Gordon Brown is back, and may be the man to save the union | Jonathan Freedland

He was reviled after he lost the 2010 election, but the former PM is now reframing the Scottish independence debate

Tony Blair was on the front page of the Financial Times this week, as the paper brought word of the former prime minister's plan to open an office in "the increasingly assertive oil-rich emirate" of Abu Dhabi. The FT explained that Blair is expanding his portfolio of business and other interests in the Middle East, which already includes a contract to advise Mubadala, one of Abu Dhabi's mighty sovereign wealth funds.

A few hours later, Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, came to London to advance some business of his own. Brown was in the capital to attend a series of unpaid meetings in cramped rooms, pressing the case for Scotland to remain part of the UK. He was rewarded with a cup of canteen coffee.

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England’s footballers are as confused as England itself | Jonathan Freedland

In its values, its borders and even its national anthem, this country is unsure where it stands. And isolation looms

They thought it was all over on Thursday, but Italy's defeat this evening confirmed it. England are out of the World Cup, dumped at the earliest possible stage. Now the introspection and recrimination can begin in earnest.

There are theories aplenty from the weakness of England's defence to the abundance of non-English players in the Premier League but the most arresting explanation came from football writer Alyson Rudd. "They looked like the England of old," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "Slightly lost and not knowing who they were. They have no national identity."

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Why Britain still wants to fight Europe on the beaches | Jonathan Freedland

As D-day reminds us, the EU was born out of war, and Britain's heroic view of that conflict shapes its hostile attitude

The beaches are quiet now, every last trace of blood washed away. When I covered the 60th anniversary commemorations of D-day in 2004, it was that contrast that struck me most. How rapidly the earth had healed, how quickly the calm and beauty of Normandy once noisy with the clamour of war, the soil once sodden with blood had been restored.

Today I watched the 70th anniversary events from afar, on television. I was moved once more by the sight of the remaining veterans, fewer this time, come to say thank you, or goodbye, to the comrades who fell at their sides friends for ever frozen in youth.

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