The slide towards extinction in Scotland has persuaded the Tories to draw up a blueprint for separation, says Fraser Nelson. The Scottish Tories would split off — and Cameron’s Conservatives would become the English partyFor the son of an Aberdonian stockbroker, David Cameron has had an uneasy relationship with Scotland. It is a land of massacred Conservatives, even less hospitable to his party today than it was during the great Tory wipe-out ten years ago.
I meet Ian McEwan for lunch at Elena’s L’Etoile near his Fitzrovia home. He is greeted like a member of the family, and he tells me with relish that the restaurant features in The Dean’s December by one of his literary heroes, Saul Bellow.McEwan’s last book, Saturday, was explicitly influenced by Bellow, and in many ways a homage to the American master. But his new and eleventh novel, On Chesil Beach (a short masterwork), explores different terrain.
In Westminster Cathedral a dozen or so deaf mutes are doing the Stations of the Cross. They have reached the 14th station, ‘Jesus is laid in the tomb’. A priest leads the prayers in sign language. ‘We, too, O God, will descend into the grave whenever it shall please Thee, as it shall please Thee, and wheresoever it shall please Thee.’It is a humbling sight. The cathedral, though, is not to everyone’s taste.
Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is a masterpiece, whatever other category one finds for it. It is bursting with vitality, it has a larger number of memorable, indeed unforgettable tunes than any work of comparable length in the 20th century, whether opera or musical. And what counts still more for its stature is that the great songs which comprise so large a part of it are more powerful in context than they are out of it, for all that many of them, for instance ‘Summertime’ and ‘Bess, you is my woman now’, have taken on a life of their own.