Crackers

10th December 2012 0

Last week I went to a dinner for the retired consultants of the hospital in which I had worked. How everyone (apart from me, of course) had aged! I have seen the future and it is death. But let that pass. It was only six weeks from Christmas, and so, in this land where Christmas lasts at least three months, … [Read on]

Out of All Proportion

17th November 2012 0

The feats of the modern economy are, despite the present crisis, still considerable, indeed astonishing, if only we stopped to think about them instead of taking them for granted. For example, the Times arrives in the western part of Turkey where I stayed recently not much later in the day than in Shropshire where I live: and even its arrival … [Read on]

Crime and Punishment

10th November 2012 0

Of all the many foolish and inaccurate metaphors, one of the most foolish and inaccurate, it seems to me, is that of prisoners having ‘paid their debt to society’ on their release. The metaphor is in international use: I saw it recently in a French newspaper. The article was about Philippe El Shannawy, of an Egyptian father and French mother, … [Read on]

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

10th November 2012 0

I witnessed an instructive but depressing little scene three days ago. I was on an escalator in the Paris Metro at quite a busy time of day when a young man in international slum-costume and face as malign as the late Mark Duggan’s who was standing a few steps ahead off me used a spray gun to scrawl his initials … [Read on]

Free and Fair Executions

10th November 2012 0

Members of our political class believe in elections as peasants believe in saintly relics, though with rather less reason. Perhaps they cannot believe that a method that brought them to the top of the national pile, to fame and fortune, is not of universal human application, nor is it the solution to all human problems. I thought this when I … [Read on]

Theodore Dalrymple; Stigmatising Stigma

10th October 2012 2

Some words, printed in red in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, caught my attention: Being at the receiving end of charity can be stigmatising… And, as everyone knows or by now has accepted as an unassailable orthodoxy, to stigmatise is both morally wrong and disastrous in its effects. Ergo charity is reprehensible and ought to be stamped … [Read on]

Will Prince William lose his Bottle?

10th October 2012 0

For French newspapers Britain means either riots or royalty, that is to say bad news or soap opera; and I was intrigued the other day to see in Le Figaro an article about Prince William’s recent interview with CNN about his accession to fatherhood. What intrigued me about the article was the photograph that accompanied it. It showed Prince William … [Read on]

Architectural Thuggery

17th September 2012 0

If anyone doubted the complete destruction of British bourgeois civilisation, he could not find more convincing evidence of it than by travelling from Calais to Folkestone on the Eurostar. The vast majority of people taking it with their cars are British, of course; and they are not a pretty sight or a grateful sound. They are, by definition, not poor; … [Read on]

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