The New Zealand Memory Hole

24th March 2019 9

In the wake of the horrible massacre in Christchurch, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, announced in parliament that she would never pronounce the name of the perpetrator, and forever refer to him only anonymously. In some quarters she has been taken almost as a secular saint who has covered herself with a thick mantle of virtue, but … [Read on]

Brexomania

15th March 2019 0

This article is in the current edition of the Salisbury Review out now I don’t suppose that there were many in the country who managed entirely to avoid talking about Brexit. The debate was simultaneously important and dull, in that respect rather like Mrs May. Passion in discussion was not necessarily proportional to knowledge, and many people gave up talking … [Read on]

No ‘stebbings’ in Much Middlemarch

10th March 2019 7

We rarely see a policeman in our town until two hours after a crime has been reported, so I was very pleased the other day to see a policeman and woman in the narrow street next to mine. They were peering under a car parked off the road. ‘Good morning,’ I said. ‘Good morning,’ the policeman replied. ‘There’s a rabbit … [Read on]

An outbreak of good manners

28th February 2018 8

I am so used to lamentation – my own, that is – that I know that I am sometimes inclined to overlook how much better certain things have become of late years. We notice deterioration; we take improvement for granted the moment they have occurred. Among the things that have improved in the London Underground. I spent most of my … [Read on]

Hit and Run

13th December 2017 4

Once when I was driving in Port Harcourt in Nigeria with my friend, Ken Saro-Wiwa (the writer who was later hanged by a military regime), we heard over the car radio an appeal for the owner of the naked man’s body on the side of one the main roads to come and collect it. A few minutes later we drove … [Read on]

Beyoncé Studies

4th December 2017 9

The musicology department of Copenhagen University is to offer a course on the music of Bayoncé. It would be fun, it said. I think it is probably true that most readers of the Review have limited knowledge of Beyoncé; but to judge by the number of entries on Google devoted to her, she is 25 per cent more important than … [Read on]

It begins with eggs, then it is firebombs

28th November 2017 14

Not many literary festivals end in violence, but the Lewes Speakers’ Festival last weekend did so. About 100 protesters tried to prevent Katie Hopkins, the Daily Mail columnist,, from speaking there about her autobiographical book, Rude, and succeeded. She left when the police said that they could no longer guarantee her safety. I spoke immediately before Katie Hopkins, who guarded by … [Read on]

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