In Praise of Ken Clarke

17 July 2009 15:40

James’s comments on Ken’s latest are all very germane and all that. But whatever the party’s differences with Big Bluff Ken, this is a sentiment all sensible people can endorse:… Continue reading


The £64 ‘Are You A Paedophile?’ Question…

16 July 2009 20:24

Sometimes you can only despair. It seems that anyone who gives talks to schoolkids (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a "regular" basis now needs to pay £64 for… Continue reading


Worst Hat-Bashing for Years: 16/7/39

16 July 2009 12:30

No-one who has done time at one of this country’s more expensive educational institutions will be surprised by this account of the aftermath of the 1939 Eton vs Harrow match… Continue reading

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Books Overboard: What Would You Throw Away?

16 July 2009 0:03

Parlour game time! The Literary Canon is an intimidating thing at the best of times but these days it’s becoming grotesquely bloated. It could do with losing some weight. So,… Continue reading


Hillary & Barack’s Conventional Hawkery

15 July 2009 20:01

The problem with Major Foreign Policy Speeches is that different folk are listening. For instance, this section from Hillary Clinton’s "Hey guys, remember me?" speech today: "…we will remain clear-eyed… Continue reading


Richard Dannatt is "playing politics" too

15 July 2009 19:18

General Richard Dannatt may well be correct to demand additional men and equipment for the Afghan campaign and the military has certainly been ill-served by this government (though not only… Continue reading


Sarah Palin’s Little Platoons

15 July 2009 17:12

Danny Finkelstein’s column today argues that Sarah Palin is the true leader of the Republican party these days. And he doesn’t mean that in a good way: There is no… Continue reading


Frustrating Change & Ignoring Public Opinion: That’s A Bad Thing?

15 July 2009 15:17

Matt Yglesias laments that American political institutions aren’t more like, well, ours: The American legislative system, however, is not a good venue in which to attempt to rip off a… Continue reading


Adventures in Defence Procurement. Plus, Do We Need the RAF?

15 July 2009 7:56

Defence procurement is difficult. It’s hard to design and build new weapons systems and predicting what kinds of equipment and force structure will be needed in 20 years time is… Continue reading


Britain: the Coming Crisis

14 July 2009 23:17

Do we really have any idea of how serious this is about to become? As I sat watching BBC 2′s recesion drama Freefall tonight I realsied that we are beginning to get an… Continue reading


The Rights of Fans vs The Rights of Stars

14 July 2009 23:14

Tuesday’s stage in the Tour de France was interesting and, in its way, revealing. Ultimately, it was about power and interest. Should the race be run be its organisers or,… Continue reading


The SNP, Cricket and Soft Unionism

14 July 2009 10:16

There were at least a dozen people on my flight from Edinburgh to Cardiff last week who were clearly heading to Wales to watch the test match. This was not… Continue reading


The 3% Solution & the Case for More, Not Fewer, Foreign Workers

13 July 2009 17:47

So the Tories have announced their new international development policy. Apparently it’s going to be "results-based" and fit for a "post-bureaucratic age" (this latter being, mind you, the kind of… Continue reading


Looking for Laku in Nicaragua

13 July 2009 16:10

More evidence emerges to support the notion that Scoop is really a work of non-fiction. This time it’s in the form of this report in the Washington Post: For months,… Continue reading

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69 Balls

13 July 2009 15:01

Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar of England walk off after securing the draw in the 1st Ashes Test Match between England and Australia at Sophia Gardens. Photo: Hamish Blair/Getty Images.… Continue reading


Ashes Hiatus

9 July 2009 22:47

So, yes, little blogging. Blame a combination of Ashes cricket and an infestation of family… Hiatus will continue as I shall be at the cricket in Cardiff on Friday. Talk… Continue reading


Iran Solidarity

8 July 2009 21:16

David T over at Harry’s Place blog has drawn my attention to this post from "habibi". I’m happy to endorse the message. "This Thursday is the tenth anniversary of the… Continue reading

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Michael Jackson’s Final Freak Show

7 July 2009 15:12

The Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes has the right attitude to today’s media-overload as at least 16 networks compete to see who can provide the most gruesome coverage of the… Continue reading


John Bercow: Garden Gnome or Trendy Vicar? Or Both?

7 July 2009 13:35

Via Tom Harris, I see that the new Speaker is contemplating "modernising" the House of Commons by dropping the convention that MPs refer to one another as the "Honourable Member"… Continue reading


How to Cut Spending and Frame the Argument

7 July 2009 11:25

A characteristically interesting column from Rachel Sylvester in The Times today, in which she describes how the Tories are looking to how the Liberal Party in Canada managed to slash… Continue reading


Ed Balls and Tribune

6 July 2009 23:42

Ed Balls has just started on Twitter and he’s already an avid user. I have always found Ed perfectly charming, but then, unlike Fraser, he has never bawled me out… Continue reading


Circumnavigating Manhattan For the First Time

6 July 2009 22:21

A lovely, gentle, mildly nostalgic piece in the New York Times by Gay Talese, recounting his maiden trip aboard one of the tourist cruisers that sail around Manhattan. It’s as… Continue reading

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Primaries Are Not the Answer

6 July 2009 16:10

James makes a droll case for Labour holding an open, national, primary to select the party’s next leader. As I say, it’s an entertaining notion, though it’s not clear that… Continue reading


Sarah Palin’s Resignation Still Makes No Sense

6 July 2009 14:32

Never let it be said that Fred Barnes can’t take the long view. While he concurs, with regret, that Sarah Palin has dashed her chances of winning the Republican nomination… Continue reading


The King of Tennis

6 July 2009 0:18

  Until that extraordinary fifth set this afternoon’s contest between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick had only occasionally flirted with greatness. It was always tense and often gripping but that… Continue reading