Stories By 'Simon Jenkins'
The message is glaring from Sweden’s election result. There is one dominant issue in Europe’s politics at present, and it is immigration.
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Four hundred and forty British troops are about to leave for Afghanistan to help fight the Taliban. Could someone explain why? It is now four years since British troops “left” that country, after 13 long years and £40bn of fighting, culminating in defeat in Helmand. In 2014, Nato formally ended its retaliation for Afghanistan harbouring Osama bin Laden.
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Which question is best when something goes wrong? How to put it right, or who to blame? The first makes sense, but the second is more fun. That is why Chris Grayling, the hapless transport secretary, is being cursed by rail commuters from Brighton to Bedford to Blackpool. Today, yet another emergency timetable enters operation on Northern rail, announced with an inaugural cancellation on Preston station.
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I love towers and hate towers. I love those of Siena and San Gimignano and the skyscraper clusters of Manhattan and Dubai. I admire the design of London’s Canary Wharf, and of the Shard, if only it had not been dumped on Bermondsey.
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Is it really goodbye shop? This has been another terrible month for retailing. Monday’s figures show March footfall down 6% on last year, and almost 9% down in high streets. Clothing is in freefall, down 20%. My two local high streets—one rich, one poor—both look as if they’ve been hit by the plague, with naked windows pockmarked by “For Sale” signs.
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The only option now open to the west in Syria is whether or not to make it worse. No amount of grandstanding, feelgood rhetoric or intermittent bombing is going to impede the Assad regime’s path to victory in its civil war.
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