future referendum on the UK's membership of Europe, leads to some worrying conclusions.

Read full article Why we should all be worried by Mr Cameron's muddle

Could Rand Paul inspire the UK government?

Senator Rand Paul
Rand Paul has created a stir in the US

Senator Rand Paul has caught the world's attention and infuriated his own party by taking on one of the most powerful forces imaginable - the US security apparatus.

Behind the drama there are deep currents, a tale of sex, drugs, violence and conservatism.

Read full article Could Rand Paul inspire the UK government?

Tory MPs keep powder dry on Europe for now

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi , German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron take part in a meeting during a European Union extraordinary summit
David Cameron is set for talks over reform of the UK relationship with the European Union

The UK's future direction for at least a generation hangs precariously on an uncertainty, balanced on the tip of the unknown.

I am talking of course about the planned referendum on the EU.

Read full article Tory MPs keep powder dry on Europe for now

Are Labour tribes readying to go to war?

Ed and David Miliband
David Miliband is among those who has criticised his brother's campaign

"Some of those gimmicks - that tombstone, whatever idiot thought that up I do not know!"

I was talking to the former Mayor of Crawley in Sussex, John Mortimer, in the town's Labour Supporters Club about the vexed question of what went wrong, and where Labour should go next.

Read full article Are Labour tribes readying to go to war?

Election 2015: What will happen after 8 May?

Russell Brand and Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband said his meeting with Russell Brand had made the general election campaign "more interesting"

Mr Cameron is finally pumped up and uses a mild swear-word. Ed Miliband visits the celebrity who is famous for not believing in voting. If you detect an air of desperation it is not surprising.

We await a tsunami. After an almost becalmed campaign, the election result is likely to wreak havoc on not just the parties, but perhaps the familiar structures of British politics, carrying away old assumptions - a reflection not just of the changing weather in the UK but change to the global political climate.

Read full article Election 2015: What will happen after 8 May?