Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music

RICHARD PORRITT with the week's big stories

All hail to the mutineers! The Daily Telegraph pulled off a remarkable feat this week by outraging both Remainers and Leavers with their bonkers splash labelling Tory Brexit rebels 'mutineers'.

Even Brexit minister Steve Baker took a shot at the Conservative Party's in-house newsletter, saying 'colleagues have sincere suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that'. The Government fears other Remainers may now harden their stance. Watch this space.


While we await the – probably heavily redacted – Brexit impact papers it is worth remembering the European Union has already conducted and published its own version. And it does not make for happy reading.

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The research predicts outcomes of a European Economic Area option for Britain and, on the other hand, what could happen if there is no deal.

Stand out forecasts include GDP falling by a massive 3.3% with a knock-on impact of 0.36% decline averaged out across the EU27, with Ireland would be the worst hit, followed by Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, the Netherlands and Belgium.

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Basically it is a shitshower. Let's keep this prognosis in mind when those redacted British papers are finally made public.


I spent a glorious few hours with doyen of investigative journalism Bruce Page this week to discuss Brexit.

Page was part of the exceptional Sunday Times Insight team that fought so hard for justice for victims of Thalidomide before going on to edit the New Statesman in the late 1970s and early 1980s. More recently he has dedicated much of his time to researching the life of Rupert Murdoch – his former boss – and has annoyed the media baron with several less-than flattering biographies.

He believes the Brexit debate needs new impetus and Remainers should not have allowed the wild patriotism of the Leave campaign to take hold. What better figure than Winston Churchill – the man who called for a united Europe back in 1946 – to achieve this?

He said: 'In 1941 an American commented to Churchill 'you're buggered aren't you?' To which he replied with his famous phrase 'we will have to keep buggering on then'.' KBO indeed.


Here at The New European we do not pull any punches when it comes to Vladimir Putin – we believe he has meddled in foreign elections, is a danger to world stability and we don't think his judo is much cop.

So nothing would make us prouder than to be registered by the Kremlin as a foreign agent. And new laws passed in Moscow could make that dream a reality.

The move is in apparent retaliation to the United States intelligence agencies claiming television station Russia Today was used by Putin to meddle in the presidential election.

That's the same Russia Today that used a child dressed as the Queen to knight Nigel Farage – so perhaps they could be accused of meddling in the honours system as well?

The hastily-passed Russian laws go much further than the sanctions on RT in the states though, allowing the Kremin to categorise any foreign-funded media as an agent – all very John Le Carré isn't it? CNN, Radio Free Europe and Deutsche Welle are expected to be on Karla's list.

And we want to be next. So, for the record Mr Putin, whenever we are in Moscow we are absolutely spying on you.


How do you make a party with Nazi roots appear... well... less Nazi? Austria's far-right, anti-immigration Freedom Party have had an idea – the edelweiss. Their 51 MPs opted to sport the pretty Alpine flower when attending the opening session of Austria's parliament in a bid to soften its public image. Until recently party members have worn blue cornflowers in their lapels – infamously worn by Austrian Nazis in the 1930s.

The edelweiss is considered by many to be a symbol of Austria – and the song of the same name was sung by the lovely von Trapp family in the face of the Anschluss.

How long before the Freedom Party begin lining up outside parliament for a quick rendition of Do-Re-Mi at the start of the day and whistling So Long, Farewell as they leave?


Police drafted in to Barcelona by Madrid as a show of force in the face of growing anger over the Catalan independence bid are finally to be re-housed after spending 58 days on board a Looney Tunes cruise ship.

The bobbies had become something of a joke in the city as they trooped to and from a boat with Wile E Coyote, Tweety Pie and Daffy Duck emblazoned on the side.

Along with being the source of much embarrassment for the police the boat was also ill-equipped to house the officers. Complaints were raised concerning the living conditions of those on-board over issues such as poor hygiene and lack of acceptable food for the poor police. That's all folks!

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