Philip Larkin was only partially correct in suggesting that we project our own faults onto our children; he forgot the bits about bequeathed neuroses and anxiety. The dead poet and librarian might have held some unpleasant opinions but he took his own advice and by having no children of his own avoided the gathering apprehension of an offspring’s A Level results day. Thursday was always going to be a tense morning. (more…)
August 15, 2015
May 24, 2015
I was there less than two weeks ago; I saw the posters, understood what it was about and knew what the opinion polls were saying and heard the anecdotal opinions of the people I met. Yet on Saturday afternoon, as the result of the Irish Equal Marriage Referendum became clear, something utterly astonishing has taken place in Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that the entire country has experienced a societal seismic shift overnight.
With a national turn-out of 60 per cent and with 62 per cent voting “Yes”, talk of a landslide is probably a bit of the blarney but the sands have shifted irrevocably and, to my mind at least, a Catholic State has become an Irish Nation. The figures demonstrate that a sizable majority of the population regardless of age, faith, ethnicity or gender who would never in a month of Sundays describe themselves as LGBT have voted for equality, compassion, respect and (wait for it) love as basic human rights extended to their fellow citizens. (more…)
January 26, 2015
”The grave`s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.”
Andrew Marvell – To His Coy Mistress
So, farewell then Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Time`s winged chariot has crossed the deserts of vast eternity and finally arrived in Riyadh. The touching tributes and moving obituaries delivered by state media described him as a moderniser, a reformer, a moderate, a humanitarian and a champion of women`s rights. The state media in this case was the BBC and the Union Flag flew at half mast over the Palace of Westminster as a mark of respect to honour the life and cheque book of this great man. (more…)
January 14, 2015
With hypocrisy now being delivered with the frequency of an atomic clock ticking out the seconds, there is no longer any need to rummage in dustbins looking for double standards. Breathtaking pretence and studied insincerity are spewing from the mouths of hypocrites like so many bullets from an automatic assault rifle.
The dreadful, horrific events in Paris during the last week have produced a reaction of disgust, solidarity and defiance from human beings who hold humanity as being more precious than barbarism. One and a half million people took to the streets of Paris to proclaim their belief in democracy and free speech; between 40 and 50 others gathered for a photo opportunity. (more…)
October 6, 2014
It is as if the entire coalition cabinet has been flying on an aircraft which has suffered an unfortunate but non-fatal crash on some deserted island far away from civilisation and the controlling influence of grown-ups.
Imagine an enclosed society where marooned public schoolboys fight to the death over the death of a government. In 1954, William Golding did. He could never have imagined that his inspired allegory would become reality in, of all places, the Palace of Westminster. We have been treated to some fairly colossal howlers during the 2014 party conference season. When given their go at holding the conch, Ed Miliband forgot to mention the deficit, David Cameron told a massive lie about the deficit and Nick Clegg tried to claim credit for the massive lie about the deficit. With all three parties haemorrhaging membership and distain at politics turning into disgust, the descent into savagery is inevitable. If the Scottish independence campaign was characterised by negativity, threats, scare-mongering and insults, the next seven months of hysterical shouting will make the Jerry Springer Show sound like Gardener`s Question Time. (more…)