As it’s prediction season, here goes… My crystal ball, for what it is worth, foretells political and economic union between France and Germany, perhaps within the next 12-24 months. Europe needs a gamechanger, one that creates an insurmountable firebreak against the speculators. Crises have historically been the motor of European integration and a full union, much like the panicky one Britain offered France in June 1940, might look tempting. It would provide for joint organs of defence, foreign, financial and economic policies, finally fulfilling the founding fathers’ dream of “ever closer union”. Read more
Here the FT’s South Asia bureau chief discusses the UK’s aid policy in India. What do you think David Cameron’s government should do? Join the debate in the comments section. Read more
It has been widely noted that David Cameron pinched a soundbite from Gordon Brown in his Guildhall speech on Monday night. Hard-headed internationalism, it seems, is good enough for two British prime ministers. Read more
George W. Bush’s bombastic return to the world stage has reminded me of my favourite Bush anecdote, which for various reasons we couldn’t publish at the time. Some of the witnesses still dine out on it.
The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor. Read more
Sir John Sawers, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, has never been one for the shadows.
While he served as political director at the Foreign Office, his influence was unmistakable on almost all areas of policy — indeed he even earned the nickname “Jonny Blue Eyes” for his dashing diplomacy. Read more
It is now received wisdom in Westminster that Liam Fox emerged victorious from his battle with the Treasury over defence funding.
The official history has David Cameron making a last minute intervention to boost defence spending, particularly for the army. The Treasury were only able to secure cuts of around 8 per cent in real terms, rather than the 10 per cent cuts they were pushing for.
The alternative interpretation is that Fox was short-changed and that this will become clear in the months ahead. The argument runs in two parts: Read more
The Commonwealth Games are in crisis and New Delhi wants to know where its friends are. If he wants to show real commitment to the “new special relationship” with India, David Cameron must make sure the English athletics squad turns up all present and correct, with big smiles on their faces. The Scottish team has already announced that it is delaying the departure of its 41 squad members, citing ongoing health and security fears over conditions in the athletes’ village. Now the Welsh have raised the stakes, giving the Delhi organising committee until five o’clock British time this afternoon to provide reassurances – saying that otherwise they might not travel. English officials have said the situation is “on a knife-edge”. Read more
It’s not clear when he will do so but the prime minister has promised to make an “early visit” to Pakistan, according to the joint statement from Zardari and Cameron today.
There is also a key line about the “sacrifices” made by Pakistani security forces in fighting violent extremism – which is presumably an attempt to defuse Cameron’s comments last week. (He had said, while in India, that Pakistan should not ‘look both ways’ on terror).
The Prime Minister recognised the sacrifices made by Pakistan’s military, civil law enforcement agencies and people in fighting violent extremism and militancy and appreciated the efforts of the democratic government. Both leaders appreciated the close co-operation that already exists between respective police forces and other security agencies.
By George Parker, political editor
David Cameron was still glowing last night after his three-hour bonding session with President Obama, who took him on a tour of his personal apartments in the White House as well as the garden: a far cry from the short “brush by” offered to him when he was still leader of the opposition.
In spite of all the pre-meeting efforts to dampen expectations – Cameron wrote that he was not bothered by the “baubles” of the “special relationship” – his team were immediately anxious to tell journalists how well the meeting had gone.
In spite of the little local difficulty over BP, the two leaders joshed about the state of their children’s bedrooms and exchanged gifts: Sam Cameron bought a natty pair of pink and purple Hunter wellies for the Obama children. Read more
By George Parker, political editor
David Cameron likes things to be strong. And he likes things to be stable. How do we know this? Well the prime minister has shown a fondness for using the two adjectives in tandem, not least ahead of his visit to Washington. Read more
Nick Clegg has an uncanny knack of finding agonising dilemmas to solve.
Before Sunday’s World Cup final, he will have to chose between upsetting his mother or his wife.
His formidable wife Miriam González Durántez and the Clegg boys will be backing Spain all the way.
But Clegg of course speaks Dutch, the native tongue of his mother Hermance van den Wall Bake. Read more
When it comes to the inquiry into Britain’s complicity with torture, nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Why, for instance, did David Cameron make the announcement yesterday?
Here’s the spin. Cameron decided to tackle the “stain on Britain’s reputation” and finally draw a line under a costly and debilitating process, in which the government spends years fighting half a dozen cases through the courts.
The truth? The timing, at least, was probably more to do with this ruling from Mr Justice Silber. It is well worth a read.
Silber gives the government until July 9 to publish the highly contentious 2002 and 2004 guidance given to intelligence officers on interrogations.
Funnily enough, that deadline ends on Friday. A remarkable coincidence. Read more