My 91-year-old father-in-law has always had a terror of hospitals. This dates from his time as a Royal Marine when, just after the second world war, he was infected with polio by a contaminated needle. The first he knew of it was when a visiting dignitary came on board ship and he was unable to lift his arm in salute. Ever since, he made it very clear that he doesn’t want to go to a hospital under any circumstances, ever.
At a dinner in the Irish embassy in London last November, Dominic Raab believed he was on the brink of a Brexit breakthrough. In a meeting with Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Brexit secretary sought to find a compromise on the issue of the backstop. He explained that parliament would never agree an open-ended pledge in the way the EU envisaged: pushing things too far would end in the failure of talks.
Parties don’t get rid of their leaders unless things are going very badly. But this Tory crisis is different in scale and size to anything we have seen in recent decades. The question is not whether the Tories can win the next election, but whether they can survive.
The dire state that the Tories are in hasn’t put anyone off running to be leader, however. We suddenly have the most crowded field we have ever seen in a leadership race.
To most outsiders, Rwanda is still synonymous with genocide. Nearly a million killed in 100 days; almost three quarters of the Tutsi population dead. The country’s attempts to rebuild have been much commented on, but something else is overlooked: Rwanda has become an astonishing oasis of tolerant Islam and, in many ways, an example to the West.
In Rwanda, there is an Islam which stands firm against the petrochemical ‘Gulf Stream’ of Wahhabi finance, despite lacking the huge wealth that Muslims in the Arab world enjoy.
The Queen has seldom had more holes in a state banquet seating plan. The leader of the opposition, the shadow foreign secretary, the Speaker and the leader of the Liberal Democrats have all ostentatiously refused ‘Her Majesty’s command’ to attend her banquet in honour of Donald Trump next week. The fact that the dinner is in honour of our greatest ally — and in the week we celebrate D-Day — seems to matter less than virtue points on social media.
Did you see the Welsh Tory MP David Davies and a pro-Brexit protester arguing outside parliament, pointing cameras at one another? Davies was being interviewed for BBC Wales about why he had taken to wearing a body camera. Having been on the receiving end of abuse from both pro- and anti-Brexit protesters, he said he did it for his protection.
As chance would have it, one such protester — a hard-right social-media activist — was walking past, doing a live-stream to her followers.
I’m meant to be peering into a tunnel hacked out by Hamas a few hundred metres from Gaza City into Israeli territory but my attention has wandered. The air around us, above this parched, scrubby wasteland, is fecund with life. A pair of black kites are circling and below them a steppe buzzard is lumbering amidst the thermals. And is that a lappet-faced vulture? Do you know, even without my specs, I think it is.
Poor Mr Bergstresser. He put up the money to start the financial reporting company but his name wasn’t as snappy as those of his two partners, so ‘Dow Jones’ it was. At least he got the rewards, though, unlike Mr Taylor: the grocer sold out to Mr Waite and Mr Rose after just a couple of years, hence Waitrose. Other ‘people’ never existed in the first place. Faber & Faber was started by Geoffrey Faber on his own: he added the second name to sound more respectable.