Testing humanity

We’re very pro-cuddly creatures in our house. Some of our most treasured companions are very realistic fluffy bears, dogs, otters, giraffes, lions and so on and our favourite stories usually feature a talking duck or a hungry caterpillar or something. We’re also generally down on unmotivated cruelty to animals – we don’t support the squashing… Continue reading Testing humanity

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Questions questions

I have many questions about Islam and those cartoons. I wish I could sit down with one of the young, apparently intelligent and obviously articulate spokesmen I see rolled out by the various protesting Islamic groups and ask him a few questions. I want to know why Islam can’t respond in a grown-up way to… Continue reading Questions questions

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An open letter (about the Schools White Paper) to grumpy Labour backbenchers

Hello Guys, I’m pretty sure you won’t argue with me when I say that education is important to national competitiveness but I wonder if you’ll agree with me when I say that Britain’s only real hope in the next twenty, fifty or one hundred years is to be the best educated nation on the planet.… Continue reading An open letter (about the Schools White Paper) to grumpy Labour backbenchers

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Big, stupid cars

If you do the school run in a Land Rover Discovery 3 you’re hauling fifty times your own weight with you (maybe twenty times the weight of your whole family). The car weighs nearly three tons. Just getting the thing moving consumes enough expensively-acquired energy (think Russian pipeline) to cook your dinner for a month.… Continue reading Big, stupid cars

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The unlikeliest survivor

How can one man be so irrelevant and yet, at the same time, so influential? How does John Prescott, a politician who belongs not to the last generation but to the one before that, manage to get his oar into New Labour policy formation so profoundly as to stall legislation like the planned education bill… Continue reading The unlikeliest survivor

Sort of Proustian, really

Germolene used to be pink. It was famously pink. People used to call it ‘pink ointment’. For generations the distinctive colour and thick, putty-like texture defined the whole category. Everybody had a tin. I bet your Mum rubbed Germolene on your various cuts and scrapes when you were a kid. So what happened? It’s not… Continue reading Sort of Proustian, really

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Cameron again

I schlepped down to Demos at London Bridge to watch David Cameron make an unimpressive speech in which he largely failed to convince his audience that a) Margaret Thatcher believed in social justice and b) he is the true inheritor of Tony Blair’s reformist mission. Assembled media, Great & Good, wonks, waiters and your loyal… Continue reading Cameron again