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Exposing the absurdity of Chris Grayling

Posted on 26 August 2009 | 1:08pm

Much to my family’s annoyance, I am not a ‘box set’ kind of guy. I know it is the thing, all to sit down and get hooked together on some American TV show. Maybe it is a way of avoiding temptation to my addictive gene, but I have never seen a single episode of The […]

Joy and beauty and a night of magic

Posted on 20 August 2009 | 10:08am

Many thanks for all the tweets and Facebook messages during and after Burnley’s fabulous win over Manchester United.  I know the non sports fans among regulars here prefer me to go on about politics not football and that whilst on holiday I have done neither very much. But if you love football, and you love […]

Twitter NHS backlash good for Obama

Posted on 14 August 2009 | 3:08pm

When I occasionally rage at the culture of negativity in the UK media, it is often the coverage of the NHS I have in mind. Every hour of every day, wonderful things happen in the NHS, thanks to the terrific people who work in it and above all because of the basic idea at its […]

A lifetime’s ambition fulfilled

Posted on 8 August 2009 | 4:08pm

Forgive the utter self-indulgence of this being my first blog in quite a while, and possibly the last for another little while as I rediscover proper holidays. There are all sorts of things I could have written about – Vladimir Putin’s latest strip-show, Silvio Berlusconi’s observation that he loves women – I think we kind […]

Breaking the blog-a-day spell as warm up to holiday

Posted on 20 July 2009 | 5:07pm

Concerned regulars text, email and comment, to ask whether the blog-free last couple of days signifies some woe that may have befallen me. One of my bouts of depression, for example. Something even worse, suggested others hopefully. Mais non .. am ok, on a scale of one to ten, around about seven in the ok up […]

No hiding place from Twitter, me on the bike, JP in DC

Posted on 17 July 2009 | 6:07pm

I always, always, always wear a helmet when cycling. Always. Except yesterday. And guess which day it was that someone tweeted that they’d seen me out on the bike. Yesterday. Followed by someone who said they once saw me and Boris Johnson out cycling on the same day, though not together. Boris never wears a […]

At last – something Obama cannot do well

Posted on 16 July 2009 | 10:07am

Lesser mortals among the fraternity known as ‘world leaders’ may take a little comfort from the fact that finally, Barack Obama has been found wanting. Luckily for the President, who can make fly-swatting look like an act of relaxed statesmanship, his chink has been exposed not on matters war and peace, life and death, or […]

Will MPs take the lead in the debate on euthanasia?

Posted on 15 July 2009 | 12:07pm

There is something very moving about the accounts of the deaths, together in a private Swiss clinic, of conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Joan, a former ballet dancer. Though he was older by eleven years, and frail, it was she who was terminally ill, and their mutual assisted death clearly seen by them and […]

Berlin brothel leads the way to a greener world

Posted on 14 July 2009 | 10:07am

I don’t think I have ever been in a brothel. I say ‘don’t think’ because I did wander into a somewhat sexually charged bar with a photographer colleague in Nairobi once which, he informed me the next day, was in fact a front for all manner of stuff going on upstairs. The hero of my novel, […]

A time for GB to explain the whole picture

Posted on 13 July 2009 | 12:07pm

Today all the focus is on Afghanistan. But it is worth looking for a moment at other situations in which the Government has called on our military to risk their lives. First, in Northern Ireland, and as that part of the UK continues to take steps through normality towards a lasting peaceful settlement, the troops who served […]