Tuesday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden was a hopeless mess — a national embarrassment. For 90 minutes, two cantankerous and incoherent old men ignored the rules, shouted over each other and ruined the event. Trump insulted Biden’s intelligence and his children. Biden told Trump to ‘shut up’ and called him ‘a clown’.
The debate may prove useful in one sense, however — as a foretaste of the democratic meltdown that is coming America’s way after the election on 3 November.
How much should we pay to save life? The question is often viewed as distasteful: you can’t put a price on human life. But resources are finite. Even if the only purpose of life was to prolong it for as long as possible, there would be limits to healthcare affordability. So if resources are limited, how can their application be made fairly? And how can this logic be applied in a pandemic?
One element when establishing a fair method is to consider life years saved rather than lives saved.
A beautiful noise rang out last week in the wake of the news that the government is considering Charles Moore to become the new chairman of the BBC and Paul Dacre to be the head of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. The noise was the sound of the British left wailing that toys they thought were theirs alone might now (under a Conservative government) finally go to identifiable conservatives.
The former editor of the Guardian
Alan Rusbridger shrieked that ‘this is what an oligarchy looks like’.
Taken to the Garrick Club one evening, I was surprised when a mouse ran across the carpet. I squeaked and pulled my legs up. Not a murmur from the other armchairs. My host leaned over. ‘No one minds the mice,’ he explained. ‘It’s the women they don’t want.’ It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now.
I thought fondly of this story when I read in the paper that Emily Bendell, founder of the lingerie brand Bluebella, had instructed lawyers to seek an injunction preventing the Garrick from ‘continuing to operate its discriminatory policy’ of excluding women would-be members.
Back when I was a kid, just before the internet flattened the world, I spent my Saturday afternoons listening to live football on the radio. The signal came and went, voices bobbed up above the waves of static and sank back down into their crackly depths, but the experience was always magical. I clung to the commentators’ every word and watched the ball dance from player to player in my mind.
Probably the most memorable voice was the Northern Irish snarl of Alan Green.
Next week, the biggest Nazi-related trial since Nuremberg will come to a close. Following the murder of Greek musician Pavlos Fyssas by a member of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn seven years ago, the entire leadership and dozens of members were charged under counter-terrorism legislation with running an organised crime syndicate. The case file, which runs at more than 3,000 pages, includes charges of murder, arson, possession of guns and explosives, and even trafficking.
There’s no such thing as a typical week in policing and this last one was no different. It started on a high and ended, tragically, on the lowest of lows. I’ve been asked recently why I joined the police — what or who inspired me. My first answer is: Lieutenant Carl Downing. He was my divisional officer in the Navy and one day, though I went on to be the most unlikely copper you could ever meet, he turned to me and asked: ‘Have you thought about the police? You’d be great at it.
Petersfield signal box is in the wrong place. Or at least it is now. When it was built in the 1880s, it was in precisely the right place, near the tracks and next to the level crossing that the signalman controlled. It had to be. Signal boxes had a series of big levers which controlled both signals and the points on the track. In the days before electric motors, the boxes had to be as near as possible to the points or shifting the levers became too difficult, especially in cold weather.