Brexit, fake news and fraud

The following is a letter submitted three weeks ago to the Royston Crow, but which they have declined to publish… The claim that EU accounts have not been signed off in over 20 years (Peter Chilvers, postbag 22 February) is what is known colloquially as ‘fake news’. It is an example of the adage often […]

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Sodium scooter delivers tellurium for 2d diodes

Nanotechnology at the level of chemical physics doesn’t normally attract popular attention, but a recent paper in Nature Communications is worth highlighting given its implications for the use of two-dimensional materials in electronics. Graphene is the best known 2d material, and much has been said of its wondrous properties in various applications including electronic components. […]

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Nord Stream 2 is a danger to Russia as much as Europe

US Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has in a speech delivered today in Warsaw warned that the planned Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline between Russia and Germany presents a major threat to European energy security. Tillerson’s concerns are justified, to a smallish degree, but the language is alarmist, and hides the fact that […]

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Capital, politics and techno-ethics – an unwholesome threesome

When political and business leaders pontificate on ethics, as England’s acting prime minister Theresa May has done today in Davos, you should immediately check for your purse. Davos, aka the World Economic Forum, is an annual excuse in mutual backscratching and deal-making among the world’s uber-rich (pun intended) and politicians, democratic or otherwise. The democratic […]

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Bayeux Tapestry – a hostage to Brexit?

President Emmanuel Macron has for reasons best known to himself agreed to loan the priceless Bayeux embroidery to England, as part of a political exercise in highlighting the strength of Anglo-French relations. One hopes this magnificent object doesn’t become a hostage to Brexit, with England using it to blackmail France in future Anglo-European diplomatic manoeuvres. […]

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Fatal parastatal and the collapse of Carillion

For most of my adult life we’ve been fed an ideological line that the state provides nothing of economic value, and all that matters is private enterprise. With Thatcherism and monetarist dogma, the crisis of ownership in 1970s industry made way for deregulation and privatisation of state-owned firms, natural monopolies included. This in turn led […]

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‘Let’s dance’, sagt Herr Hammond

The UK government’s Brexit roadshow in Berlin has taken on a comical turn. Or at least that’s how our German cousins will see Keeper of the Public Purse Phil Hammond’s insistence that “it takes two to tango”. Spreadsheet Phil is a most unfair moniker for such a star entertainer. In short, we have an unhappy […]

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Brexit is a nuisance for Germany and the EU

The British political media today are focused, bordering on obsessed, with the German “charm offensive” of finance minister Phil Hammond and hapless Brexit gofer David Davis. I emphasise the word obsessed, as that is how the UK’s Brexit stance is aptly described by Almut Möller, Berlin office chief for the European Council on Foreign Relations. […]

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That UK government reshuffle in full

All you need to know about today’s government reshuffle… Larry remains the First Feline of the Treasury, whilst Palmerston refuses to cede his patch at the Foreign Office. Strong and stable. Steady as she goes.

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Post-Brexit science to be discussed at parliamentary summit

I see that the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has entered 2018 with a call for a summit focused on science in the UK post-Brexit. Whatever their personal views of Brexit, including whether EU withdrawal will actually happen, the committee members are doing their job, and one hopes that the summit comes up […]

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