Mark Carney is right: Brexit must free the City of London from Brussels red tape

Mark  Carney has been no friend of Brexit but in his latest interview with the FT he has got two things absolutely right.

First, he has pointed out that the City, as the world’s leading financial centre, needs to be regulated here and certainly not by Brussels. The government of Boris Johnson has made it clear that regulatory alignment is in general not on the trade talks table; and that plainly includes City regulation. Some have argued that the City should exchange regulative authority for ‘access’ to the EU’s financial markets. This, as Carney clearly understands, would be nonsensical.

The City needs regulative independence to function successfully in the world market. The EU needs the City…

Letters: Inept forest management laid the ground for the fires in Australia

SIR – The root cause of the bush fires in Australia is its government’s abysmal record on forest management.

In 1999 this was taken over by the state authorities, which made any private involvement in preventing the spread of fire virtually impossible. They did not prioritise personal safety or the protection of property, or carry out the traditional spring burning to create the necessary fire-control lines.

Those who feared for trees or birds were allowed to impede the burning programmes. Last spring, although it was clear that an exceptional effort would be required, the outcome was poor. Weather conditions meant that the burning season was short, and protesters further hampered efforts. In…

Why does Labour have such a problem with patriotism?

Patriotism is a prerequisite for electoral success. A party needs to show that it is committed to the country it aspires to run, that it feels a connection with its own people that goes beyond its vague benignity toward the human race.

Jeremy Corbyn’s distaste for British institutions and symbols was the single biggest cause of his defeat. It set the context in which voters interpreted Labour’s Brexit U-turn.

In different circumstances, Labour might have been able to shift its position on the EU without losing so many supporters. But Corbyn had established the tone at the start of his leadership when he refused to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial service.

His readiness…

Has the time come to reduce the duration of Test matches to four days? 

The England cricket team’s first Test match of 2020 starts against South Africa in Cape Town tomorrow, with the visitors eager to level the series after last week’s opener at Centurion. That ended in victory for the home side on the fourth day of a match scheduled to last five.

Over the past two years more than half of Tests have been completed inside four days. With so much international cricket being played nowadays in various formats, has the time come to reduce the duration of Test matches to four days from five?

Most Tests have been official five-day affairs for decades and in 1979 it was decreed that all should be played to this format. But the rule is being eroded. Last summer, England…

Nigella’s recipe for a Groundhog Christmas simply can’t be beaten 

“Another thing about xmas eve is that your pater always reads the xmas carol by c. dickens. You cannot stop this aktualy”. Thus Nigel Molesworth on the unavoidable rituals of a family Christmas. But imagine the anguished cries of Chiz! if he had aktualy succeeded in preventing the annual recitation.

Christmas stories are all about the cosiness of repetition. From the child hunt in Nancy Mitford’s Pursuit of Love, and the ringing repetitions of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales – the Useful Presents and the Useless Presents, and the Uncles: “There are always Uncles at Christmas” – the essence of our midwinter celebrations depends on the faithful observance of ritual.

When tradition fails,…

This cataclysmic election confirms that the realignment of British politics is almost complete

The 2019 General Election is like a flash of lightning that reveals the contours of a landscape previously shrouded in darkness. Several things are now clear, when you combine this result with its predecessor from 2017. The realignment of politics in England and Wales, which began with the rise of Ukip after 2010, is now almost complete.

We are now in a new political settlement in which the main division over politics is not so much economics as national identity and cultural politics, although economic issues still play a part. (A similar but different realignment in Scotland is done and dusted).

The results show that, as voting blocs, all the parties are changing in fundamental ways. For the…

Putin stole my business – and now Jeremy Corbyn wants to do the same

Back in the years when Jeremy Corbyn took the side of the Soviet Union in its struggle for peace and the spread of communist ideas throughout the world, Leonard Cohen wrote his hugely popular song “Everybody Knows”. 

Everybody knows that the Kremlin is rife with corruption. Everybody knows about Putin’s 20 years of dictatorship and his track record of stifling any dissent. Everybody knows that Putin’s gas, oil and money was taken from the pockets of his own people. Everybody knows that the current Russian regime supports war and the occupation of neighbouring states’ territories, as well as thieving dictatorial regimes all over the world.

And everybody needs to know that Mr Corbyn’s vision for…

Letters: Mobilisation of younger voters leaves a Tory election victory in doubt

SIR – Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings was right to caution on Wednesday against expectations of a Conservative majority come December 12.

Beneath the surface, membership of the hard-Left political movement Momentum has been increasing, mostly among younger voters who can be expected to turn out in large numbers. Conversely the Young Conservatives have largely evaporated in recent decades, leaving the Conservative Party deprived of its energetic youth membership that once numbered over 100,000.

The effect of this change in the demographics of both parties is not to be underestimated.

John Pritchard
Ingatestone, Essex

SIR – The Tories are in danger of playing the election game too cautiously,…

Thank God for passers-by who get stuck in 

What does courage look like in 21st century Britain? In an age when fatuous celebrity challenges are staged in the Australian jungle for our nightly entertainment, what constitutes a genuine hero?

On Friday we found out. As knife-carrying jihadist Usman Khan set out on his killing spree there was chaos, fear and hysteria among those who instinctively, rightly ran to safety.

And yet there were others who stood firm, who gave no thought to their own lives as they fought back and sought to save others. Two people were killed and three injured; it is thanks to the selflessness of strangers determined to disarm and bring down the attacker that the toll of victims was not higher.

Bravery has many faces:…