Daily Archives: July 2, 2009

It seems light years ago now, but I once had a delightful Swedish friend whose father, reflecting on his distinguished career in public service, told her that the proudest moment of his life was when Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right and there were no serious traffic accidents.

That was in 1967, and there’s no denying it – it’s damned impressive.  Imagine if they tried to introduce a change like that today in Britain, or in other countries that still drive on the left such as India, Japan, Pakistan or South Africa.  It would make the chaos on the opening day of Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5 look like a spot of trouble with the signalling on a model train set. 

The race for the presidency of the European Commission and for that of the Council – a job that will only come into existence if the Lisbon treaty comes into force – are in full swing.

José Manuel Barroso is still expected to snatch a second five-year term at the Commission, though a quick approval vote in the Parliament looks less likely after resistance from the Socialists, Greens and others. Regardless, the Wall Street Journal assumes he will get the nod and urges him to return to his free-market roots. “The Greens and Socialists oppose Mr. Barroso’s re-election on the grounds that he is too oriented toward free trade and free markets. If only.”