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Is it a good idea for other nations to criticise the politics of their allies? The British, for example, have a habit of looking across the pond and concluding that America’s politics are coarse and divisive. While Germany looks elsewhere and sees only chaos compared to its sanity and calm.
Philip Stephens, who has been living in Berlin for the past two months, looks at what the UK’s allies think of Brexit in his column. Many of those he has met think the UK and its political system is consumed by an inexplicable fever. The lack of clarity over what Britain wants from Brexit certainly adds to this impression, which is compounded by Theresa May’s increasingly weak position. Her inability to get a grip on a feuding Conservative party reinforces the belief that British politics is undergoing a collective nervous breakdown. The lack of a coherent centrist bloc has seen the main parties retreat to their ideological fringes, hunkering down with their core voters.
Judging Britain alone though is a mistake. One gets another perspective if comparing the country’s travails to those of its continental neighbours. Spain is on the verge of breaking up, France, Austria and the Netherlands have all seen a rise in support for the far right in recent elections. Germany still does not have a functioning government. Everyone is figuring out how to deal with the challenge of populism, which is not limited to one nation.
Time Warner and AT&T: Our FT View editorial says competition and politics are colliding in the proposed merger between two US giants. The Justice Department still needs to adequately to explain why CNN should be divested as part of the deal.
Housing mess: Chris Giles argues in his column that the UK’s housing market is in a bad state and big, bold fixes are needed to tackle the costs and complications of trying to purchase a property. Affordability and housing stock both need to be tackled.
Reputation: Ludovic Hunter-Tilney reckons that Taylor Swift’s attitude towards her public image is understandable in the digital age. Everyone and everything is judged or is judging now, and he thinks Swift understands that reputation is more than skin deep and is not just a branding exercise.
Best of the rest
Honesty and clarity needed on Brexit — urgently — George Bridges for Reaction
A Mass Extinction for Virginia Republicans — Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal
Trump Is Ceding Global Leadership to China — Antony J. Blinken in The New York Times
Speaking to the Far Right — Ian Buruma in Project Syndicate
How Brexit will unfold — Britain will get a deal, but it’ll come at a price — Charles Grant in The Guardian
What you’ve been saying
Our energy and climate policies can’t be that bad— letter from Richard Black in London
“In an economics textbook, decarbonising by means of an economy-wide carbon tax alone looks elegant. But the realities are anything but. How are emissions from farms, practically, to be measured — and they must be, if each farmer is to be carbon-taxed?”
Comment from asocialdemocraticfuture on Chris Giles’s op-ed, However you analyse it, housing in Britain is a mess
“I agree, Bo Jo. Reforming private builder business models will help to reduce the public expenditure cost of an expanded but variegated affordable housing programme, by deflating land costs, which take up up to two-thirds of total housing development costs in the high cost areas. The two go hand-in-hand. I also accept that success also depends on the public sector releasing and acquiring land for affordable housing development.”
Kelleher was the true father of low-cost airlines— letter from Peter Boot in the US
“Sir, Thank you for the excellent article on aircraft leasing ( ‘Dublin on a high as China aviation sector surges’). However, I am sure that Tony Ryan would agree if he could that Herb Kelleher, who founded Southwest Airlines together with a friend, was the true father of low-cost airlines. The story goes that Kelleher drew out the business plan as a triangle of cities in Texas while dining with the friend in a San Antonio restaurant. The rest is of course history. The key to Ryanair’s success is in part Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s realisation that Europe was waiting for a Southwest-style airline after he visited them in the US.”
Instant Insight: Theresa May keeps the Brexit balance but stops short of renewal
Penny Mordaunt’s promotion has been well received in the Tory party, writes Sebastian Payne
Tesla risks being overtaken by the competition
Traditional carmakers have decades of experience running efficient production lines
Carry on up the Conservatives — a Whitehall farce in umpteen acts
Oh, for the halcyon days of the omnishambles Budget!
However you analyse it, housing in Britain is a mess
Setting up a new household is much more expensive for young people today
Free Lunch: Globalisation is proving the optimists right
Economic nationalism is losing for now
Brexit has broken British politics
To old friends, the UK appears to be in the grip of an inexplicable fever
FT View: Eurozone’s fortunes turn on further reform steps
Governments should fix the roof while the sun is still shining
FT View: Competition and politics meet in AT&T’s big deal
The Justice Department must explain why CNN should be divested
The Big Read
The Big Read: Beijing’s endgame: football with Chinese characteristics
A spending spree on European clubs carries risks as well as rewards for China’s image