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Out of the east

If the test of the Arab Spring was its treatment of minorities, it has failed. Hopes that the region was poised to make the transition to liberal democracy have proved to be premature, trampled under the boots of the ethno-religious cleansers. The old-style corrupt despots have metastasised into even older-style Islamist xenophobes. The Arab world,

Iraq’s Christian exodus

The Arabs once had a saying about the British: ‘Better to be their enemy, for that way they will try to buy you; for if you are their friend, they will most certainly sell you.’ For Iraq’s Christians it has proved to be sage advice. It is a lesson learned by a 25-year-old engineering student

Cameron’s tragic flaw

The PM’s problem is not poshness, but impoliteness Premierships do not end in failure, as Enoch Powell once asserted, but in tragedy. They start with a beaming figure disappearing behind the door of No. 10 — even Edward Heath, immortalised now as the Incredible Sulk, entered with a radiant grin. And they end with a

A hymn to the organist

Some people swoon over film stars. I swoon over organists. Good organists, that is, not bad organists. Bad organists I refer to as ‘dominant males’, because the only two chords they play are the tonic and the dominant. Good organists are upholders of some of the highest musical expertise in the land. When you hear

Is Dan the man?

I first heard the name ‘Dan Jarvis’ on a dance floor at a wedding in Bath. ‘Move like Jagger’ was thumping through the speakers, and most people had given up trying to chat, but I’d been collared by a cavalry officer who was damned if he was going to let disco get in the way

Class system

When my wife said she thought we should educate our three children at comprehensive schools, it was with a degree of trepidation that I went along with her. I was thankful to save the several hundred thousand pounds it would probably have cost to send them to fee-paying schools, money which I at least showed

Was Chris for real?

I still don’t know whether I’ve been had I have been wondering what to do about Chris…. Well, I call him Chris, but the truth is that I’ve only met him once and I’d hardly say our brief acquaintance qualifies as friendship. How does one get oneself into these quandaries? Four weeks ago, I was

Lack of appeal

Here we go again. Like a macabre version of Groundhog Day, mass murderer Jeremy Bamber is making yet another bid for freedom. This nasty legal saga has been dragging on for almost 26 years, ever since Bamber was first found guilty of the savage massacre at his family’s farmhouse in rural Essex. By a majority