A young woman in a headscarf stumbled over some rocks and onto the beach. She stood there, rigid, stunned, then burst into tears. A grandmotherly German tourist hugged her. ‘It’s over now, you’re safe,’ she said. ‘You’re in Europe.’
A Burmese man from the same boat looked around anxiously and asked: ‘Will the police here beat us?’ It was after dawn on the Greek island of Lesbos, the sun glinting off the turquoise sea, an idyllic holiday-brochure landscape of hills with whitewashed houses.
The literary emissions of the left are hardly ever enjoyable, but they can be instructive. Last year Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century became one of the biggest-selling political books of the year. Like a thousand-page Soviet report on tractor production, it hardly seemed intended to be read. The point of its success was that it could be said to ‘prove’ the left’s argument. They could then hit their opponents over the head with it and move to the next stage.
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[/audioplayer]Against the heavy artillery fire of the Labour leadership battle, the struggle of the Conservative leadership contest goes almost undetected outside Westminster. It is no less intense, even though the Conservatives will not elect a new leader for at least three years.
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[/audioplayer]Lunatics with money are never ‘mad’, only eccentric. In America, they are also Republican presidential candidates. So Donald Trump, a barmy billionaire with a mouth bigger than his bank balance is leading the race to be the party’s next nominee.
Jack Nicholson’s moving portrayal of a lonely old man in About Schmidt convinced me that I should sponsor a child. You may remember the scene at the end: he gets a letter from a nun in the Tanzanian village where a little boy has been receiving his largesse and realises that his life has not been meaningless. He has made a difference to somebody.
I wept buckets as the credits rolled and not long afterwards signed up to a sponsorship programme with a leading charity in the hope that I too could make life better for one person.
A wet walk in a Glaswegian graveyard might not be your idea of fun, but then you might not have spent the past two hours in the Glasgow Science Centre. Endure that, and see the sodden Necropolis stroll swell in allure.
The Science Centre is one of the emblems of the new Glasgow. Rising from the old docklands on the south side of the Clyde, beside the BBC at Pacific Quay, it is one of the shouty new buildings leading the regeneration of the old shipbuilding areas.