Lockerbie & the Scotland Act

21 September 2009 14:17

Could government ministers in London have stepped-in to prevent the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi? A report in Scotland on Sunday yesterday says yes they could: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy… Continue reading


Could You Vote for the Liberal Democrats?

21 September 2009 13:03

Sometimes, you know, I wish I could. Then the Liberal Democrats come along to remind one how difficult it is to support them. But, in theory, could one vote for… Continue reading


Apparently, smokers and "petting farms" are evil

20 September 2009 17:52

I remember being required to attend a meeting a decade or so back at the BBC, a meeting of “The News and Current Affairs Cigarette Working Party” (NCACWP). I asked… Continue reading


Irving Kristol & the Life and Times of Neoconservatism

19 September 2009 5:45

A few years ago, around the time that Bob Geldof was arguing that George W Bush had done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did, I appeared on… Continue reading


Saturday Morning Country: Lyle Lovett

19 September 2009 1:59

The Church of Country is a broad brotherhood (and sisterhood) and it’s fair to say that Lyle Lovett, like many others, has sometimes left it to worship elsewhere. But, again,… Continue reading


The 50 Best Foods in the World

19 September 2009 0:04

As Ezra Klein says it would be remiss not to give this transparently link-whoring Observer list of The 50 Best Foods in the World and Where to Eat Them the… Continue reading


The Limits of A Munichean Worldview

18 September 2009 19:07

Well that didn’t take long. No sooner had I decried the notion that President Barack Obama’s decision to move (but not cancel) the US’s proposed missile defence shield from eastern… Continue reading


Public Spending Cuts: The Theory vs The Reality

18 September 2009 14:15

Everyone agrees that cuts in public spending are necessary. Everyone also agrees that we could do with a better and more candid class of politician. And everyone should agree that… Continue reading


Of course Obama’s black, but that’s not the problem

18 September 2009 12:09

Much though I like and respect the chap, isn’t Jonathan Freedland slightly overstating the case? The headline to his Guardian article read: “If Obama can’t defeat the Republican headbangers our… Continue reading


In Praise of Neville Chamberlain

18 September 2009 11:11

18th March 1940: British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940) walking across the Horse Guard’s Parade, Buckingham Palace on his seventy-first birthday. Photo: Davies/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images. Neville Chamberlain, it is… Continue reading


Is it Time to Call for Shami (Again)?

18 September 2009 10:21

With the Baroness Scotland housekeeper mini-scandal still in the air, I hear a delicious rumour. I’m told that in a surreal extension of Labour big tent policy, Gordon Brown approached… Continue reading


The laws against inciting religious and racial hatred are counter-productive

17 September 2009 13:26

Fucking Jews! A Foreign and Commonwealth civil servant has appeared before Westminster magistrates accused of inciting racial and religious hatred. Rowan Laxton, who reportedly earns £70,000 per year at the… Continue reading


Is the reporting of Richard Goldstone’s findings guilty of unconscious racism?

16 September 2009 12:22

The headlines in this morning’s newspapers, and indeed on the BBC last night, were: “Israel found guilty of war-crimes”. This followed the publication of Richard Goldstone’s 600-page report which, forgive… Continue reading



15 September 2009 13:26

So, spite, then: is there anybody in Britain with a more exalted opinion of themselves than George Monbiot?  His entire column in today’s Guardian deals exclusively with the one subject… Continue reading


Name a famous Victorian…

14 September 2009 12:59

I’ve become obsessed with a woman. I think she is going to crop up in this blog quite often because I can’t get her out of my mind. She is… Continue reading


Welcome to my new blog

14 September 2009 12:54

I’ve always rather liked the idea of blogging, as it seems – from the available evidence – to be motivated by two qualities I have a lot of time for:… Continue reading


The Debate Begins

14 September 2009 11:02

A very nice piece from Ian Burrell in today’s Independent about my new appointment at the Jewish Chronicle. Regular readers here will perhaps be surprised that I am worried about being seen… Continue reading


Should John Denham Shut Up About the Extreme Right?

12 September 2009 21:49

It’s the perennial problem: platform or no platform, anti-Nazi campaign versus no oxygen of publicity. You’d have thought we’d have sorted this one out by now. I agree with David… Continue reading


Chris de Burgh is an Angry, Misunderstood, Man. Apparently.

11 September 2009 15:36

From the Department of Criticism: the Irish Times handed my old Dublin University Players contemporary Peter Crawley the unenviable task of reviewing Chris de Burgh in concert. It’s fair to… Continue reading


Heckling Obama

11 September 2009 14:19

I’ve a piece up at the Daily Beast arguing that Congressman Joe Wilson shouldn’t have apologised for heckling Barack Obama during the latter’s campaigning health care speech the other night:… Continue reading


Bonfire of the Quangos – Full Version

10 September 2009 18:38

I had the pleasure of chairing the Editorial Intelligence/Policy Exchange/Policy Review/Cass Busines School (Phewee!) debate on the future of the quangocracy last night. I was expecting little common ground between Douglas… Continue reading


Obama & The Competitive Principle

10 September 2009 14:45

I’m not qualified to offer an opinion* on Obama’s health care speech last night. So I won’t, beyond observing that his refusal to countenance the possibility that the kind of… Continue reading


Hey, Jaycee Dugard! Here’s the sports news you missed while you were being raped!

10 September 2009 0:20

This is perhaps the single worst column I’ve read. Ever. Anywhere. I have absolutely no idea what Mark Whicker thought he was attempting when he wrote this. But that the… Continue reading


A Question for Supporters of the Death Penalty

9 September 2009 19:19

Have you read David Grann’s article about the trial and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham? I’d urge you to do so. Willingham was convicted of setting the fire that brunt… Continue reading


Megrahi & La Raison d’Etat

9 September 2009 15:30

One last – barring any more developments! – post on the Megrahi Affair. Much of the commentary has presumed that there must be some grubby, even sinister, deal made. No-one… Continue reading