One of the most disappointing things about the general election for me was how few people must have read Nick Cohen’s article ‘Why You Shouldn’t Vote For Jeremy Corbyn’ before entering polling booths on 8 June. Or perhaps they did read it and thought: up yours, mate. The more I think about it, the more I suspect it’s a case of the latter.
Mr Cohen, quoting from a Labour party member, listed the perfectly sensible reasons why sane people would not want Corbyn as prime minister.
Is Islam inherently misogynistic? That old charge arose again after the Manchester bombing in May, with the suggestion that Salman Abedi’s choice of target was driven by a deep-seated prejudice against women — above all against young western women, with their supposedly lax morals and corrupting ways.
It was a subtext, too, of the timing of the London Bridge attack, 10 p.m. on a warm summer night, when the killers must have known the area would be thronged with young couples out enjoying themselves.
Dear Uncle James, Thank you for your note (‘Letter to a Corbynista’, June 24). Firstly, of course we’re still friends, so there is no need to worry about that. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed on everything, and probably a backward one too if no one was challenged on their views.
I should also explain my background for the benefit of readers not related to me. I come from a Conservative-voting family, I’m privately educated and I work as the financial controller of a multinational group.
Who will you cheer for if Andy Murray meets Roger Federer at Wimbledon? It’s not a straightforward question, at least not for the English. The loveliness of Rodge and the awkwardness of Andy — however British — makes for a difficult and revealing choice.
Different if you happen to be Scottish. I remember a conversation in the gents at Melbourne in 2010. Two Scots, companionably pissing side by side, were loudly discussing the final of the Australian Open just completed.
Some of the time, most of the time, it’s tricky to believe in God. There’s just too much that’s sad — and behind it all, the ceaseless chomping of predators. Then sometimes the mist lifts and just for a moment you can see why the saints insist that everything’s OK. There’s a documentary out now, Summer in the Forest, that for a while cleared the mist for me and made sense of faith.
It tells the stories of a group of men and women with learning disabilities who live alongside volunteers without disabilities in Trosly-Breuil, a small French village north of Paris.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Nigel Dempster, once the world’s best-known gossip columnist. For three decades he was paid a fortune by the Daily Mail to provide juicy tittle-tattle about the royal family (he was a close friend of Princess Margaret), the aristocracy (particularly priapic minor baronet Dai Llewellyn), tycoons including Jimmy Goldsmith and racing figures such as Robert Sangster, as well as mainstream TV stars like David Frost and Robin Day.
The lady’s slipper orchid, Cypripedium calceolus, is both a beautiful and silly--looking plant. It is the strangest of our native orchids, with a fat yellow pouch and burgundy twisting petals. It doesn’t quite look as though it belongs in the gentle English countryside and, for a while, it didn’t belong at all. Why did I drive for two hours just to see one flower? In part because of its strange backstory.
It starts as soon as I arrive. In Den Haag Centraal railway station, the kiosks, windows, lift shaft, piano and even the hoarding on the building site outside, are all cheerfully decked out in red, blue and yellow rectangles, black lines and an occasional patch of straight-sided white. Holland’s capital has gone Mondrian mad; the style of De Stijl (the modernist art movement to which he belonged) is plastered all over town, indeed over much of the country.