The greatest egg chase

As a glittering tournament approaches its end, it would be a dereliction of this website’s duty not to pass comment on the Rugby World Cup as it approaches its climax this afternoon. After last weekend’s two absorbing, pulsating semi-finals, left standing are the world’s two best teams. It is perhaps curious that world cups in any sport don’t always produce such an outcome, in fact they regularly don’t. That is perhaps more a reflection of the vicissitudes of sport’s unscripted nature, and therefore something to celebrate on one level. But it is also satisfactory when a tournament’s send off features the two sides that have soared highest in the preludes to the decider.Read More »

How can we trust the Tories with the economy?

I bet you saw what I did there. It wasn’t very subtle, was it? But I have rarely encountered mainstream media commentators subvert this attack line, one of the anchors of the conventional wisdom that has infected British politics for decades. Labour governments always end up running out of money, and Tory governments are required to step in and clean up their mess. The only argument for Labour to occasionally get in is to make investments in public services after the Conservatives have bequeathed them sound public finances. Tory competence contrasted with Labour chaos has become one of those things that people reflexively say, without any need for recourse to examination of the historical record. Extraneous as it might seem, however, it is a very worthwhile exercise to perform.Read More »

Prolonging the agony, or reaching the endgame in Syria?

Vast tomes have been and could yet be written on how to address the multiplicity of issues facing the entire Middle East, and so one automatically concedes that a single blog post will neither comprehensively elucidate the situation nor authoritatively prescribe effective action. But it will contribute an opinion. The greatest humanitarian urgency, as everyone is aware, is in Syria, and that is what I am focusing on here. And it is also fair to point out that many of the crises and complexities of the Middle East are interrelated and interdependent, and feature many of the same conflicts and alignments of interest, and so it is reasonable to suggest that prescriptions for ending the conflict in Syria have implications that extend beyond that country’s borders. It should also be acknowledged that I am regrettably a little late to the punch with this post, as trends in Syria appear to be pointing in a direction I privately sensed a few weeks ago.Read More »