If Nigel Farage is calling for a second referendum, it’s time for a rethink

“If Nigel Farage admits the issue should be put to bed, it’s important to understand why that is. A democratic mandate must be granted to the pledges of a government so it can act. This can only be done at the final stage of negotiations when a clear package of proposals can be approved or disapproved. A referendum is only half the battle, and if May’s government is to act with purpose and conviction it should call another general election when the final settlement is clear and on the table.”

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Decluttering social media

Social media’s a bit of a bombsite. If your accounts resemble mine, they’re a patchwork of random likes and superfluous information that’s grown and grown to indecipherable levels. Academics and social media users alike seem to agree that social media has an addictive quality that erodes people’s quality of life. Paul Levy, a researcher at […]

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It’s not superhero fatigue, it’s misery fatigue

“It’s long overdue for a return to the heady days of Christopher Reeve’s Superman. Everyone who hears John Williams’ orchestral march feels ecstatic because Reeves’ portrayal is so rich in simple decency. The pants and red-caped moralism fell into cliche long ago because the world felt these creations weren’t equipped to deal with modernity. Perhaps it’s the other way around?”

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Shouldn’t International Men’s Day be as important as International Women’s Day?

“The figures themselves are deeply troubling. In 2016, the suicide rate for males was more than two and a half times that for females. In 1981, 63 percent of UK suicides were male, but in 2013 the figure was 78 percent. The proportion of male to female deaths by suicide has increased steadily since the early 1980s. The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence against 3% of UK women. Testicular cancer incidences have increased by 28 percent since the early 1990s. The list continues.”

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Machiavelli was a striking moralist

“For Machiavelli, the people are the moral universalism at the heart of The Prince. Across 26 chapters, he directs princes to pay their attention to the limits and tolerances of the populace. Whether in hereditary, mixed, ecclesiastical or new principalities, Machiavelli attempts to achieve a delicate balance of protecting the people, protecting the prince and protecting them both from the other.”

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Edinburgh’s best bookshops

Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Edinburgh. There’s something about the city that just radiates nostalgic indulgence. The pub that had just the right music. The view that was hit by just the right light. The kebab that hit just the right spot. You know the story. But even for a city as old as Edinburgh, the streets are […]

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Lights, Camera, Salmond!

For “whom the gods would destroy they first make mad” said Prometheus, as he learned of Alex Salmond’s new RT-backed television show.  After more than twenty years Salmond’s thespian need for attention and the drive for Scottish independence have finally now become an inseparable pursuit in his head. And what better evidence? RT, formerly called Russia Today, […]

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Churchill was a peacemaker, not just a warrior

“What is beyond doubt is Churchill’s chief commitment to the preservation of human life. It is easy to get bogged down in what he did or did not think about institutions such as the Council of Europe or the creation of the European Economic Community. These are fads, topical because they are today’s challenges. What is neglected, criminally so, is the motivation of a man remembered for war but who lived for peace.”

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Kevin Spacey has betrayed his fans and they’re hurting too

“With Frank Underwood’s asides, the audience is invited into his thinking and to share in his schemes. Like all good Machiavellian characters, viewers indulge a faux Stockholm syndrome for scurrilous bastards because they love to be in the know. It’s a macabre indulgence, but that’s the game – audiences love feeling intelligent, and they’re never more in tune with that feeling than when the character speaks to them.”

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Why history matters to Catalonia

Was the Catalan vote for independence illegal? Yes. It’s that simple. The 1978 Spanish Constitution, agreed across the country in the years following General Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, makes two explicit provisions regarding Spain’s unity.    The first is that “the Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation”. Secondly, “political […]

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The Scot who nearly killed Franco

SCOTS are famous for many things, but trying to kill Franco isn’t typically one of them. Nevertheless, on 11 August 1964, an 18-year-old anarchist by the name of Stuart Christie was arrested in Madrid attempting to do just that. To make matters worse, not only was he carrying a kilo of explosives, but they were […]

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Why irredentism explains Brexit

IRREDENTISM is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy an area that the movement’s members consider “lost” or “unredeemed”. Most people know the concept, but not the word. It matters because it explains most, if not all, of the current Brexit debate. The Balkans is the textbook example of the topic. Ideas […]

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Can you compare Scotland and Catalonia?  

