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Speaking of which, in a period when there is much criticism but little building, a short but important statement has been issued. “A Europe we can believe in” is a learned and deep restatement of European values, signed by a range of European historians and philosophers, including Sir Roger Scruton and Rémi Brague. It is available at the website thetrueeurope.eu and would reward anyone’s time.

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Until September I had never been on a cruise or even an ocean crossing. But I accepted an invitation to speak on the Queen Mary 2 during a week-long voyage from Southampton to New York. The ship was fine, my travelling companions wonderful. But best was the opportunity to read on board a vessel where wi-fi was bankrupting if it existed at all. I took the opportunity to read novels and memoirs, including Michael Peppiatt’s Francis Bacon in Your Blood. Peppiatt’s biography of the artist made a great impression on me when I read it as a schoolboy. His latest (2015) is a more personal account, both harrowing and hilarious, of friendship with the artist. Reading it caused me to reflect not only on Peppiatt’s changing relationship with Bacon but on the reader’s relationship with him. I suspect that the art as well as the table-talk of Bacon impressed me more as a teenager than it does now. But if a case can be made for the greatness of (and point of returning to) Bacon, then this Boswell makes it.

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If there had been occasional longueurs over the preceding week, arriving in New York more than justified this method of arrival. Seeing the Statue of Liberty loom up in the early-morning light was for centuries how people escaping the politics and problems of their native lands first saw this city and continent. I feel rather privileged to have even briefly joined their ranks.
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James M
October 4th, 2017
4:10 PM
I enjoy all of Mr Murray's writing, but these pieces in Standpoint, particularly the cultural and reflective ones, are a real joy to read. I always learn something new or consider things from a slightly different angle having read his work.

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