Pity the international diplomats. Hardly back from their Christmas break, they were plunged into yet another dizzying round of declamations and démarches over a fresh bout of Israeli misbehaviour, this time in Gaza. By midweek, diplomacy had achieved a partial success when Israel agreed to a daily pause for the distribution of humanitarian supplies. But it was not yet ready to end the war-fighting.
It being the new year and all, I thought I’d introduce you to some new mentalists, just in case you’re getting bored with the old mentalists. These new ones are the people watching the disquieting events unfold in Gaza with what might properly be called rapture.I use the word ‘rapture’ advisedly. As in ‘for yea, the rapture cometh’. And those shells landing on Gaza are to be welcomed, of course, for they are bringing the day ever closer.
Matt Ridley says that Darwinian selection explains the appearance of seemingly ‘designed’ complexity throughout the world — not just in biology but in the economy, technology and the artsCharles Darwin, who was born 200 years ago next month, has spent the 150 years since he published The Origin of Species fighting for the idea of common descent. Though physically dead, he is still doing battle for the notion that chimps are your cousins and cauliflowers your kin.
We live in Keynesian times: the answer to the economic problems created by a mountain of debt frittered away on trifles is clearly a whole mountain range of debt frittered away on trifles. In the circumstances it is good to know that a judge has done his bit to stimulate the general improvidence — sorry, the British economy. He has awarded £11,000 each to three prisoners in Winchester Prison who underwent withdrawal from heroin without benefit of further doses of heroin or of methadone and other heroin substitutes.
More than ever in the UK, fuel bills now resemble school fees and so, despite the bitter cold, few of us can afford full-on 24-hour heating. But, driven by desperation, I’ve been researching the matter and have discovered several ways of surviving this miserable weather. Forget about replacement double glazing: it looks nasty and it doesn’t pay for itself until you are over 100. But if you don’t mind living in a house that shrieks ‘credit crunch’ to visitors, there are ways of keeping the cold out and the bills down.