Do Facebook and Twitter Make us so Horrid?

Maybe I am wrong, but I have the impression that people are much nastier than they used to be. The idea that one could disagree with someone but still like him or her seems to be a thing of the past. Continue reading


Parsons Green – Whatever Happened to British Phlegm?

I wasn’t on that train. I could have been, the line is one I use every day. But I wasn’t. I can’t possibly guarantee that I would have behaved well if I had been. I hope I would have done, but, though I have dodged bombs in Belfast during the troubles, I have never been in quite the situation those commuters were faced with last week. Would I have panicked? Would I have done the things I am about to describe? Again, I say I hope I would not. But, and it is an awful thought, maybe I would have. Continue reading

Are we Being a Little Hard on Henry VIII?

The Labour Party, which, in government, has made prodigious use of delegated legislation, has suddenly discovered a great distaste for statutory instruments. The SNP, the Welsh Nationalists and the Liberals are equally outraged that a government Bill should contain what we now have to call “Henry VIII clauses”. Rather more worryingly for the government, several pro-EU Conservative backbenchers, some, like dear old Ken Clarke, who loved them when they were ministers, have also declared their extreme dislike of statutory instruments.

Poor old Henry. He is blamed for the present government’s intention to use secondary legislation because those who are opposed to Brexit think it sounds good to accuse modern politicians of behaving like a Tudor king who kept chopping people’s heads off. Continue reading

Playing With Uranium

Yesterday, a film adaptation of the novel ‘It’ was released. The reviews have been favourable and it looks like the picture will be a success. What follows is my critique of the novel. There are one or two problems with the book.

It was published in September 1986.  Many fan-polls and blogs still cite the book as either his best or the fans’ favourite. Sometimes fans confuse a writer’s best work with their favourite work from that writer. Defining a writer’s “best” work is trickier than it sounds. It is probably not King’s best work, but it’s one which has its popularity secured by a collection of characters the reader easily sympathises with. The depth to which King thinks his characters into existence is remarkable. Continue reading

Do All Remainers Long for the Brexit Negotiations to End in Disaster for the UK?

Those of us who live in London have, if we read the Evening Standard, to put up with little George Osborne jumping up and down with delight whenever he discovers anyone, however obscure, who predicts bankruptcy for the UK as the inevitable result of Brexit. OK, I know Osborne is not tiny, but he can’t help always seeming to be a titch. Continue reading

Should your Politics Dictate your Friendships?

Laura Pidcock, a new and very young Labour MP, has declared that she will never make friends with any Conservative MP. All Tories are the “enemy”. There are two types of Tory, the ones who have always been “privileged” and have no idea of what it is like to be destitute (they, it goes without saying, are dreadfully evil), and the ones who genuinely, but stupidly, think capitalism can produce answers for the working class. Her reasons for refusing to make friends with the latter group are not immediately apparent. She doesn’t seem to accuse its members of being evil, as she does the other group. She just thinks they are deluded, but genuine. Still, she is determined that she will never befriend any of them. She will be pure for her entire career in the House of Commons. Continue reading

Jan Ditheridge has set back the cause of political correctness by decades

Ludlow Hospital in Shropshire, like most NHS hospitals, is desperately in need of funds. Fortunately, a group of local people has raised money for the hospital every summer for the last thirty years. It organises something called the Ludlow Bed Push, which takes place on a day in June. Men dress up in nurses’ uniforms and run round the town asking for donations. They used to wheel a hospital bed through the town, but they don’t do that any more because the beds have become too expensive. Nevertheless, they still manage to raise reasonable amounts of money for the hospital. This year’s bed push produced £2,500 (to be used to help purchase an ECG machine).

Rather cheerful news. Until you discover that the NHS Trust which runs Ludlow Hospital has refused to accept the money donated by the people of Ludlow. It disapproves of men dressing up as women, They demean “health professionals”. The Trust is no longer prepared to dirty its hands by accepting money raised in such a disagreeable way. It would rather do without a new ECG machine than be thought of as approving men dressing up as female nurses. Continue reading