The Torture Debate

10 August 2009 23:09

There isn’t one. That was a trick headline. The line between a state that tortures and the state that does everything in its power to avoid the physical abuse of… Continue reading


Stephen Hawking Has Not Yet Been Murdered by the NHS

10 August 2009 23:08

There are, I think, two essential truths in international health policy. No-one sees fit to copy the National Health Service and no-one sees fit to copy the American system. Still,… Continue reading


Do Football Managers Make a Difference?

10 August 2009 19:45

Left Back in the Changing Room and More than Mind Games have already commented on Simon Kuper’s* article in the FT that argues that football managers have no real impact… Continue reading


A Georgian Folly

10 August 2009 13:11

I must say I was surprised by Fraser’s praise for Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday and his support for the stance taken by David Cameron and Liam Fox on matters Russian… Continue reading


Painting Scotland

10 August 2009 12:40

Perthshire Moorland, by Aberfeldy. By Claudia Massie. There is, of course, plenty to do and see in Edinburgh in August. But amidst the many joys of festival Edinburgh, may I… Continue reading


MPs and Whistleblowers

10 August 2009 8:37

I’m delighted to see Tony Wright’s Public Accounts Committee recognising what many of us knew all along: a "culture that encourages proper whistleblowing… is the best safeguard against leaking". The… Continue reading


A Very English Cricketing Fiasco

9 August 2009 17:48

Selkirk vs Langholm at Philiphaugh, 8/9/08 Actually, it wasn’t a completely disastrous cricketing weekend. Selkirk did successfully chase 206 to defeat Langholm in the Border League. Not called upon to… Continue reading


Saturday Morning Country: Merle Haggard

8 August 2009 0:41

One of my favourite blog features is Norm’s Friday blogger profiles. This week he profiles Willie George Haggard and, frankly, its a doozy. It reminds me that I’ve been a… Continue reading


Deal of the Century: Buy a Truck, Get a Free AK-47

7 August 2009 21:19

God bless America. Last year Mark Muller ran a summer promotion giving away a free hand gun with every car his Butler, Missouri dealership sold. This year he’s upping the… Continue reading


Mitt Romney & the GOP’s Nationalist Rump

6 August 2009 16:38

The great thing about Mitt Romney is that he’s so darn subtle. Hence the title for his new campaign* book: No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Gee, I wonder… Continue reading


Hackette of the Week

6 August 2009 13:15

Let’s hear it for Liz Jones – "funny, outrageous and downright rude" according to her employers at the Daily Mail – for this piece that, really, you’d think must actually… Continue reading


Are You Smarter than the US Congress? Almost Certainly.

5 August 2009 15:56

As any fool knows, the principle benefit of the United States Congress is to make other legislatures seem positively benificent by comparison with the gallery of clowns on Capitol Hill.… Continue reading


Suicide is Painless, It Brings on Many Changes…

5 August 2009 10:40

No-one could mistake back-bench Conservative MPs for advocates for limited government. So it’s scarcely surprising that Nadine Dorries and Edward Leigh are up in arms over proposals to "clarify" the… Continue reading


Peter King Watch

4 August 2009 15:56

Apparently there’s a stooshie over Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. Whatever. As… Continue reading


Ricky Ponting Deserves Our Cheers, Not Moronic Boos

4 August 2009 15:29

Ricky Ponting batting at Edgbaston last week. Photo: Tom Shaw/Getty Images. Three – yes, a whole three -  cheers for Dominic Lawson’s article in the Independent today. He is right:… Continue reading


The Totnes Thunderbolt?

4 August 2009 14:16

Well, perhaps. And perhaps I was too cynical about the idea of open primaries* being used to select Conservative candidates. Better ti listen to and consider the wisdom of Matthew… Continue reading


The Good Gordon Brown

4 August 2009 11:18

Marbury is quite right. The Prime Minister’s advisers must wonder what they have to do to get this Gordon Brown appearing on your TV screen. Now, there are a few… Continue reading


Trouble Amongst the Birthers

4 August 2009 1:57

I confess that I thought Orly Taitz had to be a made-up name. But no, apparently not. The latest tomfoolery exciting the "birther" movement is a transparently fake "birth certificate"… Continue reading


Iran’s Red Line? A Case for Caution, Not Action

3 August 2009 19:33

As is customary, James and I disagree about Iran. Or perhaps we merely have different ideas about what constitutes the most important Persian questions. James, I think (and I’m sure… Continue reading


Royalty is Better than Politics: Naval Department

3 August 2009 18:31

I hadn’t realised until Matt Yglesias pointed it out that there’s some unhappiness that the US navy’s next aircraft carrier is going to be named after Barry Goldwater and not… Continue reading


Is Mark Penn the Dumbest Pollster on Earth?

1 August 2009 3:59

Possibly! Gordon Brown’s government has a 17% approval rating and fewer than one in five voters think Brown would make a better Prime Minister than either David Cameron or, titter… Continue reading


The Decline and Fall of English Football Managers

1 August 2009 3:11

Sir Bobby Robson’s death yesterday left one wondering just what has happened to English football management. Or, to be more precise, what has happened to English football managers? Of the… Continue reading


Let us praise Silvio Berlusconi…

31 July 2009 19:37

In these bleak times, we should be grateful for Silvio Berlusconi’s willingness to provide much-needed levity and entertainment. The story of his encounters with Patrizia D’Addario (above) constitutes a public… Continue reading


Conspiracy Deathmatch: Birthers vs Truthers

31 July 2009 15:02

Blimey. A new poll asks: "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?" Just 42% of Republican respondents answer "Yes". 28% say… Continue reading


Westminster’s Terrible West Wing Obsession

31 July 2009 13:24

Like James, I enjoyed Mark Lawson’s column this morning. Then I would, wouldn’t I? I’ve written before about the fatuous desire to graft* American political arrangements onto our own political… Continue reading