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Ukip moves from fringe to far right

As it dawned on a disbelieving media two years ago that a majority had voted to leave the EU, a question sporadically posed by bleary-eyed commentators to each other was: “Where does that leave Ukip?” For erstwhile leader Nigel Farage it turned out to be a hasty cheerio and memory lapse regarding promises printed on the side of a bus. For his party, it’s been a succession of short-lived leadership stints and a remorseless decline in the polls. Despite exploiting the dividends of proportional representation and the local protest vote, Ukip has been notably unsuccessful in making a breakthrough at Westminster. Recent wipe-outs have reinforced a perception among the punters that the party has r

Black Friday looks a bit off colour

It’s funny how we no longer get advance warnings of Black Friday mayhem or appalling scenes of shoppers battling each other over bargains. Let’s face it, the phenomenon ain’t what it used to be. In fact, there’s many a part of the country where you’re likely to be walking through fashion shops to the sound of my own footsteps According to retail gurus, a majority of the UK chain stores dislike the idea of binge-buying; mainly because it distorts spend and creates an expectation of low prices just when premium Christmas stuff is going onto the shelves. Over half of UK shoppers now prefer to do their buying online. The impact on Black Friday is obvious. Last year, sales made on smartphones out

Old and new revisited

The State of Brexit The only thing you can say with any clarity about the present state of Brexit is that it continues to be in a right old state. In recent weeks we’ve had muddled ministers retracting statements while others have opted to wash their hands of it altogether. We get confused news reports about plots and counter plots and claims of future customs chaos. We’re told Theresa May has secured a deal. Then we hear she hasn’t. And even if she has, the issue then becomes whether the proposals can get parliament’s support or even the backing of her own cabinet. Meanwhile, business bosses sink further into despair. I recently blagged myself a listening role at a phone conference wher

Festive symptoms not what they seem

A few years ago, I started getting regular indigestion. Nothing too bad at first; but I gradually found that I couldn’t leave the house without making sure I was toting a pack of tablets. It was noticeably worse during holidays or when I got worked up about something. Eventually, and convinced I had an impending stomach ulcer, I took myself off to the GP. She listened, nodded and prescribed some tablets. She also sent me for a series of tests at Morriston hospital. You know, just in case. A few weeks later, I emerged a bit ashen-faced from out-patients with a diagnosis of ‘angina’. I’d heard of the term before. My late dad had been affected by the same condition but I hadn’t really understoo

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