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Robert Mercer-Nairne
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Entries by Robert Mercer-Nairne

The Price Paid

(1) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 2:26 PM

You know that sensation you get whenever you see a motorway smash-up? It turns your stomach. You feel physically sick. You count your blessings and move on. That is the price we pay for the freedom to drive where we wish. Now another bombing has grabbed the news. 282 people...

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She Was Hated by Most Scots

(3) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 6:54 AM

Much will be written about Baroness Thatcher. It will be black or white, as she would have wanted. 'You don't bring about change through consensus' was one of her maxims. Like many others, I experienced the consequences of this approach to politics. In the 1970s I and the team working...

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What a Pitiful People We Are

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 6:44 AM

The spectacle of two human beings undergoing what amounts to a slow motion car crash should fill us with deep sadness. Instead, we are the jackals with cameras seeking to capture every nuance of the tragedy so that we may wallow in Schadenfreude, that compelling release of our own follies....

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A Tale of Two Cities

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 5:01 AM

There once were two great cities: Athens and Sparta. The Athenians were the first to achieve impressive wealth and for a generation the Spartans could do no more than look on in envious admiration. What was their secret, the Spartan leaders asked? The Athenians had no doubt. Theirs was the...

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The European Union Does Not Need a Parliament

(1) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 8:28 AM

It is in the nature of human evolution to imagine that what we have come up with most recently is the pearl of great price. And so representative government seemed to be. But let's consider the facts. Monarchy, as an institution, took the place of tribalism. Or, to be more...

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There Were Leaders, Once

(1) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 8:59 AM

Oh boy, what a mess we are in! The United Kingdom could lose Scotland in 2014. The sectarian division in Northern Ireland has reasserted itself. The United Kingdom Independence Party is attracting a serious number of votes. The Conservative Party remains split around Britain's relationship with Europe. The Labour Party...

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And Al-Qa'eda Laughed

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 10:20 AM

Now it is Mali. Before that, Syria, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. And before any of these, there was Afghanistan. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center aroused the West, and in particular Americans, to what was perceived as a shadowy threat, but few even entertained the suspicion that it...

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Angels and Demons

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2012 | 8:58 AM

I am two thirds of the way through a harrowing book, Savage Continent by Keith Lowe. I urge you all to read it over the next twelve months, but not until after Christmas. There is no need for you to upset yourselves until then. What Mr. Lowe has managed to...

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Really First Minister, You'll Need to do Better Than That!

(3) Comments | Posted October 21, 2012 | 1:11 PM

At its conference in Perth SNP leader Alex Salmond couldn't resist rallying the faithful with another of his beautiful one liners. Now that he had secured a referendum on independence for 2014, he told them, the Scottish people would no longer have to be governed by a bunch of "incompetent...

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What is Europe For?

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2012 | 2:52 AM

We are at one of those points in history where the choices we make will have a big impact on our future. At the moment we seem surrounded by confusion and many voices vie for our attention. This is normal when the order we are used to is breaking down...

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Ignorant Electors, Incompetent Government.

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2012 | 1:43 PM

We make considerable play of our democratic systems. So confident are we in their virtue that we are willing to destabilize less virtuous regimes, even if doing so results in large numbers of innocent civilians being killed in the mayhem that follows. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs...

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Scotland: Beyond Independence

(7) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 12:16 PM

There is something about the commentary on Scottish Independence (one could hardly call it a reasoned debate) that feels other-worldly. The SNP flaunts the Saltire. Those opposed to "independence" wave the Jack. It is beginning to feel like a marriage in which the man and woman talk past each other...

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Let's Burn a Few Bankers

(0) Comments | Posted July 4, 2012 | 1:40 AM

In the time honoured fashion, as it is when a community's prejudices clash with reality to produce uncertainty and fear, let's burn some witches and in so doing, expurgate our own sins. Or better still, let's be modern abut it and burn a few bankers instead. From politicians being economic...

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It Was a Great Party

(1) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 1:33 PM

It was a great party, without a doubt. And yes, it was about the United Kingdom and its remarkable history, Scottish as well as English. But if what went before made us, it is as well to remember that today is tomorrow's past. As I have said before, I wish...

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Whose Democracy is it Anyway?

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 12:33 PM

From Aung San Suu Kyi's Myanmar to the United States Tea Party, from Occupy Wall Street, St Paul's, the world to the Arab Spring, from Scotland (population 5.2 million) to Catalonia (population 7.4 Million), from Germany to Holland to France to Greece to Ireland to Portugal to Spain, men and...

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A Peculiarly Scottish Problem?

(3) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 1:02 PM

In its April 14th-20th edition, The Economist ruffled quite a few Celtic feathers when it placed a map of Scotland on its cover with a few cheekily chosen name changes. Scotland became Skintland, the Outer Hebredes Outer Cash, Edinburgh Edinborrow, Inverness Inverruin, and so on with my favourite, the Grampian...

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Is it Time to Ask What the United Kingdom is for?

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 7:01 AM

While the Liberal leadership struggled to head off grass root opposition to the coalition's plans for the national health service at its party conference, the SNP leadership, at its own conference in Glasgow, was able to talk about a renaissance in Scottish industry. Meanwhile the Conservative Party has more or...

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