Author: Philip Cole

Progressive Alliances and Proportional Representation

Philip Cole

As far as this article is concerned a ‘progressive’ is someone who – in this or any order – wants the UK to rejoin the EU; wants to save the planet from ecocide; unreservedly supports the NHS; believes that in a decent society the strong have a moral duty to support the weak (i.e. we […]

Hic, haec, hoc – Gavin winds back the Clock

Philip Cole

The Education Secretary’s recent announcement that he wants state schools to start teaching Latin again was met with a mixture of disbelief and assorted expletives. It is a predictably badly thought-out initiative. At a purely practical level the question is whether this will mean increasing total teaching hours per week. Or will some other subject […]

NEUws from Elsewhere

Philip Cole

France: first the disturbing news More than a thousand mostly retired officers, including twenty generals, have published an open letter with a barely concealed call for a military coup in France, reports the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) on 29 April. They want to prevent what they call the ‘disintegration’ of France. Only military ‘intervention’, they […]

Death of a salesman?

Philip Cole

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk The Queen’s husband has died, not far off his 100th birthday. As a republican my first thought was ‘Oh, yes… So what?’ This is an event that has no impact whatsoever on my life or the life of anyone else I can think of. I have no objection to commemorating the […]

Electoral Reform: keeping it in proportion

Philip Cole

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk There is a growing realisation in the UK that we have not got the government we deserve. This is because of the way the House of Commons is elected. Back in 1935 the secretary of the Labour Party said ‘There is no greater gamble on earth than a British general election’. […]

Whither the Union?

Philip Cole

It is time to accept that the United Kingdom is no longer united in any meaningful sense. This is a factual statement, not a gloat. What purpose does the Union serve, and what is the advantage of being part of a Union? Also is it really a ‘union’ if its constituent parts are hopelessly unequal […]

News from across Europe

Philip Cole

The emancipation of the stupid Luxembourg’s Tageblatt (22.02) has a profile of Serbia, which has the highest vaccination rate in Europe (after UK). However, infection rates are rising because of a cavalier attitude towards precautionary measures. The paper prints a photo of the investiture of the Serbian Orthodox patriarch in a cathedral full to bursting: […]

LONG READ

A constitutional crisis neatly averted

Philip Cole

The European Union sees itself as embodying certain fundamental liberal values and the concept of the rule of law. In both Hungary and Poland there have been attacks on the independence of the courts and the media and an alarming lurch towards autocracy. The EU, not surprisingly, sees this as a threat to its core […]

NEUws from elsewhere (02.10)

Philip Cole

On a Swiss roll Relations between Switzerland and the EU are governed by a series of bilateral treaties and  the Swiss Confederation has adopted various provisions of European Union law in order to participate in the Union’s single market, without joining as a member state. On Sunday, 27 September the Swiss voted in a referendum […]

Neuws and opinion from elsewhere

Philip Cole

Johnson the creator of a United Ireland? The PM’s criminal determination to flout international law has caused anger, particularly in Ireland, the UK’s closest neighbour, but some commentators also see it as an opportunity. Speaking in the Free State Seanad in 1924, the poet WB Yeats predicted he would not see a united Ireland in his […]

Neuws from elsewhere…the Belarus crisis

Philip Cole

Philip Cole provides his regular look at how Europe is reporting on itself…and on us… This bulletin: the Belarus crisis and the European Union’s response… ‘A far-off country of which we know nothing’, as Neville Chamberlain (almost) said about Czechoslovakia. But the foreign press has been monitoring the situation closely. eng.lsm.lv (Latvian Public Broadcasting) announced […]

Johnson’s amateurs learn to ‘lie like an Englishman’

Philip Cole

What is the purpose of negotiations? The aim is, or should be to reach a settlement that satisfies both sides. This is what most adults understand by ‘fairness’. And negotiations require hard work. A bit of background: The Withdrawal Agreement establishes the terms of the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU, in accordance with Article […]

Neuws from elsewhere…

Philip Cole

Philip Cole provides his regular look at how Europe is reporting on itself…and on us… This bulletin: the lurch to the right in eastern Europe…and Brexit’s threat to peace in Northern Ireland… Lurching rightwards… Le Monde reports (03.08.2020) that the Polish Supreme Court has validated Andrzej Duda’s re-election as President. Duda beat Rafal Trzaskowski, the […]

Neuws from elsewhere…

Philip Cole

Philip Cole provides our regular look at how Europe is reporting on itself…and on us… This bulletin: the Coronavirus pandemic Germany calls for solidarity Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has appealed to Germans to show solidarity with the EU and accept a higher level of indebtedness to help finance the reconstruction fund. ‘The fund cannot […]