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Don’t worry — drink and be merry

The government acts as if booze is the root cause of all our social problems, says Leah McLaren, but it’s not. Drinking is an important part of British culture, the pub is the hub of the community, and health warnings can even be counterproductive ‘No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.

Al-Qa’eda has relocated to Africa

There has been general shock at the attempted downing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 over Detroit. It isn’t just that yet another aeroplane terrorist atrocity was averted only by luck and courage after US and British intelligence were caught with their pants down once again. Nor is it just the lax airport security. No, the

So were the Noughties nice?

Outside my local pub it says in big letters ‘£500’, and underneath: ‘This is the fine if you take your drink out into the street.’ What law imposes this fine, no one knows. It could be something to do with 24-hour drinking legislation, or even anti-terror laws. The reason people want to take their drinks

The cities of my soul

Anatole France described his literary criticism as ‘the adventures of my soul among masterpieces’. We cannot all be critics, in the sense that France was, but he surely spoke for everybody, reviewer or not, who takes reading seriously. Books do furnish a room, and the best books decorate a life. Although reading is an interior