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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Newslog
In Newslog, Nick Robinson keeps a unique diary from the heart of the news. Add your comment too.

Friday 10 May


Awww, what a shame
posted by Nick | 1258 BST | Add comment
What a shame. The Europe Day quiz, which I mention below, has strangely disappeared from the government website. Even stranger that it disappeared only after I wrote my Newslog entry at 1036. Perhaps it's just a technical hitch. Or perhaps something else has gone on... We'll probably never know.

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Are you a good European?
posted by Nick | 1036 BST | Add comment
What do you mean you missed it?

You shouldn't have missed the big day that defines our identity and our destiny. Yesterday, you see, was Europe Day.

Of course, I'm talking about the "annual celebration of the diversity of cultures within Europe...an opportunity to reflect on modern day Europe and the European Union and to bring the people of Europe, wherever they live, closer to each other" (don't blame me, I don't write this stuff).

Keen to engage with this historic moment I logged onto the government's Europe Day website and couldn't resist its quiz.

"What is an IGC?" "What is the currency of Lithuania?" "Which Belgian invented a famous musical instrument?"

No, really, those are the questions. The list of events held in the capital to mark Europe Day contained two entries, and one of those was in the Foreign Office (the other was a project in a school).

How many euros did this cost? It's enough to make a euro-sceptic of the most committed federalist!

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Thursday 9 May


Will he go this time?
posted by Nick | 1730 BST | Add comment
The only question about Stephen Byers that anyone outside Westminster ever wants the answer to is can he survive?

The mistake some people make is to think that Parliament is court of law which, after the evidence has been heard, finds a minister guilty or innocent, and flings him to either the hangman or home.

In truth, the jury has always been nobbled in Parliament along predictable party lines. The minister - except in the most extreme cases - is always found innocent.

A better metaphor than a court is a gladiatorial contest. The minister is thrown to the Parliamentary lions but ultimately his survival depends on the whim of the emperor - none other than Tony Blair.

The crowd can cheer and cheer but it's the emperor and the emperor alone who gives the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

So far Tony Blair's thumb has stayed up for Stephen Byers. There's some sympathy for the problems he's faced in what is regarded as disloyal and troublemaking press office, led by Martin Sixsmith.

However sympathy is fast turning away at Byers' incapacity to resolve the problems once and for all, cleanly and quietly.

They, you and I will just have to wait to see whether the Blair thumb turns down.
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