The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region, Carles Puigdemont, has called an independence referendum for October 2017, in defiance of the Spanish Government. The announcement follows Catalonia holding a non-binding vote in 2014, called a ‘consultation’, on independence in which 80 percent of ballots cast supported a breakaway, but with only a 35 percent voter turnout.  […]

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When Churchill bribed Franco   

The Spanish Civil War is widely considered a prelude to the Second World War.  All the central powers were peripherally involved, and Spain owed a debt of $212 million for supplies given by Nazi Germany to General Francisco Franco’s Nationalists.  As such, there was a fear that Spain might come out on the side of […]

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A street called 17 January 1966

HIROSHIMA and Nagasaki: the only two occasions in history when nuclear weapons were used in combat. But who remembers the time America accidentally bombed Spain? The 1966 Palomares B-52 crash occurred on 17 January when an American bomber collided with a refuelling tanker over the Mediterranean Sea, killing seven of the 11 crew members. The aircraft carried four […]

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Moggmentum is the last straw of sanity  

‘Moggmentum’ is sweeping the UK and it’s gotten a little out of hand. The online campaign to elect Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative leader is rooted in a pseudo-ironic play on the ‘Momentum’ movement that launched Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership.  The problem is people presume contemptuous political positions must be held by reasonable people if […]

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Stop panicking about Jodie Whittaker

The end is nigh! Hold your loved ones and kiss them goodbye. A woman has stolen to the keys to the TARDIS and isn’t giving them back!  The apocalyptic slaughter of male icons doesn’t just end there, oh no – they’re getting replaced with female doppelgangers. First, the womenfolk took over the government, then they […]

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Read this before you see Dunkirk 

Christopher Nolan’s latest epic is just that. It’s a self-contained piece of cinematography the likes of which audiences have not seen in decades. From flawless direction to edge-of-your-seat suspense, it’s not so much a film as an experience. And it can only be enjoyed at the cinema.  A lot has been made of Dunkirk’s cinematic […]

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Why Brexit matters in Almeria 

FOR British expatriates living in Almeria, Brexit is the elephant in the room. Everyone will have different ties back to the UK, but most will have some financial connection whether by property, pensions or family.  In the last two weeks, Theresa May’s pricey £1bn deal to forge a pact with the DUP represents the most […]

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Why May is wrong about human rights 

In the aftermath of the London terror attacks, Theresa May said she would change human rights laws if they “get in the way” of tackling terror in the UK. The problem with this is three-fold. Firstly, British security services already possess extensive anti-terrorism powers that have been denounced by Amnesty International as among “the most […]

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Why Tim Farron had to go 

Tim Farron was Liberal Democrat leader for just shy of two years.  In that time, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that singled him out as a key player with policies and a rhetorical flourish that felt like a kick in the teeth for his opponents.  And don’t fool yourself. Once, the Liberals frequently […]

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Who’s who in Almeria 

In Almeria, like politics everywhere, it can be a little difficult to know who the key players are, and that’s what we’re looking at this week.  Susana Diaz has been President of Andalusia since 2013. She’s also a leading national figure in PSOE, having contested the leadership of the national party in 2017, losing to […]

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May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’

With no shortage of irony, the Parnell Academy in Mijas has set up a ‘Brexpats Spanish Nationality Course’ where they teach how expats can apply to become a Spanish citizen if they don’t much fancy a decade of uncertainty over Brexit. Cynics might call this a headline gamble to show-up the kindness of Europeans next […]

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Why doesn’t Spain love the iPhone?

As Apple celebrates the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, it might be worth pondering why Spain has no love for the acclaimed device.  The numbers are not flattering. According to research group Kantar, Google Android has a 90 percent market share in Spain with the iPhone falling way behind on 4.3 percent.  And the numbers have consistently […]

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All of space, time…and Spain. 

For 54 years Doctor Who has been travelling to new and strange worlds. For most of that time, it was touring the quarries of Great Britain.  Every now and again, though, the show took a left turn and went to the Iberian Peninsula. As of 2017, Doctor Who has filmed seven stories in Spain. Despite […]

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Will apps kill pubs?

Has the death knell been sounded for pubs and restaurants? Customers can now order food and drink to their table through downloadable mobile apps. Food, drink and re-orders are paid for with the push of a button with servers left to deliver them. The ‘order and pay’ app has already been adopted by pub chains […]

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