On 24 June last year, in the Georgian splendour of her official residence in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Scotland’s First Minister offered her reaction to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Since Scottish voters endorsed Remain, it was now, Nicola Sturgeon said, ‘highly likely’ there would be another referendum on Scottish independence. Since then that promise — one viewed with dread by the two million Scots who voted to preserve the Union in 2014 — has been variously ‘on the table’, ‘more likely’ than ever and even ‘all but inevitable’.
Poor Paul Nuttall. He seemed to have everything a cheeky by-election victor needed: the outsider vim, the accent, the cap. Then it emerged he had made stuff up about Hillsborough. That was that. He moved from admirable Scouser to tragedy-crasher.
In interviews over the years, Nuttall has referred to being at the stadium in Sheffield on the terrible day, and he still insists he was. We shall probably never know why that developed on his website into his having lost ‘close personal friends’ there — something which is not, it seems, true.
Freud said ‘Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.’ And ‘Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.’ What is life like for people with learning disabilities who have the cornerstone of the love of their parents, but who have little prospect of work?
Approximately 1.4 million people in the UK have a learning disability, yet 1.3 million of them are unemployed. Think of the misery that figure represents, the isolation and loneliness.
Pity the poor sheep. Every other animal has its champions. There are fox fanatics, dog obsessives, campaigners for cat welfare. Pigs, once a celebrity pet of choice, have their supporters, too. But it’s sheep who need friends right now, because they are, quite literally, under attack.
My Facebook pals are mostly country types and barely a day goes by without one of them posting a picture of a sheep mauled, often fatally, by untrained, unrestrained city-dwelling dogs.
The ongoing war between Donald Trump and the Hollywood A-list has entered a new and unpredictable phase. Celebrity criticism of Trump — keenly anticipated as the chewy takeaway from last week’s Academy Awards ceremony — was instead overshadowed by a celebrity cock-up. Thanks to a mix-up of the sacred envelopes, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway temporarily awarded Best Picture to La La Land, rather than the real winner, Moonlight.
I love small museums, and the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin is a little gem, located in the neighbourhood once known as ‘Little Jerusalem’, a centre of Jewish life around the South Circular Road. The museum itself is a converted terraced house at 3 Walworth Road, within walking distance of the streets so evocative of Leopold Bloom’s Dublin.
It is crammed with impressive artefacts from Jewish life in Ireland — Torah scrolls, a menorah in the shape of a harp — but also with small details and modest memorials of Irish Jewish life, which is now so sadly in decline.