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[/audioplayer]A century ago, with Britain in peril, Lord Kitchener’s stern countenance demanded that every stout-hearted Briton do their bit for King and Country. ‘Your country needs you’ rallied hundreds of thousands to khaki and the Kaiser’s War.
Have you ever wanted to know how dictators stay in power? Try visiting a comedy club. I went to one the other night. The acts varied in quality. No one died on their backside, no one stormed it, the audience went away happy. But at a couple of points the thing happened, the thing that gives you a clue about dictators: the comedian picked on a member of the audience. In fairness they were both minor examples.
Who thinks Hillary Clinton is the nastiest woman in the world? The American Spectator once called her ‘the Lady Macbeth of Arkansas’ while US News and World Report described her as ‘the overbearing yuppie wife from hell’. But that was back in the nineties. Surely such vitriol is a thing of the past? No. The founders of ‘StopHillaryPAC’ say on their website that they want to ‘save America from the destructive far-left liberal cancer’ that Mrs Clinton represents.
For non-Catholics, the most luridly fascinating aspect of Catholicism is confession. Telling your inmost sins — and we know what they are — to a male cleric, eh? In a darkened booth. How medieval is that?
Well, the fantasies that people who never go to confession nurse about it are about to be shored up by a new book on the subject by the Catholic author John Cornwell. It’s called The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession.
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[/audioplayer]Last week Sally Morgan reverted to type. After almost three years as a model of cross-party co-operation, instinctive Labour tribalism finally won out as she accused Downing Street of purging Labour supporters from high offices.
Among the millions of words which will be expended over the next four years on the first world war, very few will be devoted to explaining one of its greatest legacies of all, the effects of which continue to dominate our politics to this day. One of the best-kept secrets of the European Union is that the core idea which gave rise to it owed its genesis not to the second world war, as is generally supposed, but to the Great War a quarter of a century earlier.
One of the many things I love about my wife is that she doesn’t make me do anything for Valentine’s Day. Bloody Valentine’s. It brings nothing but resentment and misery. It makes single people feel left out and lonely and turns happy couples against each other. True, some women might feel a little gratified if their man buys them expensive flowers — particularly if the florist delivers to her office so that others can see just how special she is.