In what has become an annual tradition, hundreds of drivers in the UAE pulled out all the stops last month in decorating their motor vehicles to celebrate National Day on 2 December. It is 41 years since the ‘protectorate’ treaty with the UK expired and the separate sheikdoms decided to form an independent union. At first the UAE was a federation of six emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, Fujairah and Ajman. The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah was added a year later.