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Crimean Tatars: is another genocide under way?

Yesterday Putin’s storm troops made a move on Crimean Tatars, a people whose claim on the peninsula predates the Russians’ by centuries.

Ever since the anschluss of the Crimea last March, the Tatars, who make up about 12 per cent of the population, have been on the receiving end of persecution.

This went beyond your normal common-or-garden jostling for position and the odd offensive word on public transport.

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Independence means greater dependence in Scottish

Socialism corrupts; socialism plus nationalism corrupts absolutely.

With apologies to Lord Acton for this slight paraphrase, it does explain the morass into which Scotland has sunk.

The Scots used to be a proud, and proudly self-sufficient, people of empire builders, engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists, statesmen, writers, philosophers and economists, one that punched way above its weight in British life.

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Dave on Islam: our heir to Blair plagiarises Dubya

It was the current American VP Joe Biden who set the precedent.

During his 1988 presidential campaign Biden repeated word for word Neil Kinnock’s speech on being the first in his family to go to university. Sorry, it wasn’t quite word for word: Joe did replace ‘the first Kinnock’ with ‘the first Biden’.

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Has the Third World War already started?

Most historians agree that the Second World War started on 1 September, 1939.

Some will argue that the real date was 23 August, when Molotov and Ribbentrop signed the pact whose secret protocol divided Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Some others will pick an even earlier date, such as the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss of Austria or the occupation of Czechoslovakia. 

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Aye or och, no? Scotland decides, Rifkind waffles

Long since gone are the days when one could hope to read serious analysis in The Times.

The best one can expect nowadays is some intelligible thoughts, however wrong, shallow and ill-informed. Yet Hugo Rifkind consistently frustrates even such modest expectations.

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Russia, the champion of international law

President Obama’s plan to bomb IS forces in Syria doesn’t meet with Russia’s approval.

The cynics and Russophobes among you might suggest that Russia feels that way because Syria’s president Assad is a client of long standing, and he’ll be upset to see Nato bombers diving on his territory.

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Père Lachaise: honouring and mocking at the same time

The other day I spent a leisurely afternoon strolling through Père Lachaise, the great Paris cemetery.

It may be the ghoul in me, but I like cemeteries in general and historical ones in particular. Or else it’s the historian in me: stones speak. Dead bodies bring history alive.

Here’s the tombstone of Chopin, erected by his friends who made sure it specified that ‘Fred’s’ father was French.

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Another shocking revelation about Diana

A new book about Prince Harry says things about his late mother that I found deeply disturbing.

Nil nisi bonum… and all that, but I was never a great admirer of that hysterical, manipulative and cunning woman. She was admittedly very good-looking, but then so was Eva Braun.

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Do the Scots know what they’re doing?

Now that one poll has returned a slender lead for the ‘Yes’ campaign, there’s much excitement on both sides of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suddenly the previously improbable seems possible, and everyone is asking pointed questions under the common umbrella of ‘what next?’.

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Putin highlights English pundits’ moral and intellectual failings

Don’t ring for the men in white coats yet.

I haven’t suddenly fallen in love with Putin, and neither do I think he’s qualified to pass judgement on any serious matters.

What shows how deeply we’ve sunk into a hole isn’t anything Putin has said. It’s what he does and what he is. And specifically how we respond to what he does and what he is.

I know this parallel has been flogged to death, but the last time so many Westerners got things so cataclysmically wrong was in 1938.

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