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from The Great Debate:

Maggie Thatcher versus the establishment

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She was, beyond a doubt, the greatest British political leader since Winston Churchill and, like him, she was cordially hated by many grandees of the party she led.

The entire British establishment, from the royal family down, often wished she would just go away. In the end, a Cabinet cabal proved too much for her and drove her into exile.

Britain hates talent, at least in its rulers. Maggie Roberts wasn't just talented – she was the incarnation of everything the 20th century British establishment loathed.

She was female, a trained scientist, aggressively middle class, personally assertive, openly nationalist, got on well with Jews and was utterly opposed to the mix of tepid socialism and stale one-nation Toryism that constituted the middle ground of British politics during the disastrous generation following World War Two.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

When Thatcher met Reagan

 When Margaret Thatcher met Ronald Reagan in April 1975, neither was in their first flush of youth. She was 50 and he 65. She was the leader of Britain’s opposition; he a former governor of California. It was by no means obvious that either would win power. They bonded instantly.

Although born almost a generation and an ocean and continent apart, they found they were completing each other’s sentences. Both instinctive politicians rather than taught ideologues, they discovered they had both found validation for their convictions in the works of Friedrich Hayek, at that time a long-forgotten theorist even among conservatives.

from Left field:

As Milan go to extremes, what’s your favourite sports song?

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Italian soccer club AC Milan played the famous music from the Champions League in their dressing room on Sunday to try to motivate the players. The only thing was they weren't playing in the Champions League -- it was a domestic match at home to Bologna.

Milan have stuttered in Italy for a few years now but they won the Champions League, Europe's top club trophy, in 2007 and had produced a good performance to beat Olympique Marseille in the same competition the previous week.

from The Great Debate UK:

September 1939 and the outbreak of war

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terrycharman- Terry Charman is Senior Historian at the Imperial  War Museum in London. He studied Modern History and Politics at the University of Reading and while there interviewed Adolf Hitler's architect Albert Speer. He specializes in the political, diplomatic, social and cultural aspects of the World Wars, and wrote "The German Home Front 1939-1945" and "Outbreak 1939: The World Goes To War". He is curator of the exhibition Outbreak 1939 at the museum. The opinions expressed are his own. -

In September 1939, in marked contrast to August 1914, Britain went to war in a sombre mood of resigned acceptance of the inevitable. There was no Union Jack waving “hurrah” patriotism as there had been twenty-five years before. After Adolf Hitler had torn up the Munich Agreement in March 1939 and invaded the Czech lands, the British people recognized that appeasement had failed and that the German leader’s aggressive plans would have  to be stopped, and if necessary by force of arms.

from The Great Debate UK:

The economic consequences of Mr Rimsevics

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alf vanags- Alf Vanags is director of the Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies. The opinions expressed are his own. -

On April 28, 1925 the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill, put Britain back on the gold standard at the pre-World War I parity, a move that was strongly criticized by Maynard Keynes in his pamphlet "The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill".

from UK News:

The arrest of Damian Green, MP

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The furore over the arrest of Conservative shadow immigration secretary   Damian Green for leaking government documents has reached such a pitch that there is talk of MPs disrupting Wednesday's state opening of parliament.

Editorials over the weekend were full of reminders that Winston Churchill had leaked evidence that Britain was not prepared for the Nazi threat and that Gordon Brown himself has been happy in the past to disclose confidential information. It is part of an opposition MP's job to hold the government to account, they argued, and no part of the police's job to act in such a heavy handed way.

from Photographers' Blog:

The Boris and Ken show

Yesterday May 1 saw voters in England and Wales go to the polls to elect their local authority representatives. Londoners will have to wait until this evening to know who will be their new mayor but it is hard to imagine that it won't be either the incumbent Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone or the Conservative challenger Boris Johnson. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the other contenders, this has pretty much been a two horse race almost from the start. 

Ken tea

Some reports have said that Mayor Ken Livingstone has looked rather weary and Stephen Hird's picture (which appears on the front of  yesterday's FT), shows him taking a break from the last day of campaigning, at what is colloquially know in this country as a 'greasy spoon' cafe. Intended, I suspect, to demonstrate his 'just-like-us-ness'. It may in fact have succeeded rather too well because he does look just like any other tired old bloke.   

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