Austen Ivereigh, who is leading the battle against the movie of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in this country, reveals how its principal target — the controversial Catholic organisation Opus Dei — is turning the fight to its advantageRomeIn the run-up to the release of the film of The Da Vinci Code on 19 May the communications director for the UK branch of Opus Dei, a bundle of nervous energy even in calmer times, can hardly contain himself.
Mary Wakefield visits one of the group’s halls of residence and meets not albino assassins but a more pious version of Trinny and SusannahAfter three hours with Opus Dei women at Ashwell House in east London I wandered west, half-stunned, like a cat hit by a car. At Oxford Circus the usual loons were saving souls: ‘Repent now, turn to God!’ from a woman on the south side. From a north-end traffic island, megaphone man provided the antiphonal response: ‘Seek salvation before it is too late!’ And in my pocket my mobile, ringing with a message from an Opus Dei publicity man.
Don’t look to polling data to get an idea of what is going on in the minds of Americans. Only 29 per cent of Americans say they are satisfied ‘with the way things are going in the United States at this time’. Yet 85 per cent are satisfied with ‘the way things are going in their personal lives’. Three out of four say they are uneasy about the economy, but only one in ten thinks it likely he will be laid off, and consumer confidence is at its highest level in four years.
Ioannina, GreeceLike a penitent sinner, or an addict entering recovery, the European Union has developed a fondness for confessing it has lost the public’s confidence. Among EU leaders and top Eurocrats, there is much talk of ‘reconnecting with citizens’. To know why you should be sceptical, go to the ancient bazaars of Ioannina and ask shoppers what they think of the euro single currency. In common with consumers across the rest of Greece, indeed across much of Europe, Ioannina residents accuse the single currency of triggering runaway inflation since it was introduced four years ago.
Rod Liddle say that — whatever his political failures — the Deputy Prime Minister is the victim of a deplorably hypocritical press assaultI spent Bank Holiday Monday trying to find out everything I could about Jo Knowsley, for your benefit. I didn’t find out very much. Certain questions, crucial to the public interest, remain unanswered — so I will have to speculate about them instead, a little later on in this article.
Tom Stacey, a prison visitor for 30 years, says that jails devote scandalous resources to ‘diversity’. No wonder the Home Office has so little time to manage deportationsPolitical defenders of Charles Clarke insist it’s unreasonable to expect ministers to be acquainted with ‘every nook and cranny’ of the department they are responsible for, especially one as cumbrous as his. It’s hardly his fault, they say, that 1,023 foreign prisoners were freed without being considered for deportation.