The Marie Antoinettes of the BBC

3rd January 2015 1

While sensible people were sleeping it off and sleepily sloughing off all the worries of the old dead year, I was up early on New Year’s Day 2015, to take part in a BBC radio show, hosted by Vanessa Feltz, discussing that continuing question of immigration which is certain to dominate political discussion over the next few months. I was … [Read on]

Having the courage of your fortune

31st December 2014 0

Men are like sheep, especially leaders. I saw a photograph of the heads of government of the G7 recently and all of the men among them were dressed the same: dark suits but open short collars and no tie. Not coincidentally, perhaps, there wasn’t a strong face among them. The fashion for wearing suits with no ties is one that … [Read on]

A British Night Out ‘Three pints of beer, eight double vodkas and an ambulance to follow’

30th December 2014 0

Christmas in the UK always brings with it accounts of drunken mayhem. What I find doubly disconcerting and depressing, and call this a strange form of sexism if you like, is to read about mindless violence among so-called ladettes or, worse still, hear of youngish mothers dying from liver cirrhosis. Every yuletide the tabloids regale us with pictures of horizontal … [Read on]

Lose the book on this one

22nd December 2014 0

The news looks bleak for most of our public institutions, hospitals, the BBC and what was once the national library service. Library campaigners accuse the government of hiding the scale of cuts which they predict will force the closure of a further 400 UK libraries by 2016, bringing the total of library closures since 2009 to more than a thousand. … [Read on]

Russell Brand laughs all the way to the bank

22nd December 2014 0

Facebook is getting worse with all its ridiculous observations, injunctions and bons mots of supposed wisdom. Doubtless sometimes these words of (usually) leftist insight are broadcast because the poster sincerely supports the message. Sometimes, one suspects, they are put out because the poster feels that it is good for his or her image to hold leftist views. These statements pass … [Read on]

A Flaming Nuisance

20th December 2014 0

One of my earliest memories is seeing my father in the early morning raking out the ashes of our coal fire. I was interested in the blue veins around his ankles and bare white heels as he strained  forwards with his short shovel. After the ashes he carefully placed balls of newspaper, which he called ‘spills,’ and built a tent … [Read on]

Theodore Dalrymple hires a Black Maria?

18th December 2014 0

In one of those many English towns that, like Betjeman’s Slough, is not fit for humans now, I took a taxi from the station to the court in which I was to appear as a witness. If I had been the type, I would have been panic-struck by the notices inside it directed at the poor passenger. I was taking … [Read on]

The Good Old Days; Curing piles with red hot poker.

15th December 2014 0

Conservatives are fond of harking back to the good old days when ‘medicine was an art not a science,’ it was also nasty. Save for sawing off limbs, curing piles with a red-hot poker or a knife in the groin to relieve bladder stones, there were few cures. The bewigged physician rode up to the house, the relatives assembled around … [Read on]

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