Religion in Fiction

Most sensible authors steer clear of religion when they write their novels. That has been the case for a very long time. Trollope, for instance, never once strayed into theology, even in his Barsetshire books. But there have always been authors, and there are more these days, who have foolishly decided to be theologians. Continue reading

Judge Required for Judicial Inquiry – No Member of the Middle Class will be Considered

A ritual is now played out every time a public inquiry into some disaster is set up. A highly respected judge is appointed to chair the inquiry. Then a group claiming to represent the victims of the disaster says it has no confidence in the judge and will not cooperate with him or her. In the case of Theresa May’s ludicrous sex abuse inquiry the complaint was that the judge was a member of the “establishment”. The objection to the judge appointed to chair the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is that he is white, middle class and male. Continue reading

Just how Evil are the Tory Councillors of K & C?

The Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was never going to come out of the Grenfell Tower tragedy smelling of roses. The residents of North Kensington have always looked on the Council as being one run by aliens who have no understanding of the endless problems created by poverty which are faced by the typical North Kensington council tenant. Throw in the McDonnell/Corbyn eagerness to blame Tory councillors for the fire itself (deliberately according to McDonnell, recklessly according to Corbyn)  and all those poor double-barrelled millionaires from the south of the borough who make up the majority on the Council were bound to become the villains of the piece. And now we have the government, just as eager as everyone else to find a scapegoat, laying into the Council for allegedly not doing all it could to help the victims in the aftermath of the disaster. Continue reading

Is there a Future for Civility?

Someone I used to admire rather a lot has just told me, on Face Book, that I am “talking through my a–e “and should “shut the f—k up” (he spelt the words out in full). He objected to my piece in which I suggested that it was wrong of Jeremy Corbyn to make political capital out of the awful Grenfell Tower tragedy. As it happens, my complaint has turned out to be a reasonable one. It has transpired that many Labour councils have clad their tower blocks with combustible material. The theory that the appalling tragedy in Kensington was caused by evil, murdering Tories no longer holds water. But that isn’t my point. Continue reading

A Language Virus

What a man takes for granted, what he offers almost as an aside, is where you’ll find the things he thinks but doesn’t state openly. Then again, perhaps I’m reading too closely?

In his most recent Sunday column, Peter Hitchens writes that:

It is, beyond doubt, the case that our treatment of the mentally ill is a terrible mess. It is also beyond doubt that much mental illness appears to be linked to legal or illegal mind-altering drugs, now far more common than they were 30 years ago. This long predates the era of Islamic terror. One of the first cases was in 1992 when Jonathan Zito was stabbed to death by Christopher Clunis, a total stranger (and longstanding drug-abuser) who was severely mentally ill. This horror, oddly enough, took place at Finsbury Park.

How does a 1992 case of violence pre date ‘the era of Islamic terror’?

What ‘era’ is that?

On August 3 1989 Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh blew himself up in a hotel in Paddington, becoming the first ‘martyr’ in the plot to murder Salman Rushdie and anyone else involved in the hideous crime of publishing a novel.

In 1983 a truck stuffed with TNT was used by a group – called, oddly enough, ‘Islamic Jihad’ – to murder 241 US Marines in Beirut. Continue reading

Rape in Manchester.

As horrific stories go, what happened in Nuthurst Park, New Moston ranks up there with the Harpurhey Dogs Home arson attack.

News that the image of the 16 year old rapist have been leaked, both in Britain and abroad show how ineffective Greater Manchester Police are (Martin Ingram anyone?)

The rapist is white so the Islamphobes can take the day off.

The Politics of Protest

The two leading lights in the modern Labour Party have both chosen an unusual platform for serious politicians from which to deliver their latest homilies to the nation. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, doing their version of Dad Dancing, trekked off to a popular music concert in Glastonbury in Somerset in order to tell their adoring young fans exactly what is wrong with the country. Fair enough, if that’s where your supporters are, there is no reason why you should not reach out to them there. Continue reading

A Good Funeral

Yesterday I drove to a tiny hamlet near Henley called Pishill. I went there to attend the funeral of Margaret Campbell, a wonderful woman whom, I regret to say, I knew much better decades ago than recently. It is to my eternal shame that I made no effort, in the last few years, to see her, her late husband (Garry), who died three months ago, or their delightful children, Dermot and Fiona. How enormously sad it was that, when Fiona tracked me down on Face Book, her immediate news was that her mother’s funeral would be taking place on Friday. Continue reading