Daily Archives: June 30, 2008

A week ago I urged my colleague, Wolfgang Munchau, to elaborate on his argument that a country can legally be chucked out of the European Union. Today he obliges.

But – as ever – one question begets another. All the remedies Wolfgang suggests are so drastic that one is left wondering, why bother? Essentially, the idea seems to be that all the countries currently in the EU quit the Union and then re-group in a new Union – minus the Irish and any other recalcitrants. This procedure reminds me of the famous remark attributed to an American army officer in Vietnam – “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” Read more

Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, obviously goes to some great parties. He writes in The New York Times that :

“The last few years, we’ve spent July Fourth at the house of friends who have had the assembled company read the entire declaration (of independence)… I was doubtful at first that reading the declaration would enhance the overall beer-and-hamburger experience of the day. But the effort has proved more thought-provoking and patriotism-stirring than I expected.” Read more

My joy at Spain’s victory in the football last night is almost unconfined. I say almost because Spain were England’s companions as the great under-achievers of world soccer. Now they have won something. So it’s back to not so splendid isolation for the English.

At the beginning of the tournament, I speculated about reasons for longstanding Spanish footballing failure. Perhaps, it had something to do with a lack of a strong sense of nationhood in Spain?

Well, that theory has clearly not withstood the test of Torres. But how about the new theory - that footballing victory will create a surge of Spanish nationalism that will help to bind the nation together? Read more