The statistics were flying like circling jumbos at the Intelligence Squared debate on Heathrow’s proposed expansion. The News 24 anchorman Nik Gowing introduced a panel of experts led by Tom Kelly, once spin doctor to Tony Blair and now BAA’s head of communications. Heathrow’s problems boil down to capacity, he said. Already it works at 100 percent while its main rivals - Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt - operate at 75 percent.
Georgia is still on our minds. August’s short nasty descent into violence triggered the first emergency debate of the season. John Kampfner, in the chair, began by observing wryly that the crisis had disproved the notion that ‘two countries that have Macdonalds don’t go to war.’Oleh Rybachuk, a leading Ukrainian democrat, proposed the motion and expressed his country’s fears that Ukraine and Georgia would become a new eastern bloc and their borders ‘a new Checkpoint Charlie’.
There are too few active homosexuals and career women in the Third World. This is because blacks and Asians — from Australasia to Bangalore — have a tendency to put them in a pot, cook them and eat them. Primitive African tribes also eat crippled people — those in a wheelchair, or merely suffering from a hare lip — and indeed those they consider to be ethnic minorities. I know of one handicapped spinster who committed suicide rather than be eaten by some gypsies in Bombay.
It’s possible to get a reservation again at Scott’s. The City boys have well and truly left the building, and can now be found drowning their sorrows elsewhere, in dark corners of the West End and Chelsea, as far away from the prying eyes of the City as possible. ‘“Reduce your risk. Sell. Get flat.” But all I could think about was the school fees and the new kitchen, and how there’s just no recovering from this.
Swearing and shouting are underrated, says Giles Coren. Four-letter words can be immensely satisfying and extraordinarily effective
When I was ever so small and sweet, romper-suited and frilly-booted and really quite an angel to look at, I must have had a gob on me like an angry plasterer, because the only piece of advice I can
remember my mother ever giving me is: ‘If you’ve got nothing nice to say, Giles, then keep your mouth shut.
The Medjugorje story begins early in 1976 when a Franciscan monk in the former Yugoslavia, Father Tomislav Vlasic, starts an affair with a nun who becomes pregnant. Frightened he will be exposed as the child’s father, Father Vlasic persuades her to move away to Germany. She hopes he will honour his promise to leave the ministry and marry her. She writes a sequence of increasingly anxious letters when this does not happen, telling her former lover she is so miserable that she is praying she will die in childbirth.
‘Let us be clear: this is a crisis caused on Wall Street,’ insisted Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her consensus-strangling speech on Monday, shortly before her fellow members of the House of Representatives voted to reject the President’s $700 billion bail-out plan. Out on the campaign trail, Barack Obama ventured that the root cause of the trouble in the markets was that ‘too many people in Washington and Wall Street weren’t minding the store’.