In China’s feud with Canada, the gloves are off

In China’s feud with Canada, the gloves are off

WHEN EUROPE’S medieval princes met in battle, a grim change could be signalled by raising a red banner, revealing that bellum hostile—during which high-ranking prisoners could expect to be ransomed and returned unharmed—had become guerre mortelle, or a fight to the death. China’s modern-day rulers appeared to send a similar message on January 14th, when…

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Brexit, mother of all messes

Brexit, mother of all messes

NO PLAN BY any modern British government has been so soundly thrashed as the Brexit deal thrown out by Parliament on January 15th. The withdrawal agreement, the centrepiece of Theresa May’s premiership, which she has spent nearly two years hammering out with the European Union, was rejected after five days’ debate by 432 votes to…

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Dictators, demagogues and the British referendum

Dictators, demagogues and the British referendum

With the possible exceptions of race, sex and Theresa May’s dancing, no subject has inspired more hysteria in British politics than the referendum. In 1945 Clement Attlee denounced it as “alien to all our traditions” and an “instrument of Nazism”. Harold Wilson, the prime minister who would hold Britain’s first national referendum in 1975, had…

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The great rescrambling of Britain’s parties

The great rescrambling of Britain’s parties

PEOPLE HAVE been talking about the collapse of the British party system for decades. Now it may actually be under way. The government has lost its authority. Parties are dissolving into factions. Factions are forming left-right alliances. Backbenchers are seizing the limelight while frontbenchers are hiding in the bushes. Get our daily newsletterUpgrade your inbox…

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Italy and France are at loggerheads

Italy and France are at loggerheads

CESARE BATTISTI (pictured, centre), a former left-wing terrorist arrested in Bolivia after 38 years on the run, was returned to his native Italy on January 14th. Waiting at the airport was Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the hard right Northern League. Mr Battisti’s deportation, he said, was not an end but a beginning:…

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