I've often wondered why rail travel provides more opportunities to converse than air travel and I've concluded that much of it has to be linked to the fact people have more space and sometimes sit facing each other during journeys. Seeing the historic Belgian city of Namur through the carriage windows, the dense forestation of the Ardennes and the skyline of Rotterdam prompted conversation among the people with whom I was sitting.
The basic questions surrounding the privatisation of the postal service are the same as those surrounding the privatisation of any essential public service. Can a private enterprise whose primary goal is to draw profit be expected to offer the same level of service as a public service whose only goal is to provide that service even if it is a detriment to their bottom line?
Scotland's failure to qualify for an international tournament in the last 14 years is not a national embarrassment. Nonetheless, the Scottish team, continually ridiculed, will find it difficulty to qualify for the World Cup. Euro qualification will become easier with the increased size of that tournament, but the World Cup may not be seen by the Tartan Army for many years.
Colonisation and its impact on the colonised is rarely a topic of sustained public conversation in Britain. It is not even a tangential topic. It is simply ignored, elided with very infrequent and brief exceptions such as the one prompted now by the case of Kenyan survivors of torture and other human rights abuses of British rule in Kenya.
I am most certainly biased as I consider the Spa Francorchamps circuit one of the crowning achievements of motorsport excitement and while the cars all take Eau Rouge flat these days, it is still a fantastic venue and as our own Mark Hallam points out, it is one of the few races that is still affordable to attend.