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Most things do work in France – except politics

I don’t know if Andy Street, head of John Lewis, plays football, but he’s certainly a master of our second most popular sport: French bashing.

Nothing in France works, he says. In absolute terms he’s not far wrong: most things in France don’t work as well as they should.

But by comparing St Pancras favourably to Gare du Nord, Mr Street implied that his standards aren’t absolute but comparative. One can also infer that he uses Britain as the baseline value.

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So that’s what hot potato means

A 22-year-old Colombian woman has unwittingly stumbled upon a promising horticultural idea.

It was unwitting because her intention was never to grow potatoes. Following her mother’s advice, she simply used that versatile root vegetable as a contraceptive device.

However, by the time she was admitted to hospital with acute abdominal pains, and the doctors tried to harvest the potato, it had already germinated and grown roots inside her.

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Let’s not be too hasty saluting that speech

David Cameron has only one thing going for him: he isn’t Ed Miliband.

Miliband’s speech at the Labour conference proved yet again that he has learned nothing from the disasters his socialist predecessors have perpetrated with predictable regularity.

Clearly, this Eddie is not for learning.

Dave isn’t a particularly fast study either, but he has the mind-focusing prospect of losing the next election staring him in the face.

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Our strategists prove that common sense is most uncommon

Our country is at war.

Historically, that’s what the RAF flying bombing sorties has meant. If this fact now calls for a different interpretation, I’d like to hear what it is.

Until I do I’ll be repeating the same old thing: Britain is at war. And I hope you’ll join me.

By doing so you’ll exhibit more clarity of strategic thought than HMG so far has shown, and it’s not getting much help from our commentators, expert or otherwise.

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Zeitgeist speaks through Robson Green

If, like me, you aren’t plugged into popular culture, Robson Green is some kind of TV actor, a rather good one by general consent.

That makes him a celebrity, a status that confers on its proud possessor the authority to enlarge on any subject under the sun and have his views taken seriously.

Now my lifelong familiarity with actors (I grew up in the family of one) has led me to one of those YOU CAN’T SAY THAT observations, namely that thespians tend to be rather dim.

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Conservatism in crisis

Lord Hailsham’s explanation of conservatism is correct, but only as far as it goes:

“Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.”

Fair enough, conservatism isn’t so much an ideological bias as a matter of intuitive, visceral predisposition.

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Let’s hear it for this courageous victim of a gruesome crime

Giving testimony took an act of sheer heroism for the poor victim, still deeply traumatised even after 24 years.

Addressing London’s Southwark Crown Court, she said: “I was a naive and trusting 22-year-old when I was subjected to an unprovoked and terrifying physical assault at my place of work.”

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Four most destructive words in English: YOU CAN’T SAY THAT

Lewis Carroll was nothing short of prophetic when he made his Humpty Dumpty conduct this dialogue with Alice:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

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PlayStation war against the IS

Tomorrow Dave will let slip the dogs of war.

But, in compliance with Shakespeare’s original, the crying havoc part will come first.

Dave will entertain his parliamentary colleagues with a few horror stories about IS monstrosity, beheadings and some such.

The canine part will follow, with Dave and his jolly friends, now suitably worked up, pushing the button for yet another PlayStation action against the nasties.

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Ten years to turn Britain around? Ed won’t take that long

Ed Miliband is asking for 10 years in power to “turn Britain around”.

He’s being uncharacteristically modest. Socialists have never needed years to destroy a country when they take over.

Depending on their radicalism, this feat may take them days to achieve (Lenin) or perhaps weeks (Hollande). Never years.


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